ETHNIC – BASED SOCIAL GROUPS AND AGITATIONS FOR/AGAINST RESTRUCTURING IN NIGERIA
The gradual enthronement of individualism and atmosphere of freedom under the present democratic dispensation has led to resurgence of different agitations by ethnic-based social groups in Africa. In Nigeria, social groups formed by ethnic minorities from different geo-political zones continued to engage the State on issues relating to unity, peace, security, and equitable development. In recent times, on the basis of identity politics, some of these ethnic – based social groups such as Movement of the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND), Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), ‘Afenifere’, ‘Oha N’Eze Ndigbo’ The Middle Belt Forum (MBF), Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) and Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) etc. and their leaders have either canvassed for or against restructuring as panacea to challenges of unity and peace in the country. The dilemma here is that, their agitations, continued to threaten the unity, peace and security of Nigeria and their interest always clash with national interest. This paper seeks to identify and explain the sources of agitation for/against restructuring and the implication of this identity politics in Nigeria and Africa in general. The main argument of this paper is that agitations on the basis of identity politics in Nigeria and other African federal systems are expected where new demands by hitherto neglected and marginalised social groups are unattended to by the existing federal structures and institutions. (Word Count: 220)
Ethnic –based Social groups, Restructuring, Federal system, Nigeria
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