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Ethnic Profiling: The Principle of Nigeria’s Political, Economic and Religious Proximity -By Abraham Adonor

The general elections in 2023 offered Nigeria the chance to leave the toxic politics of the past and move toward a future that was more inclusive and egalitarian.

In Nigeria, a nation with over 250 different ethnic groups and a wide range of religious beliefs, ethnic profiling, or the practice of focusing on people solely because of their ethnic or religious origin, is a hotly debated topic. Notwithstanding constitutional protections for equal treatment for all people, politics, and economics frequently depend on a person’s ethnicity or religion, with certain groups enjoying more advantages and opportunities than others.

The British colonizers split Nigeria along ethnic and religious lines for administrative reasons, which is when the practice of ethnic and religious profiling in Nigeria first emerged. With political influence and economic opportunity frequently concentrated in the hands of the main ethnic and religious groups, this heritage has continued to define Nigerian culture.

In terms of politics, ethnic and religious identity have significantly influenced the political climate of the nation. Politicians usually appeal to their base by defending the interests of their own group when they are running for office. Political parties are frequently based on racial and religious distinctions. As a result, a small number of dominating organizations now hold the majority of the political power, with other groups being marginalized and shut out of the political system.

Ethnic and religious identities also have a big impact on Nigeria’s financial situation. Economic prospects are frequently restricted to particular groups, and one’s access to resources or financial support is frequently based on their racial or religious identity. As a result, some groups have been able to amass riches and power while other groups have been left behind.

One indication that the issue of racial and religious profiling would likely play a big role in political debate in the years to come comes from the Nigerian general elections of 2023. Candidates who supported the interests of their own group galvanized their base, and political parties appeal to voters based on their ethnic and religious identity.

Because of the violent battles between followers of various parties and candidates that were motivated by their ethnic and religious identities, this method of politics resulted in conflict and violence. The goal of the 2023 elections was to promote inclusivity and togetherness rather than division and exclusion.

It is important to discuss the problem of ethnic and religious profiling in the broader context of Nigerian society. The government must seek to develop laws and programs that support greater inclusivity and equality in every sphere of society, including the economy, healthcare, and education.

Political parties and candidates must refrain from utilizing ethnic and religious identities to electorate voters in order to accomplish this. Instead, they ought to put their energy into advocating for measures and concepts that assist all Nigerians, irrespective of their racial or religious heritage.

Furthermore, all candidates and parties must have equal access to resources and opportunities during the elections, which must be ensured by the government and electoral bodies. This will necessitate taking action to combat the problem of vote buying and guarantee an open and accountable democratic process.

In addition, creating a more inclusive and fair voting process requires the support of civil society organizations and the media. In addition to monitoring the election to ensure that it is free and fair, they can seek to inform voters about the value of supporting policies and ideas over ethnic and religious identity.

The general elections in 2023 offered Nigeria the chance to leave the toxic politics of the past and move toward a future that was more inclusive and egalitarian.

Politics and the economy are only a small part of the problem with ethnic and religious profiling in Nigeria. The civil service, which is in charge of carrying out governmental plans and initiatives, is also impacted.

Some ethnic and religious groups are overrepresented in particular sectors and positions within Nigeria’s civil service, which is characterized by a high degree of ethnic and religious tension. As a result, rather than talent and merit, people’s access to government employment and promotions is frequently influenced by their ethnicity or religion.

This has led to situations where some groups are underrepresented or completely excluded from the civil service, in addition to situations where some groups are overrepresented. Prejudice and exclusion, this has led to a lack of diversity in the civil service and the loss of potential ability and knowledge.

The government must endeavor to encourage more diversity and inclusivity in the civil service in order to address this problem. Affirmative action policies, the elimination of barriers to admission and advancement, and the implementation of merit-based hiring and promotion processes are just a few ways to accomplish this.

The government might also try to foster collaboration and interethnic and interreligious communication within the civil service. This could foster greater understanding and cooperation between various groups and assist in tearing down barriers, resulting in a more harmonious and efficient civil service.

The promotion of greater inclusivity and diversity within the civil service requires the active participation of civil servants themselves. They can seek to establish a more welcoming and inclusive atmosphere within the civil service and oppose discriminatory behaviors and regulations.

Education is critical in addressing the problem of ethnic and religious profiling in Nigeria. Education can help to break down the barriers that often lead to discrimination and exclusion by promoting greater understanding, empathy, and tolerance among different ethnic and religious groups.

Promoting inter-ethnic and inter-religious dialogue and cooperation is one-way education can promote greater inclusivity and understanding. This can be accomplished through school exchange programs, joint educational projects, and community outreach programs that bring together students and teachers from various ethnic and religious backgrounds.

Furthermore, education can aid in addressing the underlying causes of ethnic and religious profiling by raising awareness and understanding of the historical, cultural, and social factors that have contributed to these issues. This can aid in challenging stereotypes and prejudices, as well as promoting a more nuanced and empathetic understanding of various ethnic and religious groups.

Furthermore, education can aid in the promotion of greater diversity and inclusivity in the labor force, including the civil service. Education can help to ensure that the workforce is more representative and reflective of the broader population by providing equal access to quality education and training opportunities for all Nigerians, regardless of ethnic or religious background.

Finally, education can help to increase political participation and civic engagement among various ethnic and religious groups. Education can help to ensure that all Nigerians, regardless of ethnic or religious background, have a voice in shaping the future of their country by providing citizens with the knowledge and skills needed to participate effectively in the political process.

The principle of Nigeria’s tribal and religious proximity has contributed to the perpetuation of these inequalities. Access to resources and opportunities is frequently dictated by one’s ethnicity or religion, rather than on merit and aptitude. Because of this, some groups are now able to flourish and achieve while others are left behind.

To foster unity and inclusivity in Nigerian politics and society, we will ultimately need the combined efforts of all stakeholders, including citizens, political parties, candidates, the government, civil society, and the media.



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