tribalism sends a certain specific signal to a lot of minds. But to
attempt a brief analysis of what this means, it will be proper to post a
standard definition. And here it is.
Tribalism is the behaviour and attitudes that stem from strong loyalty to one's own tribe or social group.
has become a scourge in Nigeria but then it was never a phenomenon
outside the exclusivity of social and governmental circles. But the
trend has gradually permeated the fabrics of once a sacrosanct
environment; the church.
Africa has 3/4 of languages spoken in
the world and yet Africa is the least developed continent of the world.
So a tribe in itself does not accord intrinsic benefits as it were to a
people. The gift of being endowed with heterogenous languages is
gradually becoming a curse rather than a blessing . To be Favoured based
on tribal considerations could pass for a normal practice elsewhere.
But to mention that word in the body of christ and even see it eat into
the soul of our worship culture, is a product of how debased our values
I have been a victim of tribal discrimination in our
national life but to encounter this in a place of worship to me, is the
greatest level of anticlimax in Christian practice .
was brought to man kind irrespective of our tribe, language or genealogy
. When Paul was speaking to the Galatians in Gal3:28, He told them and I
quote: " there is neither Jew nor Gentiles, neither slave nor free,
there is neither male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
the Old Testament era, anybody that was not a Jew had no right to the
blessings of Abraham. But when Jesus came , he nullified that barrier.
He said " I have reconciled the world with my father". So even the
practice of New Testament dispensational culture, there was no
recognition of tribal affiliation.
But the Nigerian church is
palpably segregated along tribal lines. And to me, this developement has
assumed a pejorative and an anathematized dimension.
received the Lord in a church called Temple of deliverance Mission at No
14Court road , Sapele, Delta state in March 26th 1985, We did not know
which tribal roots the pastor emanated from. It was such a liberal
environment. Then later when in 1993, I started music ministry in Royal
House of Grace intl Church Portharcourt as a music director, The Pastor,
though from my tribe, did not distinguish between tribe and language.
He treated everyone without bias. INFACT some of his Assistants and key
leaders were persons of a different tribe. So I never knew tribe could
constitute an attraction for preferential treatment in the things of
God. All I knew was God,Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
situation in Nigeria right now is a sad testament. . This alone has
tainted the sanctity of this divine order and has brought into disrepute
the impeccable qualities of a truly reborn Christian assembly in our
age and time.
In most of the churches in this country, it is
difficult to see a General Overseer from tribe "A" having an assistant
or a high profile leader from any other tribe. No matter your spiritual
dignity, resourcefulness and anointing. In most of the churches , you
must come from that tribe of the G/O to to be linked to some exalted
assignment. If you doubt it , go and do your survey. The nearest mega
church is not far away . Or u employ your Google search engine.
Now tell me. Which gospel are we practicing? Do I call it The gospel of the Tribal Lords and Imperialist?
most cases, tribal loyalty create sacred cows out of pastors and
leaders who have broken the code of leadership and who should naturally
be disciplined. Most times , those from other tribes are posted to
struggling branches and the tribesmen and loyalists are compensated with
lucrative postings. Infact in some other cases, pastors from other
tribes who have labored to build great branches of churches Are suddenly
reassigned to a rural branch just to help a kinsman take over.
here in Abuja where I live, a pastor of a very popular Branch of a mega
church just resigned after laboring for many years to make this church
the envy and cynosure of all eyes. He is from a tribe different from
the founder. He just opened his church some where in the city. It
doesn't look like he left with excitement. And trust me, most persons
from his tribe have migrated to his church. And news from the grapevine
indicates that a younger pastor from the tribe of the G/O is about to
be posted to head this prosperous branch. However, may I also
acknowledge that sometime tribal cliques occur in organizations as a
result of the non-deliberate factors of social, environmental and
developmental realities. This is absolutely excusable . But it becomes
an issue if this is a deliberate plot as is the case in many circles .
a particular tribe in the country of Nigeria is most guilty of this
evil even if it is found in other tribes. I call it an evil because it
is alien to scriptural provisions. If the G/O is from that tribe, the
tribal jingoists have a way of creating a barricade to fend off every
other tribe from coming near.
So even if God is speaking to a "man of
God", to give an assignment to a man from a different tribe , just
because of his tribe, the voice of God may not matter. As strange as
this is, this has become the norm rather than the exception. And this is
eating into the fabrics of our brotherhood.
I find this a scary evil which must be uprooted.
a believer, should you relate to me on the basis of my tribe ? This is
mostly irreconcilable. Any church with tribal politics has lost God
whether they go about raising the dead every day or not, because God is a
God of all tribes and The Holy Spirit dwells on men and women of all
tribes . Break the siege of tribalism and see God move in more ways than
you know in your church. The present church in Nigeria should be wary
of any form of fragmentation syndrome because our enemy is so United .