Identity Politics and National Integration in Nigeria: The Sexagenarian Experience
Nigeria celebrated sixty years of political independence in 2020 despite sustaining an array of gains and losses, especially regarding the nation’s inability to manage the several identities it houses and the potential they portend for national integration. Although, having plural identities should provide an opportunity for diversity-induced development, especially having stayed together since the cultural amalgamation 106 years ago (1914-2020), and since the country’s independence sixty years ago (1960-2020). This should have provided enough time frame to enable the region to solidify its cultural, lingual, ethnic, and religious differences to move towards national integration. However, the reality is contrasting, wherein peaceful coexistence and respect for rule of law are conspicuously inconsistent. This paper, thus, adopts a descriptive approach to dissect Nigeria’s sixty years of independence and the role identity politics has played in instituting national integration. The paper concludes that identity politics is as a result of colonial amalgamation and is indeed the bane of national integration in Nigeria. As a result, it is recommended that the arrangement of Nigeria’s governance should be restructured to represent a more united front, where the views, demands, choices, dreams, cultures, and aspirations of all groups are captured through a constitutional conference.