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Saturday, January 14, 2017

Problems of National Identity in Nigeria

          Nigeria as presently constituted, both as a country and geographical entity, came into its present structure in 1914. This was consequent upon the famous amalgamation of the Southern and Northern protectorates of Nigeria by Lord Frederick Lugard. This is however, not to suggest that life and activities of life where absent in these areas prior to 1914. In actual fact, the people that inhabited these areas have, as we shall see shortly, evolved their own political cultures and social ways of life that were well known all over the world. It should be stressed at this point that in the pre-colonial times, the peoples of Nigeria were identified by and with the then existing socio-political units like Kano, Kaduna, Zazzau, Aqka, Onitsha, Afikpo, Ife, Ijebu, Ondo, Oyo etc. But with the emergence of the colonial state of Nigeria and which invariably extended into the post-independence period, the peoples of Nigeria are identified as Igbo, Hausa, Fulani, Yoruba, Efik, Ijo, Tiv, Idoma, Ebira, Igala, Itsekiri, Jukun, Bini, Esan, Isoko, Urhobo,Ijaw, etc. As Professor Ikime rightly pointed out, these peoples did not begin to identify themselves in these terms until the emergence of the Colonial State of Nigeria.
        When we say the peoples of Nigeria, we are referring to the over three hundred ethnic groups inhabiting the territory. These ethnic groups are not evenly distributed. For instance we have the very large ethnic group in Nigeria such like Hausa/Fulani, Igbo, Yoruba; the medium size ethnic groups such as the Edo, Ijo, Nupe, Ibibio, Efik, Igala, Tiv, etc; and the small ethnic groups which include the Ebira (Igbira) the Bachama, the Bassas, the Angas, the Birom, the Jukun, etc. These ethnic groups formed different political entities in the pre-colonial period and it was this same different political umbrella by the colonial government. This was why Nigeria has been seen and defined differently by different people. For example, Obafemi Awolowo has described Nigeria as a mere geographical expression.
         For our purpose, Nigeria shall be divided into two broad geographical zones. One, the open Savannah to the North and two, the forest zone to the South. However, there is a region in between i.e. the Middle Belt which forms a zone of transition. The forest zone may be sub-divided into two i.e. the Region East and the Region West of the Niger. We shall now proceed to consider some of these ethnic groups. First the people of the grassland i.e. the Savannah.
       The peoples of the grassland can be divided into two. These are the Middle Belt peoples and the peoples of the far North. Most of these people who are land-locked are found in the Middle Belt region. The two largest and most prominent of them are the Tiv and the Nupe.
          The Tiv belonged to the so-called stateless societies in the anthropological groupings of the peoples of Nigeria. Their political structure is fragmented and there was virtual absence of political organization among them. The British once described them as “a people that divided against itself”.
         The Nupe, unlike the Tiv evolved an integrated political organization. They established a powerful kingdom on the Niger. This kingdom was founded around the sixteen century by Tsoede otherwise called Edegi, an Igala Prince. They developed an advanced culture before the nineteenth century. They are renowned for their brass work. Their titular head is called the Etsu.
         Like the Nupe, the Bariba live on the Niger. Their principal state centered around Bussa but the people are politically decentralized. There were many powerful provincial Bariba states which rivaled Bussa. In the Middle Belt region are some other groups like Igala, and Idoma. Most of them belonged to the medium size ethnic groups.
      One other group was Jukun which established a powerful state which the seventeenth century controlled parts of Hausaland. Wukari was the capital of the Jukun and the head of the Jukun state was referred to as the Aku-uka. In effect, the Jukun state was a confederation of many small states, but all heads of states recognized the political leadership of the Aku-uka at Wukari.
    
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Categorization of Culture

These are associations shaped to advance any part of the general population's way of life. All human social orders are administered by traditions or principles and controls that have been produced as per the convictions in the social orders. Social affiliations are, along these lines, the method for advancing and ensuring or maintaining these laws which fill in as the spirit of society. Cases of Cultural Associations are melodic or scholarly gatherings. The gatherings regularly have certain straightforward principles or controls which help them work easily and accomplish their motivation e.g. rules managing memberships, dress, reliability and timeliness.

Social affiliations have particular objectives. They include:

(i) Enabling individuals to comprehend and use the upsides of their quick surroundings for the advantage of the individual and the general public a substantial;

(ii) Teach individuals the standards and estimations of the general public and individuals are in this way associated into the convictions and routine of the general public;

(iii) Provides discussion for individuals to create aptitude, information, demeanor's and possibilities;

(iv) Trains individuals in the craft of initiative;

(v) Teaches individuals the idea of division of work and that no individual can be all in all.The rundown of the operators of socialization in connection to the transmission of the non-material culture is not comprehensive. Attempt to distinguish some different specialists and consider how each of them impact and mingle the individuals from the general public.        
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Misconceptions about the Nigerian Culture

The issue of misinterpretation is not particular to Nigeria's post and its way of life, the landmass of Africa by and large has endured this treatment in the hands of the early European anthropologists. Many reasons could represent this. In any case, Africa is arranged for the most part as a pre-proficient society i.e. a general public that does not have its very own written work. To this individuals, the craft of composing and its development is the start all and end-all of history. In this manner, since it is their conviction, and a misinterpretation so far as that is concerned, that the Africans had no works of their own, they presumed that they had no history since these are no records of their past deeds. They along these lines allude to Africa as a dull mainland.

Second, the level of improvement in Africa was low contrasted and what got in the western world when the Europeans first had contact with the diverse parts of Africa. Some of these societies will now be considered.

The Nok Culture: Nok is the name of a little town close Jos. This site came into verifiable noticeable quality digger in 1936 when a tin mines unintentionally uncovered a little earthenware leader of a monkey. Another find was made in 1944 around this zone. Numerous more destinations were found and the finds at these locales were found to have an unmistakable imaginative style. Every one of these finds are assembled under the Nok culture since they were initially recognized at Nok.

The Nok culture thrived between 900 BC and 200 Promotion and spreads a zone of 480 km long and 168km wide. Its kin are said to be the first in Nigeria to find the information of iron purifying. The Nok human advancement was additionally noted for horticulture, ornamentation and religion. The Nok is accepted to have impacted the Ife and Benin human advancements on the grounds that the bear complex similarities to the Nok earthenware.

The Ife Human progress: Ife is customarily viewed as the blessed city and the support of Yoruba development. The rich antiquated delightful fine arts of Ife were of bronze, ivory, wood and are said to rank among the best on the planet. The greater part of the Ife fine arts speak to the detailed formal attire of the Ooni and they are commented for their naturalism. These bronze works were accepted to have been thrown in or before the twelfth century Promotion and are said to be the most acclaimed, most verifiable and most masterful items each made in Nigeria.

Age and Associate Gatherings

The Associate gathering is a gathering of people who are equivalent in age or inside a similar age-section. They are the conventional gatherings in the public eye which play out some specific capacities together. The companion aggregate has a few capacities:

(an) It gives kids involvement in equalitarian relationship unrealistic in the family. Regardless of how free and just the home might be, the kid and the parent can never be really equivalent;

(b) It opens the tyke to information to which the kid has no entrance in the family. This may concern forbidden subjects, for example, sex, which the family may maintain a strategic distance from or treat in an unsuitable way. The learning may concern tastes in dress, move, music and conduct things the youngster must know whether he is to remain a part on favorable terms of the gatherings.
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The Levels of Culture Identity in Nigeria

Since Culture is a result of environment, no a portion of it is innate. It rises up out of the exercises of man in their every day endeavor to fulfill their goals. This is made show by their endeavors to control their surroundings since legacy from the first eras. They utilize their acquired culture, add to it, and pass it unto the encompassing ones. We should now talk about a portion of the qualities of culture:

(i) Culture is steady but then dynamic: We discuss a steady culture that a people consider profitable and are given on to succeeding era in order to propagate, make it consistent and save it. Then again, culture changes when it interacts with another culture and this change can happen in three distinctive ways:

(an) If the getting society is more grounded, it assimilates and refashions the approaching one as a major aspect of itself;

(b) If the getting and the approaching ones are at a similar level of improvement, they combine into each other since a level of organization is created;

(c) If the getting society is weaker, the approaching one consigns it to foundation and has its spot.

(ii) Culture is unequivocal and understood: We allude to express culture when we discuss those activities that can be clarified by the individuals who perform them though verifiable culture alludes to what we do however we can't clarify yet we trust them to be right.

(iii) Culture is shared and furthermore learned: Since man is naturally introduced to a current culture, he shares the legacy of the property (culture) with the others though when man creates to recognize the estimations of every parts of the way of life, he learns it.

(iv) Culture is perfect and show: perfect culture alludes to the way individuals ought to carry on or what they trust they should do; yet show culture alludes to those things that individuals do and are perceived by others. That is the thing that others see them do.

(v) Culture is undercover and unmistakable: the clandestine parts of culture incorporate curios, for example, houses, garments, artworks, expressions and discourse shapes that can be watched straightforwardly; and the obvious perspective is the mentality towards nature and particularly the general population's reality see.

(vi) Culture is natural and supra-natural: it is natural in light of the fact that there is no culture without individuals. It is similarly supra-natural as in it extends a long ways past any individual's life time. Men travel every which way however culture remains.

(vii) Culture is corruptible and transforming: culture defiles when its qualities are wrongly soaked up in this way making one socially unsatisfactory. This is valid for particularly outside culture. In any case, culture changes when its qualities are properly guzzled and honed.
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The Concept of Culture


       Culture as a concept is a universal phenomenon and every human society has its distinct culture by which its members can be recognized. In spite of its universal nature, there are many definitions revolve round a similar meaning. In this wise, we shall consider definitions from scholars.
         According to E.B Tylor, Culture, taken in its wide ethnographic sense is that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, moral, law, customs and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society.
        According to Bronislaw Malinows, “Culture is functioning, active, efficient, well-organized unity, which must be analyzed into component institutions in relation to one another, in relation to the needs of human needs of human organism and in relation to the environment, man-made as well as natural.’’ And lastly, according to Clyde Kluckhohn, “Culture consists of patterns, explicit and implicit, of art for behavior acquired and transmitted by symbols, constituting the distinctive achievement of human groups, including their embodiments of artifacts; the essential core of culture consists of traditional (i.e. historically desired and selected) ideas and especially their attached values; culture system may on the other hand, be considered as products of action, on the hand as containing elements of further action.
        What can be deduced from the above three attempts at defining culture is an all embracing concept having a broad interpretation. Our religious beliefs, our dress, the way we make our political organization and all other aspects of our life are influenced by our culture. Therefore, culture is the totality of the way of life of a people including their material products, habits, customs, religious beliefs and thoughts. It also includes the arts, technology, music, literature, theatre, drama, dress, education etc.
          The things that make up culture are created by man, and these things are absorbed by man by living amongst the culture. In another dimension, culture is an end result of social experience. It refers to an aggregate of human invention and discovery and to the accumulated result of human efforts.
           Culture grows from small beginnings through additions; it develops and changes through the incorporation of new items and the modification of the old practices during use and transmission. It is transmitted through social contact and communication, its mechanism is imitation and inculcation, its content is patterns of behavior and its end results are types of personalities and bodies of interrelated beliefs and practices.
           Culture is neither fixed nor permanent: it is always changing because it is a living thing. So long as it remains a living thing it is in a state of growth and change. The pace of change may be slow as in the case of a small and primitive group and may be rapid as in the modern machine civilization. It is only a dead culture that remains as it was.
          On a final note, Culture includes all that contributes to the survival of man such as art, craft, dress, drama, education, technology, religion, politics, music and literature. Man absorbs these traits by living in them and the traits by living in them and the traits are modified or changed by contact with the outside world or inspiration from within.
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