Tribalism is always a cankerworm which quickly eats into the fabric of national solidarity. Its presence in any society is always the signal for things to fall apart. Its advent in any country whose people have hitherto stood strong in brotherhood and unity usually marks the beginning of the end of such a country.
Whenever tribalism rears its ugly head in a country, the different groups who have before enjoyed peaceful co-existence fall into hostile camps and consequently begin to turn back the wheel of progress in that country.
Tribalism has its origin in a country of diverse races and tribes each individual or group of people both in public and private capacities begin to care more for the tribe rather than for the nation at large.
To assert here, that tribalism is evil is not to say that the love of one’s tribe is evil. It is a popular aphorism that” charity begins from home”. Love of tribe will in most cases urge one to seek the good of that tribe but that goodwill is always sought in the context of a larger community of which one’s tribe is a component.
Aristotle, an acknowledged political philosopher maintains that man is the only man in the context of society.’’A man outside the society is either a beast or a god.’’
For the prosperity and plenty that man can get out of life in the modern civilized world, he needs contact and peaceful relations with other men. Through contacts, he will obtain what he cannot produce at all or at least adequately but which he needs.
Through peaceful relations with his neighbours, he will be able to enjoy what he has laboured for and acquired through exchange and division of labour. Hence, the need to form a possible common form of association among adjacent groups or tribes of people and create a large society – a country. It is this form of association that political philosophers call ”the social contract’’.
In a large community of people webbed together through mutual understanding, economic viability be achieved and this will lead to a favourable national income which in turn will reflect on the standard of living of the inhabitants in such a community.
Similarly, the fact that certain tribes have found themselves living in close vicinity to other tribes is sufficient for such tribes, if they are civilized at all, to arrive early at a basis for mutual co-existence. This is because there is no stagnancy in human nature.
By living in contiguity but with no common understanding, each tribe will soon get occasions for conflicts in the form of one accusing the other of encroaching on her own territory. Hence, we see that the formation of a large association of people among those living adjacent is almost a natural necessity.
Peaceful and prosperous existence will thereby be guaranteed to each member, economic viability will be achieved and above all external aggression will effectively be expelled.
The analysis above on the necessity for good neighbourliness, )even though of different tribes and tongues) to stand in brotherhood reveals the extreme inhumanity, callousness and stupidity on the part of anybody who practices or abets tribalism in any society. Such a person is out to encourage the return of man to the state of nature which was a war of all against all.
Tribalism forces any association to collapse and each party to the association formed for promoting the welfare of the people pulls out in turn from the social contract and the people are ready to tear one another to pieces at the slightest excuses. Persons or groups of persons who allow society anywhere to degenerate to this level ought to be excommunicated.
Ever before a total disintegration of a society into which tribalism has eaten takes place finally, many of the forces that lead to that ultimate collapse become naked; corruption in low and high places-tribal considerations carry sway over merit in all forms of employment into public offices and award of contracts, in the sharing of the national cake and even corruption is observed in courts. All these are some of the signs of incipient decay of a nation and final collapse is the result.
Tribalism has been the ruin of many otherwise progressive and prosperous societies. Wherever it is rampart it casts a poor reflection on the standard of civilization of the people concerned-relics of immaturity and primitiveness . It is out of date in a modern state, its rapid and complete disappearance will be an unmixed blessing to our country, Nigeria.