Intergroup relations in Nigeria: The dynamics and complexities
Nigeria, as a country, came into existence in 1960 with the British amalgamation of the erstwhile autonomous empires, kingdoms and city states. These political entities had nothing in common other than trade and wars of expansion etc. However, the amalgamation saw the fusion of these political entities into one with the associated interactional pattern between and among members of these distinct ethnic groups. These multi ethno-linguistic groups also reflect the multi-cultural diversities in the country which in turn manifest themselves in the nature of the relationships that exist between and among these diverse ethno linguistic groups in the country. These ethnic groups (Hausa/Fulani, Yoruba, Igbo and the other numerous minority groups) in the country, in their attempt to be relevant economically, politically and otherwise, develop the 'we' and 'they' feeling. The problem may be that it is this 'we' and 'they' feeling or sentiment that has defined the form, manner and nature of the relationships between these federating units (ethno-linguistic groups) in the country (Nigeria). This study attempts to examine the structure of the situation or the condition(s) in which these groups relate or interact and which obviously determines the nature of their intergroup relations. This therefore, involves understanding the nature of the intergroup relations in the country with a commensurate understanding of the nature or the mode of material production/generation and its associated social relations of production in the country. The methodology in this study is library research. It is observed that intergroup conflict is caused by an incompatibility of goals regarding material resources. It is the struggle over such material resources as land, oil, gold, and labour that is the source of intergroup conflict in the country and not ethnicity nor prejudiced personality. This explains the checkered history of intergroup relations shaped by the existing system of material production and appropriation in the country. The study recommends that to strengthen the shattered socio-economic and political relationship between and among the constituent ethno-linguistic groups in the country, there is the need for a restructuring and redirecting of the system of material production/generation and appropriation in the country.
Keywords: Intergroup relations, Ethno linguistic, Ethnic groups, Amalgamation, Nigeria
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