Central Data Catalog

Citation Information

Type Conference Paper - the 20th World Congress of the International Political Science Association (IPSA)
Title Oil and the national question in Nigeria: the case of the ethnic minorities in the Niger Delta.
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2006
URL http://paperroom.ipsa.org/app/webroot/papers/paper_5153.pdf
This study discusses one of the contradictions of Nigerian federalism as a design for accommodating ethnic - territorial
cleavages especially given the context of an oil - centric political economy and the legacies of hypercentralised military
rule. It investigates the impact of economic considerations in the ethnic minority conflict in Delta and Rivers States
from 1986 to 2006. In doing this, it establishes the impact of Nigeria’s political history, its economic base as well as
class / property relations (informed and determined, among others, by revenue generated from oil) on the groups in the
southern Delta. To this extent, it interrogates the political economy of Nigeria’s fiscal federalism with a view to
establishing whatever injustices and contradictions that exist within that arrangement against members of the different
nationalities - especially the oil - bearing communities (via the monopoly of oil revenue by the federal centre) as well as
how these in turn generate ethnic minority protests, struggles and other centrifugal tendencies and divisive
consequences. It argues that oil wealth and the activities of multinational (oil - prospecting) corporations are responsible
for the wide spread poverty, unemployment, exploitation of the people as well as the attendant violent activities and
other minority ferments ravaging the region.
The study situates various issues and dimensions of the national question discourse in Nigeria within appropriate
historical and theoretical perspectives. It probes the specific issues, events and developments, which inform how this
question is both defined and problematised over time (particularly in recent times) by various groups. It interrogates the
forms of responses by the post - colonial arrangement as well as their implications for resolving this critical question
on the continued existence of the Nigerian State. It is established that colonial - imperialism through the political and
administrative structures put in place by the colonial state (together with the internal dynamics, structures and social
forces within the post - colonial Nigerian State - created by the sustained logic of the colonial state) is responsible for
the form of federal state as well as the emergent nature of the national question which Nigeria inherited. These can be
supplanted mainly through radical and progressive struggles undertaken by the people in the bid towards overcoming
the obstacles to effective political integration. Finally, the study provides an economic assessment of the situations in
the southern Delta within the period under review. In doing this, it offers a political economy assessment as well as
approach towards the whole study. Issues discussed here revolve around: (i) the region’s contribution (s) to the fiscal
basis of the Nigerian State (ii) the politics of revenue allocation since independence, (particularly from 1986 - the
period of large scale military rule) to date; (iii) the historic experiences of the people (s) within this region and their
reactions overtime to their peculiar plights as occasioned by such experiences; (iv) the cumulative impact of such
reactions as well as the solutions suggested by members of this region and other Nigerians for resolving this persisting
historical debacle.

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