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African Journal of Political Science

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Ethnicity and Transition to Democracy in Nigeria: Explaining the Passing of Authoritarian Rule in a Multi-ethnic Society

Okechukwu Ibeanu

Abstract


This essay addresses an important variable in Nigerian politics, namely, ethnicity and the ways in which it affects the conduct of national affairs. It represents an effort at theorizing the role and place of ethnicity in the transition from authoritarianism in a multi-ethnic setting such as that represented by Nigeria. Drawing on historical evidence on the ways in which ethnicity was constructed in colonial and post-colonial Nigeria as well as the wide literature on the subject, an attempt is made to demonstrate the centrality of the variable to Nigerian politics but without suggestion that it is the sole or most important determinant of political outcomes. Indeed, it is argued that there are other important variables, such as class, which not only affect the political process but also impinge on ethnicity. The ways in which ethnicity in?uences the different phases of the transition from authoritarianism are discussed drawing on the Nigerian experience.


(A. J. of Political Science: 2001 5(2): 45-65)



http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/ajps.v5i2.27310
AJOL African Journals Online