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Federalism, State Creation and the Minority Ethnic Groups in Nigeria’s National Integration Project

Festus Imuetinyan
Ogbeide Uyi-Ekpen


Nigeria gained independence in 1960 as a tripartite regional federal system which promoted the hegemony of three major ethnic groups (the Yorubas in the west, the Ibos in the east and the Hausa-Fulanis in the north). The regions unfortunately did not form homogeneous ethnic entities as they were made up of myriads of ethnic minorities who were subject of internal colonialism. Consequently, ethnic minority groups in Nigeria have been engaged not just in different efforts to reduce the dominance of the major ethnic groups but also on how best to live side by side with them. Federalism and states creation exercises are two major solutions that have been tried over time in the quest for national integration in Nigeria and they are the major focus of the paper. Both measures have helped to multiply the arenas of politics as well as rewards. They have also helped to reduce the pressure for capturing the centre. There has been continuing agitation for the establishment of larger number of states as the last hope of the minority ethnic groups in their fight for the liberation of their areas from the internal colonial order in which they found themselves.

Keywords: State creation, ethnic domination, internal colonialism, national integration