The Nation State, Resource Conflict, and the Challenges of “Former Sovereignties” in Nigeria

by Ikechukwu Umejesi

Abstract

Opinion leaders in Europe have often expressed penitence over Europe’s colonial legacies. While these leaders rethink the roles of their nations in colonialism, human rights abuses arising from colonialism, and state formation elsewhere, the discourse underscores the need to revisit colonialism as an ideology, and the role of the nation state in grievance construction in Africa. This article revisits colonial ideology and examines how the colonial legacy of the nation state affects the internal security of postcolonial Nigeria. The aim is to understand grievance dynamics underlying the relationship between the state and local communities, and how this relationship has resulted in contestation for sovereignty between the Nigerian state and previously independent communities. Using archival and ethnographic data, the article focuses on selected coal and oil producing communities of Southeastern Nigeria and the Niger Delta region.

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Ikechukwu Umejesi is a Research Fellow in the Department of Sociology, University of South Africa, Pretoria. He is a 2009 YSP Fellow of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Laxenburg Austria