Negotiating Individual and Group Citizenship through State Creation in Nigeria

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Negotiating Individual and Group Citizenship through State Creation in Nigeria

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Publication 2-year master student thesis
Title Negotiating Individual and Group Citizenship through State Creation in Nigeria
Author(s) Gondyi, Nengak Daniel
Date 2013
English abstract
Nigeria operates a citizenship model which recognizes the rights and belonging of ethnic and culturally identified groups (ethnos) as distinct from, and prerequisite to those of individual citizens (demos). The rights of the ethnos are enforced at the sub-national (state) level of the Nigerian federation and are embodied in the exalted position granted in Nigeria’s constitution to indigenous ethnic groups and serve as a precondition to the rights of the individual citizens within the demos. The struggle to exert the rights and privileges of these groups has led to a continuous mobilization to create states as groups’ homeland and spheres of influence. The aim of my research is to investigate the dual levels of citizenship and how they are presented and negotiated in the process of state creation in Nigeria. The concepts of subjects, identity, ethnicity and nationalism are used as coding themes in the investigation of the research materials. Using data from 5 memoranda submitted to the parliament requesting the creation of new sub-units (states) in Nigeria; qualitative content analysis and supported by a theoretical discussion of identity, ethnicity, nationalism, the self and the other; this research sought to answer three research questions viz: How are identity and ethnicity conceived and deployed in the mobilization for the creation of new states in Nigeria? How is sameness (the ‘self’) and difference (the ‘Other’) presented in the mobilization for new states in Nigeria? How are the dual levels of citizenship explained and mobilized for state creation in Nigeria? Findings from my analysis show that state creation strengthens the citizenship of the ethnic groups thereby weakening that of individuals. Ethnicity and nationalism are used in the mobilization of the ethnos while the discourse of sameness was used to homogenize the subjects of the memoranda at the same time emphasizing the distinctness of perceived Others. Finally, the inclusiveness of groups seeking creation of new states points to the exclusion of those who do not share the dominant collective identity thus hinting on the possible need for new states for all groups in Nigeria.
Publisher Malmö högskola/Kultur och samhälle
Pages 62
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) Nigeria
State Creation
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