Ethnic Politics and Party Development in Nigeria

  • Samsondeen Ajagbe


The conventional wisdom that democracy progress is contingent on cleavages within ethnicity, and not between ethnicities, characterises the study of democracy in multi-ethnic states. As a consequence, we have lost sight of the usefulness of ethnic politics in the analysis of democracy development in divided societies. Using an historical-comparative approach, this article attempts to recover ethno-nationalism as a useful category for explaining party development. It examines party development from 1960-2015 in Nigeria to demonstrate how ethno-nationalism presses forward competitive party politics. The article concludes that an alternative could be ethno-nationalism laid the foundation for the progression towards ‘party government’ which is the predominant institutional form of contemporary democracy.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1995-641X
print ISSN: 0256-2804