Diversity And Inclusion In Nigeria

742 Words3 Pages
Diversity and Inclusion in a Nigerian Company

I. INTRODUCTION
The issue of diversity has world wide relevance. As Chairman Mao Tse-Tung said: “Let a thousand flowers bloom”. However I believe, like most issues, diversity adopts different meaning and flavor, depending on the locality you situate it. I am deliberately situating my discussion on diversity and inclusion in the context of Nigeria.

II. DIVERSITY IN NIGERIA DEFINED
When we talk of diversity in the context of Nigeria, a number of criteria easily come to mind. Identified are six criteria which the typical Nigerian would consider relevant.
• Ethno/Linguistic
• Religious
• Regional
• Gender
• Age
• Physical and Mental Disability
I will take each of the above six criteria in turn and
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BENEFITS OF DIVERSITY IN NIGERIAN CONTEXT
a. Ethnicity/Linguistic diversity: Nigeria is comprised of approximately two hundred and fifty ethno/linguistic groups. However, there are three major ethnic blocks; the other groups are generally referred as minority groups. The minority groups tend to be loosely affiliated to one of the three dominant groups.
It is a well established business practice in Nigeria that if you wish to advertise a product you must take pain to be sensitive to the three dominant ethnic groups. Although English is the official language, more than half of the population do not understand and or speak formal English. Pidgin English is often a means of reaching out to a significant portion of the population, but it has limited appeal in the Northern part of the country. This fact is reflected in most advertising campaigns in the country.
Our shoe company must seek to attract to its work force as many ethnically diverse Nigerians as possible. If it has grown big enough to open branches, the choice of location must reflect at least the three dominant ethnic groups. The more it is able to do this, the more it will be seen as a truly Nigerian company and the appeal of the population to its shoes will reflect the entire Nigerian
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Religious Diversity: There are two dominant religious groups in Nigeria, namely Moslems and Christians. A company would do well to reflect the interest and sentiment of the two religious groups. Unless the workforce reflects the two religious groupings, it stands the risk of being identified as ‘belonging’ to one groups or the other. It also runs the risk of offending members of the religious groups, sometimes out of sheer ignorance. Our shoe company will therefore endeavor to avoid these pitfalls.
c. Regional Diversity: This element of diversity is closely related to the ethnicity and religious, but there are significant differences. There are six major geo-political regions, comprising of ‘related’ ethno-linguistic groups. The national politics tend to revolve around issues of representation from these six regions. A company such as our shoe company may not have to branches in each region, but in dealing with the public, it would help the image of the company if it is not seen to be dominated by any one of the
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