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Political Instability In Nigeria Essay

5161 words - 21 pages

European Scientific Journal June 2013 edition vol.9, No.17

ISSN: 1857 – 7881 (Print) e - ISSN 1857- 7431

THE ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT OF ETHNIC POLITICS AND ITS IMPACTS ON POST COLONIAL GOVERNANCE IN NIGERIA

Felicia H. Ayatse Akuva, Isaac Iorhen
Department Of Political Science, Federal University, Dutsin-Ma, Katsina State

Abstract Nigeria party politic has been polluted by ethnic chauvinism. This problem is one of the major qualms confronting the progress of liberal democracy in Nigeria since 1960, to the extent that ethnic sentiment has gradually crept in to find a place in every faced of Nigerian political activity. Ethnic sentiment has been one of the factors responsible for most of the ...view middle of the document...

However, the “United Nations says there are 178

European Scientific Journal June 2013 edition vol.9, No.17

ISSN: 1857 – 7881 (Print) e - ISSN 1857- 7431

250 ethnic groups in Nigeria many consider this as underestimated. A federal government demographic survey in 1976 identified 394 language groups, one estimate put it as high as 400 with the highest density of languages in Taraba and Adamawa States” (www.thenation onlineng.net). The above statement clearly depicts that Nigeria is multi-lingual in nature. The diverse nature of the Nigeria state as a result of tribal differences, this therefore lays the foundation for the exploitation of what goes on in the country. This is further precipitated on the fact that these ethnic groups though housed in one country, they do not have the same needs, objectives and aspirations. Based on these ethnical inclinations, it seems cumbersome as it were to treat the Nigeria project without considering the ethnic formation of country. Ethnicity therefore has become a strong factor in the political life of Nigeria. Most often ethnic sentiments are used to replace merit and skills, such that round pegs are no longer found in round holes. This chauvinistic behavior affects the efficiency and productivity of Nigeria. Nonetheless, is fundamental to inquire where this, feeling of “we and they” notion came from. When did Nigerians start feelings that the other person does not belong to his enclave or he is better than the other group or ethnic? It seems ethnicity was a colonial heritage bequeathed to Nigeria at independence by the colonial masters. In effect, whatever damage ethnicity has generated in the process of governing Nigeria it could be trace to colonial arrangement. The major objectives of this paper are to carefully trace the historical origin, growth and development of ethnicity and the impacts it has on the governance of Nigeria. Definition of Ethnicity The concept ethnicity and tribalism has always been a confused matter. Some scholars use the two concepts as though they carry the some meaning and strongly inseparable. However, it is pertinent to note that there is a difference between ethnicity and tribalism even though the difference is water-tight. Nnoli (1978:5) for instance sees ethnicity as a: … Social phenomenon associated with the identity of members of the largest possible competing communal groups (ethnic groups) seeking to protect and advance their interest in a political system. The relevant communal factor may be language, culture, race religion and/or common history. Ethnicity is only one of the phenomena associated with interactions among communal groups (ethnic groups). Others include trade, diplomacy, friendship enmity, corporation, self-abnegation and self extension. What is peculiar to ethnicity is that it involves demands by one group on other competing groups …

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European Scientific Journal June 2013 edition vol.9, No.17

ISSN: 1857 – 7881 (Print) e - ISSN 1857- 7431

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