Academic journal article Canadian Social Science

Threat to Nigeria since 1960: A Retrospection

Academic journal article Canadian Social Science

Threat to Nigeria since 1960: A Retrospection

Article excerpt

Abstract

The post-independence Nigerian state was faced with the intractable task of governing a multifaceted nation, comprised of 36 regional states which were divided along ethno-religious lines, up to 300 ethnic groups and a plethora of linguistic dialects, in addition to three (3) distinct religious groupings. The challenge of the post-colonial Nigerian state was the efficient administration and governance of a broad-based society with a multiplicity of interests, values, traditions and cultural inclinations. The culmination of an atmosphere of mutual mistrust and dissatisfaction from different regions of Nigeria came with the advent of the Biafra secessionist battle of 1967. Following the end of the Biafra conflict, the Nigerian society became characterised with struggles and resistance against the state system in various forms, with the gripes and disquiets of various groups coming to the fore in various, often violent ways. Making use of library research and content analysis methologies, the authors trace the sequence of crises faced by the Nigerian state since independence, with a keen focus on the Biafra War of 1967, the Niger Delta crisis (particularly, the botched Amnesty Programme of 2009), as well as the current threat of Boko Haram terrorism which has taken hold of the Nigerian society since 2009. The paper concluded that, for the high ideals of Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress to be attained in Nigeria, the State must deal with corruption, ethnicity, religious fundamentalism and security related crimes, while doing more to restructure the polity and enthrone free and fair elections.

Key words: Retrospection; Aggression theory; Post-independence Nigerian state

INTRODUCTION

Nigeria gained its independence from British colonialism in 1960> and advanced t0 a post-colonial order which was replete with socio_economic and political quandaries inherited from the erstwhiie administration. The post-i"dependence Nigerian state was faced with fa i"tractable task of goveming a multifaceted nation, comprised of 36 regional states which were divided along eümo.religious Unes> up tQ 30() eümic md a plethora 0f linguistic dialects> ^ addition t0 ^ (3) distinct religious g"oupi"gs. As a "atio" which was artiScially instituted by the British colonial powers at th the key challenge for the state in the post-dependence era and beyond was patterning a diverse ^ of SOei0-economic and political exigencies stemming from distinct social ^"p^ i"to a si"gie state; each with and n0"_mutuauy exclusive interests, an addition t0 the constitutional function of evolving such inherent diffcre"ces into a practicable social contract.

Essentially, the main source of the leadership quandary faced by the state since the post-independence era lies in the fact ^ the Nigeria" natio" is devoid of a common sense of afflHatio" md a shared bond betWcen the various ethnic (CarenS! 1988) As stated by Carens, the establishment of a nation is determined by the sharing of commonalities in language, culture and traditions, by a range of national gr0ups which have engendered habits 0f cooperation among one another over time (Carens, 1988). The case of Nigeria presents a contrary paradigm. In a similar manner to other colonised sub-Saharan African states, the European colonialists amalgamated nations out of numerous ethnic groups, which proved ungovernable for a majority of post-independence leaders. The Nigerian nation is comprised of three major ethnic groups, including the Hausa/Fulani, Igbo, and the Yoruba, in addition to a myriad of smaller units. While the Nigerian state grapples with governing such a multifaceted society at the administrative level, at a social level, the divergence in views, values and interests between the various groupings has proved to be a source of inter-ethnic and inter-religious indignation. …

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