Ethnicity has been differently defined but for the sake of our focus, it is a situation of internal instability of a person in which he/she manifests his/her inability to have a good relationship internally with himself/herself, others and God, which develops and snowballs into ethnic pandemonium. Invariably, one of the ways of exhibiting this internal uncertainty is in common differences exhibited due to ethnic diversities; and because we so want to move into our safety zone, we begin to see our ethnic group as not just being superior but longing for protection and advancement of territory. It is at this point that conflict begins because different people possess incompatible values, needs and interests and have different ways of achieving them. The ethnic nationalism that has being spotted in the above statements is summed in the definition which states that it is a situation in which the relationship between members of one ethnic group and another, or generally amongst ethnic groups in a multi polity (such as Guinea, Tanzania, Liberia, Nigeria and many African countries) is characterized by a lack of cordiality, heightened mutual suspicions and fears, by quarrelsomeness and a tendency towards violent confrontations. In contemporary times, we hear pronouns like: I, mine, our, theirs, my tribal man, my language woman, my towns man, etc. forming the crux of describing the “we” versus the “them” which often make people to only get interested in things that affect the “we” group to which they belong while they often do not get bothered about whatever happens to the “them” group. Interesyingly, it is important to note that the original usage of the word ethnicity was not divisive but a way to celebrate the beauty in people's diverse cultures. It is meant to define the characters of ethnic groups to know more about each other and what each stands for but again as stated above, it's meaning has been basterdized to suit the aspiration of divisive politicians whose actions have given prominence to the newly metamorphosed word which reflects more of negativity. This new meaning of the word ethnicity is making many countries especially the developing ones to face internal instability from the processes of politicization of the issue of ethnicity and ethnicization of politics, stalling development as evident in Burundi, Rwanda, Liberia, Nigeria, Somali and of recent Sudan.
Choji, Pwakim Jacob
"Ethnicity as a Synopsis of Africa's Under-Development: Way Forward,"
Young African Leaders Journal of Development: Vol. 1
, Article 14.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.kennesaw.edu/yaljod/vol1/iss1/14