Just like Nigeria, a diverse nation with three ethnic groups in majority namely Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba, Singapore is a diverse nation with three major ethnic groups namely, the Chinese, The Malays and the Indians.
The Chinese make up 73% of the population followed by the Malays with 15% and the Indians with 7.5%. The remainder goes for others. It is so obvious that the Chinese ethnic group is intimidatingly largest of all. In fact the combination of the Indians and the Malays which gives 22.5% is still so small compared to the Chinese population.
Despite, this huge advantage presented to the Chinese, the voting pattern in the country is not associated with ethnicity as to produce successive heads of government of only Chinese stock. Rather capacity and competence have been their watchwords whenever they go to the polls.
The incumbent President of the Asian nation, Halimah Yacob who ascended to power unopposed in 2017 is not a Chinese. She is of the Malay ethnic group. The speaker of the parliament before being elected president having been considered the only candidate eligible to run for the topmost office.
You can see a people who have enthroned national interest above every other consideration. A nation with patriotic and progressive citizens who crave and endorse good governance despite the ethnicity of whomsoever it is coming from.
If it was Nigeria, the Chinese would have been having field days since independence in 1965. Voting along ethnic line would have meant a joker. As a consequence, they might not have attained the First World status they achieved 15 years after independence.
The day we stop elevating regional or ethnic interest above national interest would mark the beginning of our journey to nation building and nationhood. Otherwise, whatever great dreams we have for Nigeria will forever remain illusions… Let’s learn from Singapore!
Emma Nzenwa GOC
international Consultant on Nation Building!!