THE NIGERIAN JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY AND ANTHROPOLOGY
Volume 17, No. 1, June 2019
Racial Politics and Hausa-Fulani Dominant Identity in Colonial and Post-colonial Northern Nigeria
Erima Comfort Ugbem1, Ayokunle Olumuyiwa Omobowale2, Akinpelu Olanrewaju Olutayo2
1Department of Sociology, Benue State University, Makurdi, Nigeria
2Department of Sociology, University of Ibadan, Nigeria
The paper examined racial politics and identity contests in Northern Nigeria. The paper specifically traced the trajectory of racial politics and examined the dynamics of identity construction and contests in Northern Nigeria. An essentially qualitative method of data collection comprising primary data generated through in-depth interviews and secondary data generated through archival records were used. These were then subjected to content and descriptive analyses. Findings from the study revealed that racial politics originated during colonial rule with the British supposedly claiming gene/biological affinity of the Hausa-Fulani as with the Caucasoid groups of Eurasia. The Hausa-Fulani were consequently designated as the civilized group and super-imposed over minority groups that were classified as pagans. About six decades after colonial rule, Hausa-Fulani dominance remains a social reality in spite of identity contests and recreation by the minority groups of Northern Nigeria. Starting with the creation of the Middle Belt identity in the late 1950s, the constituent groups within the Middle Belt have consequently recreated other ethnic identities within Northern Nigeria. Notwithstanding, Hausa-Fulani remains the dominant group in Northern Nigeria socio-political structure.
Keywords: Colonialism, racial politics, Hausa-Fulani, identity, Northern Nigeria