International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

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

Deconstructing Ethnic Politics: The Emergence of a Fourth Force in Nigerian Political Discourse
Tunga Lergo

Abstract
Ethnic and religious conflicts in Nigeria, especially in the north, are indicative of the quest by minorities for independence, empowerment, and identity construction. Until there are concessions made by the dominant cultural groups—Hausa Fulani, Igbo, and Yoruba—and an opening up to ethnic minorities, Nigeria will be unable to move past the ethnic formats and difficulties that have stifled Nigeria’s social evolution. The power of the three major ethnic groups and the disempowerment of all other ethnic minorities have created chaos in Nigerian politics and government. Ethnic minorities have long been shut out of electoral politics, but are now developing a collective consciousness—a fourth force—that shows signs of unifying them and acting as moderating force in Nigerian unity. Since amalgamation, the major ethnic groups have enjoyed a strong sense of regional unity at the cost of national unity. This article discusses the emerging influence of minorities and the need to develop a forth force that cuts across regions to unify the whole country. The assumption is that developing a fourth force is their attempt to move away from the ethno-regional centric consciousness of the Big Three to a national consciousness that unites all Nigerians.

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