Published: March, 2020


Anas Elochukwu

About Author(s):

The Chinese Studies Department

Nnamdi Azikiwe University

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Ethnicity is one of the two most obtrusive elements in African politics. (The other element is religion). Highly ethnicised, African politics is generally a ruthless struggle among the ethnic groups for political dominance. Ethnicity has been implicated in the majority of the continent’s political crises, for example the Nigerian civil war, the Rwandan genocide and the South Sudan civil war. Africans have a stunted sense of shared citizenship; and, incontrovertibly, they have nurtured the tree of ethnic politics planted by their colonial rulers. Nigeria is one of the countries where ethnicity has predominated in the national scheme of things. This paper glances at certain aspects of this element in that country’s politics. Firstly, it glances at its creation by the British. Secondly, it glances at its manipulation by the political elite. Finally, it glances at its gradual recession. Data came from the copious literature that exists on the phenomenon of ethnicity in African politics.

Key words:  Ethnicity, African politics, Nigeria, Nigerian politics.