The Roots of Political Instability Amongst Indigenous Nationalities and in the 'Nigerian' Supra-National State, 1884-1990: A Longitudinal and Comparative Historical Study

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2004-11-30

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The 'Nigerian' supra-national state was built by British colonialism in West Africa's Niger basin. Its supra-national status derives from its multi-national composition. It attracts the attention of scholars who want to account for its continuing poor political performance. Our inquiry into the roots of its continuing poor political performance was conducted from the perspectives of Harry Eckstein's congruence theory and the derivative framework from it that we called the E-G scheme. We found a high degree of social, economic, and political heterogeneity amongst the diverse nationalities that were compelled to constitute it. In the three nationalitiesthe Igbo, Yoruba, and Hausa-Fulanithat we sampled, that heterogeneity is evident in their governmental and non-governmental authority patterns. We found that the British formulated and implemented state building policies that preferentially favored the Hausa-Fulani but not the Igbo, the Yoruba, and others. We found that the British were impressed by the inherent autocratic traits of the Hausa-Fulani, but not the obviously democratic traits of the indigenous Igbo, and Yoruba authority patterns. Thus, while there emerged tremendous resemblances between the authority patterns of the 'Nigerian' supra-national state and those of the Hausa-Fulani, there emerged deep-seated disparity between them and indigenous Igbo, and Yoruba authority patterns. We established that the resultant state of affairs created and promotes commensurate bases of legitimacy for the authority of the supra-national state only in core Hausa-Fulani society but not in Igbo and Yoruba societies. During colonial rule high political performance in the 'Nigerian' supra-national state was region-specific. In spite of the resemblances shared by the authority patterns of the supra-national state and indigenous Hausa-Fulani authority patterns, their common incongruence and inconsonance with the indigenous authority patterns of the Igbo, Yoruba, and others constitute sufficient ground for the continuing poor political performance in the 'Nigerian' supra-national state.

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