INTER-ETHNIC RELATIONS IN THE POLITICAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE FORMER ADAMAWA PROVINCE OF GONGOLA STATE, NIGERIA – 1926
Ethnicity has, more often than not, been associated with the development processes of Third World generally, because of the ease by which the t>rocesse s can be interpreted in ethnic terms* For instance Nigeria’s political development has often assumed the posture of inter-ethnic struggles over the country’s affairs, which at times led to unfortunate consequences. For this reason, a lot of work has been done on the phenomenon (of ethnicity in Nigeris), of which this project forms a part. The study fucusses on the political relations between ethnic groups at a micro-level (i.e. provincial level), and the effects of their relations on the political development of the area of study (i.e. former Adamawa Province). It however emphasised those areas of the political relations that led to conflicts, without implying the absence of inter-ethnic harmony. The study reveals that among the causes of inter-ethnic frictions during the period under review, were the desire of some groups to get rid of Fulani aristooracy in some areas especially where it was imposed by the colonial administration, the desire of some ethnics to have greater opportunities to participate especially in their local affairs, ideological and power struggle between sthnic elites over self-interests and to some extent religeous differences. Majority of the cases can however be reduced to struggles between the elites in which the ethnic factor was used as a strategy to draw their ethnic folks into disputes they might not have otherwise .joined. There are clear cases of members from one ethnic group joining others from a different group to go against their group. Rather than seeking for the factors at play in such cases, they were generally, and erroneously referred to as cases of ethnicity. Such cases were common in Adamawa. Inter-ethnic political relations as well had great effects on the political development of the province, notably in the areas of administration, political participation, judicial reforms etc. For instance, it led to adjustments and re-adjustments of administrative units, sometimes, along ethnic lines, in response to the dictates of inter ethnic political relations. Administrative development !ias also taken the form of federation of political units where such a step promises the relation of ethnic needs. In the judicial field, relations between the ethnic groups led to the establishment of “ethnic” or customary courts, as various groups expressed their desires for such courts in their areas. – vii i – It also led to the up-grading of other similar courts that were already existing. These judicial reforms were aimed at ensuring the dispensation of justice, taking cognisance of the customary backgrounds of the various groups as a step towards ensuring inter ethnic harmony. One other area where inter ethnic political relations had their impact felt was political relations had their impact felth was political participation. A significant percentage of those hithertc considered politically-inactive became active participants in their local affairs. This was evident from the periodic increases in representative councils, division of portifolios among ethnic groups, the format.-on of ethnic associations and development of ethnic associations and development of ethnic movements etc
INTER-ETHNIC RELATIONS IN THE POLITICAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE FORMER ADAMAWA PROVINCE OF GONGOLA STATE, NIGERIA – 1926 – 1966.