Education and tribalism are two words, each having its own meaning and existing as a unique entity.On account of the special configurations of many societies in terms of ethnic groups and languages,very extra care should and must be taken in every African country’s educational enterprise for the inculcation of more practicable attitudes and values in this direction. Many African countries have demonstrated a penchant for excessive emotional attachment to their respective tribes or ethnic groups in such a manner as to generate ethnic consolidations and inter-ethnic competition, which tends to put in jeopardy valid aspirations towards national unity.
If ethnic consolidations served the old primitive systems and the struggle for independence, they should not be given much future in today’s African political and religious settings.Through the educational machinery, there should and must be a conscious effort to de-emphasise ethnic bondings, but instead to accentuate the necessity to build tribal bridges. Tribal hostility must be replaced by inter-tribal co-operation and understanding. Local expressions such as “Anglo”, “Biafra”, “Nkwah” and “Come-no-go” in the case of Cameroon should be discarded.Hence, Africans can eliminate permanently that phenomenon which constantly manifest its ugly head now and again in different parts of Africa. Consequently, Africa would never again have for instance Sawas against Bamileke, Igbos against Yourubas, Kimbundus versus Kikongos, Kikuyus against Luo, Luhya versus Kalenjin etc.
Like Uhuru Kenyatta and Goodluck Jonathan including Koffi Anan have always noted, it is not anti-developmental per se to identify racially, tribal, religiously, since communities, of necessity,define themselves around a class, a creed or a race precisely because it distinguishes them from other community groups. What should be eschewed from the national framework of every African country is the penchant for inter-tribal hostility and the exclusion of other tribes or ethnic groups from compassion, equity and affection. Globalization has globalized every aspect of the human race, so Africa should not be left behind.Integration must reign at all cost.
In order to build a progressive, cohesive national systems that will better serve the African continent, there must be an inculcation of free competition which is not a cut-throat in an open society; so that the aspirations of individuals can soar; so that our men and women can discover their hidden talents and, within the bounds of reason, be untrammeled actors in the drama of life. In this way, Africans will rely on success, not because of their origin in terms of tribe, but the content of his character and productivity.
Furthermore, education should not only re-orient the national population towards inter-ethnic, inter-tribal bridges, but also towards inter-state understanding and cooperation. Policies geared towards the enhancement of mutual trust must be encouraged and demonstrated in action. Cameroon Concord’s contributing editor Dr. Joachim Arrey has always reminded us of the adage that “together we stand and divided we fall”. Let Africans, Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga, Paul Biya and John Fru Ndi, Goodluck and Buhari work hand-in-hand and develop our people to better standard of living for the sake of humanity.
Soter Tarh Agbaw-Ebai