Nigeria, which came into being through the forceful imposition of foreign rule that denied the indigenous peoples the opportunity to determine the terms of their co-existence, continues to be held together by bonds of superficial unity. 

The basis for Nigeria’s unity is a question that Nigeria has grappled with for over a century. The foundations of this existential crisis were laid when—for the sake of economic and administrative expediency—the British Empire amalgamated the northern and southern protectorates of one of its west African colonies and created Nigeria. Similar to the fashion by which European empires shared African land between themselves during the scramble for Africa of the 1800s, Nigeria was created in 1914 without the consultation, participation or consent of the indigenes of the land. The British Empire, having non-consensually ‘unified’ diverse people-groups to form Nigeria, employed a ‘divide and rule’ tactic which fostered unhealthy competition between the regions. These toxic conditions made it easy for the empire to exert control and extract as much as possible from this colony, much to the detriment of the inhabitants they had ‘united’.

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