Cultural Plurality, National Integration and the Security Dilemma in Nigeria

Sheriff F. Folarin, Ilemobola Peter Olanrewaju, Lady Yartey Ajayi


The cultural plurality of the Nigerian State has been a major factor in the make-up of the policy environment as well as policy frameworks of national leadership from independence. Cultural pluralism could be a uniting or divisive factor, and for Nigeria, it has been more instrumental in the challenge of nationhood, culminating in a Civil War, agitations for state creation, sovereign national conference, rotational presidency, and zoning, and in more recent times, ethnic and religious insurgency as well as terrorist violence. National integration thus becomes far-fetched as it yet remains a quest by successive administrations and non-state actors who are stakeholders in the Nigerian project. But has the context of the external influences and concerns such as migrants, foreign visitors unaccounted for and unwanted aliens as well as their activities in the challenge of nationhood been well addressed? This paper examines the historical and contemporary issues of cultural plurality (often referred to as multiculturalism, although a little different) in the challenge of national unity, with particular attention to the security dilemma for Nigeria in the 21st century, paying attention to the growing influence of the unchecked aliens in the swelling question and graver dangers of insecurity posed by unconcerned and unpatriotic aliens who flock into the nation through the porous borders. A descriptive-analytical approach is applied, while the data are basically collected from texts and academic journals. The paper submits that the Nigerian State requires an overhaul of its security machines within and around its borders, while also taking a second and deeper look at its immigration system.

Keywords: Cultural Diversity, Multiculturalism, National Integration, National Insecurity

Full Text:



Adagba, O., Ugwu, S. & Eme, O. (2012). Activities of Boko Haram and Insecurity Question in Nigeria. Arabian Journal of Business and Management Review. 1(9), 77-99.

Crowder, M. & Abdullahi, G. (1979). Nigeria: An Introduction to its History, Hong Kong: Longman.

Ekanola, A. (2006). National Integration and the Survival of Nigeria in the 21st Century. The Journal of Social, Political and Economic Studies. 31(3), 279-293.

Favell, A. (n.d.). Integration Nations: The Nation-State and Research on Immigrants in Western Europe. In International Migration Research. Retrieved on the 4th of September, 2012, from

Garba, K. (18th November, 2011). Diversity, Multiculturalism… Experts Device New Approach to Drive Growth in Africa. The Guardian. Retrieved on the 4th of September, from

Heywood, A. (2007). Political Ideologies. 4 Edition. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Ifeanacho, M. & Nwagwu, J. (2009). Democratization and National Integration in Nigeria. Research Journal of International Studies. Issue 9, January, 12-20. Ifeyinwa, M. (2002). Socio-Cultural Factors and Ethnic Group Relations in Contemporary Nigerian Society. The African Anthropologist.9(2), 117-136.

Kymlycka, W. (1995). The Rights of Minority Cultures. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Nkom, S. (2008). Culture as an Instrument for Sustainable Development and National Integration. A Paper Presented at the National Workshop on Cultural Rejuvenation for National Integration and Sustainable Development, Organized by the Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization, Lagos, 17th-18th April.

NPC (20-06). National Population Census Reports, Abuja: National Population Commission

Ogbu, S. (2001). Politics and the Struggle for Democracy in Nigeria: An Appraisal. University of Jos Journal of Political Science. 2(3), 14-25.

Ojo, E. (2009). Federalism and the Search for National Integration in Nigeria. African Journal of Politicial Science and International Relations. 3(9), 384-395. Okwenna, I. (2011). Zoning, Rotation and the Power Struggle in Nigeria. Retrieved on the 7th of September,2012,from

Ozoigbo, B. (2010). Federal Balance in Nigeria: A Paradigm for Sustainable Democracy. Retrieved on the 4th of September, from

Richenson, J. & Nussbaum, R. (2003). The Impact of Multiculturalism versus Colour-Blindness on Racial Bias. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. 40, 417-423.

Rosado, C. (1997). Toward a Definition of Multiculturalism. Retrieved on the 4th of September, 2012, from

Science Encyclopaedia Cultural Pluralism Retrieved on May 31, 2007

Shively, W. (2003). Power and Choice: An Introduction to Political Science. Eight Edition. New York: McGraw-Hill Higher Education.

South East Nigeria, (2012). Nigeria’s War Over Biafra, Nigerian Aggression, British Support 1967-1970. Retrieved on the 7th of September, from

Taylor, C. (1992). Multiculturalism: Examining the Politics of Recognition. N.J: Princeton University Press.

Udebunu, C. (2011). Nigeria and the Dialectics of Multiculturalism. A New Journal of African Studies. 8, Doi: http//

World Book Dictionary. In Wikipedia. Retrieved on the 4th of September, from


  • There are currently no refbacks.