Ethno-Religious Conflicts and the Restructuring of Nigeria Debate: Issues, Trends and Perspectives
Keywords:Conflict, Ethnicity, Politics, Religion, and Restructuring
One of the burning national issues in Nigeria in recent times is the issue of political restructuring. Nigeriaâ€™s ethnic and religious diversities have always influenced political decisions since the amalgamation in 1914. Several administrations, both colonial and post-independence, have fashioned out different political structures for the country. Currently, Nigeria operates a unique federal system in which the federal government wields enormous powers while the federating units are mere subordinates. In recent times, there has been clamour from different quarters for the political restructuring of the country. This paper examined the restructuring debate in the light of the countryâ€™s ethnic and religious diversities which have given rise to ethno-religious conflicts which have led to loss of lives and destruction of property in recent times. Political restructuring in the context of this study is the decentralization of political power in the country to ensure political balance among various ethnic and religious groups. Findings show that the fundamental issues that gave rise to the call for restructuring include ethnic diversity, religious pluralism and marginalization in the political equation of the country. These have fuelled ethno-religious conflicts which have ravaged most parts of the country. The paper recommends among others a form of political structure in which the federating units should be given the powers to manage their affairs in line with their ethnic and religious affiliations. It is believed that this will reduce the level of ethno-religious conflicts in the country.
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