Department of Political Science,
Umaru Musa Yar’adua University (UMYU), Katsina, Nigeria
This paper analyses ethnic cleavages in Africa and the challenges of integration and unity in the continent. The choice of Nigeria as a case study is determined by the nature of the country as the most diverse in terms of ethnic, linguistic, cultural and religious differences, just as it is the most populous in Africa.Nigeria embodies all the challenges which ethnic cleavages pose to post-colonial societies anywhere in the world. The article traces the problem of cleavage to the process of colonization in which it is argued that the institutions and systems bequeathed by colonialism are ill-suited to accommodate or address the diverse nature of the emerging post-colonial societies of Africa. Thus, no sooner had the colonialists departed than these societies started to confront the challenges of ethnic division, which fifty years after decolonization, are probably the greatest threats to their stability and progress.