Mojubaolu Olufunke Okome, Ed. 2013. State Fragility, State Formation, and Human Security in Nigeria

By Oruh, Emeka Smart | African Studies Quarterly, September 2015 | Go to article overview

Mojubaolu Olufunke Okome, Ed. 2013. State Fragility, State Formation, and Human Security in Nigeria


Oruh, Emeka Smart, African Studies Quarterly


Mojubaolu Olufunke Okome, ed. 2013. State Fragility, State Formation, and Human Security in Nigeria. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. 259 pp.

Political scientist Mojubaolu Olufunke Okome is a prolific author and professor at Brooklyn College, CUNY. Her wealth of knowledge of African social and governance processes makes her a well-qualified editor of this important book. Her contribution to the text is in chapters one and two, which challenge the widespread notion that African states, Nigeria in particular, are in the shadow of state fragility and may remain there forever. Therefore, as she notes, "African states have experienced structural and functional deterioration, and have consequently failed, but they can also be resuscitated" (p. 3). Okome questions the appropriateness of the term "state fragility" as used by the West as a concept to apprehend state failure from a universal rather than a contextual perspective, which is the strength of her proposition. For example, disgruntled citizens have used various social movements in Nigeria such as the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), and Oodua People's Congress (OPC) to fill the governance gap. Therefore, these groups do not portend state failure but a way of appropriating a self-help approach to bring better governance to the forefront. Okome's position is seconded in chapter three by Adebayo Oluwakayode Adekson, an assistant professor of international Studies at Michigan State University, who interrogates Western interpretation of the term "civil" or "uncivil" Society. These coinages explain what can be considered as "legitimate" and "illegitimate" forms of social movement and self-help processes, which complement Okome's argument for contextual approach to understanding state fragility.

Chapters four through six are essentially the book 's empirical findings. In chapter four, Olawale Ismail, a political scientist, engages readers with the transition of a youth social movement from "Area-Boyism" to a more sophisticated "Junctions and Bases" in Lagos. While acknowledging that social movements can sometimes be violent in their approach, he also asserts that they are part of the cog in the wheel of progress Nigeria sought through the angle of self-help. He also admonishes that this will facilitate a critical reflection and understanding of their existence as seen in history (p. …

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