Regional Disparities in Nigeria's Development: Lessons and Challenges for the 21st Century

By Heaton, Matthew M. | African Studies Review, April 2004 | Go to article overview

Regional Disparities in Nigeria's Development: Lessons and Challenges for the 21st Century


Heaton, Matthew M., African Studies Review


ECONOMICS AND DEVELOPMENT Ebenezer O. Aka Jr. Regional Disparities in Nigeria's Development: Lessons and Challenges for the 21st Century. Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 2000. Preface + 205 pp. Maps. Tables. References. Appendix. Index. $42.50. Cloth.

Ebenezer Aka's Regional Disparities in Nigeria's Development explains the various economic, political, and social disparities within Nigeria that have led to a relatively high level of development in some regions of the country compared to the overriding poverty and underdevelopment of others, and it offers policy recommendations to reduce these disparities in the future. Aka devotes separate chapters to the economic, political, and social contexts of Nigeria's regional disparities, but each chapter follows a similar structural plan. First, he outlines the broad history of these various issues in Nigeria's regional development, with special emphasis on the colonial roots of emerging disparities. Next, he undertakes an analysis of the current level of regional disparity (as of 1997) through personally executed quantitative case studies. And finally, he proposes policy initiatives that he feels ought to be undertaken by the federal government of Nigeria in order to reduce regional disparities in the twenty-first century.

Aka's historical overviews, while accurate, in no way provide a greater understanding of Nigeria's development pattern than can be garnered easily from already existing sources, making his historical discussions of little value to anyone well-acquainted with Nigerian history. At the same time, however, these discussions are by no means geared toward an audience with little understanding of Nigeria's past, as he provides little specific evidence or analysis, focusing rather on very broad explanations that will raise more questions than answers for these readers. The case studies on current levels of regional disparity, on the other hand, are quite compelling. Aka utilizes copious amounts of quantitative data to show the state-by-state disparities in levels of industrialization, urbanization, literacy, natural resources, and ethnicity. …

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