Ethnic Pluralism in Nigeria, Adverse Effects and the Way Forward

International Journal of Research and Innovation in Social Science (IJRISS) | Volume III, Issue II, February 2019 | ISSN 2454–6186

Ethnic Pluralism in Nigeria, Adverse Effects and the Way Forward

Aboh, Fidelis Isomkwo & Okom, Emmanuel Njor

 University of Calabar, Nigeria

Abstract: – If Nigeria is a project that requires the collective efforts of the diversity of its ethnic nationalities to survive, then we are faced with a threat of its collapse as a single entity given the perception of its constituents about national issues along the lines of ethnic divide. As a socio-political entity run according to the principles of federalism, one would think that the unity-in-diversity ideology of national integration should be upheld rather than the diversity-in-unity ideology. Politics, work and business opportunities, admissions into schools (especially tertiary institutions), sharing of the national largess, marriages, to mention but a few, are all conducted along the lines of divisive ethnic consciousness. This is a desktop research which looked at the problems of ethnic pluralism as they affect the corporate existence of Nigeria as a unitary entity. It also proffered solution on the way out of the woods of divisive ethnic consciousness.

Keywords: project, functionalism, Socio-political, ethnic consciousness, cultural pluralism


Functionalism as system of social interaction and integration, based on the principles of cohesion, harmony and conformity, analogously compares itself to the human biological system having many parts working in harmony for the success and survival of the whole. Consequently, if one part or member of the system is sick or dysfunctional it affects the whole system. Therefore, from the functionalist perspective, Nigeria is a socio-political and multi-cultural organism having diverse ethnic nationalities as parts working in social institutions for the survival of the whole. Where some ethnic groups see themselves as superior, or more deserving of the national cake than others, and begin to act along this line, it amounts to prebendalism where national conventions and due process are subverted or sacrificed on the altar of ethnicity, favouritism and nepotism. Ojo (2014) noted that colonialism in Nigeria is the genesis of the marriage of the diverse ethnic nationalities in Nigeria that has resulted in prebendal politics and ethnic biases. Fundamentally then, many ethnic nationalities see Nigeria as a mistake of the British colonial masters which must be undone.

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