Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Go on with one Nigeria: 'There is a big mismatch where power lies and where identity lies'

"Real-world behaviour can be influenced by prevalent narratives in society.
Every individual belongs to a variety of social networks; through these social networks we acquire different narratives that explain the world. "these mental mental constructs have real-world implications on human behaviour"-Prof. Sir. Paul Collier

When people are told by their religious and political leaders that they're born to rule. The other tribes are infidels, they're inferior, if they don't agree , we kill them, we're in control of the army and the police, we must undermine them to take back power - Chibok girls, Boko Haram etc. We don't care how  much it costs, we don't care about the devastation, we want the power, etc. We saw it during Goodluck Ebere's Presidency.

There is this tension between a mismatch of the structure of identity and the structure of power resulting to oppositional identities which creates unnecessary political competition. It's worst during elections. When one tribe is in power, the other tribe undermines it to "increase the value of reducing your enemy's well-being', instead of developing their agriculture and specialisation.

 When people start playing tribal cards. The society has no shared identity, cooperation between tribes becomes very difficult. 'Identity have real effects on behaviour.'

There is no such thing as 'national identity'. It's either you are Yoruba, Hausa, Ibo, etc. If i put the money in the national treasury, my boss will steal it, it's better i steal it. If i fail to steal the money, i may not get the opportunity to go there again; what do i tell my people?

"When power and identity are really different, it is hard to get a compliance,..., you can force people, that's repression".

 It might be very hard to build shared identity. The founding fathers of the country recognised that and adopted a regional autonomy arrangement- 'Move power down towards identity'.

"In a society where there is no very strong sense of national identity, the solution is 'radical decentralisation'. In Switzerland, there are three language groups, those language groups have a lot of autonomy. There's also very careful rules for sharing of the things that have to be national"-Prof. Sir, Paul Collier

Regional autonomy is the only way to manage or cope with 'sub-national identity'.

Uche Okeke

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