It will also examine the possibilities that exist for the emergence of a virile Nigerian nation that will be able to dispense justice to its component units and consequently checkmate the current drift towards the Yugoslavisation of the country. It further examines the deepening crises of the Nigerian State exemplified in neo-colonial exploitation and mismanagement, chronic poverty, political instability, foreign domination and a general systemic decay- all of which have contributed to the frustration of the dreams of a virile Nigeria in the 20th century.
Oluyemisi Bamgbose. Cultism is a strange phenomenon that has engulfed many higher institutions in Nigeria and has brought unnecessary grief to some homes. The effect it has on the academic performance and the general well-being of Nigerian youths involved in cultism frightening.
Apart from the clandestine activities in which members of the cult are involved in, other outlandish behavior include the use of lethal and dangerous weapons and the taking of hard drugs. Innocent and defenseless members of the society at times sustain injury during outings or clashes of cult members. If only the Government can stop this madness. If only the school authorities can confront the devil,if only the lives of the students can be protected from the blood thirsty occult confraternities -if only, if only ". This paper discusses the evolution of cultism in Higher Institutions in Nigeria, the present trends and activities and actions geared towards eliminating cultism on campus.
The plays speaks to a specificity of vision that illustrates the interconnection between Africans and those of African decent in the diaspora, especially in the United States. In several of Onwueme's plays, she portrays African women returning to Africa from either the United States or Great Britain to serve as educated, elite leaders of the ignorant masses. However, in The Missing Face and Legacies the main characters are African American women who migrate with their sosn to the mythical village of Idu to search for identity and regain what was lost in the middle passage.
It is a position that gives a solid affirmation to the varying urge in black cultures everywhere, which is to secure the future with a recovery of what was taken away by colonialism, of that missing face and to claim ancestral legacies. This paper will investigate how Onwueme illustrates that in modern times it is sometimes necessary to return to ancestral lands and confront, or embrace tradition to find wholeness to mend split identities. Andrew E. The determination of British colonial administrators in Northern Nigeria to keep the Muslim areas of the territory free from Christian proselytizers is generally well known and has been written about many times.
Unfortunately, the battle between missionaries and administrators over entry into Muslim territories has overshadowed the larger relationship between missionaries and administrators to the detriment of the historical understanding of both the establishment of Christian missions in the region and through those missions, vibrant indigenous Christian churches. Without a doubt, the contest between the two groups of Europeans helped determine the way Christianity was presented in the region, but it was not the only factor.
Concern by government officials over issues such as the provision of European style education and medical services, as well as the provision of social services for the emerging Southerner communities attached to Northern cities prompted these officials to seek cooperation with missionaries, even while they were denying access to the emirates to the latter. For their part, few of the missions that operated in the North had sufficient funds for their various schemes not to look to the government for subsidies.
In this paper I will sketch out what I think will be a more balanced narrative of the relationship between the colonial government in Northern Nigeria and the Christian missions. I will attempt to show that despite the battles that missionaries and administrators fought during the early years of the colonial era, by the second half of that era, their relationship would best be characterized as one of reluctant yet mutually appreciated cooperation.
Nigerian playwright Zulu Sofola concerns herself with writing women's identities. She explores feelings of loss and alienation in a culture that suppresses women's physical, emotional, and spiritual desires. While certain staple conflicts abound in her plays, such as rural versus urban, traditional versus progressive or modern, one essential conflict revolves around the impact of Western feminist influences on Nigerian culture and, concomitantly, the pressure that is placed on Nigerian women by the patriarchy to accept narrowly prescribed identities.
Sofola critiques the feminist influences that reach across the seas to divide men and women in her homeland and from their kin in the diaspora. Her plays interrogate her people's search for wholeness and concludes that the hope for Blacks lies in owning the disruption caused by the Middle Passage and in shoring up a sense of community, locally and globally.
Sofola advocates for a flexible tradition, one in which women strive for a middle ground between traditionalism and modernity. This study examines the shifting perspectives of Nigerian women to include their insistence upon a modicum of freedom and independence while simultaneously working toward a meaningful union between black men and women. Sofola's plays suggests that she wants the best of the old world to survive, to become part of a useable past that emerges as a cornerstone of a present that facilitates growth and fulfillment for both women and men in Nigeria and the diaspora.
My paper is on Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe, whose musical career in highlife spans 40 years in Nigeria. Osadebe is currently on tour in the US, promoting a recent release which compiles songs recorded between While doing fieldwork among Nigerians in Houston, it came to my attention that Chief Osadebe is an important cultural figure for Ibo people living in Houston. Fans play his music at social events such as wedding receptions and bridal showers to assert regional and ethnic identity. In July , Osadebe played four back-to-back concerts in Houston and will return in October.
I will sketch a biography of Osadebe's musical career in Nigeria and also focus on how his music provides a strong nostalgic force for Nigerian immigrants today, perhaps transporting them back to a more prosperous and hopeful time in Nigeria such as the 70s. Sources for the study include oral interview and personal interactions with the band. Discussion will address the challenges and various obstacles to publishing; identifies industry trends as well as new themes and frontiers in publications; reviews the range of available venues and formats, including monographs, journals, textbooks, anthologies, text editions, encyclopedia entries, re-published archival materials and documentary evidence.
Checole will share his personal experiences with students and professors. Using historical methods, this paper analyzes the concept of gender, and how it relates to Nigerian women. The focus is on the various ways women have used gender to express their identities in different Nigerian societies, identities which were regularly and systematically reshaped to fit a broad array of their productive and political needs and interests.
Using the precolonial period as a background, five broad categories of identities of Nigerian women in the twentieth century, namely, female husbands, female sons, female fathers, female kings, and female priests will be analyzed. Effort will be made to examine how such factors of change as Islam, Christianity, Western education, the legal system, colonialism and the bureaucratization of state power have affected gender relations in Nigeria. Nigerian Anti-Military Movements in the s Nigeria suffered under military rule for nearly 30 years after its independence from Great Britain in The military regimes of Babangida and Abacha repressed civil society organizations and preyed upon the people of Nigeria.
When the military government annulled a free and fair election, many segments of the population began to seek alternative paths to end military rule and restore democracy. Some groups operated abroad, while the majority was inside. This paper proposes to examine the development and activities of anti-military groups in the s and to evaluate their role in affecting political change. It is a contribution to contemporary politics, as well as to studies on social movements. The Role of Assessment in Nigerian Education The s were a pivotal decade for the development of education in Nigeria.
In anticipation of independence from colonial rule, educational opportunities for Nigerians expanded at all levels. This expansion was a result of both private initiative among Nigerians and Africanization programs instituted by the colonial and regional governments. Nationalists, government officials and educators believed that Africanization of curriculum would be a natural corollary to the Africanization of bureaucratic institutions.
In fact, examinations played an important role in limiting the extent of educational reforms in Nigeria prior to independence. Chris Dunton , National University of Lesotho. Amongst the work of living Nigerian women dramatists, that of Osonye Tess Onwueme is perhaps the most significant and provocative.
Her early plays deal with Nigerian domestic and social issues The Broken Calabash and with the continuing despoliation of an Africa vulnerable to global interests incompatible with its own The Desert Encroaches. In these plays Onwueme develops some of the most audacious dramaturgy to have emerged in the Nigerian English-language theatre.
The paper explores the dramaturgy that Onwueme employs in addressing this issue and the textual ideology that emerges from these plays. It locates these works within the realm of other literature on diaspora concerns. He was recommended to me as a seasoned and knowledgeable diviner by Dr. Wande Abimbola. His demonstrated knowledge and his demeanor impressed me. Over the next 4 years, the aseda divined for me, and he and I had lengthy conversations about Ifa as I observed his work in Ile-Ife and the United States. What impressed me most about him was the liberal and creative way in which he interpreted Ifa divination myths to meet twentieth-century interests of African Americans.
In this paper, I present his articulated insights into the transformative nature of Ifa and examine his use of these insights in discussions of gender issues and in his adjusting to travel and visiting in the United States. I use notes and electronic documentation from interviews and conversations with him to write this paper. My presentation will be supported with video clips. The aim of this paper is to delineate the major phases in the attempt to reconstruct the history of Nigeria. Historical reconstruction based on memory, now generally known as the oral tradition, is the established tradition.
The oral tradition enables an understanding of the notion of popular historical consciousness. An established writing tradition in Arabic and Ajami provide rich historical accounts of Islamic areas. During the nineteenth century, English spread and a number of African languages acquired a written form, which is, of course, another crucial development. As a result of writing, chronicles became an established vehicle of historical preservation. All of these genres were developed extensively in the colonial period itself with some actually becoming part of the colonial documentation of Africa.
As ethnography and anthropology turned their attention to Africa, they also significantly impacted the writing of history. Academic history writing began in the s, borrowing data and themes from the earlier genres. In the s, the civil war and problems of political instability imposed the need to dwell on contemporary history, and historians were pressured to seek relevance. The economic devastation of the s affected the discipline and the organization of academic society. An "academic void" did not occur, but writing diminished in quality and quantity.
Oil wealth produced a new generation of elite whose members were interested in using their money for self-glorification expressed in the writings of memoirs. If the century opened with the glorification of communities and groups, it ended with the celebration of individuals and their wealth and power. Workshop on "Nigeria is in my mind": Transforming Nigeria from Abroad. Toyin Falola will lead a panel to discuss how scholars and others who are interested in Nigeria can contribute to the strengthening of academic institutions and scholarship in Nigeria.
Among the issues to be considered are:. The Contribution to the publication of journals, such as the Journal of the Historical Society of Nigeria;. Magbaily Fyle. It explores the dominant African element in Krio culture, which latter is a blend of African and western values. This dominant element which is Yoruba, is a result of British attempts to outlaw the Atlantic slave trade which led to a large number of Yoruba being brought to and liberated in Freetown.
The paper examines the element of Krio identity as it emerged by the early twentieth century, with an emphasis on the hegemonic western culture established by early colonial rule there and the predominantly Yoruba aspects. These latter are delineated in some detail with regard to their prominence in the Krio language - aspects like the Yoruba words in the Krio language, Yoruba institutions liks esusu, food items, komojade, hunters and egungun societies and the like.
The paper also seeks to clarify the background to Krio identity which led many Krios to refuse to accept that the term Krio came from the Yoruba akiriyo rather than from 'Creole'. The Crucial Role of the Market Women in Nigeria Between and While the military and political party leaders played an important role in the transition to independence from the British in Nigeria between and , it is the market women who gave them the strength and support they needed.
In this paper I will examine the important role of the market women in Nigeria during this time of decolonization. Because they had the ability to shut down markets, organize large groups of demonstrators, and manipulate the prices of goods in the market, the political leaders recognized their importance in the future of an independent Nigeria.
The aim of this paper is to analyze the relationship between the new local aristocracy and the colonial state using some original letters from the emirs to F. The significance of these letters lies in their essence in reconstructing the basis of what later came to be known as the indirect rule system. The paper intends to also re-examine nature of the collaborative relations between the aristocracy and the level of subservience Lugard envisages to have inculcated in the emirates of northern Nigeria.
Barbara Harlow. First goes on to maintain that she "tried [in the book] to convey something of the way people see, and say things about, their condition Yet this book is primarily directed not to the criticism, but to the liberation of Africa, for I count myself an African, and there is no cause I hold dearer. This paper proposes to examine both the composition of the book - its research as told in First's correspondance at the time as well as the book's final draft - and its "after life" - in the reviews and debates it elicited at the time of its publication and in a retrospective consideration of its prophetic prescience or, perhaps, its foibled failure as not an "account devoted exclusively to fact.
Ashimuneze K. Heanacho , PH. With no political-economic exigency, differing ethnois may not accede to a common political structure. Where no ontological ingredient exists as a historical fact, it can be created, cognitively, and conceptually. But, no such effort is occurring, in Nigeria. On the contrary, ethnic differentiation, and marginalization prevails, creating divergences, as dominant elements of the Nigerian condition By dividing the geographic space it acquired, into autonomous regions, Britain acceded to the indefatigability of ethnicism.
However, since nominal independence, Nigerian federal governments have been at variance, with their regional coordinates, in enunciating concepts of a Nigerian nation. While regional sentiments forge ethnic consciousness and identity however muted , federal governments defer to ethnicity, as a problem. Constitutionally strong ethnois, are essential to Nigeria becoming a viable nation. But, strong ethnicism will not be tolerated, within a foreseeable Nigerian construct.
Mostly, it is the elite, who benefit from the existing sociopolitical and economic arrangement, who advocate a Nigerian nation state. To others, Nigeria is a map, not a people. Thus, a necessity, for a Nigerian nation state is not indubitable. Indeed, indications are that, there is a greater need, for the fusing across national boundaries, of viable ethnois, in Nigeria, and elsewhere, to emerge as political nations. These entities may become more successful, given that they will not have to expend as much resource, as Nigerian governments do, to procure conformity, and exert coercion.
A powerful Africa is more necessary, and viable, than a strong Nigeria, especially because, regardless of the country, the rest of the world views Africans, collectively, and reductively, as Africans, and nothing more. Aidoo is a Ghanian playwright who writes in English and Kennedy is an African American playwright who penned her play while in Ghana.
Each playwright presents protagonists who are faced with identity issues that are colored by colonialism and who are postmodern mythologists who are not comfortable performing within society's myths and metanarratives that define gender and racial identity. Aidoo's character Anowa must contend with the absence of children in her marriage and the loss of her husband's masculinity which leads to her 'madness' while Kennedy's Sarah has madness as a result of struggling with multiple levels of consciousness. I will argue that both playwrights use the deaths of their protagonists to symbolize the necessary demise of patriarchal definitions of gender and race.
Joni L. This paper describes the annual Osun Festival in Osogbo, Nigeria with an eye toward the ways in which the Festival has reshaped itself in light of shifting Nigerian political and economic realities, and after the cultural amalgamation born of a host of international influences. The paper questions the union of spirituality and commercialism, the effects of a reverse diaspora, and the tensions between the private and public veneration of Osun. Finally, I will preview the second part of this analysis which looks at how Osun has moved from Nigeria to Cuba to the United States, and what this journey suggests about the power of a socio-political context on spiritual practice.
Throughout the twentieth century Muslim entrepreneurs were a large and significant part of the business landscape of Nigeria. In fact, Muslim private capital advanced in growth, management, and organization. But Nigerian Muslims have a long history of entrepreneurship extending several centuries into the pre-colonial period.
This is evidenced by the entrepreneuralism of the prominent Dantata family based in northern Nigeria. This paper examines Nigerian Muslim entrepreneurship from the s to the s. It focuses on Muslim capital accumulation, as well as business organization and management. In exploring the trajectory of Muslim private enterprise in Nigeria, the paper discusses both entrepreneurial success and challenges.
Furthermore, the paper situates Nigerian Muslim entrepreneurship within the broad comparative framework of Muslim private enterprise in post-colonial West Africa. Nigeria, since its independence has been in search of political and economic transformation, without success. Societies in the Nigerian area have experienced great transformations in their political, economic and cultural organization and ideas in the past. The socio-economic conditions underpinning such changes, as well as the responsible agency are usually very important, as shown in analyses of these changes.
Thus the situation for pre-colonial Nigeria is no different from what obtains for other parts of the world. What seems to be different includes a disjuncture between past experiences and modern attempts at political transformations. Could colonialism, or perhaps, slavery and the slave trade, or imperialism be responsible for the lack of a living heritage of social and political transformation on which modern ones could build on.
The character of agency that had succeeded in the past and that could succeed in transforming the current society also needs be revisited. Why has the leadership that has assumed the management of the politics and economics of Nigeria seemingly unitedly been anti-Nigeria. The paper, therefore, tries to question the current or modern attempts at political transformation by reference to histories of political and social transformation in Nigeria before It seeks to determine if there is much that is relevant in the pre-colonial political history of Nigeria and how relevant it may be to the current attempts; and to what extend there might be a need to wander afar for a heritage on which to base a Nigerian political revolution that could stand the chance of success.
Chima J. Korieh , Department of History, University of Toronto. Throughout the colonial era and most of the post-independence era, the state invested little in women. In Nigeria as else where in Africa, colonial officials discriminated between men and women and made the former the primary target of the agricultural development policy.
The result was a gendered development agenda. This paper focuses on the gendered nature of state agricultural policy and the impact on gender relations and the agricultural economy. Specifically, it considers the manner in which state policies and the neglect of women farmers in particular adversely affected agricultural development in the country. The paper highlights a number of key areas of concern for Nigeria's agricultural development in relation to gender and food security and provides an exploratory framework for discussion and analysis.
Bernth Lindfors. Why did Wole Soyinka return to Nigeria in ? What did he hope to achieve? How did he support himself? Who helped him to reinsert himself into the Nigerian theatrical world? These are questions it is now possible to answer by examining documents gleaned from the files of the Rockefeller Foundation. Nnamdi O. Madichie, Nicholas A. Alli , Sheffield Hallam University. Easily the most populous country in Africa, with a powerful army and an oil-rich economy, Nigeria has long aspired to a leadership position in the West African sub-continent.
In its role as a sub-regional growth pole, however, smaller states in West Africa have resisted, for better or for worse, this growing influence of the ailing giant. Nigeria is an economy in abject decay, where ethnic and religious prejudices have found fertile ground and where most of the population have questioned whether their country should remain as one entity or discard the colonial borders and break apart like the worldwide phenomenon played out in the Balkans and the former Soviet Union.
Yet, rather than focus priorities on her many pressing domestic problems, Nigeria has taken principled stands in the fierce opposition of Senegal and now Sierra Leone, over important issues such as regional security and stability. Nevertheless, Nigeria may not be a lone duck in this conspiracy theory of opposition as in East Africa, Kenya suffered a similar fate in the hands of Uganda and Tanzania.
This paper argues from an optimistic point of view that in the economic and political co-operation in West Africa, the new wave of sentiments over the fear of Nigeria? Timothy J. In , Tai Solarin and his wife Sheila founded a high school called The Mayflower School, named in honor of the ship which sailed from England to America via Amsterdam in to seek religious freedom in the New World.
The school began with sixty-nine boys and shortly thereafter began admitting girls as well. There are now over students enrolled. The only secular school in Nigeria, it has long numbered among the top learning institutions in the country, and has educated Nigeria's first female engineer and more doctors and scientists than any other school in the country. Long one of Nigeria's most prominent social critics, Solarin affectionately known as "Uncle Tai" to his many admirers was involved in human rights activism throughout his life. After his death, his widow continued to run the school along the Enlightenment principles he espoused.
In this paper, I will give a history of the school, discuss its educational principles, and talk about the current efforts to keep alive the ideals of Tai Solarin. The paper will explore the issue of early interaction between the independent Nigeria and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
The paper is part of my larger work on the history of Nigeria-Soviet relations. At the time of Nigerian Independence the Soviet Union undertook a concerted effort to establish closer ties with the new African nation. This effort was rebuffed by the Nigerian ruling establishment during the First Republic. To better understand the dynamics of evolution of the relationship between the two countries that would come to play a very special role in Nigeria's dramatic quest for political independence, unity and economic self-sufficiency it is essential to look at this early phase of interaction, which to a large extent set the tone of Nigeria's future association with the Communist world, and shaped Nigeria's perceptions of international reality and its role in it.
The paper will utilize a wide variety of Nigerian and Soviet primary sources, such as various periodicals, diplomatic correspondence, memoir literature, personal interviews, official government publications and statistical abstracts. Upon the establishment of colonial rule in Africa, the British and indeed, all the other colonial powers , were deeply interested in the land question, for several reasons, ranging from labor reproduction, capitalist production, revenue generation, to power and social control.
The colonial government set up several committees and commissioned several studies, some for individual colonies or protectorates, and at least one for the whole of British West Africa. Many of the committees never reported their findings, but those that did, failed to come up with satisfactory answers to the land question. In this paper, I will explore the developments and the debates of the British colonial policies relating to land in Nigeria.
The paper will show that although there were extensive debates, and enormous data collected by the British about land in Nigeria throughout the colonial period, yet, they never developed consistent and coherent land policies for Nigeria. The committees, and the debates surrounding them, showed in glaring ways, the confusion and contradictions that confronted the British colonial administrators in dealing with the land question in colonial Nigeria. Abdul-Rasheed Na'Allah , Ph. Beyond any other contemporary advancement in technology, electronics is foremost in helping to enhace the claim of a 'global village' in the twenty-first century.
We're now in the age of 'virtual television' and 'instant internet communication' and the first world, especially the United States, seems to explore this great achievement to define the global village as its own village, a village with its Super Voice as the global voice. This paper shall adopt Elaloro, a performance-based theoretical perspective emanating from indigenous Yoruba discourses, to show how the Yoruba community, and the Nigerian nation, has coped with the electronic age.
It shall offer theoretical insights aimed at ensuring a cross-cultural performance at cyperspace, and present a global village as a world where all component communities must have their own voices. A cursory glance at Nigeria's environment in the twentieth century reveals steady degradation of conditions.
Whereas the beginning of the century was marked by balance in eco-systems and harmonious bio-diversity, the end represented a picture of a spectrum. Key environmental issues at the end of the century were soil degradation, rapid deforestation, desertification, threats to bio-diversity, and poor waste management techniques. Other issues were ozone layer depletion and global warming. Critical to policy-makers was the issue of how to get Nigeria out of the vicious circle of poverty and environmental degradation and, thus, remove "sustainable development" from the realm of utopia.
The methodology adopted here is deliberately holistic, eclectic, and interdisciplinary. Ijeoma C. The last century is one that witnessed the birth and considerable growth of female writing in Nigeria. With the publication of Flora Nwapa's Efuru in the mid- sixties, commenced a gradual but steady evolvement of dynamic and vocal women, who sought very determinedly, to represent female experiences from the female perspective in their literary works.
Prior to this era, the Nigerian literary scene had been dominated mainly by male authors. Consequently, the women characters that were depicted in their texts were insignificant and served certain roles only in relation to the men. Patriarchal attitudes and beliefs dictated the treatment of women.
Thus, male characters positioned as subjects within the narrative, dealt with the females in their lives in conformity to the oppressive tradition of a purely patriarchal society. Nigerian women writers as well as other African women, found themselves burdened with the enormous task of revealing the true consciousness of the female in their societies.
It became their responsibility to create and present women in their texts who specifically challenge the myth of the unchanging docile and naive rural woman who accepts without argument the social norms of her male oriented society. This paper will seek therefore, to examine the ways in which the Nigerian female writers in particular have sought to project a true essence of the female experience and reality. It will attempt to highlight the manner in which selected writers have expertly deconstructed existing stereotyped images of the female figure in male-authored texts, while simultaneously reconstructing such images.
Finally the paper will equally focus on some Nigerian female writers who have recently gone beyond reconstructing the image of the woman in their works, to embark on making definitive statements on vital issues, pertaining to the survival of mankind as a whole. For this study, more recent writers like Promise Okekwe, Akachi Ezeigbo and Chinwe Okechukwu have been selected, and the issues raised above will be examined as they appear in their works.
Apollos O. At a public lecture in Abeokuta in August , the Nobel Prize Laureate for literature, Professor Wole Soyinka, noted that Nigerian universities "have been dying piece-meal," and that they should be closed down for a while to enable the authorities address the many problems afflicting them. As he puts it, "I propose that it is time to think of closing the universities for a year or two.
I insist that the period of reflection and restitution would not be a waste". For Soyinka to make such a somber plea, the situation must be quite critical. The enormity of the problem has eroded confidence in the country's university system. It is rather difficult to recall that on the eve of independence, Nigeria had only one university, the University College of Ibadan, which had gained international reputation as a center for academic excellence. A number of foreign scholars went to the University College for advanced studies and Ibadan graduates were proud and highly prized internationally.
At independence, three other universities were established at Nsukka, Lagos and Zaria, and the tradition of excellence was maintained up to the middle of the s. Even the proliferation of universities in the s and s did not pose any tangible threat to the standards and fortunes of higher education as Nigerian diplomas continued to be respected overseas.
From the s, however, the table was overturned as the universities rapidly began to crumble. The reputation of the universities and the diplomas they awarded began to come under serious question. Many factors accounted for this state of decay viz: the economic crisis of the s and s; criminal neglect by successive military regimes; the politicization of the university administration; moral laxity among many lecturers and students; the high level of unpreparedness of students for the challenges of higher education; the lack of direction on the part of faculty, staff, and administration; the tradition on dependency of foreign resources, etc.
This paper will trace the origins of these problems and attempt to correlate them to the larger socio-political and economic framework within which these universities have existed and operated. The emerging discourse on civil society in Nigeria is plagued by an eerily familiar definitional muddle. In several respects, this chimes with the global scholarly factionalism about the subject. Yet, a cursory survey of the literature shows that a robust response to the doubts of sceptics is lacking. The essential dilemma, in my view, can be summarised as follows: does civil society have an authentic intellectual history in Nigeria, nay Africa, outside its putative western provenance?
Thus far, a rigorous and consistent answer to this vital research question has been lacking. In the process, I hope to achieve two other related objectives: first, lay bare a geography of civil society in Nigeria with an accent on its history. Extant literature has neglected this important task.
Second, I attempt to describe actually existing civil society in Nigeria with a view to showing to what extent it is similar to or different from its European counterparts. Cyril I. Obi , Nigerian Institute of International Affairs. Nigeria's fragile unity as it were, remains bound by ropes of oil. Totally dependent on oil exports which are mainly sourced from the Niger Delta, a region inhabited by people of ethnic minority stock, the mix of an inequitable distribution of oil revenues, a history of ethnic minority agitation against marginalisation by a centralist federation, and the current democratic openings, pose a combustible problem with future dire consequences for the survival of a democratic, multi-ethnic Nigeria.
At the heart of such protests are demands for resource oil control, self-determination and respect for minority rights, and compensation for oil pollution. The interface between oil politics, global business, ethnicity, the national question, and environmental rights have been rather poorly mediated by the Nigerian state, leading to the escalation of tension in the Niger Delta, fears of succession and the looming spectre of national disintegration should the ropes of oil snap in the future.
Thus, Nigeria lies in the coils of the ropes of oil, prisoner to its past as well as its future. The foregoing captures the essence of the paper, which in its concluding section examines the prospects of staving off the possibility of the break-up of the Nigerian nation-state project. Paul Obi-Ani. The federal Military Government of Nigeria at the end of the civil war in , mouthed a propaganda slogan of 3Rs: Reconciliation, Reconstruction and Rehabilitation of the war ravaged Igboland.
But reconciliation as a process entails the appreciation by two parties that had been estranged over a period of time of the need to let bye gone be bye gone. It is the highest point of spiritual maturity and sober reflection in which both parties acknowledge the need to work harmoniously for the common good of all concerned. In post-civil war Nigeria, there were instances of vendetta, grudging welcome of the Igbo people back into the Nigeria fold, that the term reconciliation appears superficial, deceptive and a mere political gimmick.
Reconciliation can only obtain among equals. But the situation at the end of the civil in which the Igbo people were worsted and all those that fought on the Biafram side were denied reinstatement into the armed forces, the civil service, public corporation could only be a vendetta exerted by the victorious federal government of General Gowon. The issue of abandoned property of the Igbo in various parts of the country exposes the hypocrisy of the doctrine of reconciliation. Reconciliation could not have taken place where some people were forced into exile. When would the wounded Biafran soldiers that have continued to live on charity after thirty years of the end of the civil war be reconciled with their antagonist?
It is the aim of this paper to point out missed opportunies of true reconciliation in Nigeria at the end of the civil war and of the need for the rest of Nigeria to fashion a new political contract that would be less conflict prone than obtains now. Bennett Odunsi Jackson State University. The issue of human rights violations has generated intense global discourse since the endorsement by the United Nations UN , of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights some fifty years ago.
The resultant new world order, inspired by the UN actions represented a moral barometer for measuring the efficacy of government institutions in proctecting human rights abuse. This paper will briefly examine the troubling issues of human rights abuses by the police in Nigeria and the institutional mechanism designed to ameliorate police-citizen distemper. The paper argues that though human right violations by police abound in most jurisdictions throughout the world however, pace of such violations has reched its crescendo during the various military administrations that ruled Nigeria.
The end result was the dramatic downturn in rights protection and the escalation of repressive measurses that subjugated civil liberties. The paper proceeds to examine the nature and pattern of rights infringement by police and posits that police intransigence and abusive tendencies is a reflection of its colonial heritage.
It also finds that the police have become the mischievous instrument of government repression, indifferent to institutional mechanism for preserving hum,an rights privileges. This work concludes by suggesting that repressisve measures in whatever form negates national or inter- national covenant to advance human right causes.. The Nigerian misfortune has aroused national and internation awareness on the necessity for concerted effort to arrest the situation and the current democratic administration is attempting to rectify the situation.
Onaiwu W. Ogbomo Eastern Illinois University. British colonial policy in Africa and elsewhere was informed by the tacit assumption that the colonized "natives" were inferior to the European colonizers. Ideologically this assumption informed the isolationist and exclusionary practices in colonized territories such as Nigeria. Following the process of pacification of the geographical expression called Nigeria, the British developed with time social and political policies which excluded and isolated Africans during the colonial period.
These practices led to the establishment of institutions which furthered the racist goals of the colonial state. The institutions included prisons, leprosy settlements, infectious disease hospitals and Government Reservation Areas.
Ahmadu Bello and the Challenges of Nation-Building in Nigeria | SpringerLink
Using archival sources, newspapers and colonial official documents the paper will examine the colonial mind set which informed the policies. The nature and effects of isolation and exclusion on the African population will be explored. The reactions of Africans to exclusion and restriction will also be discussed. Akin Ogundiran , Ph. This paper examines the impact of archaeology on historical writing and the institutional discourse of national identity in Nigeria since The study will present an intellectual history of Nigeria's archaeological practice with emphasis on the relationship between archaeological interpretations and historiographic traditions, and also between archaeological research and the political agenda for national unity and development.
The study delineates four major phases in Nigeria's archaeological practice: , , , and ; and examines how each period was related to the shifting paradigms and methods of historical writing and the different agendas of the national government. Using case studies of archaeological investigations in Ile-Ife, Benin, Igbo-Ukwu, Daima, and the Benue, Anambra and Cross River Valleys, the paper will consider, for example, how the institutional identities of specific ethnolinguistic and cultural groups, such as the Yoruba and the Igbo, have been constructed by emphasizing continuity between the contemporary ethnic groups and the past archaeological records.
The paper will also examine how the political quest for national identity and national unity has led to the appropriation of the local archaeological finds to produce public narratives of national history through such exhibitions as Treasures of Ancient Nigeria and Nigerian Images. The goal of this paper is to examine the conceptual issues and the historical referents in the debate of Yoruba ethnogenesis and the making of the Yoruba nation. A number of scholars have noted that the idea of Yoruba nationality was created by the British colonial hegemony through its anthropological enterprise and its religious ideology - Christianity.
Others have argued for the transatlantic Diaspora origins of modern Yoruba identity, claiming that the Black Nationalism in the Americas laid the foundations for the creation of the "idea of Yoruba", especially through the Christianized Afro-Brazilian and Saro returnees. These claims have been justified mostly by making a caricature of the so-called popular sense of the ageless, primordial origins of Yoruba identity rather than addressing the scholarly evidence that lead to the preth century origins of the Yoruba ethnogenesis.
This study will explore the relationship between citizenship, ethnogenesis, and nationalism in the Yoruba experience. Historical narratives, archaeological data, and ethnographic evidence will be presented to demonstrate that the socio-cultural repertoire of Yoruba ethnogenesis predated the cultural nationalism of the early 20th century by about eight centuries.
The paper will argue that citizenship in city-states or towns has been the primary unit of political identity in Yoruba region but that this level of identity was subsumed under the ideology of a pan-regional cultural identity into which individuals and different groups were socialized. The articulation of this pan-regional identity is found mostly in the abstract and tangible aspects of material culture, in religious practices, and in the social practice of interconnection, especially in the regions that adopted kingship institution as the order of sociopolitical relations.
The paper will therefore reverse the question from how Christian ideology, colonial modernism, and the transatlantic Diaspora experience created the Yoruba to how the cultural repertoire of Yoruba ethnogenesis, formed over a period of eight centuries, was utilized in defining a new form of Yoruba cultural nationalism during the 20th century.
Don C. Ohadike Cornell University. AbstractReports about African population, its growth and distribution are froth with contradictions that invariably lead to false conclusions and inadequate policies. False policies lead to poor socio-economic planning and wasteful allocation of human resources. The final results are frustration and violence. Focusing on Nigeria, and using historical methods, this paper seeks to demonstrate that rural poverty and urban crisis are the direct products of Western education, industrialization, and misguided migrations.
The colonial entrepreneurs' expectation that Western education, expanding industrialization and increased population would result in better standards of living, increased life expectancy, and co-operation among the various Nigerian groups is yet to be realized. The paper concludes with a number of recommendations for policy formulation that would lead to the reduction of the current levels of rural poverty and unnecessary violence.
Ann O'Hear , independent scholar. This paper examines the legacy of slavery and the continuance of various forms of dependency, including pawnship and what might be called serfdom, in Nigeria from about to the s. The paper discusses the social, economic, and political consequences of continued dependency.
The city of Ilorin and its agricultural districts provide the major case study. Material from other parts of Nigeria is introduced for purposes of comparison, and suggestions for further research are provided. This workshop is intended for senior graduate students in the humanities and social sciences and scholars who have recently completed the Ph. It provides practical advice on submission, revision, and editing. Questions and discussion are encouraged. This paper appraises the implementation of the policy of reconciliation, rehabilitation and reconstruction, popularly referred to as the three 'RS', proposed by General Yakubu Gowon in General Gowon had in speech after the Nigeria- Biafra Civil War of stated that there were no victors nor vanquished and subsequently announced the policy of reconciliation to bring back the Igbo into the main stream of Nigeria polity.
This paper takes a longitudinal survey of the implementation of this policy. The issue that readily comes to mind is the extent to which the objectives of the policy have been realised. It is contended that three decades after the war, the Igbo are still marginalised in political appointments as well as in the decision-making caucus of the economy.
This state of affairs negates the basic tenets of reconciliation, rehabilitation and reconstruction. The paper proposes that the policy be revisited. It goes further to recommend the steps, including the equitable sharing of political and other national offices, that should be taken to redress the problem and avert a reoccurrence of internal conflict of that magnitude.
Taiye A. Olowe , Department of History, University of Saskatchewan. Experts in the field of Canada's foreign policy have devoted a considerable amount of time and energy to the study of the country's foreign policy considerations to the United States and the Commonwealth body as a whole. But the laudable contributions of most of these scholars to the writing of Canada's foreign policy have often neglected the country's foreign policy considerations to the African continent.
However, in the period following the independence of most African states in the s, a new generation of scholars began to focus attention on Canada's foreign policy considerations to Africa. The findings of these scholars have been underlined by a common denominator. These distinguished scholars have argued, and rightly so, that Canada's foreign policy considerations to Africa during the period revolved around several factors.
These scholars contended that Canada's foreign policy to the African continent was motivated by the desire to reduce its dependency on the United States. They also argued that Canadian foreign policy goals in the African continent were necessitated by the need to ensure that the Commonwealth body maintained a multi-racial structure. Furthermore, the scholars pointed out that Canada's foreign policy considerations to Africa were informed by the desire to rid the continent of any communist influence, which formed part of the Cold War policies.
They also explained that Canada extended its foreign policy considerations to the African continent in the need to broaden its economic interests in an area that possessed immense economic potential. Finally, these scholars have pointed out that Canada extended its foreign aid and technical assistance to countries in Africa in order to maintain continuous contact with such states.
The aim of this paper is to clearly demonstrate that although Nigeria served as a ready made ground for the furtherance of Canada's foreign policy objectives, Canada had a special interest in Nigeria. In fact, Canada exhibited a high degree of consistency in its efforts at contributing to Nigeria's overall development and well-being. A good illustration is Canada's role in the Nigerian Civil War.
The transition from precolonial media of exchange to the British Imperial currency system was a major event in the colonial history of Nigeria. This entailed the demonetization of indigenous currencies such as brass rods, cowries and manillas and foreign coinage such as the Maria Theresa dollar which were supplanted by British silver and the so-called subsidiary coinage, made of alloy metal. Much has been written on currency transitions in colonial Nigeria but Northern Nigeria remains neglected in the literature.
This paper, therefore, considers the process by which the precolonial currencies of Northern Nigeria were displaced by imperial coinage in the period to The vast size of the territory and the diversity of its currency systems since the Sokoto Caliphate and the Sultanate of Borno which dominated the area in the precolonial period operated different currency systems posed special challenges to the personnel and material resources of the colonial administration.
The paper focuses on the introduction and role of silver and subsidiary alloy coinage in the emergent colonial economy. The debates in official and commercial circles, and the policy options considered by the colonial administration as it faced these challenges are analyzed for the light they shed on a neglected aspect of the monetary history of colonial Nigeria. The subject of colonial agricultural history has received some attention from scholars but the treatment is lopsided in favour of the post-World War II period. As a striking example, Tom Forrest has undertaken an admittedly detailed study of the development of agricultural policies in Nigeria from to in a book co-edited by Judith Heyer, Pepe Roberts and Gavin Williams.
However, Forrest focused on the post period, to which he devoted 28 of the paper's 35 pages. Consequently, the pre period has received inadequate coverage thus leaving a gap in the literature. There are 15 Union Republics, each inhabited by a major tribe, whose name is used to identify the particular republic.
In addition to these, there are also 20 autonomous republics, eight autonomous regions and ten national areas, each peopled by tribes with different languages, traditions and customs. It was left to Lenin and Stalin to find a solution to the tribal question, in so far as the building of a united nation was concerned in the Soviet Union.
Thus the word tribe was jettisoned in favour of the more dignified, all-embracing and acceptable terminology, namely, nationality. This solution so pleased Nikita Krushchev that, during a speech he made at Kiev, on 26th April , he said elatedly:. It is significant to note that since the U. Towards the end of the World War I, there were agitations for the protection of minorities in Europe. This led to the emergence of new European nations, based on realignment of European tribes, after the Treaty of Versailles had been signed in New nations, like Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Poland, etc.
I not the slightest intention to assume the role of a school r but I thought that since tribalism is a popular and localised word with its peculiar local denotation and connotation. I should use it as a means of familiarizing the audience with the ideas at the back of my mind. Of course, they acted in good faith, but the harm has been done by this prostitution of scholarship for pseudo- ends. I hope that the new generation of students of anthropology and history will put things right. This should avoid any ambiguities.
He developed this theme by saying that every linguistic group has its own cultural features which can have something of value to contribute to the way of life of its country or unit thereof. I am in agreement with the above sentiments because tribalism, as an anthropological phenomenon, is a universal fact. The conventions of society may disguise the terminology but they cannot obscure its universal application. In the words of Mr. Take the first one; a social group comprising numerous families, clans, or generations together with slaves, defenders, or adopted strangers.
Let us try a second definition: an endogamous social group held to be descended from a common ancestor and composed of numerous families, exogamous clans, bands, or villages that occupies a specific geographic territory, possesses cultural, religious and linguistic homogeneity, and is commonly united politically under one head or chief. The third definition is pertinent to the usual connotation of this word when used by Europeans and Americans especially: a primitive group acting under a chief, a large family group distinguished by close-knit ties, unusually well-marked family traits, or a number of eminent, talented or successful members.
In its Nigerian context, our tribes which number about , in a population said to be fifty-five million, are really different nationalities, who united and established a political union in the form of a federation, as a result of historical circumstances. Being human, they have developed their means of communication and a way of life.
So that factors of race, language and culture responsible for the existence of tribes or nationalities. Since tribes are so linked with human society, their existence constitutes in Nigeria, an anthropological phenomenon, and they cannot be exterminated without committing wholesale genocide to a section of the human race. In examining this issue of tribe, from an anthropological point of view, we discover the following facts: as members of a particular race, tribes exist all over the world as individual members of the human race.
They communicate with each other by speaking a common language; and they settle permanently any particular environment through the means of their culture. We do know from anthropology that human beings with similar morphological characteristics can intermingle to produce sustain a primary race. We know also that language can be t the off-spring of such human beings to constitute a part language.
It is also a fact that culture can be developed as a so or material tool to enable members of such a race, who speak particular language, to settle permanently on a geographically demarcated area and adapt themselves to such an environment. Therefore, race, language and culture constitute the essential anthropological elements which make up a tribe. If such a tribe remains isolated it would confine itself to a primary group that would be virtually homogeneous.
But if it comes into contact with another tribe or tribes then sociological problems are bound to rise, especially in respect of intermixture of races, conflict of languages and clash of cultures. It is this aspect of inter-tribal relations that I would like examine a little closer. Language can be infused so as to enrich or replace or efface the original mother tongue. Culture can be diffused so as to produce a permeated complex. When a tribe is subjected to an impact of another race, language or culture, the tendency is to produce a crisis of existence, depending upon several sociological factors.
I will refer to eight situations to illustrate this point. For example, the English tribe belong to the Caucasoid race; they speak English as a common language, and acquired an Anglo-Saxon culture in the course of the centuries. Among themselves, they are homogeneous and can be easily assimilated in a new society of their making, but not in others.
The same holds true for the Irish, the Welsh and the Scots. For example, the French belong to the Caucasoid race, they speak French as a common language, and acquired Gallic as a different culture. Among themselves, they can be homogeneous, but among other tribes they are not easily assimilable.
In Nigeria, the Hausa, Fulani and Kanuri are in this second category, in that, individually, they belong to the Negroid race, speak a common language and acquired Arabic culture, in exchange for their own indigenous culture. Being homogeneous in respect of their race and language, but being heterogeneous in respect of their culture, they can individually assimilate easily among their kind, but are not easily assimilable with other cultural groups.
For example, until Israel was established in , the Jews of the world were members of the Caucasoid race, they spoke different languages, but had acquired a common culture. They assimilated easily among their kind, but were not so assimilable with other distinct groups. For example, citizens of Switzerland belong to the Caucasoid race; they speak four distinct languages, and acquired a different culture.
For example, Arabs are multiracial, but they speak Semitic language and have an Arabic culture. Another example: Peoples of African descent, who are citizens of the United States. Some Nigerian nationals by birth or residence or naturalization are multi-racial; some of them, like the Shuwab Arabs, speak Semitic language and have an Arabic culture.
Some Nigerian nationals are multi-racial; some of them speak different languages, and some of them acquired a different culture by becoming Christians or Muslims. They assimilate among themselves but not among others. For example, American citizen are multi-racial; they speak English in some cases in addition to their mother tongue , and have different cultures, depending upon their places of origin, in case they are immigrants.
They assimilate easily among themselves but not among others. Latin-American Negroes are identically situated but they speak French or Spanish or Portuguese, and have acquired Gallic or Iberian culture. Canadians are multiracial: some of them speak English or French, and they have acquired Anglo-Saxon or Gallic culture.
These three groups assimilate easily among themselves but not among others. What interpretation can we give to the data yielded by these eight categories of human beings, who constitute tribes, primordially, and developed to become nationalities, subsequently? We should be careful not to jump to conclusions, since not all the factors responsible for human behaviour are either known or are at our disposal when studying the social consequences of tribalism. CULTURAL IDENTITY It would appear though that where there is complete homogeneity, in respect of these three factors of race, language and culture—as in the case with most of the Nigerian and other African tribes the degree of assimilability of each linguistic or cultural group depends upon the degree of its aloofness from its primary group.
Thus, tribalism would be intensified among this group unless agreeable external factors modify it. This same line of reasoning would seem to hold good where there is a marked degree of homogeneity or heterogeneity in respect of any two of the three factors cited. But the degree of tribalism would be less marked if the uniting factors are language and culture. This is not to imply that racial factors are unimportant, in view of the United States experience, nor to overlook what is happening today in South Africa and Southern Rhodesia. The conclusion I make from the data yielded and interpretations made on the eight specific situations of inter-racial, inter-linguistic and inter-cultural relations, is that human beings, irrespective of their racial affinity, language classification or cultural identity, tend to be more homogeneous in simple societies and to be more heterogeneous in complex societies, although in case of the latter the heterogeneity can undergo a social metamorphosis to become transformed into a homogeneity.
Simply stated, my thesis is to the effect that when numbers of the human race congregate in an environment to build a community, they tend to be parochial at the initial stage only to become cosmopolitan later. The factors responsible for their parochialism are mainly ethnic but those responsible for their cosmopolitanism are ethical and sociological. I deduce from this the following position: that human beings, will attach less importance to their racial, linguistic and cultural origins, so long as their individual liberties are insulated from tyranny and their group attachment is insured from want, pro vided that the environment in which they live is conducive to human happiness.
By individual liberties, I should be understood to mean the fundamental rights of man, to wit: the right to life, freedom from torture, right to liberty and security of person, the right to a fair trial, guarantee against retroactivity of the law, the right to privacy and to family life, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and association, the right to marry and found a family, the right of property, the right to education, and the right to free elections.
The Protocol to this Convention incorporated the right to education and to free elections. These came into force on May 18, In the light of our experience in Nigeria, we should include also freedom from discrimination. Human happiness is an abstraction which can equally be concrete. It is abstract in the sense of the psychological, but concrete in its relation to satisfying the material needs of economic man. In case of the latter, two systems have been tried in the world, the capitalist and the socialist. Of late, a third force has emerged; it is, the welfarist. Capitalism is an economic system characterised by private ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision rather than by State control.
It is also an instrument of private enterprise through which prices, production and the distribution of goods are determined mainly in a free market. An essential feature of capitalism is the profit motive or individual welfare. Socialism, on the other hand, is a political and economic theory characterised by public ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange. Its main feature is the emphasis on public welfare and its objective is that everyone should be given an equal opportunity to develop his talents, and that the wealth of the community should be fairly distributed.
Welfarism is another name for the welfare state. This is a system based upon the assumption, by a political State, of primary responsibility and for the individual social welfare of its citizens, usually by the enactment of specific policies, such as education, health, unemployment insurance, old age benefits, control of prices and rents, minimum wages, family assistance, subsidies to agriculture, housing and other segments of the economy.
It is particularly concerned with their implementation directly by Government agencies. The means of attaining human happiness and guaranteeing same for the Nigerians, who are to be insulated from tyranny and want, can be through a capitalist or socialist or welfarist framework. Whether that will be sufficient inducement to attract the allegiance of the racial, linguistic and cultural groups we are discussing will depend upon the rigidity or flexibility of such guarantees, the temperament of the people concerned, and the calibre of leadership in the country.
It is anomalous that human beings who belong to the same race, speak the same language and acquired a common culture, or those who belong to the same race and speak the same language but acquired a different culture, do not readily mix, unless circumstances force them to do so, and unless such circumstances can be made desirable and permanent. Therefore, the key to the solution of the problem of tribalism in Nigeria is to discover the circumstances which can be superimposed on the natural chains of language and culture, which have linked the human beings who inhabit Nigeria, to enable them to develop a feeling of personal security and group preservation under changed but permanent circumstances.
The solution is purely political since the main factor in contemporary Nigerian life is based on the building of a stable nation that is founded on a common nationality. However, if loyalty to the nation must replace loyalty to the tribe, in letter and spirit, then the aim of the Nigerian nation should be to provide the diverse peoples of Nigeria with certain permanent guarantees of a constitutional, political and economic nature. To me, the complete answer is the creation of a federal system of government which will concede the existence of all linguistic groups and accord them the right to co-exist, on the basis of equality, within a framework of political and constitutional warranties, that would protect their individual freedom under the rule of law and thus preserve and sustain the particular linguistic group from extinction.
By preserving the linguistic groups of Nigeria and conceding to the local autonomy of some satisfy. This simple admission of the potency of language as a vinculum of familism is a portent for preserving the corporate Nigeria as one political entity that can be worthy of I admiration and respect of the world. We cannot afford to ignore this vital force in the building of our nation. Therefore, I suggest the ultimate revision of our Republican Constitution so as to effect two changes, among others: first, to entrench adequate safeguards to buttress fundamental rights; secondly, to provide citizens of Nigeria with plentiful avenues for obtaining a balanced diet and wholesome food, a comfortable and economic shelter, a reasonable and frugal ward-robe, in addition to easy access to the necessities and amenities of contemporary life, above the minimum subsistence level.
If these constitutional and political guarantees can be underwritten in a Government-directed welfare system, such evidence of humanitarianism will work wonders in Nigerian society. The wants of human beings are few and if they are satisfied they become an insulation from subversion. History has shown that the main cause why some societies became unstable is because those who ruled failed to discover this secret yearning of humanity. By adapting the best elements so far experienced by human beings all over the world, in the practice of capitalism or socialism or welfarism, it is my honest conviction that a Nigerian ideology, based on the eclecticism now universally appreciated as the welfare state, is the right incentive to inspire the genius that is latent in us to build an affluent society where there will be full employment for healthy, well-educated and prosperous citizens, who should be loyal and patriotic to their country.
All we need now is to produce the leaders with vision and courage to build this new society. If the leadership would be forthcoming, there can be no doubt that the followership will respond. I can see in the distant horizon a transformation of Nigeria from a developing country to a land of plenty, whose agriculture and industry are so diversified in multilateral sectors that Nigeria can literally become a world force overnight! How can these lofty aims be realised within the context of the Nigerian situation? Are they the dreams of a visionary which exist in his fertile imagination?
Are they capable of being translated to action in the foreseeable future? Are they practicable in view of our diversities of language and culture coupled with our being a developing country which depends on economic aid from external sources? My reaction to all the above questions is that, other things being equal, dreams of a kind can come true.
I have a deep and abiding faith in pragmatism as a safe and useful philosophy to guide the individuals of any nation to accomplish their aims Reason, experience, and practice demonstrate the verdict of history, if we bear in mind the experiences of older countries in Europe, America and Asia. Surely, our ancestors have survived the struggle for existence in what is now geographically identified as Nigeria.
It is true that they were racially homogeneous, since they belonged to the Negroid race, on account of their skin colour, hair texture, nose structure, lip formation, facial angle, and other morphological characteristics. As a matter of fact, they were identical in appearance, and were distinct from the white and yellow races. However, we have observed that some individual indigenes of Nigeria speak a common language and acquired a common culture.
Also, we have discovered a bitter truth that many individual Nigerian indigenes speak a common language and acquired a different culture, or speak different languages and acquired a common culture. For example, the Ibo and Yoruba-speaking peoples, as well as other linguistic groups in Nigeria, usually identified as Sudanic-speaking or Semi-Bantu-speaking, respectively, fall in the first category. But the Hausa, Fulani, Kanuri and other linguistic groups in Nigeria usually classified as Hamitic-speaking people fall in other categories.
Yet all of them have settled permanently in Nigeria and have become citizens of one country as a result 0f the interplay of social and economic forces. Since only the factor of race unites the great majority of indigenous Nigerians, and the factor of language unites or disunites them only to be united or disunited further by the factor of culture, we can take comfort in knowing that, in spite of the vagaries of anthropology, our ancestors did settle permanently in certain definitely demarcated language and culture areas.
They conquered the elements in the process and asserted dominance in their different environments. The tool which enabled them to accomplish this task was a accumulation of their wisdom, proverbs, folklore and traditions. These evolved into systems of knowledge and values.
As they settled permanently in their various places, after migrating from one area to another, they devised methods for maintaining law and order in their societies and they also invented ways and means for satisfying their spiritual and material needs. My point is that our ancestors, in spite of their heterogeneous languages and cultures, have bequeathed to us a legacy of political and economic ideologies which sustained them and enabled them to survive.
Now that we are confronted with welfare system, such evidence of humanitarianism problems of co-existence and we are ensconced in a wilderness of alien ideologies, which are making a terrific impact on our ways of life, the obvious move is for us, like a seaman who has drifted from salt to fresh water, without knowing it, to cast down our bucket where we are and draw fresh water to assuage our thirst. Yes, we must dig deep from our roots to discover this secret of successful co-existence.
According to them and from what was handed to us by oral traditions, although our ancestors were non-literate nevertheless, they left a wealth of folkloristic literature and traditional history which are easily accessible. A fusion of these two sources is ample authority for postulating Nigerian ideologies.
Ahmadu Bello and the Challenges of Nation-Building in Nigeria
From the internal and external evidence available, Nigerian political institutions in the hoary past were essentially democratic. Public opinion usually crystallised after public discussion during which exercise minority opinions were tolerated. Usually, majority opinion formed the basis of the custom, law and sanctions of the community.
Indeed, this is a scaffolding with which Nigerians can build a modern system of democratic government because it is native. Similarly, we have discovered that the economy of our ancestors was communal in nature and was based on a landed peasantry. Each person had his private property and his share of the land. They traded by barter or by means of some form of exchange. This shows that they believed in private enterprise as well. Here, we have the genesis of a socialist society in structure but capitalist in content.
Might we not use this heritage to prepare a socio-economic matrix with which we can harmonise capitalism and socialism together with the paraphernalia of a welfare state? Out of the amalgam of Nigerian social institutions delineated above I have forged what can be called Nigerian Democracy and Nigerian Welfarism. In doing so I have not divorced them from the universal roots of democracy, capitalism and socialism. But I am not being dogmatic necessarily about Nigerian ideologies.
I am merely trying to create a healthy atmosphere which would facilitate their emergence as Nigerian epistemology and ethics in so far as they are applicable to contemporary Nigerian politics and economics. Again, if we understood that our ancestors were not a landless peasantry and that they established what tantamount to a socialist society which approved the ownership of private property and encouraged individual private enterprise, why should we swallow wholesale any doctrines which purport to indoctrinate us with ideas which are definitely contradictory to our own philosophy of life?
I know that my premises are concerned with primitive simple societies; but assuming that we are honest in solutions to the problems raised in twentieth century Nigeria by the dilemmas of Western and Oriental civilizations then it obligatory for us to adopt a tolerant scepticism in respect of ideologies and then examine impartially our aboriginal lore good living.
If we reacted otherwise, then we would be desecrating the legacy which our forbears had bequeathed to us from past generations. It is said that drastic and severe remedies are imperative treatments for chronic and protracted diseases and I propose to attack these problems radically, because I conceive that to make Nigeria stable we must adopt a pragmatic policy that has concrete meaning to the average Nigerian. Acting on this premise, I believe that the trouble with us in Nigeria is due to the fact that apart from very few diehards and inspired leaders, most of our people are politically servile, economically subservient and socially effete.
This makes them to play a questionable role as political leaders who are honest and reliable. Thus most of our people are becoming frustrated if not disillusioned as to the wisdom of ever struggling for national freedom. My answer is to insulate every citizen of Nigeria from doubts and apprehensions by impregnating them positively with faith for tomorrow and hope for the future.
I honestly believe that the effect would be miraculous. The impregnation, I suggest, must come from the Federal Government.
Then, by its bold and demonstrable acts, it must specifically guarantee to every man and woman in Nigeria the ten fundamental freedoms already mentioned. These basic rights must not be trammelled on any account and they should not be violated, excepting under the due process of written law which can be subjected to interpretation by an independent and impartial judiciary. As I see it, the answers to the political, economic and social problems posed above are soluble, provided the fundamental freedoms mentioned are entrenched in our Constitution, after completely eradicating the provisos which, at present, make them innocuous as part of our organic law.
This done, the Solutions I now offer are capable of guaranteeing permanent stability for our federation and preserving the unity of our country. Viewed pragmatically, it is obvious that our people will cease to harbour grievances about political iniquities, economic inequities and social inequality when they have rulers who are dedicated to the amelioration of the above disabilities. The first thing to do is to ensure all Regional Governments, as well as all Local Governments, equality of treatment in distributing revenue allocation for local development purposes on the basis of even development.
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Any Federal Government which will have the courage and statesmanship to do this will stymie all the loose talks about alleged policy of drift; and much of the cant of the past will be arrested if not completely obliterated. By de jure equality I mean that every Province and every Local Authority in each Region in the Federal Republic of Nigeria are legally equal to the extent that it becomes a categorical imperative for the Federal Government to provide each of them, on a clearly defined basis, with the basic necessities and amenities of modern life in their respective areas of authority irrespective of the federal nature of our country.