n African Renaissance - States without nations : a crisis of legitimacy, not a clash of civilisations

Volume 3, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1744-2532
  • E-ISSN: 2516-5305


This article examines the nature of the conflicts in two key borderland states, in Nigeria and Sudan. These conflicts are not expressions of two antagonistic cultural and ethnic blocs between pan-Arabism and pan-Africanism. The causes of these conflicts are internal. They do have wider significance in that they reveal the central weaknesses of most post-independence African states: they are states in name only. These states are vulnerable to tribal and ethnic centrifugal pressures because no national identity exists that could command allegiance across region and tribe. The article discusses the nature of this problem, and argues for the creation of genuine national multi-party politics to overcome this division, with suggestions as to how this might be achieved.

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