TWO PEOPLE & ONE HAUSA MAN – @gbengaosowe & Naija Ethnocentrism by @toyinfab

TWO PEOPLE & ONE HAUSA MAN – Osowe Oluwagbenga @gbengaosowe



A sunny Wednesday afternoon,

Tired and spent, feeling weak and hungry

Boy though I was, I walked like a man who spent the whole day on the farm

Then I saw the crowd, and

Cursed with the curiosity of a cat, I moved

Towards the motley crowd of people at the junction

Fatigue from school work forgotten,

Pangs of hunger subdued by curiosity

I meandered my way through the crowd

Enduring shoves and pushes

I got to the front of the crowd

Then I saw

Gory images of

Human innards spilled on the road

Mashed human flesh on tar like

Freshly slaughtered meat at the abattoir

Spread for willing buyers

The Sun,

Shone on the pool of blood

The eerie sight produced,

Horrible and scary,

My young mind couldn’t fathom

What these ones had done

To deserve such horrible death at the hands

Of a maniac of a driver,

Besieged by young men,

His leviathan of a truck, laden with goods

Already singing in tongues of fire

Wooden parts charring

Acrid smell of burning tyre wafting into air

Then I heard

Horrible words, uttered

In response to the question,

“What happened here?”

The answer – “Na that trailer kill two people and 1 Hausa man”

My mind reeled at those words,

Could my Social studies teacher have been wrong?

Australoids, Mongoloids, Caucasoids, Negroids

Are all human, she said

So why the distinction between Hausa and humans? I wondered


It’s been many years from then and

Service to the fatherland bids me

Move to a faraway land for a national cause

Yet, my colleagues of Eastern extraction don’t see me as a fellow Nigerian,

To them, I was ofe nmanu, that Yoruba boy,

Oh! Never mind. It was a world of tit for tat,

I responded by calling them ajokutamamomi or nyamiri like my

Hausa friends do call them

All of us baking in the ignorant fun of such a wonderful irony,

Segregation thriving,

Yet NYSC is for National Integration.


This manager really wishes the job to be mine, but his hands are tied,

Good qualifications, vacant position

Sadly, it still can’t be mine

The boss’ directive zones the job to folks from his own clime,

If only a new certificate of origin were arranged for me,

The job would surely be mine,

If only I were a James Gregory, Monday Solomon

I could have claimed the boss’ tribe

Yet, this Yoruba name of mine is a snag,

So I kiss the job, bye bye.

Anytime I hear them speak, I cringe at the words of ethnic jingoists,

Spitting bunkum from their well-fed mouths,

With threats and pleas, they urge us,

To lay aside competence and choose our leaders based on tribe,

Yet, I blame them not, for therein lies our collective fault as a nation

We think in tribes, reasoning in ethnicity,

Our brothers can do no wrong, only those of other tribes can

Many a Yoruba man says Awolowo never did any wrong in his lifetime,

The Igbos venerate Azikiwe,

To the Hausas, the Sardauna is divine,

The controversy is raging, the country gradually disintegrating,

Yet we stay hating and crime is not abating,

Now I remember the words I heard many years ago when I was just but a child,

The scene of the accident playing in my mind like a tape on rewind,

The impact of those words, strong, yet so sublime

“What happened here?”

The answer – “Na that trailer kill two people and one Hausa man”

Tribalism, the bane of our times

                NAIJA ETHNOCENTRISM BY @toyinfab


Hausas “Mala”, “Gambari”, “Dadani” are dumb, they are bigots, they don’t think, they are disgusting; they spit saliva all over the place irrespective of their social or economic status.

Calabar people eat human beings; they are only good as house helps

Igbo people, “Omo Ina” “ajokutamamomi” are thieves, fraudsters and money ritualists. You must never employ them. They love money too much.

Yorubas “Ofe mmanu” are dirty, they are selfish, they can’t be trusted, they give their daughters out free of charge, Yoruba girls are promiscuous, and they don’t know how to cook.

Do those sentiments sound strange? I am sure we have all heard them at one time or the other.

I have heard all these so many times in the past, most times from people you would expect to know better. I think I can say I am yet to meet a completely detribalized person. Deny it all you will but you know it deep within your mind. You are also ethnocentric/tribalistic. (choose the one that sounds better to you).

Go to Linda Ikeji’s blog and read comments on some stories, you would feel like crying.

“Ayinde Kolade stabs wife to death” Comments will go like;

 Yoruba people! Tufiakwa! Evil people. And then you see counter comments; “You are crazy, stupid Igbo bastard.”


Another day it will be “Human heads found in Onitsha Hotel” and then you start seeing. “Mad Igbo people! Always looking for money by all means” and the counter comments follow.

I so believe we are not one and trust me we might never be. The other day in my office a discussion about Jonathan and 2015 was started by someone and the reactions were really interesting;

Yoruba Man: “Jonathan is useless, Obasanjo was better. If only he can come again.”

Efik Lady: “Never! Which kain Obasanjo? What did he do when he was there? Jonathan has done a lot and he will come in again and there is nothing you people can do about it. This is the first time a president is coming from our zone. It’s our turn.”

Me: “I don’t care about the tribe the winner comes from, I believe we are all Nigerians but I certainly don’t want to see Jonathan as my president again. I believe he has had enough time and he hasn’t used it well. We have had enough. Easterner, southerner or northerner, my take is let the best for us be president in 2015.”

Yoruba Man: “It’s Tambuwal/Fashola that we want.”

Efik Lady: “Which kain Fashola? God forbid!”

“And I will never vote for a Hausa man. They have been ruling us all the while. Are they the only ones?    It’s not like I’m tribalistic but we have had enough of Hausa people. They are the reason we are where we are today.”

Me: We need to stop pretending that this is not about tribe. We are all ethnocentric.

EfikLady: I am not a tribalistic person. Tribalism is when you favor your ethnic group over another.

Me: But that’s exactly what you did by saying you cannot vote for a Hausa man and that Jonathan has to be there because he is from your area.

The discussion went on and on. I kept shut after a while. There was no use talking, come 2015 a lot of people will still vote based on geographical reasons and not because they think the candidate is the right choice.

After that discussion I was furious for a while. The discussion reminded me of how backward we are in this country. It was a reminder of how I had to fight for the right to marry the man I love. I mean why should it be so hard? An educated man who claims to have travelled to several places in the world once told me he would never allow his child to marry a non Yoruba. It would be over his dead body.

In the last three years I have had to live with several ethnocentric and highly biased comments coming from all sorts of people, and the more shocking thing is these are educated people. People who go abroad for summer every year.

“You are marrying an Igbo man? Omo Ina?”

“Hope his mother is dead”

“You know they use their wives for money ritual?”

“Ha, Igbo? Just pray he doesn’t die before you”

“Didn’t you see any Yoruba boy?”

“Why would you betray your tribe like this?”

“Hope his Igbo is not the one across the Niger?”

“He will carry you away, we won’t see you again”

……..and the latest one; “Anambra? Ahhh, those ones use their mothers for money rituals; is his mother still alive?

In short, I have heard enough to last me a lifetime. I deal with it every day. Sometimes I wonder if it had been easier if I was marrying a Ghanaian. We are just messed up.

One Nigeria indeed.

May God help us.


16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. harlymah
    Aug 06, 2013 @ 07:52:52

    Sad but true. We’re all guilty of this one way or d other.


  2. janyshol
    Aug 06, 2013 @ 08:17:52

    The bitter truth need b told.. 4 us 2 move 4ward and experience progress, we must completely bury this tribalism n etnicism madness, but it has eaten soooo dip into d hrt of ppl around here!! Some peeps av bin deprived of a lasting marital joy,hapiness and fulfilment jst cos of tribalism. May God help us all. Tnx T 4 opening our tots once again


  3. enajyte
    Aug 06, 2013 @ 08:44:38

    The painful part: it won’t get better. The biases are too deeply ingrained. It passes on from one generation to the next. And it’s not just a Nigeria condition, it’s a human condition. Everywhere in the world tribalism exists in one form or another.

    Thanks for this beautiful piece. For reminding me of all the reasons I chose to introduce myself as Nigerian first.

    May your marriage be peaceful and fruitful (haters can jump off the Niger bridge).


    • yougeecash
      Aug 06, 2013 @ 15:51:27

      I don’t think you’re right. If you say it won’t get any better then you’re saying you’re not going to do anything to make it better. There was a time in Nigeria when you would never hear of people marrying from other tribes but now it is happening. It might not be too popular now but I believe that in time it will. I mean, when a Yoruba man marries an Igbo lady, do you think they will let tribal sentiments hold them back from approving their children’s choice of life partners? I think not. For instance, when my father who is from Abia state wanted to marry my mother, his people refused and their argument was that Anambra women don’t stay in their husbands’ houses. My dad has always been stubborn and somehow he managed to get them to agree. well, my mum’s culinary skills played an important role too! 😀 Anyways, my point is, now father cannot raise any of the arguments his people raised should any of his sons bring home an Anambra lady as a potential bride. Because 4 kids and a successful career later, my mum is still with my dad, no leave, no transfer. Now this might seem like something little but at least, it’s a step! The change we require will not come overnight, but it will come. Slowly but surely, the change will come. It only starts with each individual making a conscious choice to not let tribal sentiments affect their reason. So I beg to politely disagree. It WILL get better. Just consciously decided not to pass on tribalism to your generation after you. Cheers 🙂


  4. Yetundeadebiaye
    Aug 06, 2013 @ 08:49:11

    TY, hmmm… Oro nla leyi oh! This is about the most serious of your writings! And I noticed for once you took it personal. Kpele. Don’t worry Ozi is special! *wink**

    I agree we are all guilty! Gbenga was right: ‘we think in tribes, we reason in ethnicity’. I’ve a lot of experiences. I’ve a pretty young friend who lost a great man because her father won’t allow her marry a Fulani man! She says: her father will have a fit and High Blood Pressure, she’s well travelled and well learned!

    What’s the way Forward?!!! Thanks TY for always!


  5. Ijilola
    Aug 06, 2013 @ 09:17:45

    It really a sorry case, it only wen we are outside d country in a foreign land dat we see ourselves as one.


  6. Clarion
    Aug 06, 2013 @ 10:54:03

    Choi! My dear, it is no longer shocking to me when I hear such tribalistic sentiments, especially from people who are highly educated & well travelled. Sad, but that is the sort of rubbish we have to deal with everyday. Same people who will shout “racism” if a white is favored over them don’t think its improper to be tribalistic. However it is our duty to end tribalism, raise our kids to see all men as equal & not be judged based on their tribe or race. It is well.


  7. Taiwo
    Aug 06, 2013 @ 11:15:39

    You are so right. This is a thought provoking piece and we all need to examine ourselves. Sadly, it is being passed on to our kids, my son came home from school one day and was gisting me about “Peter , naughty ibo boy “. I asked him who told him Peter was ibo and he said his tewacher ( wgo happens to be Yoruba ). I promptly requested for his class to be changed, but what about the other kids?


  8. Adewoyin Joseph
    Aug 06, 2013 @ 12:04:09

    Reblogged this on Señor Joe's Blog.


  9. Isaacola AA
    Aug 06, 2013 @ 13:05:04

    Right on point my brother and sister.
    My mum is Igala and I know the taunt I endured from some Yoruba folks even though my dad is Yoruba. The Igala folks too taunt me with “iyaji a sesu yugba”- meaning a Yoruba man that shit in a plate.

    What are we turning into? We tend to judge people based on their state of origin and the like more than based on their personal quality and character.

    Kudos boss


  10. yougeecash
    Aug 06, 2013 @ 15:42:08

    Amazing. Truly amazing. you’re right. As much as we might deny it, everyone of us has a bit of tribalism somewhere in our blood. For the more broad-minded ones, it only comes to the fore when one feels the need to defend one’s place of origin. For the narrow-minded ones, it’s always there waiting for an opportunity to find expression. At some time in my life, I started growing feelings for a close friend. It was mutual actually and we could have been perfect together seeing that we clicked on so many levels but we had to consciously quench the embers before they were fanned into serious flames. I’m Igbo and he’s Yoruba and we both knew our parents would never consent to our union. As sad as it is, it’s what we find in Nigeria. That experience made me vow in my heart to let my kids marry from whatever tribe as long as they were convinced the person was right for them.
    I was born and bred in the north so I speak Hausa fluently, pretty much have the Hausa accent and then for some unknown reason, almost everyone I meet tells me I look Yoruba. I just smile and say I’m essentially a Nigerian. Igbo by birth, Yoruba by looks and Hausa by where I was raised.
    I consciously try to not judge people based on where they are from but rather based on their personalities. I’ve found myself in so many situations where people uphold tribal sentiments, stereotyping other ethnic groups negatively and priding theirs as being supreme or “not half as bad as the others.” It was one of such conversations that made me write “Imprisoned in the stereotype” on my blog. I was tired of it! I’ll tweet the link to u. The sooner we lose the tribalism mentality, the better for us as a nation. maybe our parents and fore-fathers failed, but it doesn’t mean we must too! If we aren’t any better than they are then we have ourselves to blame. After all, most of our parents did not have as much access to information as we do. Even if they did and refused to use it, we must not make the same mistakes. If we hope to make Nigeria better in the future, we must consciously start taking the right steps now.
    Really wonderful piece. Kudos!


  11. rossymorph
    Aug 06, 2013 @ 19:22:59

    Very nice write up. This is a very serious issue that needs urgent attention in this country.


  12. Trackback: TWO PEOPLE & ONE HAUSA MAN – @gbengaosowe & Naija Ethnocentrism by @toyinfab | YNaija FICTION
  13. Trackback: Synthia Buddington
  14. Trackback: Homepage
  15. inkstinct
    Nov 13, 2013 @ 11:39:45

    It is sad…
    no group of people fit under one umbrella of traits and behavior; these are characteristics that form personalities. Race or ethnicity does not determine personalities.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Moskeda Lounge

Relax, Read, Chat and Maybe even Toast

One Word More

one word at a time


letting the ink tell the tales conceived in my mind.........


The Pen Whisperer

Malcolm's Blog

My vantage point laced with acerbic muse of experiences, events and people. I am responsible for what i write; not for what you understand. Welcome to my world...

Farafina Books

Telling Our Own Stories...

Kayode Faniyi

literature. life. guff.

Newnaija's Place

...dancing to a distant drumbeat...

Seun Odukoya

Your Stories. My Stories. Our Stories. Please forward all enquiries to



Tobi Olowookere's blog

...that I may know Him

Untold Stories

'There Is No Greater Agony Than Bearing an Untold Story Inside You' ~ Maya Angelou

Pa Ikhide

Father, Fighter, Lover, Troublemaker

Nzesylva's Corner

A repository of my thoughts


Scattered Thoughts, Opinions and African Stories.


...from Soul to Ink


Welcome to Oscarpoems blog, a combo of my musings and poetry

Deniz blog!

An imagined perfect place...


Read Laugh Love


A Beautiful Mind

%d bloggers like this: