MINORITY QUESTION IN NIGERIA: A CASE STUDY OF THE ETCHE PEOPLE OF RIVERS STATE, NIGERIA (1960 – 2015)
Nigeria is a multi-ethnic society which is made up of about 250 ethnic groups. The ethnic composition is divided into majority group and minority group. Over the years, the minority groups have been held under the domination of the majority group, while the minority groups have been group, while the minority groups have been struggling to fight against domination and marginalization by the majority groups. This is what is usually referred to as minority question in Nigeria.
The problem of minority question in Etche community could be better understood in terms of socio-political and economic marginalization. However, existing studies have focused solely on economic perspective of the marginalization with little or no attention to socio-political perspective which could be insightful in the study of the minority question in Etche. Therefore this work traces the phases of political, economic and infrastructural marginalization of the Etche people between 1960 and 2015.
The work adopted the historical narrative approach to study. Moreso, it utilized the qualitative method in gathering of data from stakeholders such as local government officials, farmers and civil servants within Etche. This narrative method and other data collected were subsequently subjected to content analysis.
The study concluded that some key minority group issues such as domination, marginalization in appointments, and resource allocation, infrastructural development and general well-being of the people. However, the study recommended that the best solution to this problem is equity and fairness in appointments and resource allocation and proper integration of the minority groups including Etche people in the political and administrative structure of the nation. More importantly, the study emphasized in its findings that the dominating forces which include the political elite in Rivers State should ensure that proper allocation of values and the Socio-economic allocation of funds trail down to other minorities in the state. There should be a collaborative effort by the youth and the elders in terms of dialogue with the federal and state governments. Finally, there is the need by the government and all its agencies to be seen as fair and just in the provision of basic needs of life to the communities where oil is being exploited.
Keywords: Marginalization, Petroleum, Domination, Minority question and Etche.