An Evaluation Of Ethnicity And Issue Of Political Development In Nigeria (A Case Study Of Delta State)

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An Evaluation Of Ethnicity And Issue Of Political Development In Nigeria (A Case Study Of Delta State)


This project is on the evaluation of ethnicity and the issue of political development in Nigeria. The ethnicity is a social consult that indicates identification with a particular group. Which is often decended from common ancestors. Members as the group share common cultural traits (such as language religion and dress) and are on an identificable minority within the larger nation – state. While political development is the progressive reduction of ethnic cultural and religion tension and elements of non-continuities in the process of creating a virtually homogenous constitutional and economic development leading to the attainment of a viable political culture.
the choice of this topic was necessitated by the destabilizing tendencies of this phenomenon which has infact threatened the existence of Nigeria state in a number of instable and has thus hindered meaningful national political development. This work is an attempt to trace its origin. Those factors that propagate its presence in Nigeria policies and hold it can be eliminated so as to enhance national political development. Though solutions have always be offered they have not yielded any positive result hence the need to look for a more viable option by looking at the division that exist in a pluralist such differences. There solution must come from power sharing among the various ethnic or other sectarian groups. Yet another step would be to inculcate religion autonomy and federation into the state system which enable local and regional authorities with a degree autonomous power and authority.

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

The realm of politic is the field of greatest conflict in the society. This is not surprising since policies are the process whereby society arbitrates over power and allocation or score resource. However in modern western political dictionary political this ability that been seen as characteristic of the developing country or countries in transition in African Latin American and Asia transition in Africa Latin America and Asia .

The political disability in African countries could be attributed to many factors ranging from the frequently from the frequency of militating coup to political violence and civil disorders, which are all as a result of the existence and dominance of social elenge such as religion, regionalism tribalism and most especially ethnicity. Ethnicity in our political life having proved uncontrollable deserves serious attention. It is evident that this Nigeria, which can be seen from the frequent changes of government and coup date in the country. This study is therefore going to concentrate on how the problem of ethnicity has affected the political development of Nigeria.

Nigeria is a nation whose history is replete with numerous and varied existing and political threats to national political development. In colonial era till date, the sad yet unfortunate story has been that of one geo-ethnic group attempting to assert and, in the process, establish her hegemony over the other, perceived as posing a veritable threat to its very existence. Consequent upon this alleged threat of dominance it has become fashionable to see a particular sub national group treating session from the rest of the federation unit on the basis of on from of disaffection or the other. For instance in 1953 the Northern segment of the country called for session in the following year. It was the west, therefore, secession urges became dormant a determines attempt to out of Nigeria to constitute in self into an independent entity. It is necessary to state that these secession attempted his greatly affected the political development of Nigeria. How these various secession attempted has affected political development of Nigeria will be discussed in subsequent chapter.

1.1 Background Of The Study

Nigeria by over four hundred ethnic group with each having m it own language and tradition the dominant ethnic groups as we have noted above are the Hausa- Fulani in the North, the Yoruba’s in the and the Igbo’s in the East.

Nigeria was formed by the gradual incorporation of different areas and people into which empire from 1861 onward and took it final shape in 1914 the Amalgam a nation of the Southern and Northern protectorates in 1939 the Southern protectorate was divided into Eastern and Western regions there are yet other force within each of these dominant regions. These were the minorities are those who are shadowed and discriminated against by the three major ethnic groups in the North, there is the middle belt, the west had mid-west and the Calabar Ogoja river (COR) area in the eat.

From above analysis one is led to believe that the claims of separate social group must necessary be incompatible with the demands of the w hole social group this is not usually, the case for instance there are French and English speaking condition in Canada Creak and Shovas in Czecholo Vakia, the French Italian and German in Switzerland

No doubt political instability affect the political as well as economic development of any nation but it consequence are often exaggerated. It has been argued that political instability is inherent in and country but the ability of the political system to certain stress generated within it at any given time determines political instability. While rejecting this argument, it is important to note that the British introduced ethnicity into Nigeria polities during the colonial period and what they did at independence was to create a political system hat was unable to contain the stress generated by this ethnicity

Thus a British colonial governor characterized Nigeria as a collection of Self contained and mutually independent native state. Separated from one mother and tradition and by ethnological racial, tribal political social and religion Barrier’s (Clifford 1920) it is not clamed hat hetegenous cultural background does not affect political stability, the ability to weld the different ethnic groups together is the process of nation building, which is not an easy ask. It involves the transformation of the pre-colonial political entire of the societies with the Nigeria temporary into a virile political culture the would sustain the Nigeria state. When the alien culture of Europe impinged on the existing societies is credited a problem of adjustment which required new technique and ideas to deal with the new order. Incidentally the instability as a result of ethnicity and other social colleagues which permeated the Nigeria political scenes, this has consequently affected the political development of Nigeria.

What made ethnicity to assume an alarming proportion in the polities of Nigeria was that the focus of each of the dominant ethnic group was on equal share of race-course.

The question was who get what, how and by how much. They wanted to maximize their individual security the control of the lion-share of the country source resource

Today the biggest threat to nation political development is that of lack of unity. In the absence of duty of a kind to will became difficult to define common national objective identification of a common economy. The greatest threat to unity today is ethnicity.

This work is therefore throughout a comitial review of the problem of ethnicity and it effect on the political development of Nigeria since independence till date.

Memorandum Of Delta State

Nigeria came into being as a result of the empirical amalgamation in 1914 of the protectorate of Northern Nigeria one the one hand, and of Southern Nigeria and they colony of Lagos on the other hand. This brought together communities of diverse peoples and culture which evolved into an independent sovereign nation in 1960. However, Nigeria continues to face a number of challenge and induced by the Justice, inequity and unfair inherent in this internal socio-political arrangements. For the to develop into a strong nation deliberates efforts must be made to deal with these factors.

Delta state is made up of five major nationalistic, with a combined population of over 4 million people. This figure is an undercount as we shall indicate in a later section under census. The state was created out of the former Bendel state in 1991. it has a geographical area on 17440 square kilometer consisting of dry land wetland creak rivers swamps, extensive existence coastline and continental shelf. Of this geographical area about 60, percent is made of its population live on the swampy river-line parts and their traditional occupation and mainstay s mostly farming and fishing.

In addition to agricultural and solid mineral resources, the state is endowed with enormous oil and gas reserves. Delta state has been the major producer of crude oil and natural gas in Nigeria since 1958 when first well were drilled by the shell petroleum development company. As celebrate n the pamphlet. the story of shell B.P (1972) The discovery of oil in the western Nigeria Delta established Nigeria firmly as a major world producer of oil.

This view of the primary of Delta state in the oil economy is confirmed by the late M.O Feyider, Nigeria former secretary of the organization of petroleum exporting countries (OPEC). During the executive directorship of Dimafume Onoge. Also G.G. Darah Delta state from group captain Luke Ochulor Felix Ibru-To James Ibori. The failure of the 1999 constitution to provide for his this diversity in the nations political structure has become a major source of our current difficulties. As a direct consequence of the concentration of powers and resources in the federal government under 1999 construction. Nigeria has been purged into an unending series of crisis upon crisis since the commencement of the so-called fourth republic on 27th May, 1999. The country is concurrently confronted with:

1. Fierce competition for the capture of power at the center leading to overheating and instability of the polity. Mutual supervision and fears of domination and marginalization between ethnic state leading to the rise of ethnic militias and violet conflict .

on the fifth and last day, the tempo of the festival rises with increased booming of cannon guns and echoes of Joyans Song by some gifted women singer:. Expert tempters blow their thrilling tune in praise of the Obi Okpala-Uku or Diokpa and t he prominent farmers of the land.

On this day large quantities of yams are roasted, cleared and mixed with fresh or fried oil. Everybody partake of it. Some quantities of it are sent to friend well wishers, finances and others, an action which reflects to bond of cordial relationship. On this day two meat of all the goat slaughtered the previous day share among the people. More dancing and merriment continue with boys and girls arranging special get-together to mark the occasion. During the last two days of the festival, the houses of the titles men and women, the Iyase, the Odogwu, the Onu and others are scene of great festivities with several visitor from far. These personalities, by virtues of their special position in the town, bear a great burden of the festival and are often fully stretched to meet the demand of their.

The impart of Iwaji on the people in such that many opinion have been expressed in an attempt to discern the motive of their forefather in evolving the age-ling festival. The social seventies sees the festival as a deconstruction of the people communities of interest. The agriculturist say it was intended to serve as an impetus to woven white shirt dance round the village, some their elephant tusk trumpets. Goats and cock are slaughtered before the family shrine by Ndichhie and Nze.

Libation are poured and the spirit of the dead ancestors are involved to share the joys of new session everywhere the music of wooden group throb in the palaces of Obi’s and other traditional rulers.

Before he ritual ceremonies, the shrine including the god of the farm Ifejioku are purified by young Virgins (Umuada) with eggs and chicken tied on piece of young palm frond and dragged around the premises reciting from shrines and so make them worshipable. After the scarified before the family shrine by Nze food is cooked and all present parake of the pounded yam which must be tested first by the Obi or Diokpa of each family group. This is followed by merriment. Rejoicing and dancing particularly by the young ones, who eat and drink with abandon singing. In beautiful traditional attire and in the case of ladies with headiest, neckless earrings to match. They dance in group round their respective communities according to their age-grades. They provides themselves with various item of respondent, including Kola Nuts soft drinks and local gin, in the evening of this day. Small children hold mock market with several odd things. Including pick of new yams, the means of exchange is the cowry.

Cultural Perspective

Iwaji (New yam) festival is one of the oldest and most revered traditional festival of the people of Delta North arise of state where farming constitutes the main source f the people live hood.

Although here are slight differences in name and mode of celebration from place to in the area, the festival s essential an occasion of great job and happiness among the people for it. .

Marks the end of the period of famine and the beginning of the season of plenty like many other traditional festivals Iwaji no fixed date. It is however invariably celebrates annually in the first or second week of September. It last for about five days. Great preparation are usually made for the festival and the timing is determined by a council of elder with the Diokpa (Oldest man) or the Obi each town presiding. They are usually guided in their by the phase of the third day the farmer and all members of their families go to the farm to collect new yams, many which are sent as present by husbands to their parent in-law and to their dear ones as a token of friendship.

The actual celebration starts on the fourth day which is usually the native resting day called Eke. On this day guns boom, and the Obi’s and Diokpa clad in traditional increases productivity, the not-too serious minded man in the street does not even associate the any conscious attempt by the ancestors to attain and end, but rather regards it a mere passions or revelry. whatever the various interpretation , the people f this area regard the festival as native reward for hard work and also a reminder f the importance of farming in their lives this no doubt, why the people turn out in fall pomp and pageantry during the occasion.

Democracy after seven years of democracy in Nigeria oil company from all over the world are keen to gain a foothold on the Gulf of gummer the “Next Gulf” last year in Bayelsa state the poisonous mixture emitted by gas flaring, a practice that has now been beamed by Nigeria court caused 5,000 cases of respiratory disease and some 120,000 the population affecting the food chain thousand of environmental refuge leaves the earlier of the Beyalsa for the Ghetoes of Port- Harcourt or Ajegule , on the out –shirts of Lagos, the economic capital.

A weapon you never get is back. Once the election was over, these people took to crimes with he exercise they has been betrayed fighting between military groups caused frequent causalities, including Shel, Cherron, Agip or Total, which along with other foreign companies enjoy some of the highest profit margins in the world- the shell petroleum development company of Nigeria which produces 43% of Nigeria crude loses 10% of it production every day through sabotage and illegal siphoning. On 18 February the movement for the emancipation of the Niger Delta (mend) Kidnapped nine foreign executives working for a shell sub-contractors . after releasing six of them on 1 March mend decided to increase attack announcing five days latter would no longer seek kidnap hostage but would instead shoot to kill the Nigeria Army regularly targets such gang for brutal repriests. The oil companies which hire private security firms to protect their facilities often support such attacks Cherron Nigeria (a subsidiary of Cherron). The leading, is export of Nigeria crude lent the federal government is technical at Escravos and t helicopters, so that government force could raid communalities hostile to the company, the oil firm play on local rivalries.

The Ijaw people of Bayelsa state, Nigeria fourth largest ethnic group believe Alamuyeseigha is being persecuted for supporting resource control. He demands that half of the revenue from Oil should be set aside from where it was produced, rather than the allocation of 13% stipulated in the constitution. this was why he received an hero welcome on his return to the Bayelsa State Capital, Yanegoa where nearly three quarters of the population survive on less than a day and more than 10 years after the execution of the writer Sarowiwa, an opponent of the military dictator, General Sani Abacha the of the Bayelsa are looking for heroes. But today’s idol are dubious figures, dabbling in political activities and economic banditry.

Consider lhaji Asari Dokubo volunteer orce (NDPUF) ARESTED LIST August for posing a threat to the sovereignty of the state. Asari 40 is the son of a local Ijaw notable. He made his name in the early 1990, play an active art in student violence in the Delta universities. He is typical of a certain class, unable to do anything but watch, powerless as the potential benefit of an oil based economy slip through it finger, a militant attack for the local branch of the rubbing.

The People Democratic Party (PDP) intimates the apposition. But when you give difficult task. However, it must be pointed out here what would make for political development and the unity of the economy are also within these divisive force and are examined under recommendations.

1.2 Purpose Of The Study

Basically the purpose of this study is to gain understanding of the effects of primordialism particularly ethnicity on Nigeria political development.

It is our belief that because of the dominance of primordialism in Nigeria polities. Some analyst entirely from the perspective, the impression of given that the political process is determined and controlled by primordial elements. Shortcoming and defects of the Nigeria political system are as resulting fro this phenomenon, thus their resolution is seen as laying in balancing these primordial interest.

It is our belief that while it is possible to have some awareness of the nature of Nigeria from this perspective as an explanatory framework, it is highly defective. It is defective because it simple takes the question of primordialisms.

1.3 Statement Of Problem

The problem of ethnicity religion and culture exists world wide. The problems are experienced in both the advanced and developing countries, for example the problems abound in America, India and Chad.

Back home, in Nigeria, which is the focus of this research, the impart of ethnicity become more divesting. Most observers of Nigeria politics are agreed about the central role of primordialism in Nigeria political process. This prevalence is evident from the electoral process to the political behavoiur of the Nigeria electorates. For instance, there was the election crisis on Western Nigeria in 1964 and 1965 respectively, which incriminated in the then Tafawa Belewa government declaring a state of emergency in area. Another example was in 1967 when Nigeria was plunge into Cauldron of a thirty month fratricidal war. It was a nation overtaken by ethnic enthauvinism.

Ethnicity constitute a real problem to national political development, it is against this background that it sources necessary to state the problem thus, first people think act not in nation but in ethnic terms. This sub-national particularism constitute an impediment integration and political development, second, ethnic cultural; and religion orientation make efforts aimed making Nigeria a united country a very raining, widening of any intellectual horizon which, prior tom this project was ostensibly parochial. It is also a source of motivation to me. As indicated by the title, this study is an examination f the problem of ethnicity and it effects Nigeria political development. This study will cover the period of the Nigeria political development starting from the colonial period is during the nationalist struggle for decolonization to contemporary Nigeria political i.e from Igbo, when Nigeria got her political independent and thus became sovereign state to data.

In this study events from the colonial period to the time of independent and after, that prompted the emergence of ethnicity in the Nigeria political science are explained.

The Nigeria politics before independents was under the directions of the British government. The Nigerian government has changes hard several times since 1960. The first republic was born in 1960 and it ended in a military coup in 1966. Since then different regime and administration have come and gone, which will be discussed here in relation to the political climate in Nigeria.

As given and does not by explain how it come to be centrally place in Nigeria politics. In other words, it does not tells the origin of primordialism in Nigeria politics , nether does it tell us the factors that have sustaining it within the Nigeria political system. This research will attempt to explain all these.

This study is also called out because of the concern for the increasingly important nature of ethnicity in contemporary Nigeria politics. Again it is to provide a basis for corporative analysis of political events in the first and second republic as well as the military regime and also as a plant form for analysis the third republic finally, this study desire to suggest way of minimizing political stress and the effects of ethnicity on the political development of Nigeria.

This work will, I hope contribute to the knowledge and understanding of this phenomenon.

1.4 Significance Of The Study

It is my sincere belief that the result of this research work on the concept of ethnicity and the issue of political development in Nigeria may constitute and invaluable rudimentary material for future researches. However at this undergraduate level, much have been my benefits from this understanding, these include ample

1.5 Research Question

The research questions includes: –

  1. Do you think there has been free and fare election in Nigeria?
  2. Has ethnicity done more harm than good in issue of political development in Nigeria?
  3. Does Nigeria political leaders embrace ethnicity that resulted to crisis?
  4. Do you think there is political development in Nigeria?
  5. Do you believe this ethnicity problem is to be caused by colonial masters through indirect rule?

1.6 Scope Of The Study

As indicated by the title, this study is an examination of the problem of ethnicity and its effects on Nigeria political development starting from the colonial periodic during the nationalist struggle for decolonization to contemporary Nigeria politics (i.e from 1960) when Nigeria got her political independents and thus became a sovereign state to date.

In this study crisis in Bayelsa and Delta state which happened of recent that prompt the emergency of ethnicity in the state political science are explained. The Nigeria government have changed have several time since 1960. The first republic was born in 1960 and it ended in a military coup in 1960. since different regime and administration here come and gone, which will be discussed here in relation to the political eliminate in Nigeria.

1.7 Definition Of Terms

No doubt, there are many and varied sensed in which a particular world can be used. This single usage deficiency of a word tends of blur understanding of individual readers. These words are as follows:-

  1. Primordialism
  2. Ethnicity
  3. Political development

1. Primordialism:

By primordialism, we mean the see and manipulation of primordial sentiment ethnicity sectionalism religious etc for political purposes.

2. Ethnicity:

The term ethnicity is used refer to ethnic groups whose member, exhibits common attitudes such as language, religion and culture history and orientation or inclination towards their future.

3. Political development:

As some authors are defined t, it is the progressive reduction of ethnic cultural and religion tension and element of non-continuities in the process of creating a virtually homogenous constitutional and economic development, tending to the attainment of a viable political culture.

Chapter Five

5.1 Summary Of Findings

The important finding which emerged clearly from the analysis in the preceding chapter are the increase of ethnic inhabit national development. The continuation of ethnic favour with regard to competence and qualification is really as threat to then well beings and stability of this country and constitute an impediment to national political and economic development. Eliminating ethnicity and other elements of non-continuities in this political process should be fundamental objective of this nation in addition, there should be a defined directive principle guide the leaders in their effort to achieve these objectives.

Ideology is a guide to political actions Nigeria as a country should be said to have no defined ideology. Lack of ideology to guide the political development of Nigeria as made her political system inveterate. Many Nigerians have been calling for creation of more states as a solution to ethnic politics and political instability in Nigeria. To me, this will not even solve the problem because these demand are just efforts of various region faction of the privileged class to carves out their own sphere of economic domination.

Finally, since the problem of ethnicity does not lie in the mere existence of promoral identifies but due to the manipulation of these identities by the various faction f the bourgeoisie.

Thereby obfuscating the reality of political contest and competition in Nigeria. The resolution lies in the development of class consciousness, among the peasants and workers. Which will eliminate ethnic hostility and instability and therefore ensure political development.

5.2 Recommendations

  1. A constitution while providing for power must lay down certain duties so that power holder remains alive to the fact that the power are not for their personal aggrandizement, but for the welfare and advancement of the society. This will preserve peace and stability and chance development in the country.
  2. Education will render a big help here., the mass Literacy campaign as was begun by the federal government should pursued more rigorously. The federal government educational institution such as secondary schools, college of education , ;polytechnic and universities should be used to inculcate the spirit of nationalism in Nigeria youth and children.
  3. Economic inequality is known for its capability of breading conflict and a state with sound economy badly witness political and social unrest Nigeria should be free to work in and investment whatever they please in the federation to create business interest that transcend ethnic boundaries . This should be under government control to avoid internal economic dominant of one group of the other which will being conflict.
  4. The social economic quality created by colonialism can be overcome, by reorganization of the nations economic life away from peripheral capitalism and private ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange which lies at the heart of the structure f the inequality in capital societies.
  5. Economic discrimination should also be discharge there has been a tendency in the post for ethnic groups in control of position to receive job and government project for the area which is very bad to Nigerian unity and development.

5.3 Limitation Of The Study

The limiting factor of this research work include time and finance similarly, the problem of the research structure from the paucity of data to lack of reasonable co-operation from the sample population.
In most case the researcher received negative or non-response to relevant research question.

5.4 Suggestion For Further Study

Since Nigeria is faced with the problem of ethnicity, the research is of view that more attention should be given to division that exist in pluralist society by federal government to enable them love a peaceful and united nation.

5.5 Conclusion

Ethnic politics is like every other political phenomenon has much bearings on the society within which it operates. Its effects on Nigeria society is adverse thus on the political development of Nigeria. The research therefore sees equitable distribution of resource as the only option its Curb down ethnic politics. Their government should ensure that public resources are not diverted into individual pockets.

Now having seen the major are in which ethnic politics is in active operate especially its role in the economic development of Nigeria. It clear that it work negatively it militate against the progress of this country in view of this Nigerians should in the interest of peace and stability as well as for the upliftment of the lot of this country redeclare their individual loyalties instead for their ethnic groups, now for Nigeria as a nation.

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