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The present issue is an attempt to broaden our perspectives on the question of, and the efforts towards, Nigeria’s development. Much too often attention has been unduly focused on negative issues and failed undertakings pertaining to the development of the continent. These have tended to serve as self-fulfilling prophesies, as well as sources of despondency and despair, in their own right. There is therefore the need for a more balanced perspective that also looks at different successful efforts so that they can serve as bases for local capacity building enterprises with great potential for sustained and self-determined efforts.
This edition draws attention to the progress made in the provision of education in Nigeria since the attainment of independence from the 1960s to date. A focus of this nature greatly helps us to assess programs as well as identify challenges.
It is to further be noted that with relevant reforms, informed by such studies, the education sector could serve as the major source of both manpower and the creative solutions/policies needed to address problems.
African countries have, since independence, been investing massively in educational development. The result is the increasing establishment of a great number of institutions and facilities as well as the enrollment and graduation of an ever expanding number of students in terms of educational output. Yet these do not seem to have made the required impact on the development of the continent due to a number of factors.
The current edition is an invitation to look into these developments with a view to a better understanding of the factors at play in this situation. The article titled “Nigerian Educational Development Since Independence: The case of History Research at A.B.U Zaria” looks at the development of history research at the History Dept. of A.B.U Zaria in Nigeria since 1962. The writer looks at the evolution of the institution in the context of Nigeria’s, as well as Africa’s, search for independence, unity and development. The article also draws attention to some of the research output in order to highlight the increasing concern with development issues in the emerging perspectives of local historical research.
Emmy Irobi’s incisive analysis of some of the theoretical issues associated with ethnic conflict in Nigeria is also included in this issue of Africa Update.
Dr. Sule Bello
Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria
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AFRICA’S EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENT SINCE INDEPENDENCE:
THE CASE OF HISTORY RESEARCH AT AHMADU BELLO UNIVERSITY
(A.B.U) ZARIA, NIGERIA
Dr. Sule Bello, History Department, Ahmadu Bello University,
The phenomenal expansion of formal education in Africa since independence seems to be hardly paralleled by a similar development in any other sector. The establishment of, and enrolment into, several types of schools from nursery to tertiary institutions has skyrocketed from almost less than 1% to well over 1000% over the last four to five decades in many African countries. Furthermore local indigenous systems of education which had, more often than not, been neglected by the colonialists are now being slowly revived and in some cases integrated into the mainstream and formal system of Western education. Massive investment, by both the public and the private sectors, in the development of educational infrastructure and facilities is seen as justified by many countries due to the critical importance associated with formal education in modern development.
Like most other African countries Nigeria, at independence in 1960, had no university and very few primary and secondary schools. Colonialists were not supportive in the development of educational institutions, and worked against the various indigenous educational systems. The University College at Ibadan, affiliated to the University of London, was the highest educational institution. Today Nigeria boasts of over a hundred universities established by federal, state and private agencies. Similarly there are also hundreds of other tertiary institutions spread all around the country in the form of colleges of education, polytechnics etc. Nursery, primary and secondary schools are numbered in the thousands. What is particularly interesting is the increasing demand and higher pressure for more schools nationwide. The quest for greater access to education is further reflected in the agitation for cheaper, or even free, provision of education in order to enable wider and greater access. This pressure is due to the fact that education plays a number of roles which include socialization as well as professional training which ensures individuals the possibilities of better financial future. The expansion of education is not without its own problems. In addition to lack of funds there is also the question of the need to make education relevant to the solution of the problems of the society. These considerations greatly influence national educational policies and objectives, on the one hand, as well as the structure, curriculum and content of all the disciplines at various other levels.
THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE DEPARTMENT
The story of the establishment, and development, of the History Department at ABU provides important insights into how some of the above mentioned achievements were recorded as well as pointing out some of the major problems encountered and the prospects for future development.
After independence, Ibadan became a full fledged national university in December 1962, whereas the three former Regions, East, North and West also established their own universities at Nsukka (1960), Zaria, Ife and Lagos respectively.
These are usually referred to as Nigeria’s premier and 1st generation universities. Ahmadu Bello University was established in September 1962 and the same year the Department of History was established by Prof. H.F.C, later Abdullahi, Smith.
The Department of History, University of Ibadan was the initial center for the training of Nigeria’s historians. These include leading historians like Dike, Ayandele, Ajayi, Alagoa etc. The primary focus of the Department was to refute the imperial denial of the existence of African history by unearthing, and reconstructing, varied aspects of such a history. Its key historiographical preoccupations therefore included the identification of topics, and themes, considered appropriate towards demonstrating not only the existence but also the richness, variety, antiquity and relevance of African history. The reconstruction and interpretation of the historical achievements of Africans in the past were appropriately supplemented with efforts aimed at indicating the relevance of such experiences to the new task of nation-building for the newly emerging African countries. The establishment of institutions that could aid in the recovery, documentation and analysis of historical source material therefore received significant attention. A center for African studies was established in Ibadan while centres for Nigerian Cultural Studies were established in Lagos, Nsukka and Zaria. Similarly efforts were mounted towards establishing units for archaeological studies as well as centres for the recovery, documentation and translation of Arabic documents in addition to the colonial archives earlier established at Kaduna, Ibadan and Nsukka.
When the late Prof. Abdullahi Smith set about establishing the History Department in Zaria he, in addition to the main academic department, also founded an archaeology unit in 1977. Associated with the Department was the establishment of Centre For Nigerian Cultural Studies (CNCS). Right from inception a Northern History Research Scheme (NHRS), earlier established at Ibadan, was transferred to the Department in 1962. It developed into a major archives for the recovery, documentation and translation of Arabic manuscripts in addition to serving as a post graduate library. Furthermore Arewa House, created at the residence of the late premier of Northern Nigeria, in Kaduna, also functioned as a major Northern History Project housing a major library, an archives and some museum facilities relevant to post graduate training programmes and historical research. The Department, and its various units, as well as its facilities and activities, were designed to support the general thrust of its sister Departments in other parts of the country in addition to complementing them by focusing on the Northern Region, in which it was located, and was also a pioneer. The post graduate programme of the Department became centred around the active supervisory role of late Prof. Abdullahi Smith and many other accomplished scholars either `trained from within the Department or recruited from various parts of the country, Africa and the rest of the world.
HISTORY RESEARCH AT A.B.U
Since the late 60s the Department became very well known for its virile academic programmes greatly facilitated trough its seminars, workshops and conferences as well as the number and quality of its foreign and visiting scholars, in addition to the research output of its local staff. It has, over this period, produced about 50 MAs and 50 PhD’s. A few of these have already been published while many are in the process of being published. Prof. Abdullahi Smith is well known for his seminal contributions on the history of state formation in Hausaland as well as his pioneering efforts towards the reconstruction of the history of the Sokoto Caliphate. The late professor also initiated major efforts towards the establishment, and development, of documentation/research centres and facilities in the form of archives, libraries, museums and an archaeological unit which has already developed into a full-fledged department.
It is important to stress that the Department also became greatly known for its independent, critical and radical scholarship particularly championed by two of its leading students, the late Dr. Yusuf Bala Usman and Dr. Mahmud Madibbo Tukur, among many others.
Many other scholars who helped to build the Department are presently engaged in various other parts of the world. Professors M.A Alhajj, Mahdi Adamu, Saad Abubakar, IUA Musa and A.M. Kani, who have published widely, are some of the foundation staff. Mention can here be made of Professor A.J Temu who is currently coordinating a major project on the History of Liberation struggles in Africa as well as Prof. J. E. Inikori and Prof Gloria Thomas Emeagwali who are presently professors of History in the United States.
In addition the Department also helped to found other departments in many other Nigerian universities or, in the least, helped towards the training of their staff. The Department has also greatly influenced the establishment and management of History and Culture Bureaux, along with their documentation/research facilities in the form of archives and museums, by such state governments as Sokoto, Kano, Katsina etc.
The courses presently offered by the Department, particularly at the undergraduate levels, are designed to, in accordance with the policy of the Department, give:
“The student a thorough grasp of Nigerian history and historiography placed firmly in the context of African history and historiography and of historical movements of world significance from other continents. The purpose of this is to make the student comprehend the historical forces and developments which have shaped and are shaping the lives of the peoples of Nigeria, Africa and the rest of the world”.
The Department has over 80 courses with at least half of them being taught at any one time. These cover the histories of various parts of the world in addition to Africa and Nigeria. A significant dimension to research and teaching in the Department is the local facilitation of the development of African perspectives on the history of Nigeria and Africa as much as on the history of the rest of the world.
Given its academic engagements the Department also greatly promotes interdisciplinary cooperation through the kind of courses, programmes and projects it pursues at several levels. Like most other academic departments, in general, and history departments in particular, the Department faces the challenge of how best to respond to the need for local, national and international relevance through its various programmes.
The earlier nationalist demands for formal research and training in history is greatly being expanded and modified through new demands for programmes that greatly contribute to finding solutions to contemporary developmental needs. This is a challenge the Department is already taking seriously. In this regard it is to be noted that historical research in Africa, in general, is already inclining towards developmental studies in various ways. Courses and research topics that address developmental needs, and contribute to the generation of historical themes, evidence and theories on key development issues are increasingly dominating the field. Some of such concerns, and perspectives, are greatly represented in the variety of research works being undertaken in the Department. To provide an insight into the scope of research projects being handled by the Department we append the abstracts of a few selected PhD projects that are yet to be published.
Historical scholarship in Africa’s universities has greatly advanced since its early beginnings in many of the institutions of higher learning established immediately after independence. Its preoccupations have gone far beyond ascertaining the simple existence of African history to the task of establishing, and demonstrating, its relevance to the need for a self-sustaining social, political and economic development of the continent and its peoples. Present day perspectives of available historical researches indicate that there is a lot in Africa’s pre-colonial history that is of immense and indispensable value to its present day attempts at independent development. They similarly indicate that there is a good deal of both old and new forms of colonial relations that are currently hindering Africa’s development drive.
Because the study of history is critical to the generation of knowledge in general, and the process of socialization and identity formation in particular, its contributions to the political, socio-cultural and economic development of the continent will continue to be significant in many ways. The task before the new generation of historians is to ensure that the discipline is properly steered towards fulfilling such important tasks. In this regard the role of African history as a major resource for the reorientation, re-articulation and revitalization of Africa’s politics, education, science and technology, among other things, will be very significant in the coming decades.
ABSTRACTS OF SELECTED AND UNPUBLISHED PhD THESES
1. MAHMUD MODIBBO TUKUR
“THE IMPOSITION OF BRITISH COLONIAL DOMINATION ON THE SOKOTO CALIPHATE, BORNO AND NEIGHBOURING STATES: 1897-1914: A REINTERPRETATION OF COLONIAL SOURCES” July 1979
A B S T R A C T
This thesis is concerned with British occupation of the Sokoto Caliphate, the perfecting of the instruments of British domination over the conquered Emirates, and the political, economic and social consequences of this domination in the period up to 1914. The thesis starts off with an examination of political and military conditions in the Sokoto Caliphate at the end of the nineteenth century and how these conditions shaped its response to British invasion when it came. This is done in chapter one and among the factors highlighted were the presence and the political and military activities of European monopoly companies, especially the British Niger Company, factors which had been part of the political and military situation in the Caliphate for three decades by the end of the nineteenth century.
The thesis then goes on, in chapter two, to highlight the violence, bloodshed, looting and arson that generally characterized British occupation and “pacification” of the Emirates, as well as the dire political and social consequences of that occupation. Then, in the third chapter, the political situation resulting from the occupation is depicted and shown to have been characterized by the depositions of British appointed Emirs, generally unfriendly relations between the British and these Emirs, contempt by the generality of the population towards the Emirs, and hostility by the population towards the occupiers.
In chapters four, five and six an account is given of the extension of British administrative and judicial control, through the creation and manipulation of Resident District Heads and District Alkalis, to the smaller towns and villages of the Emirates, and the consequences of that extension for the people of these towns and villages, as well as for the political structure of the emirates. Chapters seven to ten discuss the imposition of British taxation, the manner of collecting the taxes, their yields, the disbursement of the revenues collected, including the establishment and control of the Native Treasuries; and the impact of this new system of taxation on the economy of Emirates. So also is the creation of a new political economy through the new system of taxation, the introduction of British currency and the influx of European, mainly British, commercial firms. The final chapter, chapter eleven, discusses the form, content and impact of British social policy. This includes a discussion of British attitude towards serfdom, their introduction of Western education, their attitude towards the general health of the people, and especially their handling of the epidemics and famines which were endemic in the Emirates throughout the period under study.
2. SULE BELLO
“STATE AND ECONOMY IN KANO, c. 1894 – 1960: A STUDY OF COLONIAL DOMINATION” SEPTEMBER 1982.
This thesis is the study of the establishment, development and consolidation of British colonial domination in Kano from 1894 – 1960. Its specific focus is the relationship between the colonial state and the colonial economy. The process of the establishment and consolidation of colonial domination as treated in this thesis falls into three broad phases. The first phase covers the decade immediately preceding the conquest, when the character of economic organization, especially the system of production, operating in the Kano Emirate proved inimical to the development of capitalist economic interests, and consequently hostility developed between the Emirate aristocracy and the colonial trading companies. The second phase treats how this hostility led to the development of warfare between the Emirate and the British state in 1903 and how the formerly independent Emirate was brought under the political control of the British imperialist state. The third phase covers how, under the auspices of the colonial state, the colonial economy was created, developed and consolidated. It is argued that the distinguishing feature of colonialism was the entrenchment of British Capitalist control over the production and commerce of Kano society through the systematic destruction of the pre-existing economic system. It could certainly be demonstrated that the struggle for independence and the consequent transition to neo-colonialism constitutes the fourth stage in the development of colonial domination. This, however, does not form part of the subject of this thesis.
3. SALEH ABUBAKAR
“BIRNIN SHEHU, THE CITY OF SOKOTO:
A SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC HISTORY, C. 1809-1903” OCTOBER 1982.
The nineteenth century has been a period of far-reaching changes in the economic, political and social systems in virtually all parts of the Nigerian savanna. One significant aspect of these changes concerns the development of new towns and cities which owed their origins to a set of broadly similar forces, one of which was the social revolution known to history as the Sokoto Jihad.
Unfortunately, this urbanization of the nineteenth century has not been studied by scholars of the Jihad, who prefer instead to discuss the ideas, ideals and conflicts that shook the age, as it were, and systems or forms of government that were evolving. Yet, as a product of economic and social change not only in that period but also, like the Jihad, having roots in the economic and social past, this urbanization merits serious attention. Even on a merely physical plane, the products of this urbanization (Sokoto, Yola, Gombe, Gwandu, Jalingo, Jega, Bauchi, etc.) remain to this day the most visible legacy of that period. But that is not all, for though relatively young compared to older-established settlements (many of which, such as Kano, Katsina and Zaria were centuries old even by the beginning of the nineteenth century) the settlements produced by this spate of urbanization have had a tremendous impact on the course and shape of history, deriving largely from their being centres of power, of education, manufacture and commerce. And while many of these settlements developed identities and characteristics that were broadly similar, they also exhibited significant differences deriving from their specific experience. Thus while both Sokoto and Yola cut a figure as aristocratic cities; the scholar element was more pronounced in Sokoto society, identity and administration than it was in Yola where for the most part, clan leaders dominated the field, the ascendancy of the lineage of the Modibbo Adama notwithstanding. Nor was Yola able to develop a manufacturing and commercial base to the same extent as Sokoto did, since the integration of the Yola hinterland into the extensive commercial networks of the central Sudan began fairly late compared to regions further to the north and north-west. These and other differences point to important variations in the local and historical conditions and we cannot fully understand the processes at work until we have studies of several or some of these settlements in different ecological and social settings. This study therefore hopes to provide a beginning in that respect.
Furthermore, Sokoto’s links with the Jihad of the nineteenth century and through that with the history of large parts of the Nigerian savanna make it the most important of these new settlements of the nineteenth century. Though a vast amount of literature has been churned out on the Sokoto Caliphate, Sokoto Jihad, Sokoto Fulani, etc., not much has been written about this Sokoto itself nor about social and economic history of the ‘Sokoto Caliphate’, ‘Sokoto Jihad’ or the ‘Sokoto Fulani’, etc. This study hopes therefore not only to redress this imbalance, but also to provide a framework for the study of the history of settlements and the nature and dynamics of urban social organization in a specific cultural and historical context. Chapter one of the study provides a useful introduction by analyzing the general ecological conditions in which the city evolved. A historical section of this chapter looks at the way in which the history and relationship of settlements has been changing in the Rima basin especially in the century or so before the Jihad, and how the Jihad itself affected demography and the configuration and function of settlements.
Since one to the consequences of the Jihad was the rise of Sokoto to prominence, Chapter Two looks at the origins of Sokoto, its changing role and functions, and its growth from a tiny hamlet at the beginning of the Jihad in 1804 to a large and populous city barely twenty years later. The chapter attempts to show the role of immigration, of the effects of changing power relations, and also of contemporary currents of economic and social relations and change, in this process.
Chapters Three and Four discuss craft production and the commercial economy of the city. The nature of specialization, the organization of production and the peculiarly urban form and institutions of production, economic organization and exchange, are as much as possible clearly brought out, and the relationship between production and social structure hinted at. In Chapter Five the philosophy, goals and character of (urban) administration as practiced in nineteenth century Sokoto, and its relation to the social structure and to the historical conditions in which the city has had its origins, are discussed.
In Chapter Six, the concluding chapter, the development of the city in the period c. 1837-1903, the structure of its society and its kind of urbanism, are analysed.
4. YARO THABA GELLA
“THE FOREIGN POLICY OF THE CALIPHATE OF MUHAMMAD BELLO (1817 – 1837) TOWARDS THE STATES OF BORNO, ADAR, AMIR AND THE WEST” MAY 1986.
A B S T R A C T
This thesis is about the foreign policy of the Caliphate of Muhammad Bello during the period C. 1817-1837. The period of the Caliphate of Muhammad Bello was, perhaps, the most crucial in the history of the Sokoto Caliphate. In 1817, Shehu Usman dan Fodio the leader of the Sokoto jihad movement and the founder of the Sokoto jihad movement and the founder of the Sokoto Caliphate, died. He died at a time when the jihad wars were being fought and when the Caliphate structures were yet to be properly established.
This had serious implications for the success of the movement. The death of the Shehu cast doubts in the minds of many of the Jihadists as to whether or not his successor would be capable of maintaining the unity of the Caliphate as well as sustaining the momentum of the jihad movement. For the non-muslim enemies within the Caliphate as well as those perching on the frontiers, and fighting to restore the status quo, the death of the Shehu provided the right moment to strike, with a view to destroying the Sokoto Caliphate. In fact, as it will be shown in the work, the period 1816/17 was one of serious military confrontations between the Caliphate and its enemies.
One of the most crucial areas of concern when Muhammad Bello became Caliph and amir al-muminin in 1817, therefore, was how the Caliphate would relate with the powerful neighbouring states, muslim and non-muslim alike, in order to save the Caliphate from collapse. Given the hostility which characterized the relations between the Sokoto Caliphate and most of its neighbours in its early history, as well as the challenges, revolts and rebellions from within, the Caliphate of Muhammad Bello was subjected to a serious test. The Caliphate’s survival depended to a great extent on the policies the government adopted and how these were translated into actual practice. This thesis seeks to examine these policies which the Caliphate of Muhammad Bello formulated in the pursuit of its foreign policy objectives and what forces determined the choice of policy options.
5. ARTHUR VUKILE DHLIWAYO
“A HISTORY OF SABON GARIN ZARIA, 1911-1950: A STUDY OF COLONIAL URBAN ADMINISTRATION” JULY 1986
A B S T R A C T
This thesis is primarily concerned with an examination of colonial urban administration through focusing on the development of Sabon Garin Zaria in the Northern Provinces of Nigeria in the period, 1911 to 1950. Sabon Garin Zaria was a crucial and important part of an urban complex which emerged during the pre-colonial period, consisting of the ‘City’, the Government Reservation Area (G.R.A.) and Tudun Wada. These four units together constituted the major part of what is known as Zaria.
In this thesis we demonstrate that the actual nature and character of the development of colonial urbanization and administration was conditioned by the colonial political economy in which the settlement was situated and grew. The colonial system as it emerged in the Northern Provinces of Nigeria, was based on the brutal exploitation and plunder of the peasant producers of raw-materials such as cotton, groundnuts, hides and skins, to mention a few important ones, by expatriate firms such as the United African Company which were at the service of capitalist monopolies based mainly in Britain and Europe. Indeed the economy was essentially an import-export structure, marked by the absence of an integrated manufacturing base, since the Northern provinces exported raw-materials only and imported manufactured goods.
We demonstrate that Sabon Garin Zaria, which was a crucial component of an urban centre which acted as an administrative centre as well as a base for expatriate firms, emerged mainly as a home for vital government employees and also of crucial agents and intermediaries of the firms who were in control of the import-export trade in Zaria Provinces. Sabon Gari was thus an important link in the subordination, domination and exploitation of the rural peasant producers of raw-materials.
We contend that this important role plus the fact that the majority of the government employees such as the African clerks and also the relatively wealthy agents and intermediaries of the firms were western educated and non-indigenous, coming as they did, from the Southern Provinces and other British West African colonies such as Sierra Leone and British Togoland, led to their exclusion from the rest of the Northern Provinces’ commu
ities, through the creation of a Reservation in which they received special attention.
We demonstrate that the evolution of the politico-administrative control of Sabon Garin Zaria reflected the overriding concern of the colonial officials in the promotion of their colonial interests. Since Sabon Garin Zaria was the home of vital clerical assistants and crucial agents of the firms who procured peasant produce for the firms from the rural producers, they could not be easily put under the administrative control of the Native Authorities as was the case with the rest of the communities in Zaria Province. This resulted in the exclusion of the Native Administration from Sabon Garin Zaria for the greater part of the period covered by this study. Thus the period from 1917 to 1940 saw Sabon Garin Zaria under the direct administrative control of the colonial officials, an arrangement which we argue, gave the educated African clerks and traders more rights and freedoms than the residents of the City. This was reflected in right given to them to elect representatives to the Advisory Board and the freedom to choose between the magistrate Court and the alkali court which existed in the settlement. Such rights and freedoms were alien to the residents of the ‘City’. We however, also argue that this representation was limited by the fact that the colonial officials had the power to block any representative whom they thought was a threat from taking his seat in the Board. Furthermore, the authority and influence of the representatives was minimal considering the fact that the Board was dominated by colonial officials and the representatives of the firms.
Furthermore, we demonstrate that the administration played an important role in structuring the role Sabon Garin Zaria played in the economy of the province. The role that the administration played in imposing taxes, tolls and other levies, in imposing a specific land tenure systems and establishing production relations in which the peasant was made the producer of raw-materials greatly influenced the role and activities of the Sabon Gari based agents, traders and intermediaries in the economy of Zaria provinces. First and foremost, these were subjected to the needs and operations of the firms. All the cash and goods they used to acquire raw-materials from the rural peasants originated with the firms since they were debarred from importing and exporting anything. We also demonstrated that this intermediary role in which the Sabon Gari traders were the producers of raw-materials and the buyers of imported goods, contributed towards rural underdevelopment in Zaria Province.
When it comes to the provision of urban utilities and social facilities we show that Sabon Gari Zaria was in a favourable position compared to the City and Tudun Wada. This, we demonstrate, reflected the special relationship which existed between the Sabon Gari and the colonial urban administration. We also demonstrate that compared to what was available in the Government Reservation Area, these utilities and social facilities were inferior. This, we argue, was a reflection of the master-servant relationship which underlay the colonial system.
Finally we contend that the nature and character of the society and politics which emerged in Sabon Garin Zaria, apart from being rooted in the colonial economy we discussed, were tied up with the needs, operations and policies of the urban administration. We show that the needs of the administration for assistants and workers led to the emergence of a petty-bourgeois stratum of relatively well paid clerks, engineers and skilled artisans. Another petty-bourgeois class associated with trade and commerce, though not directly connected with needs of the government, was influenced by the urban administration’s policies relating to income tax, trade and land. Secondly, we show the emergence of the working class whose conditions of life was largely determined by the wages the administration offered to them. When it comes to politics we argue that the colonial administration’s policy of political and economic segregation of the colonized led to the rise of nationalist movements led by the petty-bourgeoisie. We contend that the nationalist struggles in Zaria were part of the generalized nationalist upsurge which intensified during the period and after the Second World War. Sabon Garin Zaria in which were branches of the major political parties constituted a crucial base in the struggle against colonialism.
Colonial urban centres were an epitome of their age.
6. AHMED MOHAMMED KANI
THE LIFE AND WORKS OF cABD AL-SADIR B. AL-MUSTAFA: A CRITICAL EDITION OF HIS WORKS AND HISTORIOGRAPHICAL APPROACH JUNE 1987.
The nineteenth century Jihad movement in Hausaland could be rightly described as an ‘intellectual revolution’ which opened the gates of intellectual investigation widely for the cUlama’ but particularly so for the Sokoto Jihad intellectuals, like cAbd al-Qadir b. al-Mustafa (Dantafa) (c1864); the subject of this study. In an attempt to have a complete picture of the intellectual, social and political activity of such a great scholar of the Sokoto Caliphate the present study deems it necessary to trace his social and political environment, his early life, family background and career. A detailed analysis of all his known works in politics, history and philosophy is made here and placed within the context of the nineteenth century Jihad movement in the Central Sudan. Based on the empirical data – both written and oral – this study shows clearly that, cAbd al-Qadir b. Al-Mustafa stands on a different plane, compared to his contemporaries. The study also demonstrates that as a scholar of distinction Dantafa did not confine himself only to the traditional system of scholarship existing at the time, but he ventured to explore the forbidden horizons of philosophy and mystical philosophy considered generally by Muslim orthodoxy to be heretical if not diversionary disciplines. It is to be noted here that not all of Dantafa’s writings are confined to intellectual and academic endeavours per se. Some of these writings, especially the political and historical, bear on the concrete socio-political reality of his people. The study demonstrates that as an intellectual, and inspite of his commitment to Sufism, Dantafa was playing an active role in the politics of the Sokoto Caliphate, such as, the appointing of a new Amir al-Mu’miunin, diffusing political tension among the community of the Mujahidun regarding the interpretation of complex problems which faced his people at the time, and defending the integrity of the Sokoto Caliphate against the claims of some ambitious political figures, like Shaykh Ahmad Lobbo al-Masini.
In short, this study attempts to give an account of the social, political, and intellectual life of one of the most outstanding African intellectuals of the nineteenth century. The author hopes that this is a beginning of serious investigation into the life and times of the leadership of the 19th century Sokoto Jihad. Further investigation into the lives and activities of intellectuals like cUmar al-Wali of Zaria (d. Ca.1900) and Modibbo Raji of Gwandu and later yola (d.1866) may reveal the complex nature of the nineteenth century Jihad movement in this part of the world.
This study is made up of two parts. The first part deals with the life and works of cAbd al-Qadir b. al-Mustafa. The second part is on edition and translation of two of his historical works, namely: ‘Akhbar Hadhihi al-Bilad al-Hausiyya wa al-Sudaniyya, commonly known as Raudat al-‘Afkar, and Qata’if al-Jinan fi ‘Ahwal ‘Ard al-Sudan. The purpose of the edition and translation is to give an insight into cAbd al-Qadir b. al-Mustafa’s intellectual work and since this study is concerned with history, the present author has chosen the same historical works of cAbd al-Qadir, to show the extent to which the Sokoto intellectuals were grappling with history. Another reason for the edition and translation of these two indispensable historical works is to make available to the students of history, useful data for the proper and factual analysis of the historiography of the Sokoto Jihad, especially when it is realized that not many of such students are equipped with the Arabic language.
Part one of this thesis consists of four chapters and a brief conclusion. The first chapter gives an account of the socio-political background of cAbd al-Qadir b. al-Mustafa. A brief survey of the social and political conditions in the western Hausaland is provided as a prelude to the study of the personality of cAbd al-Qadir b. al-Mustafa. Dantafa’s family background is also discussed in some detail in this chapter. The chapter discusses also cAbd al-Qadir b. al-Mustafa’s education, his attitude towards the Sokoto Caliphate’s educational policy and his position on the Sokoto political polemics. cAbd al-Qadir’s active role in the Jihad wars of the Sokoto Caliphate against its enemies is also examined in the chapter. There is also the discussion on the emergence of cAbd al-Qadir b. al-Mustafa as a distinguished political figure who defends the interests of the Caliphate. Dantafa’s assessment of the political events in the Sokoto Caliphate after the death of Muhammad Bello in 1837 is focused on in some detail in this chapter.
The focus of chapter II is the Sufi traditions in Hausaland before 1837 as a background to studying the philosophical reflections of cAbd al-Qadir b. al-Mustafa. A sketch of the historical development of Sufism from the early days of Islam, different trends in Sufism and the emergence of Sufi Orders is adequately taken care of in the second chapter. The introduction and the impact of the two most dominant Sufi Orders: the Qadiriyya and the Tijaniyya on the leaders of the Sokoto Jihad is traced also in this chapter. The chapter also discusses the Sufi linkages between the Kunta Shaykhs of the Qadiriyya in Timbuktu-Azwad on one hand and the Sokoto Jihad leaders on the other. It closes with the discussion on the emergence of the Tijaniyya Order as a rival Sufi Order to the Qadiriyya in Hausaland.
A detailed analysis of cAbd al-Qadir b. al-Mustafa’s philosophical reflections and his school of mystical philosophy is given in chapter three. Philosophical notions like ‘Quranic Reasoning’ ‘Being and Existence’ ‘Islamic Concept of Man’ and “The Theory of Knowledge’ as philosophically conceived by Dantafa are thoroughly examined and placed within a wider philosophical context. Dantafa’s search for the ‘Perfect Man’ is examined also in this chapter and related to the dispensation of the founder of the doctrine, cAbd al-karim al-Jili. This is further linked with the pattern of cAbd al-Qadir’s thought and style.
Chapter four, focuses on cAb d al-Qadir b. al-Mstafa as a historian of the Sokoto Caliphate. The chapter draws heavily on the edition and translation of ‘Akhbar and Qata’if as indicated in the footnotes. The quotations in the chapter are taken also from the translation of the two works.
A condensed discussion of the historical traditions as they existed in Hausaland before 1804 is given in the study. This is followed by an examination of the meaning and the object of history in the context of the Sokoto Jihad. An examination of cAbd al-Qadir’s historical writings: the general and biographical is made in this chapter. This analysis is followed by Dantafa’s perspective and historical methodology as he applies them to his historical writings. The last part of this chapter, examines the sources which cAbd al-Qadir used, internal and external, oral and written, for writing his historical books. The chapter closes with a discussion of the objectivity and the bias which Dantafa reveals in his history books.
The brief general conclusion gives among other things suggestion for further historical investigations into the realm of philosophy in the Sokoto Caliphate.
Part II of the thesis consists of edition nand translation of ‘Akhbar Hadhihi al-Bilad al-Hausiyya wa al-Sudaniyya and Qata’if al-Jinan fi Ahwal Ard al-Sudan. All the known techniques of edition and translation of Arabic manuscripts are applied in the second part of this study with a view to making it what it is now.
7. ENOCH OYEWOLA OYEDELE
COLONIAL URBANISATION IN NORTHERN NIGERIA; KADUNA 1913 – 1960 JUNE 1987
This thesis focuses on the establishment and development of Kaduna as the capital of Northern Nigeria. The thesis examines the nature, functions and growth of Kaduna from its inception in 1912 as a small settlement into a bustling and cosmopolitan colonial city of tremendous status not only because of its large population but also its political might and economic standing within the Nigerian nation state by the end of colonial rule in 1960.
We argue in the thesis that the British colonial government through its policies and programmes influenced the decisions and actions of individual Nigerians and British private firms with respect to where they settled and worked. The colonial economy and administrative policies in Nigeria were basically on the same principle: to work as far as possible within the existing system but to reorganize it so as to facilitate the achievement of the colonial goals of exploitation and domination. Therefore the pre-colonial urban and administrative systems were reorganized drastically to serve British economic interests and where necessary new-ones such as Kaduna were added.
Our analyses showed that Kaduna was selected in 1912 by the colonial government as the most strategic location for the colonial domination of northern Nigeria. The study therefore spans a period of about half a century of the city’s growth from the time of its establishment in 1913 to 1960, the end of the colonial era.
We showed that Kaduna developed in the first instance in a dual capacity as a garrison town and the capital city of Northern Nigeria. These functions of the city largely determined its nature and pattern of growth. But from 1957 a third function was added as part of the process of decolonization. From that year it developed as an important industrial centre in the region, only second to Kano in importance.
Our study of Kaduna’s history, 1913 to 1960 has shown that it can be regarded as a good example of a colonial city. It exhibits most of the characteristics which represent the nature and essence of the colonial system. Although colonialism had had a visible impact on all urban centres of Nigeria, whether old or new, however, Kaduna being a creation of the colonial government brings out all the essential features of colonial urbanization in what may even be called a ‘pure’ form whereas in towns such as Kano and Zaria, colonial structures have been grafted unto an already existing institutional framework.
We argue that to meaningfully reconstruct Kaduna’s history, we must see it as a town whose very existence was dependent on a wider system of economic, political and social forces and whose nature cannot be understood except in relation to those forces. The institutional structures of Kaduna have been examined under the political economy of the region, migration, residential development and politico-administrative structures.
The major impact of British colonial policies and practice on Kaduna’s growth were examined.
8. KABIRU SULAIMAN CHAFE
THE STATE AND ECONOMY IN THE SOKOTO CALIPHATE: POLICIES AND PRACTICES IN THE METROPOLITAN DISTRICTS, C.1804-1903 A.D 1992.
The study is on the socio-economic policies and practices of the Sokoto Caliphate with particular reference to the metropolitan districts in the period 1804 to 1903 A.D. The main thrust of the study is to examine the social and economic origins of the Caliphate so as to have insight into the social conditions that produced the economic programme of the Caliphate government. This endeavour involves looking into what the Caliphate government found to be the condition of the economy when it came into being, and the nature and significance of the policies it pursued in the light of the jihad ideals that informed the programmes of the Caliphate administration. Words and deeds are treated in the context of changes or lack of them in the social relations of production. Our intention is to illuminate the nature and significance of the socio-economic progress brought about by the Caliphate government in the Metropolitan districts of the Sokoto Caliphate.
Chapter one examines the political, social and economic structures of the political communities that formed the core of the genesis of the Sokoto jihad movement. The chapter provides an insight into the political, social and economic conditions which the Caliphate leadership found in the area in which the Metropolitan Caliphate was to be situated. It further examines how the jihad movement was related to the contradictions in the social, economic and political structures of the polities of the Rima Basin area.
In chapter two, attempts are made to examine the economic programme of the Caliphate government. This focuses on the economic philosophy of the caliphal leadership that was propounded during the early years of the movement and the first four decades of the Caliphate. The chapter, thus, gives an insight into the social and economic basis of the Caliphate.
Chapter three examines the economic structures of the Metropolitan Caliphate. It focuses on the pattern of land tenure, the nature and pattern of agricultural development and animal husbandry. Attempts are made to examine the role of the state in land ownership and its resource use; forms of land acquisitions; the nature and growth of agricultural production; aspects of cultivation techniques, agrarian crisis and the nature of its management; as well as the changing nature in practices connected with pastoralism and animal husbandry in the light of the sedentarisation policies pursued in the Metropolitan districts of the Caliphate.
In chapter four we treat the developmental framework of the crafts industries as the primes of the manufacturing sector of the economy. We thus examine the organization and pattern of commodity production within the context of growth and development of industrial activity in the Caliphate. This chapter further discusses the nature of commercial activities, merchant capital, and the organization and nature of professional groups; their services and role in the Caliphate’s social production.
It is chapter five that examines the nature and significance of the institution of slavery and the slave labour in relation to the other forms of social labour in social reproduction of the caliphal system. This chapter critically examine the validity or otherwise of the use of the concept of the slavery mode of production, or any of its variants, in understanding the nature of the institution of slavery itself and the impact of slave labour in social production in the Caliphate. The chapter further discusses the nature of slaves’ resistance and protest, the economics of slavery as well as the nature and significance of the non-slavery forms of labour in social relations.
Chapter six is devoted to the general conclusion of our study. We therefore provide concluding remarks on the economic structure of the Caliphate, the Caliphate’s social formation that illuminates the dominant productive relations, the nature of social relations and their changing pattern, as well as the nature of classes and their material basis within the caliphal system. We thus attempt to sketch out the substance of the nature of social development in the Caliphate, and its significance in relation to the strength and the weakness of the Caliphal arrangement in the nineteenth century.
9. ALKASUM ABBA
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE NORTHERN ELEMENTS PROGRESSIVE UNION (NEPU) IN THE POLITICS OF NIGERIA, 1950 – 1960 Sept.2000.
The conquest, in piecemeal, of the territory that came to be called Nigeria started from 1851. By 1861 Lagos was acquired by the British, through the use of military force, as a colony. This was the first part of Nigeria to be formally colonized by a European power. It took another five decades before the British imperial state could subjugate the whole of the area that came to be Nigeria into a compact colonial territory.
The British conquest of hitherto independent polities in the Nigerian area sparked off nationalism. This nationalism first manifested itself in the form of the rejection of foreign domination, by resisting its imposition and revolting against its economic policies, especially in respect of taxes and levees.
As the first part of Nigeria to be subjected to foreign rule, Lagos came to play a dominant role in the struggle against the British. This may not be unconnected with the fact that people in Lagos, were the first to understand the British system, including the method of agitations. And they used these to stir nationalist sentiments. Although the Lagos elite confined themselves to agitating to secure better conditions of life from the colonial government, they did so right from the word go as Nigerians and not as Lagosians. This was why the first political party to be established inn Nigeria, by the Lagos elite was called the Nigerian National Democratic Party, NNDP, even though its activities were confined to Lagos and that it did not even open a single branch outside Lagos. Subsequent political parties formed in Lagos extended to other parts of Nigeria. These were the Nigerian youth Movement, NYM, and the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons, NCNC.
The Second World War period intensified nationalism struggles in Nigeria. This begun with the 1945 General Strike and the NCNC national mobilization campaign tour against the imposition of the Richards’ Constitution in 1946. The attempt to create a pan-Nigerian political movement by the NCNC was not a welcome development to the British. It came up with the Richards’ Constitution, to face the challenge of radical nationalism. It aimed at giving considerable autonomy to the three regions. This was perceived by the pan-Nigerian nationalists under the umbrella of the NCNC as divide and rule tactics.
The attempt by the NCNC led pan-Nigerian nationalists to fight the Richards’ Constitution, hardened the position of the section of the Nigerian nationalists who favoured regionalism. This contributed to the emergence of the Egbe Omo Oduduwa, the Society of the Descendents of Oduduwa, in 1948, in Lagos and the Western Region and the regrouping of the Native Authority notables in the Northern Region, around the Northern Region House of Assembly, which was set up in 1947, in accordance with the provisions of the Richards’ Constitution. it was this group that came to establish the Northern People’s Congress, NPC, in 1951. From their emergence in 1947, as legislators, at the centre and the region, the NA notables were on the offensive, ferociously attacking any individual or political party favouring pan-Nigerian nationalism.
Thus through their political activities in and out of the legislative assemblies, in Lagos and Kaduna, the NA notables build themselves up as the spokespersons of the Northern Region, its people, its culture and its ‘fine traditions.” This reached its climax during the Constitutional Conference held in Ibadan in 1950 when they threatened to revert back to 1914 if their demand for 50% representation in the House of Representatives was not given to them.
In order to block this move by the NA notables to break Nigeria, the pan-Nigerian nationalists in Northern Nigeria set up a political party to challenge them. This party, Northern Elements Progressive Union, NEPU, became an important vehicle for challenging and checking the NA notables. It became an entirely northern political party because the attempt to break Nigeria, or, turn it into a confederation was spearheaded by the NA notables, who often justified their actions on the claim of the uniqueness of the region, in terms of tradition and history from the rest of Nigeria, particularly, its backwardness in education and other aspects of human development, relative to the other two southern regions.
When the NEPU emerged, it faced fundamental problems with respect to the development of democracy in Nigeria in general, and in, Northern Nigeria in particular. There was the issue of democratic elections into the organs of government. The NEPU challenged the undemocratic nature of the indirect elections introduced by the Macpherson Constitution, which was used by the colonial government to impose, in the name of election, NA notables in the legislative assemblies at the centre, in Lagos and at the region, in Kaduna. In this indirect election system, only the primary stage of the election was open to the ordinary people. The next three or four stages were all used to pollute and undermine the popular primary stage where the ordinary people gave their mandate. The Native Authorities were given the power to inject 10% of the electors at every stage after the primary stage. As a result of this, the popular candidates failed to reach the final stage and even where they did, they failed to get elected. Therefore, it was the NA notables who had lost at the primary stage or did not even contest, at that stage, who ended up getting “elected” into the legislative assemblies at Kaduna and Lagos.
Although this was an improvement from the “election” provisions under the Richards’ Constitution where the NA notables were directly appointed legislators, the system lacked basic, or, elementary democracy. The NEPU, therefore, called for the total democratization of the electoral process through the introduction of direct elections and the adoption of universal adult suffrage throughout the Northern Region. The colonial government, which did not want democracy to develop and flourish in Northern Nigeria, became the main impediments to the realization of this objective. The NEPU sent three protest delegations to the Secretary of State for the Colonial Affairs, on this issue of democratizing the elections in Northern Nigeria, but did not receive positive response. Indeed during one of these protest delegations, the Minister of State for the Colonial Affairs even told the NEPU that it took the British 800 years to achieve democracy. Therefore, the NEPU should not be hurrying change in the Northern Region and that the party should give the constitution a chance.
Apart from the issue of democratic elections, the NEPU was also concerned about promoting and protecting fundamental human rights in the Northern Region. This was in recognition of the fact that democracy would not thrive in a society where human rights were flagrantly abused. Indeed, the abuse of human rights is in itself, a manifestation of lack of democracy in a society. In this respect, the NEPU fought against forced labour, unjust taxation, the respect of the human person, amongst others.
As the political party of the Talakawa, the NEPU identified itself with the aspirations of the ordinary people. It was in this context that the party served as the vehicle for the airing of the grievances of the people, the protection of their rights and their rallying point. This role which the NEPU assumed infuriated the British and made them to evolve the policy of listening to, or, entertaining grievances of the ordinary people only when they were channeled, or, aired through the organs of the government and its officials but not through a political party, particularly the NEPU.
Through its activities within the region, and its alliance with the NCNC, which left the affairs of the Northern Region, largely in its own hand, the NEPU was able to contribute significantly to the political development of Northern Nigeria in particular, and Nigeria in general. But the NEPU did not find it easy with the NPC and the colonial government officials, most of whom also favoured the NPC. The situation of the NEPU was also made difficult by its political commitment to thoroughly democratize the autocratic NA system, which constituted the power base of the colonial government and the NPC. Its members, supporters and leaders had to endure physical attacks, imprisonment and numerous other humiliations in the hands of the NA notables who controlled the NPC. But the NEPU was able to struggle and survive to make Nigeria a reality on 1st October 1960.
10. HANNATU A. ALAHIRA
THE ROLE OF WOMEN IN THE COLONIAL ECONOMY OF NORTHERN NIGERIA: A CASE OF THE BEROM OF THE JOS PLATEAU, 1900 – 1960. 2001
The focus of the thesis is on the role of Berom women in the colonial economy of the Jos Plateau. The study has shown that Berom women played a complementary role with men in the household/lineage based pre-colonial economy. But the right to take decisions on the allocation and use of land was vested on the heads of families, households, clans and lineages, who were all males. However, complementary gender relationships granted pre-colonial Berom women some measures of economic and social security within the household economy, which guaranteed them some basic needs, such as food, shelter and ornaments. In spite of this, certain traditional practices like inheritance acted as fetters, which did not grant women appreciable autonomy and equality. Berom women served as an important and necessary labour in agricultural production. Both the official and unofficial marriages such as the Njem relationship was a very important source of labour especially in the absence of indentured and wage labour.
We also showed that the integration of the household economies into the international capitalist economy from the first decade of the 20th century widened the gap between classes and sexual inequality. We showed too that the mining industry and colonial agricultural policies had negative impact on women and agricultural development on the Plateau. The British agricultural policies resulted in the total neglect of subsistence agriculture and food crop production, which was left in the hands of peasant producers, who were mainly women. Women’s role in the domestic economy and subsistence agriculture was indispensable to the colonial state because it helped to subsidise capitalist exploitation through the payment of low wages to colonial civil servants and labourers in the mines who were mostly men. Women did not play a major role in the mining sector not as carriers of sand, provision of social services such as cooking, selling of firewood, entertainment, etc. Indeed the colonial government was gender-biased and gender-blind in the economic policies, which were designed to make capitalist exploitation possible.
The study has shown that Berom women experienced relative autonomy and self realization from modernization that came with colonialism but lost their relative social and family security and complimentarity of labour which they enjoyed in the pre-colonial society. Thus Berom women remained dehumanized and exploited under colonialism in which they bore the double burden of exploitation by colonialism and men. Thus the overall impact of colonialism on the Berom society was the breakdown of their traditional socio-economic and family structure leaving a fractured community in which women were left to bear the socio-economic burden of maintaining and subsidizing capital exploitation within and outside the family by their increased roles in subsistent agricultural production and their partial incorporation into the colonial civil service and tin mining industry. This resulted in the creation of gender roles that were less complementary, more competitive and more exploitative of women.
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Return to Table of Contents
Bowing to pressure from within and outside the country, the newly elected democratic government in Nigeria led by President Umar Yar’Adua is being challenged to restore faith in the political scene and find solutions to the Niger Delta violence, and ethno-religious conflict. The new administration has declared to “use every resource available … to address this crisis in a spirit of fairness, justice and cooperation” (Guardian newspaper, Friday June1, 2007). In this realization, the Nigerian Vice President reportedly visited some conflict resolution institutions abroad shortly after swearing in to office, scouting for expert advice and assistance to stem resource-based conflicts in Nigeria (Guardian, June 1, 2007). This is an optimistic step from a new generation of leaders who want to give Nigeria a new image.
The fact that the Federal government now acknowledges the threat posed by ethnic conflicts to the country’s new democracy, and that present institutional mechanism (path-way) to stem its spread has been ineffective, indicates that conflict management institutions in Nigeria have reached a “critical juncture”. A new strategy has to be proffered to answer the question of how ethnic conflict situations can be managed and subsequently transformed into constructive channels based on democratic principles.
In the past “legacies of critical juncture” have been left by former dictators and civilian leaders. ‘Prebendal” elites and governments in Nigeria were probably unaware that they were engaging in institutional decisions, or actions with major future consequences. What these leaders failed to understand and do was craft a long-term strategy that takes cognizance of the pertinent issues of the country’s “national question” and cultural diversity. Sequel to these, this article will explore historical sources and reasons for Nigeria’s critical situation in conflict management. I will argue that Nigerians need constructive and empathetic dialogue among themselves to resolve differences, deliberate upon salient national questions, and work out the modalities for ensuring harmonious ethnic relationships strained since independence.
For some time, scholars have been trying to conceptualize ethnicity and ethnic conflict. Most of these scholars believe that without understanding this phenomenon, it will be difficult to address problems caused by ethnicity. Some times ethnic conflict is used to describe conflicts that have nothing to do with ethnicity. Ethnic conflict could be defined as deep-rooted strife between different groups in the bid to either control state power or access more goods than distributed by the state. This definition is acceptable to Michael Brown (1993:4) who concurs that “it stands for a dispute about important political, economic, social, cultural, or territorial issues between two or more ethnic communities.” Analytically this definition however does not imply that ethnicity is at the center of conflict. “Only when ethnic memberships are used consciously to distinguish the opposing actors in a conflict situation and become powerful mobilizing symbols then ethnicity becomes a key feature of conflict.” ( Aklaev, 1999)
Before going further, I will like to state that ethnic groups are understood to be a community of people who share cultural, linguistic characteristics, including history, tradition, myth, and origin. In this regards ethnicity is often referred to as the character or quality of an ethnic group, resulting from cultural or racial relationship. It also refers to the behavior and feelings about oneself and others, that emanates from membership of an ethnic group .Therefore ethnicity is a contact phenomenon (see Nnoli, 1980).
In Nigeria ethnicity is a salient identity. Nigerians often define themselves in terms of their ethnic affiliations. A survey on the ‘attitudes to Democracy and market in Nigeria” conducted in year 2000 by scholars supported the saliency of ethnicity in the society. According to the survey almost half (48.2 percent) of Nigerians chose to label themselves with ethnic (including linguistic and local-regional) identity, compared to 28.4 percent who opted for class identities, and 21 percent who chose religious identity (as cited in Lewis and Bratton, 2000: 24-27). From indication there is a strong affection to primordial ties that is to family, kith and kin than to class. Most of this was the result of colonialism that created false groups and gave them identities to defend. However part of the blame goes to post colonial governments in Nigeria who owned up these imagined identities and re-enforced them. According to estimates, there are about 248 ethnic groups in Nigeria (Coleman, 1958).
There is a rich literature on the causes and dynamics of ethnic conflicts (Horowitz, 1985; Rothschild, 1996). Scholars are of the view that ethnic conflicts are results of discriminatory economic policies. In some African countries it has been observed that leaders of dominant ethnic groups misuse state office and power to distribute wealth and resources unequally, favoring their own ethnic communities. The unequal distribution of resources (land, income, housing, employment rights, and social amenities) constitutes one of the major triggers of ethnic conflicts.
In his study, Nnoli (1980) produced empirical examples supporting the socio-economic factors and role in ethnic conflict in Nigeria. According to J.S. Furnival cited in Nnoli (ibid: 72-3) “the working of economic forces makes for tension between groups with competing interests.” In the case of South Africa, Gerhard Mare (1993) confirms that ethnic conflict and ethnicity appear to be the most appropriate response to the uneven economic development in South Africa which caused ethnic groups, like the Zulus, Xhosas, and Boers, to mobilize to compete for scarce economic resources, thus instrumentalizing ethnicity. Ted Gurrs (1970) relative deprivation theory is equally supportive, being based on the contrast between the actual access to power and economic resources by the group. It is therefore easy to see why disadvantaged and marginalized groups would rally round an ethnic entrepreneur or war lord to confront the state for their needs. Suffice it to say that multi-ethnic countries are likely to experience re-distributive or resource conflicts.
Fueling this climate of economic discrimination are human beliefs and attitudes held by many ethnic community members in multi-ethnic nations as well as structural problems.
A major cause of ethnic conflict is a psychological one pointing to the fear, and insecurity of specific groups, especially during transition and change in a country. Ethnic warlords operating within groups build upon these fears of uncertainty and insecurity to polarize the society. Additionally, political memories of the past also magnify these anxieties and fear, driving groups further apart. Memories of historical defeats are always part of ethnic conflicts. A good example is the dispute between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland, during the annual victory march. For Serbians and Croatians, the incursions into Europe of Ottoman Sultans are a living reality. These memories are built on mythologies handed over to children and youths during socialization in families and schools, even through religious teachings.
State weakness breeds ethnic conflict. A theory of conflict popularized by two prominent scholars Lakes and Rothschild (1996) suggests that in a weak state, there is the temptation for leaders or elites to act with bias, favoring a particular ethnic group. Any preferential treatment is seen as a cursory for protest and conflict. State effectiveness is a prerequisite for managing ethnic conflict and it goes on with good governance.
A weak and ineffective state cannot guarantee ethnic equality and unbiased distribution of wealth. In Nigeria, there are the growing demands among groups and citizens for the state to be more aware of people’s hardship, but these the state negates, mainly because it lacks the institutional capacity to fulfill popular demands, and mediate ethnic disputes. And as a result public anger increases, competition for scarce resources intensifies and the society becomes more polarized.
Furthermore these state ineffectiveness and weakness redouble the intensity of nationalist sentiments, as ethnic militants demand the creation of effective national state to manage social problems (Snyder, 1993:81). As Gurr (1993:91) agrees, “strong states have the capacity both to suppress rebellions and to make significant concessions to protesters, weak states may be unable to do either.”
THEORETICAL APPROACH TO ETHNIC CONFLICT
Scholars have come out with different approaches to conceptualizing ethnicity, in spite of the disagreement and cacophony surrounding the real definition of this phenomenon. Faced with the proliferation of separatist conflicts and ‘un-meltable ethnicities’ in North America, the inadequacies underlying the modernization theory have been exposed. The notion that modernity would result in smooth transition from gemeinschaf (community) to gessellschaft (association), with gradual dissolution of ethnic affiliations, simply did not work, and ethnicity has persisted in the Americas, Africa and elsewhere. This failure simply means ethnicity will remain salient, and that stability of African states is threatened not by ethnicity per se but the failure of national institutions to recognize and accommodate ethnic differences and interests. The lesson for ethnic conflict management is that political arrangements should not discriminate against groups, or face conflict. Secondly, some social scientists from the primordial school stress the uniqueness and the overriding importance of ethnic identity. From their point of view, ethnicity is a biological and fixed character of individual communities.( Geertz, 1963; Shills, E.A., 1957; van den Berghe, 1981 ).
The third theoretical approach is the Instrumentalist (Barth.1969, Glazer and Moynihan, 1975) argument which stresses the situational aspect of the phenomenon used by political elite, groups or ethnic groups to achieve a particular goal. In Africa where poverty is the result of resource distributive injustice, ethnicity remains the effective means for survival and mobilization. These groups which classify themselves as ethnic according to economic expediency easily disband after achieving their objectives. This corresponds with Benedict Anderson’s (1983) argument that ethnicity is ‘a construct’ rather than a constant. Not only has this phenomenon taken a new meaning in the industrialized world, but also ethnic divisions have continued to handicap efforts at nation-building in Africa, in particular, after colonialism.
Sequel to this, the attention of scholars also shifted to understanding the nature of ethnic conflict and violence, because the post cold war era has been marked by the resurgence of ethnic conflict and even genocide, in some societies, like Rwanda and Bosnia. As a result different theoretical approaches have emerged, backing new studies on ethnic conflict.
Another important theory on conflict management is John Burtons (1979; 1997) human needs theory. This approach to ethnic conflict explains that ethnic groups fight because they are denied not only the biological needs, but also psychological needs that relate to growth and development. These include demand for identity, security, recognition, participation, and autonomy. In the context of good governance and legitimating, this theory is believed to provide a plausible explanation of ethnic conflicts in Africa, where such needs are not easily met by undemocratic regimes. The importance of this theory is that it tends to distance from the theories that blame African conflicts on primordial past or sentiment. Instead it points to the ineffective institutions for satisfying the basic human needs of citizens as probable cause. Wherever such non negotiable needs are not me or satisfied ethnic conflict is inevitable. Analytically, it behoves to opine that the problem from ethnicity in Africa would largely depend on the level of state effectiveness, accountability, and transparency in handling the demands, and issues of ethnic diversity.
According to theorists, conflict management could mean constructive handling of differences and divergence. It is believed to be an art of designing appropriate institutions to guide the inevitable conflict into appropriate channels for peace.
The importance of conflict management cannot be over emphasized. It is when leaders and states fail to address important issues and ‘basic needs,’ that conflict brews.
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