State Creation in Nigeria and Its Social Conflicts
However, the discourse “State creation and social conflicts in Nigeria cannot be emphasized upon without citing or review the structure of the country. So, Nigeria is one of the largest country in Africa, it is located in the West cardinal point of Africa, it constitutes six geo-political zone namely: North central, North East, North west, stouth East, south south, and south west with an estimated population of over 133 million people and a very high average annual population growth rate of about 2.98 percent the country has over 400 different languages and dialects spoken and about 250 different ethnic groupings in the country. However, the major groupings in the country are Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo with, other groupings like Edo urhobo, Efik, ijaw, Tiv and Kanuri, with many smaller, but distinct ethnic communities living continuously with these groups each group has unequal population, hence the Hausa has the highest population consequently, the above review cannot be left out or behind when tracing state creation and social conflicts in Nigeria hence the above phenomenon can be counted among or to be synonymous to social conflicts in Nigerian state creation, since there is always fear among each groups.
It is an alarming and dear issue to every Nigeria who cares to know that political competitions and access to power in plural societies like Nigeria, takes different form, strategy and dimensions; since, ethnic and minority pluralism in Nigeria has often than not been characterized by contestations and struggles for access to power and the resources of the nation-state.
Hence, the use of state creation to achieve such ego has been the best plat form to use, as that will give way for exploits as Nigeria has therefore become a cake to be shared among various nationalities, while nobody cares about the baking of the cake. The ethnic factor which had initially ignited the demands for states creation has continued to torment the country, hence states creation and social conflicts in the nation.
Thus, ethno-regional interests are usually mobilized to campaign for states creation and development and these agitations have been persisted and seemingly endless. This I think you will believe we by looking at the structure of the size geo-political zone of the country below and the states each geo-political zone constitutes:
- North central, which is known as middle beet includes hence stat, Ropi state, Kwara state, Nasarawa state, Niger state, federal capital history and plateau state.
- North East includes: Adamawa state, Bauchi State, Borno state, Gombe state Thraba state and Yobe state.
- North west includes Jigawa state, Kaduna state, Kano state, Katsina state, Kebbi state, Sokoto state and Zamfara state.
- South east includes Abia state Ananbra state, Ebonyi state, Enugu state, and Imo state.
- South South also known as Niger Delta, includes: Akwa-Ibom state, Bayelsa, cross-river state Delta state, Edo state and rivers.
- South West (Nigeria) includes: Ekiti state, Lagos state, Ojun stat, Ondo state, ogun state and Oyo state.
80, since Nigeria is a plural society with different clearages ethnic, religious, cultural, linguistic, as well as geo-political, and social backgrounds but ethnic heterogeneity is inarguably, the most pervasive of them all since by mere working at the country’s geo-political zones and their state one will not have a room to stand for argument and such in balance in states creation have been contributing to are social conflict or the other.
The problem ethnicity poses is that political competition and access to power is overtly drawn along ethnic lines. Again, since Nigeria federalism is based on ethnic and not geographical diversities, it has tended to exacerbate centrifugal forces in the country, thereby, given particular geo-political zones more attention than other where as for me, I think the least attention goes to the south- east since they have the least states I the table.
Therefore, as the struggle for power in Nigeria has been patterned largely along ethnic lines the most populates ethnic group in the national assembly uses the opportunity to stop any attempt of creating more state in one geo-political zone or the other since if such is allowed will be incompatible to their interest and it is clear that such is a barrier to some geo-political zones since there are less development in such areas. This becomes more problematic because the state is not neutral force in mediating political or social conflict. It can be captured and used to further the interests of the leadership of an ethnic group or a combination of groups who has more states than the other thereby causing disagreement which may result to one social conflict or the other.
State creation in Nigeria has often time opened, or widened the minds and sights of Nigerians i.e., one ethnic or the other over the dynamic nature or process of the ethnic pattern of the country. Whereas, the development of the country’s federalism as a dynamic process can best understood with reference to the ethnic configuration in Nigeria. Over the years, the process has involved the creation of more states to reduce political domination at the federal level by the Hausa- Fulani. It has also involved the attempt by minority ethnic groups to challenge the hegemony of the three largest ethnic groups: Hausa-Fulani, Yoruba and Igbo in the political, social and economic life of the country (Nigeria), of which all these competitions are not far from the structure of state creation hence, social conflicts.
The conflict of marginalization should not be a forgotten issue in Nigeria political sphere. Thus, this made it to be as if there seems to be no limit to the demands for states creation in Nigeria, for as long as ethnic chauvinists, insularity and political merchants keep agitating for more state creation in order to solve the alleged marginalization of their own people. Conflicts highs each time if seems irrelevant to these professional agitators and political opportunists tries to weigh whether their prospective states could posses the capacity to survive.
To worsen matters, each ethnic group has continuously come to think of itself as distinct entity with interests and demands which gears the level of social conflicts in the nation building. Again, there has been unabated clamour and agitations for the creation of more state, to satisfy ethnic nationalism. While ethnic or separatist nationalism grow to the level or detriment of Nigeria nationalism, hence, there has been a grouping attitude of antagonisms and lack of trust among Nigerians.
Like this work have earlier stated that the federation of Nigeria as it is known today, has never really been one homogeneous country, this is because of its widely differing peoples and tribes this cannot be far equated to the issues that gave rise to the creation of tivelve states from the original four regions in may 1967 by general Ybubu Gowon which instead of bringing peace it instigated war, when the former Eastern region under Lt. Col. Ojukwu (Late) saw the act of the creation of states by decree “without consultation” as the last stand and declared the eastern region an independent state of Biafra which led to war when the federal government saw it as an act of secession and illegal.
Consequently, state creation in Nigeria have given rise to different kinds of Chavvinis to and sacramental concepts like tribalism Nepotism, minority group, indignity, all these concepts have caused one conflict or the other in the country (Nigeria) since there is imbalance in the number of state that exists among the size geo-political zones of the federation hence citizenship crisis or social conflicts cannot be excepted from same state creation in Nigeria.
It is established in this work that social crisis exist in Nigeria due to state creation that have taken places and ones that are yet to be created, but still gone further to appeal for more state creation to balance the number of states that exist among the size geo-political zones of the federation, this, in the opinion of this work could be regarded as dysfunctional, particularly to the goal of national integration and political stability of the federal republic of Nigeria.
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