Cultural Relativity: the Root Cause of Conflict in Nigeria Essay

1433 Words Nov 8th, 2012 6 Pages
Nigeria is a multicultural nation with over 250 ethnic groups. Human beings are product of culture. Culture has made people what they are. Culture is the totality of experience of people in a given environment. Culture is complex whole of the people- this complex whole includes the beliefs, habits, modes and attitude of people. Culture is the result of interaction of people in a particular environment and the interpretation of their experiences. This is epitomized in the classical ethnic groups in Nigeria Ibo, Hausa, and Yoruba. Their environments and their experiences in them markedly made them different set of people. No wonder Marquet viewed culture as “the totality of
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In some places in Igbo land if you kill a python you will bury it like human being. When you look at these ways of life, it appears as if those cultural values are stupid and useless. However, soulless these values may appear, they of great significance to those who practice them. One man’s meat is another man’s poison. What is valuable in a particular culture may not be valuable in another. It is the environment that determines the value system of people. The Greek Historian Herodotus opined that ‘every one without exception believes his own native customs, and the religion he was born to be the best.’ Herodotus view is that not only do we all adopt the religious and ethical values system of our respective cultures, but we typically go a step further and denounce the value system of other cultures as inferior to our own. It is this superiority tendency in our different cultures that forms the bedrock of conflict in Nigeria.
By conflict in Nigeria I mean any form of violent act (political, economic, social, and religious) that tantamount to the destruction of life and property of a lot of innocent life. Conflicts, be it cultural or religious conflicts are about the nature of reality and different interpretations of it. In fact, cultural or religious conflict is nothing but crisis and clashes of values. All cultural aspiration is a moral aspiration. This may explain why people passionately and tenaciously

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