How Ethnicity Affects Nigerian Politics
Many communities viewed political power as the sole tool for correcting social and economic evils perpetrated by the colonial government and governments formed after independence. Furthermore, there is a psychological link between specific ethnic tribes and political parties in Africa. This is more so for Nigeria, which has hundreds of ethnic groups, all viewing political machinery as the only way of correcting acts of deprivation and discrimination by the state.
From a historical point of view, the current prevalence of ethnic politics in Nigeria was propagated by the British colonial rule as a strategic technique (divide and conquer) to conquer the nation. The British deliberately adopted the divide and conquer technique in order to segregate the tribes of Nigeria further, to prevent them from joining together and fighting against a common enemy. The British rewarded the tribes that collaborated with their direct rule by appointing local chiefs, who had a little autonomy over the region they were situated. However, the autonomy was not complete as they still answered to the British political hierarchy. On the other hand, for those tribes that resisted colonial rule, they were treated harshly and discriminated against, evidenced by the implementation of forced labour, corporal punishment and imposition of very high taxes aimed at impoverishing the locals and forcing them to concede and submit to British rule. ...Show more