June 21, 2024

Nigerians must not complain of racism abroad, they must face it, enjoy it

Nigerians must not complain of racism abroad, they must face it, enjoy it


A relationship adviser, social media influencer, and Indian-trained alternative medicine doctor, Folashade Oringo expresses shock over deep ethnic and tribal sentiments in Nigeria, writes ETIM EKPIMAH

May we meet you?

I am Miss Folashade Blessing Oringo; I come from Offa in Kwara State while my mother is from Obosi, Anambra State. I earned my first degree from the Indian Board of Alternative Medicine, Calcutta, India.

What was it like growing up?

My growing up was kind of bittersweet. I came from a humble background, but I have the most amazing parents that gave us the best that they could afford in terms of education and mental advice. They were there for us; especially my father, who gave us the best and with loads of emotional advice. He made us believe that we could achieve the best results in any field of our pursuits irrespective of our background.

Tell us what your online video was all about…

I’ve been trying to educate people on ethnicity and tribalism in relation to racism. We often talk about the racial discrimination that black population experience all over the world. We tend to forget that we have a bigger problem in our backyards, which are ethnicity and tribalism that often result in ethnic wars.

Ethnicity and tribalism are the worst things someone can ever experience. When you see somebody that looks like you feel that you are not good enough because you do not share the same ethnic background with them, and is imbued in these sentiments, such an individual will never care whether we share the same country, have inter-married or have the same skin color; they are there to bring you to disrepute.

To them, you are a foreigner in your own country; they don’t care about where these will lead you to nor the expression of sadness on your face. These ethnic or tribal bigots have forgotten that the little differences, if there are any, have been successfully used either to build up or tear down communities and neighborhoods.

As a bi-ethnic child, I suffered a lot of prejudice, which left me in confusion and I’m still confused as to what people are going to achieve from indulging in this act. Most times when I’m in the company of my mother’s people or my father’s side, people make a mockery of either tribe, saying that the other part is inferior. I don’t know how to respond because both blood flows through my veins.

I am not the problem and I can’t be. The problem is not only ethnicity but also religion. I come from a background where my father is a first-generation Christian but the majority in his community are faithful Muslims. I know that they are worshipping God but it’s kind of being a battle for me. I still know that God answers their prayers; I see it as a hopeless battle of tribes where we try to belittle people’s ethnicity and religion. I think they are all co-related because I’m in the middle of these two fights– the religious and ethnic fights.

It was the height of hate associated with ethnicity, tribalism, and religion that spurred me to make the video that you have seen online and to get people to talk about it. I want them to realize that if this thing does not affect them, they should realize that inter-marriages can happen, you can’t separate yourselves, where we have Hausa, Ibo, Yoruba, Efik, Ibibio, Ijaw, and where a Fulani get married to anyone from these tribes. How will you separate yourselves, especially the next generation of Nigerians who have already married people from another ethnic group; they have been intermingled, how possible will you be able to separate them?

In essence, we see ethnic wars much the same as that of racism. When you immigrate abroad, you seek love from other countries, but in your country, you never want to marry people from other ethnic backgrounds.

Nigerians must not complain of racism abroad, they must face it, enjoy it

I am in the same shoes as the Labour Party Governorship candidate in Lagos State, Mr. Gbadebo Chinedu Patrick Rhodes-Vivour. I grew up in the East. I can tell you where I grew up, Onitsha to be precise, I have never seen any Yoruba person, or Hausa stand for a local government chairmanship election. It’s not because they have not lived in a community for long, it is largely due to acceptance which is the same in Gbadebo’s case, who is a Yoruba man. He had never contested any election from the South-East even though his mum is from there. He’s a stake in Lagos State where he hails.

Gbadebo’s father is a Yoruba man; it’s been so painful that some people denied him being a Lagosian just to score cheap political points against him. It hurts that for the place you have lived for a long time, you are not accepted for any political office, and where you belong you are not accepted. He was just fighting a double battle, the battle of becoming a governor and the battle of why his father fell in love. He might even have thought why was he born through the union of two different ethnic backgrounds? So, Lagos is a place where he belongs and he is not accepted; this is not a matter that someone is doing it at his back, but a frontal attack; telling him to his very face that he does not belong where he comes from. I thought where a child comes from is by the father’s side, ‘yes.’

If the father is a Lagosian, why bring the mother into the equation? The question now is ‘Is he being judged by his competence or the situation of his birth by being a bi-ethnic child? A situation like this makes people like us to be afraid. We have the same bloodline, the same story. So, does it mean that I cannot become a governor in Kwara State or a local government chairman in my mother’s local government area? Let them face the racism, they don’t have a right to complain. Nigerians should accept racism till they solve the ethnicity and tribalism at home.

What prospects do you see in Nigerian youth?

I see a Nigerian child who has everything it takes, most importantly I see a Nigerian with drops of clothes and claims she has nothing to wear. I feel like we have so much that we don’t even know how to manage what we have and I’ll liken it to Nigerian youths who are doing exceptionally well but collectively we are doing nothing.

In every country of the world, in every sector, medicine, tech, sport, and entertainment, Nigerians are dominating across the world. However, in our country, the youths that are equally as good as the ones excelling out there, are stranded.

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