Institute of African Studies - Columbia University

The Africa Workshop: Jeremiah O. Arowosegbe, University of Ibadan

Event Details

The Africa Workshop: Jeremiah O. Arowosegbe, University of Ibadan
Ethnic Minorities and the Land Conflicts in South–Western Nigeria
December 9, 2015 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm
208 Knox Hall

The Africa Workshop features published papers and works in progress.

To RSVP or for a copy of Dr. Arowosegbe's paper in advance of the event, please email:

Ethnic Minorities and the Land Conflicts in South–Western Nigeria


One of the most neglected aspects of the national question discourse in Nigeria is on the role of land as a site and source of conflicts, especially given the increasing demand for its redistribution and reform in the periods before and after the implementation of the structural adjustment programme. This study discusses land as a crucial aspect of the national question discourse in Nigeria. It examines the question of how colonialism––through its policies and programmes as well as the administrative structures and political systems put in place by the colonial state––introduced new complications and dimensions to the land question, mainly through the creation and development of contradictions in colonial and postcolonial Nigeria. Drawing on data generated from focus group discussions and oral interviews carried out across the locations with pronounced incidences of land–based conflicts in the six states across South–Western Nigeria, it examines the impact of economic considerations in the ethnically–motivated conflicts in Nigeria over land from 1999 to 2015. It establishes the contradictions and injustices characterizing the articulation of the citizenship question vis–a–vis various ethnic majorities and minorities as well as historically dominant minorities, especially indigenes and settlers in Nigerian history and politics; and how these generate violent ethnic protests and other divisive consequences. Tapping into migration and other issues underlying intergroup polarization, it discusses the conflicts between Hausa–Fulani pastoralists and indigenous Yoruba farmers in South–Western Nigeria as an illustration of the contradictions underpinning citizenship and the prevailing frameworks of land ownership in Africa.

Keywords: Citizenship, ethnic conflict, land, minorities, Nigeria, South–Western Nigeria, the national question.

JEREMIAH O. AROWOSEGBE is a Fellow of the African Peacebuilding Network of the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) at the Institute of African Studies, Columbia University, New York, United States of America. He teaches Political Science at the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria. He earned a Doctorate in Political Science from the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria. Previously, he has held fellowship and teaching positions at the University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa; the African Studies Centre, Leiden, the Netherlands; the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta, India and the Nordic Africa Institute, Uppsala, Sweden. His research specializations include African development, African intellectual history and African studies. His teaching interests include African political thought, political philosophy and political theory. His recent publications include an edited special section of Social Dynamics: A Journal of African Studies 40(2) 2014 on African Studies and Knowledge Production in the Universities in Postcolonial Africa as well as a book titled, Claude E. Ake: The Making of an Organic Intellectual. Pretoria: UNISA Press. 2016.