IS NATIONALISM AN ASSET OR HINDRANCE IN TODAY’S GLOBALIZED WORLD?
As long as there is an existence of race, religion, culture, nation, etc, people will always have growing instinct that craves for nationality. The feeling of self-worth prompts every member of a society to see themselves as equal partners in pleasure and regards, in justice and humiliation. In their feelings of nationality with the romance of patriotism, there grows a political ideology which is called nationalism. Nationalism grammatically is a noun that has a political strength to hold a nation together towards any goal. Therefore, nationalism which has nation as its root can be defined as strong feeling of national consciousness and love for ones country to handle its own affairs devoid of foreign control and domination. Nationalism can also be seen as a political ideology based on patriotism which helps to conserve and preserve the value of a country from the exploitative tendencies of foreign body or nation. This tells why it was used to fight for independence.
The growth of nationalism in Nigeria
Nationalism is a good thing. When the western world launched their policy of colonization of the under-developed or developing countries such as that of Africans, by which they divided and ruled the African countries, and then exploited their economy, in Nigeria, nationalists such as Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa and others felt that enough should be enough of such a mess of exploitation of mineral resources by the Europeans who used the natives as “slave workers” with little or no pay at all. The coming together of the nationales of this country with the idea of stopping the colonial masters from the menace was what a dogma, the nationalism became. By the efforts of these nationalists, and the impact of nationalism, came the Nigerian independence.
The weakness or lack of nationalism in Nigeria
In the process of time, at the exit of those prime nationalists whose nationalism style put Nigeria on the pedestal of greatness hence the slogan “Nigeria, the giant of Africa” which set the nation agog, things began to change for the bad. Currently, the sense of nationalism is not felt in the country and it started long time ago. I was not there, but was told of the story and even read of it in books how leaders who came after the founding fathers were not patriotic and nationalistic; they were selfishly enriching themselves with the country’s wealth. The eastern part of the country, which was marginalized in every aspect, was led in protest against the government by late Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, an Igbo man. This protest was what led to what we know as the Nigeria-Biafra civil war which lasted for three years from 1967-1970. He had a nationalistic view of seceding the Igbos out of Nigeria, to form their Biafran country but was unfortunately unsuccessful as it ended up in war where about 3 million Biafrans were killed. This was as a result of the weakness of nationalism or lack of it.
Nationalism in Nigeria in the past and today
Nigeria today is using a nationalistic system that is completely opposite of what Her prime leaders used in securing her independence. Since after the country’s independence, the country flourished economically and politically. Regretably, with the passing of time, since the emergence of military rule, in fact, ever since the exit of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe and others of his kind, the nationalistic spirit began to die slowly as corruptions of different kinds began to find their ways into the hearts of her leaders and this reflects on the citizen as they witness incessant crisis, killings, cheatings, unemployment under-employment and all manner of evil.
Factors that could cause the change in nationalism include difference in tribe and religion. The country Nigeria consists of three major tribes: Hausa, Yoruba, and Igbo with two major religions: Christianity and Islam. This, I think invisibly has already divided the country whereby each tribe will struggle to vote in their tribal people and those of the same religion, and this lack of nationalism has landed the once-upon-a-time economically and politically stable country into the poor state it is today. Indeed, it is unfortunate.
Comparism of nationalism of China and Nigeria.
Analysing nationalism of China and Nigeria, both countries faced threats, exploitations and expansion of empires by the European powers. Both countries responded to the colonial rule with the use of nationalism. However, both countries had a difference in their practice of nationalism which gave rise to different outcome in both countries.
Nigeria’s nationalism which changed from good to bad if not worst, brought about, and is till bringing about political and economical instability and has shattered and battered Nigerian economy therefore affecting and leaving the common man below poverty level.
As regards China, the country has not done badly, but changed for good. China’s nationalism was homogeneous in nature but later splitted into two strands. The first strand was political nationalism which is different from what it is today, it sought to establish China’s domestic cum political authority and international relevance and sovereignty. The second strand of her nationalism is the cultural nationalism which was not there before. This phase of China’s nationalism looks upon China’s traditional and cultural values as the essence of Chinese nation which speaks of national cultural revival. In the past, China had only political nationalism which did not give much result. Her change to cultural nationalism has brought back the love they had for their country, thus uniting them. This has solidified national confidence and boosted China’s economy.
Today, China is a world economy and can confidently compete with the western world and every other country in the world. The achievement of China’s system of nationalism is unprecedented and worth emulating.
Relationship between nationalism and globalization.
The statement “the world is a global village” has became a house-hold statement and has been proved to be true. The Levin institute, the state university of New York in her gazette in 2015 defined globalization as “a process of interaction and integration among the people, companies and government of different nations, a process driven by international trade and investment and aided by information technology”. With this we see that globalization affect nationalism both positively and negatively.
Negatively, globalization has the tendency to weaken the nationalism of other countries, especially African countries, as they would begin to depend on the abilities, products and help of other nations. These countries may lower their cultural standard in order to fit in the global system. These countries may have dependence on foreign nations, therefore becoming economically colonized.
Though we may see some demeanours in globalization as it affects nationalism, but benefits are also seen. Globalization pave ways for less industrialize nations to tap in to the wealth of other nations. It also helps the nations who are less in technological know-how to key into international conduit of technology and industry.
Another advantage it has brought is the free market system. It makes it possible for some countries to increase their standard of living and offers chances for people to succeed economically by learning from the more developed countries. With this fore-going, one can say that nationalism and globalization are not mutually exclusive but inclusive because both of them coexist to benefit all the social classes in all the nations.
Who the nationalism benefits in a country
Nationalism if driven by good motives can strengthen countries and make the country better for all people, the leaders will definitely be repaid for their successful efforts; the elites will invest in the country to enhance the growth of the country’s economy and will definitely have their dividends back. The middle class comprising the business men, shopkeepers, and the professionals will flourish in whatever they do and can progress to the upper class. The poor; who are not able to get all the necessities of life, will be given hope; they will survive and progress to be among those of the middleclass, upper class or even more. All this will happen because of nationalism. The benefits of nationalism to leaders, elites, the poor, and middle class cannot be over emphasized.
Nationalism encourages unity; people will work together for their common benefits, thus improving productivity, and so both the employer and the employee benefit accordingly. Like in Nigeria, those nationalist that fought for independence became the first democratic leaders of the country, this is a big plus to them. It promotes the emergence of education, and development of human civilization.
Everything has a positive and negative effect, and nationalism is no exception, it only depends on how one uses it. True nationalism is based on the idea of “live and let’s live”. It recognizes the freedom and prosperity of a nation and the nationales, plus to preserve their identity, languages, and culture. It is only true nationalism that can give rise to internationalism.