HISTORICAL ANTECEDENTS AND NATION BUILDING: THE NIGERIAN EXPERIENCE

Abstract

Author(s): Patience O. ERIM

The historiography on state system, till date, is replete with varied interpretations. For some scholars, state system is deeply rooted in every society; it emanates from the biological idea of a father- figure writ large. For our present discourse, two shades of opinion are discernible from the debate on the emergence of state system. The first believes in artificial creation of states while the second argues that state systems emerged out of its history. Using the Nigerian experience, this paper argues that national Integration was achieved through the astonishing level of sacrifice, team work, harmonisations, reconciliations and assimilations that took place in the pre-colonial period. The paper posits that, national integration was fostered by the existence of several cultural units in close geographical areas, migrations and settlements; social interaction and bilingualism, among other factors which served as bridges for national integration. These historical antecedents were strengthened in the 19th century by the introduction of Islam and Christianity both of which acted as cohesive factors by breaking down ethnic boundaries.

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