The fractured multi-ethnic state: contemporary Igbo quest for self-determination in Nigeria

SOURCE: African Identities
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2013
TITLE AUTHOR(S): G.Onuoha
KEYWORDS: ETHNICITY, IDENTITY, NIGERIA, POLITICS
DEPARTMENT: Democracy, Governance and Service Delivery (DGSD)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 7674

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Abstract

Against the backdrop of the continued crisis of state legitimacy, precarious balance between ethnic groups, and a predatory and authoritarian political culture, this article examines the 'Igbo Question' and manifestations of contemporary Igbo nationalism through the activities of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB). It argues that the peculiarity of Igbo/MASSOB quest for self-determination stems from a prior idea of statehood by the Igbo ethnic group between 1967 and 1970, and a function of the failure of the Nigerian state to manage key aspects of the national question. Four decades after the civil war, MASSOB?s quest for statehood and independence from Nigeria is still couched in terms of Igbo perceptions of marginalisation and exclusion from the Nigerian nation-state project. Imbued with its own contradictions and structural limitations, the Nigerian state unveils the fragmentation, paradoxes and challenges, which must be resolved in order to accommodate its multi-ethnic constituencies.