A Political History Of Nigeria And The Crisis Of Ethnicity In Nation-Building

  • Jacob Oluwole Odeyemi Ajayi Crowther University
Keywords: Nigeria, Ethnicity, Ethnocentrism, Nation-building, colonialism.


The virus of ethnicity has been one of the most definitive causes of social crisis, injustice, inequality and religio-political instability in Nigeria. Ethnicity has been perceived in general as a major obstacle to the overall politico–economic development of the country. Nigeria is marked by underlying ethnic cleavages and inter-ethnic fears and tensions, hence a bellicose nation. These are revealed from time to time by conflicting lobbies at the moments of competition for shares of the national cake and political appointments to high offices, resource control, head of political parties and ministerial positions. Losers in competitions for high national offices often attribute their failures to ethnicity or ethnic marginalization, while winners hardly ever explained their success in terms of the influence of ethnicity, and are therefore not gallant losers or magnanimous in victory. The Nation’s incessant appeals to ethnicity have obviously showcased the evils inherent in the politicization of ethnicity. Consequently, the ensuing complications of ethnicity have grossly impinged on the development of the country in all ramifications. The paper, a historio-political venture, argues that the path was colonially charted though; the Nigerian political elite have in complicity exacerbated ethnicity in the country. As Nigeria warms to its centennial amalgamation birthday, the Nigerian political history is summable as a squandered century of nationhood, a nation-building in close call, extremely in dire need of operational reappraisals.

Author Biography

Jacob Oluwole Odeyemi, Ajayi Crowther University
Department of History and International Studies/ Lecturer II