n African Renaissance - Proto-nationalism, politicization of ethnicity and insecurity in Nigeria

Volume 16 Number 3
  • ISSN : 1744-2532
  • E-ISSN: 2516-5305



This paper focuses on the nexus between political struggles among ethnic groups and the security situation in Nigeria. It critically explores how deliberate manipulation of ethnicity by political elites generates insecurity in the country. In-depth interviews were conducted to generate primary data, which were analysed using NVivo 10. Among others, this paper finds that in an attempt to compel desired outcomes from democratic processes, Nigerian political elites trigger distractions among the masses by tensing up the polity through the politicization of ethnicity that magnifies pre-existing cleavages and pitches people against themselves. This situation creates room for the politicians to wriggle-in their interest over and above that of the populace. The study concludes that proto-nationalism is a major source of insecurity in Nigeria. This paper recommends that, due to the ethnic diverseness of the country, criminal law should be invoked on incitement on the basis of ethnicity for achieving political ends.

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