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Ethnic Management in the 1979 Nigerian Constitution

John A. A. Ayoade
Publius
Vol. 16, No. 2 (Spring, 1986), pp. 73-90
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3330204
Page Count: 18
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Ethnic Management in the 1979 Nigerian Constitution
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Abstract

Nigeria, the most populous African nation, is also the most heterogeneous. The desire to contain the many ethnic groups within the framework of one united country has necessitated political experiments of federalism and, even for a brief while, unitarism. A thirty-month war was fought to prevent secession and then a constitutional compact was drawn up to secure the unity of the country. The constitution sought to guarantee ethnic equality and equal ethnic opportunities in governments, political parties, and nongovernment public establishments. All government and parastatal organizations had to reflect the plural composition or the federal character of the nation. It was a very ingenious device, but did not fully succeed in neutralizing divisive ethnic passions.

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