International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Ogoni as an Internal Colony: A Critique of Imperialism
Alubabari Desmond Nbete

Ogoniland is a geo-cultural rural enclave within the Nigerian state, located in the Niger Delta region. The discovery and commercial production of mineral oil in the area date back to the mid-1950s. Within a period of about 34 years, some 634 million barrels of oil were produced in the area, yielding an estimated thirty billion dollars in earnings for the Nigerian State. Yet, amidst the crisscrossing network of oil pipelines, depleted land and environment, and for all the wealth it generates for the multinationals and the Nigerian state, Ogoniland remains one of the most underdeveloped regions in Nigeria. The region constitutes a periphery within the emerging Nigeria’s capitalist economy, characterized by a dual class structure with the dominant groups constituting the ruling class and the minorities—the majority of them in the South—as subordinates. Worse still, within the South the Ogonis constitute a minority within minority, as they are further exploited by an internal ruling class. Political and cultural hegemony go hand-in-hand with economic inequality. This paper explains this situation, not as a reflection of natural disparities in geographical patterns of distribution of natural resources, but as manifestations of the phenomenon of internal colonialism. It further explores the link between this phenomenon and western imperialism.

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