n Journal of Nation-building & Policy Studies - Politics of identity and crisis of nation building in Africa : the Nigerian experience

Volume 3 Number 2
  • ISSN : 2516-3124
  • E-ISSN: 2516-3132



The issue of identity politics and how it affects nation building is one that calls for academic inquiry into the subject matter. This is because Africa as a continent, unlike its colonial masters, is made up of heterogeneous communities with different cultures, religions and languages. The multiplicity of these ethnic groups has continued to generate crisis especially as regards the collective development of the nation. Specifically, the process of allocation and sharing of socio-economic and political benefits in any political system can be seen to fuel politics of identity as various ethnic groups struggle for the authoritative allocations of value to the interest of their own ethnic group. Using qualitative, historical and analytical method, the study investigates how politics of identity practiced by the three major ethnic groups in Nigeria (Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa) and other tribes have affected nation building. It found that Nigerians see themselves as part of an ethnic group before seeing themselves as Nigerians. The paper concludes that if Nigeria is to develop into a strong and vibrant nation in the world, ethnic politics would have to give way for an inclusive politics where the interest of every ethnic group will be well represented.

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