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Paper Details

The Boko Haram Phenomenon as a Derivative of the Inherent Ethnic Security Dilemma in Nigerias Political System

Omololu Toluwanimi Omololu

Journal Title:Online Journal of Social Sciences Research

Nigeria emerged as an independent state with a very weak structure. This impinges on the ability to promote clement political environment for peaceful coexistence among the variegated nationalities. This gave rise to the development of fragile democratic institutions with the attendant growing inability to stimulate good governance. Thus, ethnic groups became the primary units serving the interests of individuals thereby promoting ethnic-based interests. Consequently, the increase in power and the apparent political gain of one group becomes the potential loss of or decrease in the power of others. This development aggravates tension and, therefore, constitutes a threat to the security of the groups. To this end, the national political environment becomes the theatre of political struggle for power among the ethnic groups. Inter- ethnic competition and formation of ethnocentric political parties became the early mechanism to overcome the security dilemma engendered by this development. Contemporary development in this regard was the emergence of sectional militant groups seeking for the promotion of sectional rather than national interests through violent means. At one time or the other, the activities of such groups have engendered national security problem and political instability. This paper argues that Boko Haram phenomenon is a derivative of this precedent. Though an Islamic religious sect, the post election violence in 2011 gave rise to its predominance in the Nigerian political landscape with profound political objectives. Its pervasive operation and hapless response of the security and other governmental agents portend a recurring inherent danger in the Nigerian state. Government inability to suppress the activities of the group is a manifestation of the weak structure of the state to combat the pervading ethnic security dilemma in the Nigerian political system. The paper however suggests a transparent focus on the generic problem engendering sporadic rise in militant groups with a view to eliminating the dilemma associated with the promotion and protection of the diverse interests in the polity. Keywords: Ethnic security, ethnic politics, governance, poverty, election, colonialism, Nigeria.