Rethinking Nigeria's Conflicts of State Building and the Legal Imperatives Beyond Chinua Achebe's ‘There Was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra’

Автор: Njoku, Carol Ijeoma - подписаться на статьи автора
Журнал: Social Evolution & History. Volume 17, Number 1 / March 2018 - подписаться на статьи журнала



Among the lasting consequences of colonialism is the creation of a hybrid state structure that replaces the legacies of the precolonial indigenous social authority patterns with new western paradigms. Notwithstanding the very few exceptions in Africa, postcolonial states are besieged with conflicts some of which are ethnic-related or strug-gles to control power and natural resources. My paper examines the Nigerian conflicts as explored in Chinua Achebe's ‘There Was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra’ (2012). The analytical work examines the uncomfortable relationship that exists between the state and the sub-nationalities and how these undermine the politics of state building and the socioeconomic development in Nigeria. It further examines the intersection between political and economic conflicts and how these impact on the construction of law and power paradigm. Although Achebe’s narrative is very in-depth in the analysis of Nigerian colonial and postcolonial problems, it does not reflect on the challenges of over-centralization and effects on state building. My work explores this gap to show how Nigeria's highly centralized state structure subverts all efforts to achieve true democracy and en-courages dictatorship. I argue that the practice of true federalism or confederated state structure would restore autonomy of the states and sub-nationalities. Hence, the restoration of sub-national autonomy will create healthier cooperation among Nigeria's fragmented ethnic sub-nationalities and pave way for political stability and functional democracy.