PROBLEMS OF ETHNIC INTEGRATION IN NIGERIAN
- BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The history of ethnicity and ethnic conflicts in Nigeria also traces back to the colonial transgressions that forced the ethnic groups of the Northern and Southern provinces to become an entity called Nigeria in 1914. Since the various ethnic groups living in these provinces were not consulted regarding the merger; and this British colonial policy was autocratic and this led to conflict. It denied the peoples basic needs of participation, in equality and social wellbeing.
An administration that endorses segregation for its people does not have the unity of the country at heart. Rather the separate governments introduced in the North and South were designed to strengthen the colonial grip of Nigerian society and weaken the people’s potentials for resistance. This era of provincial development, through relatively peaceful also led to growing ethnocentrism.
The introduction of “indirect rule” in Nigeria by Lord Fredrick Lugard, the Chief Administrator was not the appropriate mechanism for managing tribal amonisities in the country.
The system not only reinforced ethnic division “it has complicated the task of welding diverse elements into a Nigerian Nation” Coleman, (1958: 194) as cited in Nnoli, (1980: 113).
This strategy of governance distanced ethnic groups from each other. Lord Frederick Lugard gave power to traditional rulers who corruptly used in the villages to a mass wealth, land and established patronage network which in the land run encouraged tribalism and nepotism.
Ethnic conflicts in Nigeria continue through the democratic transition. Olusagun Obasanjo, a civilian, has been president for several years, however, conflict continues to escalate as various ethnic groups demands urgent action to mend it. But what is most worrisome is the religious dimension of ethnic competition for power and oil wealth in Nigeria.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
To examine the problems of ethnic integration in Nigeria ethnic and religious issues as part of the most receiving issues in Nigeria. The issues has permutated the landscape since the colonial period and up till the present time, there seems to be no solution in sight to the accompanying conflicts of ethnic to the religious tolerance.
The dominant and monitory ethnic groups treat each other with suspicious and the different religious groups world view clash at the slightest provocation. Institutional efforts were made to satiate these tendencies since independence in 1960 has proved abortive. The long years of military rule increased the gap of distrust as the elites deliberately employed state power to purse primordial sentiments there by increasing the gap of in tolerance in Nigeria.
The introduction of the Sharia Legal System introduced another dimension into the force. As the Muslims justifies its introduction as part of the dividends of democracy, the Christians sees its introduction as contrary to the spirit of democracy as provided for in section 10 of the 1979 and 1999 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria which states that “the government of the federation or of a state religion”.
The above brings about the fact that the real causes of ethnic integration problems in Nigeria is not so much based on the level of ethnic, difference, secularism or religious differences but fears of political denomination of one ethnic or religious group by another.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
This research work assesses the effectiveness of the ethnic integration in political, cultural and social development in Nigeria, particularly in Eket. The specific objectives of the study will include:
- To examine the ethnic structure, governance and in equability in Eket.
- To analyze the role of the government in the unification of the ethnic groups.
- To examine the achievement recorded so far toward ethnic integration in the state.
1.4 THE RESEARCH QUESTION
The central problems which the study intend to unravel is how integration can harmonized or eliminate in ethnic conflicts in Eket. This work will assess the effectiveness of ethnic integration in Eket and the political, cultural and social development in Nigeria. The following research question where formulated to guide this research study.
- To what extent does integration eliminate ethnic conflict in Eket.
- What roles does religion play in the integration of Nigeria?
- How does the heterogeneous nature of the country contribute to her national disintegration?
1.5 THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The research will assess and state the problems of ethnic integration in Nigeria as it affect the political, cultural and social development of Nigeria, it will be a useful document to the general public and will also be topic related to ethnicity, national integration and political development.
1.6 THE SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study will focus on the problems of ethnic integration in Nigeria. However, the scope of the study will be limited to ethnic policies and problem of integration in Akwa Ibom State.
1.7 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
This study will be limited by transportation cost, time and limited resources.
1.8 THE DEFINITION OF TERMS
ETHNIC: According to Advance Learners Dictionary, ethnic refers to a person belonging to an ethnic group. It also signifies a natural or racial group of people.
HETEROGENEOUS: Heterogeneous means combining of parts or things that are very different from each other. It also means diverse in character or content.
INTEGRATION: Integration is the process of combining two or more things in order to become more effectives. It also means the process of mixing people who have previously been separated usually because of colour, race, and religion. It also means to mix with and join society or group of people often changing the suit their way of life, habits and customs.
TRIBE: Tribe is a group of people often of related families who live together, sharing the same language, culture and history especially those who do not live in town or cities.
CONFLICT: Is an active disagreement between people with opposing opinion or principles. It is the incompatibility of interest between two parties.