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  • Writer's pictureEnyenaweh Research

The conversation on restructuring in Nigeria

The amalgamation of over 250 diverse ethnic nationalities from the two separate provinces, without their knowledge or consent, reportedly led to mutual suspicions and ethnic tensions among the various tribes who were afraid of being dominated by others[1]. Today, Nigeria is faced with various security challenges and restiveness threatening the very core of its existence. Such is seen in all types of agitations from different components making up the Nigerian Federation of which separatism is chief.

Secession is the withdrawal of a group from a larger entity, especially a political entity, but also from any organization, union or military alliance. A secession attempt might be violent or peaceful, but the goal is the creation of a new state or entity independent from an internationally recognized state. Separatism means an organized agitation for secession.

The recent re-emergence of secessionist agitations in Nigeria are more ethnic than anything else. Horowitz, noted that ethnicity-based secessionism is a special species of ethnic conflict[2]. Undoubtedly, Nigeria’s ethnic, religious and cultural heterogeneity is one of the many reasons why the country is susceptible to secessionist movements[3]. The copied western-style political systems have faced a lot of challenges in serving and addressing the heterogeneous ethnic composition, vast size, varied administrative practices, and controversial political and constitutional arrangements witnessed in Nigeria[4].

Image: The Will Nigeria

Ethnic inequality and associated marginalization is the core of ethnic turbulence and violence world-wide hence it would not be surprising should it spark off a separatist quest.[5] In addition, where one group thinks that they are superior to others and tend to lord it over them, the “inferior” group may tend to secede.[6]

The agitations for the restructuring of Nigeria, including the creation of more States, have remained unabated. The endless agitations for State creation have been motivated by the desire of allegedly marginalized peoples to be free from ethno-religious domination and/or have rapid socioeconomic development.

Nigeria’s political/institutional structure, which continues to concentrate power at the center is another factor that promotes secession. A head of state from one section of the country means perceived marginalization and fear of domination in the others. That has been the way Nigerians interpret power relations and has been the discourse since independence.

Of all the factors contributing to secessionist agitations in Nigeria, the growing number of marginalized masses is perhaps the most dangerous. The vast majority of these masses are youths as Nigeria’s current population median age is estimated to be around 18 years[7]. The lives of these large number of youths are increasingly becoming less affected by government, consequently, a large number of masses are unemployed, underemployed while the white-collar workers are grossly underpaid. Such may be a reason for separatist agitation as any particular group or groups feeling that they are deliberately side-lined by the government for political reasons may see secession as a way out.

Nigeria should devise a system that reduces the concentration of power at the center and more to the lower levels. The notion of restructuring the country is, therefore, not only desirable but necessary if Nigeria is to continue to remain as one nation, what is needed to ensure co-existence in Nigeria is an all-inclusive system of governance that is devoid of favoritism and nepotism.


[1] John Alechenu 2021 Secession agitations, killings a blot on 61st independence anniversary Secession agitations, killings a blot on 61st independence anniversary ( [2] HOROWITZ, DONALD L. “A RIGHT TO SECEDE?” Nomos, vol. 45, American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy, 2003, pp. 50–76, [3] Aliyu kwaife 2021 Why Do They Want To Secede? Why do they want to secede? - By: . | Dailytrust [4] Ezemenaka K.E., and Prouza J., “Biafra Resurgence: State Failure, Insecurity and Separatist Agitations in Nigeria” 2016 [5] Rindap M.R., and Auwal M.I., “Ethnic Minorities and The Nigerian State” An International Journal of Arts and Humanities Vol. 3 (3), S/No 11, July, 2014. [6] Ezemenaka K.E., and Prouza J., “Biafra Resurgence: State Failure, Insecurity and Separatist Agitations in Nigeria” 2016 [7] Nigeria Population (2021) - Worldometer (

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