democratization interethnic relations

Ethnic militias and the threat to democracy in post-transition Nigeria

Upphovsperson: Agbu, Osita
Utgivare: Nordiska Afrikainstitutet | Uppsala : Nordiska Afrikainstitutet
År: 2004
Ämnesord: Armed forces, ethnic conflicts, democratization interethnic relations, militarism, violence, Nigeria, Peace and conflict research, Freds- och konfliktforskning
The democratic opening presented by Nigeria’s successful transition to civil rule (June 1998 to May 1999) unleashed a host of hitherto repressed or dormant political forces. Unfortunately, it has become increasingly difficult to differentiate between genuine demands by these forces on the state and outright criminality and mayhem. Post-transition Nigeria is experiencing the proliferation of ethnic militia movements purportedly representing, and seeking to protect, their ethnic interests in a country, which appears incapable of providing the basic welfare needs of its citizens. It is against the background of collective disenchantment with the Nigerian state, and the resurgence of ethnic identity politics that this research interrogates the growing challenge posed by ethnic militias to the Nigerian democracy project. The central thesis is that the over-centralization of power in Nigeria’s federal practice and the failure of post-transitional politics in genuinely addressing the “National Question, has resulted in the emergence of ethnic militias as a specific response to state incapacity. The short- and long-term threats posed by this development to Nigeria’s fragile democracy are real, and justify the call for a National Conference that will comprehensively address the demands of the ethnic nationalities.