Nigeria a Political Review

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Nigeria is named after the Niger River. A British journalist in the 1890s named Flora Shaw suggested the name because of the river was a dominant presence in region and the name was accepted as the official name of those territories in the Niger Region. (ANYANWU) The country can be divided into three regions that include the forest lands in the south, the Sudan savanna in the north, and the Middle Belt, in between. Nigeria has an extensive geographic size, with a large degree of ecological, economic, and cultural variations. Today, The Federal Republic of Nigeria has a diverse ethnic population of over 130 billion people. It is one of the most populous countries in Africa. Nigeria contains over 250 ethnic groups and many are divided into further subgroups. The official language of Nigeria is English but there are ethno linguistic categories that can be differentiated by sub regions of Nigeria these languages are: Hausa and Fulani in north, Yoruba in southwest, and Igbo in southeast and also Kanuri, Ibibio, Tiv, and Ijaw. These ethnic groups play an important role in the social and political framework of the country as traditional customs and ethnic loyalties have divided the country since its inception. Nigerian history is diverse and in order to understand the divergence of cultures and political instability in the region it is necessary to understand in context the dominant issues that are the basis for the political process and the underlying issues associated with Nigerian society and the political framework of the region. (ANYANWU) In the early 1800's in the northern part of Nigeria the Sokoto Caliphate brought most of that region under Islamic rule. Even today it is evident that the Islamic religions and control is in the northern regions of Nigeria. The spread of Islam is a significant factor that explains the divisions that are seen today between the northern and southern portions of Nigeria. When Nigeria became a colony the spread of western education and Christianity in the south caused a disparity as development was much slower in the north. This disparity in education and development would later cause conflict between the two regions. While the slave trade played a factor in the identity of Nigeria as more that 3.5 million people were forced into slavery it was those converts to Islam and the spread of Christianity that began to promote political and cultural independence. One of the most significant factors of Nigerian political and social history was when the region became one of the British colonies. In 1861 Britain annexed the county of Lagos and then later during the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885 the territories surrounding the Niger River became a British possession and was under the colonial rule of the British during the second half of the 19th century and the first decade of the 20th century. The impact that British colonization had on the region was significant in that they introduced the basic standards for law and order, western education, religion and the English Language. The introduction of these concepts gave and promoted the foundation for the political framework of the country that is affected even today. (ANYANWU) During British colonization the Nigerian people were left out of the large scale political process. The colonist attitude towards the Nigerian people was paternalistic in nature. Huxley describes their attitudes as the following: The reluctance of a maturer mind to allow those of less mature judgment the freedom to err. And this reluctance is intensified when the mature man has a sense of responsibility for the immature, and still more intensified when he is fond of them, proud of them, anxious for their success, or in any other way emotionally concerned about them. It is, in fact, the same influence which makes it difficult for parents to let their children alone, and to prefer for them a safe, uneventful, but repressed and incomplete development to a more vital salvation...
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