There was a story of a flock of doves that flew in search of food led by their king. One day, they had flown a long distance and were very tired. The dove king encouraged them to fly a little further. The smallest dove picked up speed and found some rice scattered beneath a banyan tree. So all the doves landed and began to eat.
Suddenly a net fell over them and they were all trapped. They saw a hunter approaching carrying a huge club. The doves desperately fluttered their wings trying to get out but to no avail. The king had an idea. He advised all the doves to fly up together carrying the net with them. He said that there was strength in unity.
Each dove picked up a portion of the net and together they flew off carrying the net with them. The hunter looked up in astonishment. He tried to follow them, but they were flying high over hills and valleys. They flew to a hill near a city of temples where there lived a mouse who could help them. He was a faithful friend of the dove king.
When the mouse heard the loud noise of their approach, he went into hiding. The dove king gently called out to him and then the mouse was happy to see him. The dove king explained that they had been caught in a trap and needed the mouse’s help to gnaw at the net with his teeth and set them free.
The word “Unity” means oneness. It is being together or at one with someone or something. Sports teams wear uniforms to show unity, and their fans wear team colors for the same reason. When a bunch of people act as one and are on the same page, they’re displaying unity. When people speak with one voice in support or against a cause, they are displaying unity. When we speak of unity in cultural diversity we are referring to the oneness or agreement that exists among people in spite of their Differences. In any group or cause, unity can be hard to find and maintain notwithstanding the powers it bears.
Man has fought thoughtlessly, throughout human history, arguing about the superiority of one race over others. Men may differ in characteristics and qualities such as calibre, caste, character, charm, cognition, colour, community, complexion, costume, courage, creed, culture, and customs. In Nigeria, the issue of tribe, religion, language, class, has made it non-viable for us to live and thrive in unity.
National unity is the strength that binds and inspires the people of our country. Thus, in reality, its protection, peace, independence, and sovereignty are directly dependent on and relative to a nation’s pride, patriotism, and social cohesion also known as unity.
Abraham Lincoln gracefully said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
There are billions of people in this world, hundreds of thousands within our nation, each with uniqueness and opposing views on fundamental aspects of life. Normally, dissimilarities create division and occasional conflict. However, we tend to forget that we all have one common goal – the betterment of our country and its people. This is what brings forth unity.
Until in the first weeks of October 2020 when the youths of our country commenced with the #endsars protest in oneness despite a mix of tribes, religion, class, values, and beliefs, we had never really experienced the power of unity in diversity as a nation.
The aftermath of this unforeseen unity is not necessarily about our failed attempt to get the government to provide us with better security that will refrain from terminating and profiling citizens based on appearance, but the sudden realization that our greatest weapon as a people is unity. Our greatest weapon does not lie in our diverse culture, language, or religion. That weapon is not in social class segregation or other fallacies we have been made to swallow by people of the older generation. The greatest weapon as we have seen lies in unity -the oneness of people irrespective of cultural diversity to demand change in their society.
Unfortunately, the government had known the power of unity in diversity and so consistently incited tribal wars to cripple, divide and single our voices while we remained a pawn in their game.
With the unity exhibited during the #Endsars protest where the Christians barricaded a space for the Muslims to say their prayers, where the Muslims churched with the Christians, where Gbenga, Chidi, Akpan, Onome and Jimoh chanted with one megaphone #endsars, when the privileged could donate money to feed protesters, we got unprecedented global audience like never before in our history.
While many factors contribute to the overall development of a country, national unity is the most vital. Let’s stay together and help support one another in times of adversities and privileges’. “Unity is Strength” and “United we stand, divided we fall”, are common phrases and are true to their every word. Can you really love a nation without loving all its citizens?
Progress of nations depends on unity because it helps better to understand the need and choices of the people by the government which will help to bring development and safety in the country. We as a nation can achieve much from diversity if the right mechanisms are adopted to blend our differences to yield positive outcomes for us. If diversity that unites us as one Nigeria, then we to embrace one another with love and respect each other’s culture, norms, values, and religion.
For us to achieve the new Nigeria we have started to fight for, we must not compromise national unity. Unity, they say, is a beast in itself. If we can look beyond our differences and focus on our main objectives, we will not only change Nigeria but Africa as a whole. We would create a history we forever will be proud of, a better government that takes accountability and is answerable to its people, and a better Nigeria for us and generations yet unborn.
Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and test of our civilization.