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Between the ethnic and the national: A discourse analysis of how Obafemi Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikiwe and Ahmadu Bello constructed sub-national identities in Nigeria between the years 1945 to 1967

Adekoya, R.A (2018) Between the ethnic and the national: A discourse analysis of how Obafemi Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikiwe and Ahmadu Bello constructed sub-national identities in Nigeria between the years 1945 to 1967. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

This study investigates the discursive construction and politicization of ethnic and other sub-national identities in Nigeria, starting from the post-WWII era up until the outbreak of Nigeria’s civil war in 1967. Adopting social constructivist assumptions about ethnicity and applying a selection of Critical Discourse Analysis tools, I will conduct an analysis of written and spoken discourse by the three foremost Nigerian political leaders during the period under study: Obafemi Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikiwe and Ahmadu Bello, commonly referred to in Nigeria as the ‘Founding Fathers’. Each of them was the most prominent political leader of one of the three major ethnic groups in Nigeria: the Yorubas, the Igbos and the Hausa-Fulanis. It is generally accepted all three engaged in ‘ethnic politics’ at various points in history with varying degrees of intensification. What has not been investigated in systematic manner is how they discursively constructed and politicized sub-national identities. This study aims to fill that gap by identifying and describing the various discursive strategies and narratives they employed in this endeavour. As my investigation will be covering a significant length of time during which Nigeria’s socio-political circumstances underwent major shifts on numerous occasions, which, according to the theoretical assumptions of this study, could be expected to have influenced and altered narratives of identity, the focus will be on tracking the evolution of the three leaders’ grand narratives on sub-national identities over the 22-year period. By this I mean the fundamental ideas they attempted to convey regarding these identities. I will also investigate potential antagonisms between ethnic and national identity in the discourses of the Founding Fathers who all, on the one hand, needed to maintain leadership of their ethno-constituencies while at the same time often requiring support outside those constituencies to succeed at national level politics. The study aims to contribute to the research on political leadership and ethnicity in Nigeria from a previously unexplored angle as well as enrich the broad scholarly repertoire on ethnic and ethno-regional identity construction in multi-ethnic societies.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > Politics (Sheffield)
Depositing User: R.A Adekoya
Date Deposited: 01 Apr 2019 08:01
Last Modified: 02 Apr 2019 10:43
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/23468

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