Ethnic-Politics, Class Identity and the Crisis of Nation-Building in Nigeria, 1914-1970

  • B. A. Odunlami Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Nigeria.
  • O. S. Oyeranmi Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Nigeria.

Abstract

It is quite disturbing to note that in Africa today, there is no country that is not prone to chaos and anarchy due to the bogey of ethnicity, and Nigeria is no exception. By January 1st 2014, Nigeria will roll out drums for a centennial celebration with little or nothing to show for this milestone in a life of a ‘nation.’ This near-absolute failure of the Nigerian State is due mostly to the perfidious ethic-politics often shrouded in class identity and flaunted by the political elite during their bitter struggle for political offices. As it will be demonstrated in this essay, ethnicity in Nigeria (like in many other African countries), with attendant difficulties, is not as a result of `ancient hatred’ among the people. But rather became so dominant in the domestic politics due to the deliberate policy of the British colonialists and the most heinous adoption of this colonial legacy by various Nigerian leaders in the political arena right from the period of decolonization. This essay primarily intends to re-examine the intricacies of the amalgamation of 1914; expose some of the ways through which the colonialists actually entrenched fissiparous tendencies into the Nigerian polity; analyses how the early nationalists built on this atrocious colonial legacy in their quest for political independence and continue to spread the virus up till date in their quest for political power and influence; evaluate the role of ethnic- politics during the Nigerian Civil War. The essay concludes by suggesting some ways out of the quagmire.

Published
2020-07-19
How to Cite
ODUNLAMI, B. A.; OYERANMI, O. S.. Ethnic-Politics, Class Identity and the Crisis of Nation-Building in Nigeria, 1914-1970. KIU Journal of Humanities, [S.l.], v. 5, n. 2, p. 55-65, july 2020. ISSN 2522-2821. Available at: <https://ijhumas.com/ojs/index.php/kiuhums/article/view/896>. Date accessed: 20 jan. 2022.