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Ibipo Johnston-Anumonwo
NCGE/APHG – Kansas City
October 2004
SPATIAL RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN POLITICAL PATTERNS AND PATTERNS OF ETHNICITY
Overview/Introduction:
two components of Human Geography: Political Geography and Ethnic Geography
Textbook(s) or not; (separate unit or not); definitions, and background concepts
not only patterns, emphasis on processes (not static)
1) FOCUS ON AFRICA
superimposed boundaries/arbitrary imposition
"boundaries of today's African nation-states were drawn by European colonial powers without
regard for cultural (ethnic) affinity"
MAP: "carving up Africa"; "partition of Africa"; the changing map of Africa
 diverse continent (especially ethnic diversity), contains thousands of ethnic groups.
"following colonial partition, some ethnic groups are divided among more than one state
(country); while others have been grouped with dissimilar ethnic groups within a country".

History of colonial presence and the colonial map 1880s to 1914 ('scramble for Africa')

competition and control over resources
 Geographic characteristics of Africa's nation-states (size, shape, location)
political map of Africa; "Africa is not a country": huge continent with many nation states
microstate (very small)--Rwanda, Mauritius; "megastate"--Dem Rep of Congo (Zaire),
compact state (nearly circular territory)--Zimbabwe; perforated state (another state totally
contained within its borders)--South Africa; prorupted state (has one or more narrow extensions
of territory)--Namibia; Landlocked state (lacks a sea coast)--Zambia, Lesotho
2) NIGERIA as a case study
Like most countries in the world, Nigeria is a multi-ethnic state
Geographers are interested in where ethnic groups are located and how they are distributed
Begin with the distribution of ethnic groups in Nigeria
 Map showing regional clustering of Nigeria's main ethnic groups
River Niger--three regions:
 north, east, and west corresponding with Hausa-Fulani, Ibo, and Yoruba
hence ethnic groups in Nigeria are associated with particular regions/places
Yet, Yoruba represent multi-state nation (eastern Benin Rep) i.e., Yorubaland
and Hausa represent multi-state nation (southern Niger Rep) i.e., Hausaland
Nigeria--most populous country in Africa (oil wealth)
heterogeneous, much cultural diversity--language and religion also.
Language Map of Nigeria (simplified)-- over 250 distinct languages
English is the official language and pidgin English is one lingua franca
--common tongue among people of an area where several languages are spoken
Ibipo Johnston-Anumonwo
NCGE/APHG – Kansas City
October 2004

Ethnic Territorial Conflict: The Biafra war (1967-1970) attempt of Eastern Nigeria to secede,
civil war; millions died (reconciliation)
"Nigeria: conflict among speakers of different languages"

Centrifugal forces: forces of disruption that divide or threaten the unity of a state
Religious Map
 Muslim versus Christian clashes
past and continuing significance of ethnic identity

principles/patterns/issues of ethnic coexistence and nation-state building
--(?charges of) domination resulting in the creation of states
from 3 to 4 regions, to (12, 19,) 36 states and the federal capital territory
i.e., Changing Map of Nigeria ("federal character", sharing of oil wealth among states; demand
for more states; improved infrastructure in more towns and local areas).
--pluralism (observed national religious holidays both Christian and Muslim)
--Sharia states ?! the status of long-term non-Muslim residents
--geographical relocation of the national capital from Lagos--predominantly Yoruba town (Eko)
to centrally located non ethnic-dominant Abuja i.e., to reduce regional tensions
Some positive notes:
--Nigeria's leadership role in ECOWAS--illustration of supranationalism:
"association of three or more states for mutual benefit and achievement of shared objectives";
or AU (OAU); or membership in OPEC
 Centripetal forces: forces that strengthen or unify
leadership: --Gowon (Go On With One Nigeria)
slogans: --'to keep Nigeria one is a task that must be done'
symbols of nationalism: --national anthem; pledge
service: --National Youth Service Corps (NYSC)
(university graduates serve for one year outside their state of origin)
soccer (opium of the people?!)--world cup!! the Nigerian National Eagles
Other concepts that can be highlighted from and illustrated with the Africa-Nigeria case




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Ethnicity/Ethnic group (ethnocentrism)
Nation (culture, a group of people with shared beliefs/customs occupying a particular region)
State (political unit occupying defined territory) "country"
Nation-State: composite term, a state (country) whose territory is identical to the territory
occupied by a particular people (nation)
multi-nation state (multi-ethnic states)
multi-state nation (Kurds--classic textbook example)
Where are boundaries drawn between nation-states?
 Principles for delimiting and demarcating boundaries of nation-states
natural areas; cultural affinity; strategic significance (physical; cultural; economic criteria)