KOLANUT AS A SYMBOL OF NATIONAL UNITY
BY: TITUS AMALU
Nigeria comprises a multitude of religious, ethnic and cultural groups with competing interest, value and needs. This has over the decades generated inter-group, interaction and conflicts. Management of these conflicts has become the primary concern of the people. It is noted that, the search for and maintenance of national unity has always been an issue for successive debates and various strategies are daily suggested for the actualization of the desire unity, peace and tranquility in Nigeria. It is also observed that since independence of Nigeria in 1960, the national affinity to the kolanut has remained unshakable.
Kolanut, apart from its nutritional value, is a common item acceptable and received with high esteem in most cultural groups in Nigeria. However, the significant of kolanut to the entire people of Nigeria in-terms of social, economic, region-political endeavors presents itself as a unifying force and by so doing, extends national symbol and also seen as a symbol of hospitality.
The acceptance and usage of kolanut cuts across all the ethnic groups in Nigeria, this is actually why it could be used as a unique symbol of national unity. Kolanut has usually been singled out as a commodity of most interest by users which stretch through the strata of Nigeria society.
Some ethnic groups in Nigeria regard cola-nut as a primordial gift from the almighty God: they equate this gift to life. For instance, among the Igbo, there is this recurring maxim: Onye wetalu oji, wetalu ndu (he who brings kola, brings life). Associated with this maxim is the belief that cola-nut is a truth serum: The Igbos say: Atasia oji, eziokwu aputa (after eating the kolanut, the truth emerges. Amongst the Igbos, a host most tastes the kolanut first before it is shared to the guest to assure them of their safety and to remove any sign of ill-will.
It must also be noted that the significant of kolanut is not limited to...