n AFFRIKA Journal of Politics, Economics and Society - The Sudanese Mahdism and Nigerian Maitatsinism as precursors to Boko Haram radicalism and terrorism

Volume 7 Number 1
  • ISSN : 1998-4936
  • E-ISSN: 2075-6534



There is a growing speculation that a new vista is being opened through the emerging scholarship on Islamic radicalism and terrorism in Nigeria. This new vista seeks to promote the perception that the Boko Haram radicalism and terrorism may be traceable to the Sudanese Mahdism of the early 20th century and the Nigerian Maitatsinism of the 1980s. Such a perception finds support in the emerging thinking that no historical account on Islamic extremism, radicalism, and terrorism in Nigeria can be deemed complete without an express reference to the Sudanese Mahdism and the Nigerian Maitatsinism. The purpose of this study is to explore the linkage between these two variants of Islamic extremism and the Boko Haram radicalism and terrorism. The study which is both exploratory and analytical in method attempts to answer three interconnected questions namely: what is the nature of the Sudanese Mahdism? What is the nature of the Nigerian Maitatsinism? How does Boko Haram mirror Mahdism and Maitatsinism in radicalism and terrorism? The significance of this study lies in its potential to constitute a useful addition to the scholarship of Islamic terrorism in Nigeria and to also draw the blind and eliminate some obscurity on possible sources of inspirations for the Boko Haram terrorists by the Mahdiyyah and Maitatine radicalism. In order to achieve a systematic engagement with the subject of this study, the three research questions shall be addressed in a logical and sequential fashion.

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