The Colonial Background to the Problem of Ethnicity in Nigeria: 1914-1960

  • S Oyeranmi


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. As 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 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. The essay concludes by suggesting some ways out of the quagmire.

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eISSN: 1597-3778
print ISSN: 1597-3778