A number of Nigerians may be losing their sleep due to their ‘dual indigeneship’in Nigeria, if the current spate of insecurity and drums of war continued unabated. Though they may be from one distinct tribe or the other, but inter – tribal marriages have interlocked them with one or two more tribes apart from the tribe of their fathers. These people would rather become the bridge, and ambassadors of peace and unity to Nigerians in order to avoid such ugly situation that might put their relatives through the edges of the sword. CHIJIOKE IREMEKA writes
Like never before, Nigerians are now interwoven in inter-tribal marriages, and with this, each tribe has part of it becoming part and parcel of another tribe(s), which it may not be pleased to associate with for whatever reason(s).
This, has further, made more difficult for a tribe to say it is pure without the blood of other tribes, as many other tribal blood may have been injected into its bloodstream by unplanned parentage and inter-tribal marriages.
Therefore, there is no gain saying that due to inter- tribal marriages in Nigeria, a Yoruba man has his extended family(ies) in the North and his in-laws in the South East or any other part of the country.
This, of course, is a first-class tie and apron for unity and peaceful co-existence among all Nigerians of different tribes, which will invariably; make it difficult for these tribes to go into war with one another, when they put the lives of these extended family relatives into contemplation despite the drums of war being beaten by some tribes today.
The situation will be high confusion among certain personalities, who have their blood spread across other tribes, when deciding on which warring group to stand for or against, whether to fight on the side of their kinsmen in the West, and killing their in-laws in the North or their extended families in the East.
This, in no doubt, should be a binding factor and war repellant among each aggrieved tribe in Nigeria, as each region and tribes beats the drums of war as a solution to the pervaded insecurity and endless killings of innocent Nigerians across regions, especially by the herders, if the state actors do the needful. Thus, the long-drawn-out ethnic crisis and drums of war in Nigeria is frightening and reaching unprecedented crescendo as the day goes by.
Different ethnic groups in the country are fast losing the love it once shared with one another and bond which, hither-to, held them together as good neighbours in one indissoluble entity – Nigeria.
Thus, as the country is on the swift lane to the prewar situations, well-meaning Nigerians, who are deeply worried about the state of affairs of the country, are currently calling out President Muhammadu Buhari and those Nigerians in position of influence to end the tribal and herders’ threat to the unity of Nigeria.
Observers of situation also said the noticeable indices are back again, and even now worse than the pre 1967 situation that led to the Nigerian Civil War, which snuffed out lives of Nigerian adults and, at least, one million innocent children.
This, however, calls for seriousness among the Nigerian policymakers, influential Nigerians and all who may not really read the handwriting on the wall to see the potential situation of tribal war staring the country in the face and seek a commonsensical ways to avert this kismet capable of turning the country into another Somalia.
Sequel to this, Nigerians have called out some notable Nigerians who may lose sleep due to these situations, whose extended families cut across all tribes to use this influence of inter- tribal marriages and ‘dual indigeneship’ to mediate over this matter and nip it in the bud as no one can predict how such war would end should it happen.
Hence, inter- tribal marriages, are said to be good premonition in binding one tribe to another which may not see the reason for their co-existence, whereby the love for one another’s extended families and the resolve not to shed one’s own blood, will prevail on them to do the needful and promote ethnic tolerance in the country.
This is not the time to sit on the fence as if nothing is done fast, these group of people whose blood cuts across all tribes may have their parents, grandparents, grandchildren, in-laws, and all other extended family which African tradition cherishes, wiped out by this unchecked aggression.
On top of this list of very distinguished Nigerians who may lose sleep due to the happenings in the land and become ambassadors of peace, love and tranquility in the country to calm the already frayed tribal muscles are the likes of former Military head of State, Gen. Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (IBB) who is married to an Igbo woman of Asaba, Delta State origin.
Of course, this means that his four children, Mohammed, Aminu, Aisha and Halima, are half Hausa and half Igbo.
While IBB will be mindful of his in-laws not to be wiped out with the edges of war swords, his four children will put their grandparents and home into contemplation.
Their late mother, Mariam Babangida hailed from Asaba, the Delta State capital. Mariam, who was born in 1948 in Asaba in Delta State, would have been celebrating her 72nd birthday today, if she was alive.
Her parents were Hajiya Asabe Halima Mohammed from the present Niger State, a Hausa, and Leonard Nwanonye Okogwu from Asaba, an Igbo. She later moved to Kaduna where she attended Queen Amina College Kaduna, for her Secondary education.
She graduated as a secretary at the Federal Training Centre, Kaduna. Later she obtained a diploma in secretaryship from La Salle Extension University, Chicago, Illinois, and a Certificate in Computer Science from the NCR Institute in Lagos.
On September 6, 1969, shortly before her 21st birthday, she got married to Gen. Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida. They had four children, boys Mohammed and Aminu, and two girls, Aisha and Halima.
Though both parents of the former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, are from Kwara State, a Yoruba state, he has a Fulani blood in his vein as his great grandfather is said to be a Fulani and this makes him a Fulani too.
This qualifies him to be among the peace ambassadors of the country. He will be confused as for which tribe will he identify with should there be a war between Fulani, his ancestral root and Yoruba, his parents home, to protect.
Any decision he takes in this mix of things will be a clash of interest and perhaps, what a sociologist referred to as a ‘role conflict,’ hence the decent path to follow is peace and reconciliation. Bukola Saraki is said to be of Fulani ancestry and Ilorin.
“My great-great grandfather originated from Mali and I am talking about some 150 to 200 years ago. And they are Fulani and that is where we got our Fulani connection from. “My great-grandfather settled in Ilorin preaching the religion of Islam…My greatgrandfather brought our own Qur’an to Ilorin from Mali to Agbaji, where we settled,” he claimed.
His mother, Saraki added, hailed from Iseyin in Oyo State. His father, he declared, hailed from Ilorin. More so, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, also has an inter- tribal marriage. He married a woman of Yoruba stock Amina Titilayo Atiku-Abubakar. She is one of the four wives of Atiku.
Titi Amina Atiku Abubakar was born into a Christian home to Albert Yoruba family from Ilesa, Osun State. She had her primary and secondary education at a missionary school, a Roman Catholic institution. She was raised in Lagos and later married Atiku Abubakar, before attending Kaduna Polytechnic.
Atiku also married an Igbo woman from Onitsha in Anambra State, Jennifer Iwenjiora. Her father was Chief Chukwuka Iwenjiora, in Onitsha, Anambra State.
Hence, Atiku should be another Nigerian who will lose sleep in this high rate of insecurity and drums of war. His own extended families cut across the major three tribes in Nigeria, Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba.
Also, Anambra State born Peter Okoye, popularly known as P-Square, a music producer, song writer and pop star, is another person who will be scared of insecurity in the country as he also had an inter tribal marriage.
He is married to Titilola Loretta Omotayo Okoye of Yoruba extraction. Lola was born on September 2, 1974 in Nigeria. Although she was born in Nigeria, she bears double nationality, Nigerian and Russian.
This is because she was born into a family of a Nigerian father and a Russian mother. Her father, Mr. Dipo Omotayo got married to her mum long ago before moving to Nigeria.
He is the owner of Silco Drilling and Completion Services – an oil and gas company based in Lagos. Nollywood star, Segun Arinze is a Yoruba with an Igbo blood.
His father is a Yoruba from Badagry, while his mother hails from Onitsha in Anambra State. Segun was born in Onitsha, Anambra State to a Yoruba father and an Igbo mother in 1965. He is a descent of Badagry, Lagos State.
He was married to fellow Nollywood actress Anne Njemanze, another Igbo woman like her mother, which later became a short-lived marriage.
The couple has one daughter, Renny Morenike. Segun will equally be confused on which tribe to follow should there be inter-tribal war between Yoruba and Igbo, his maternal home and his in-laws.
Also, top comedian, actor and producer, Ayodeji Richard Makun popularly known as AY, married an Igbo woman, Mabel Makun, who was born on March 30, 1986.
These Nigerians and many more not in this list should be scared of the drums of wars in the country and decide to use their ‘dual indigeneship’ to mediate and stem the tension in the land, or stand the chance of having their electives in other tribes destroyed by unchecked aggression, as inter-tribal marriages have proven to be a blessing and binding factor among different tribes in a country.