HomeLUMINAvol. 20 no. 1 (2009)

Cultural Pluralism and the Quest for an Enduring Political System in Nigeria

Ademola Ajayi

Discipline: Philosophy, Theology, Anthropology, Social Studies



Since the attainment of political independence, one of the greatest challenges of nationbuilding facing the multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-cultural developing countries of Africa has been that of evolving viable and enduring political systems. Nigeria, like most other African countries, has equally been bedevilled by the quest for an enduring political system since the country’s attainment of independence from the British colonial masters in 1960. In Nigeria’s frantic search for an enduring polity, various strategies have been adopted while various systems of governance ranging from the Parliamentary and Presidential democracy to military oligarchy have been experimented. In the process, the country has passed through at least twelve governments, several constitutional changes as well as a legion of military interregna, all within forty-eight years of independence. Until the arrival of the western educated political elites into their midst, however, Nigerians of diverse ethnic, linguistic, geographical, religious and cultural backgrounds, to a large extent had lived in concord and harmony. Admittedly, there featured occasional intra and inter-group conflicts for the greater part, however, there were cordial inter-group relations between and among them. A brief discussion of such inter-group relations is thus apposite in this paper.