Ilemobola Peter Olanrewaju1*, Femi Omotoso2, Joshua Olaniyi Alabi3, Priscilla Temitope Keshiro4

1Mr., Covenant University, Nigeria,

2Prof. Dr., Ekiti State University, Nigeria,

3Dr., Covenant University, Nigeria,

4Miss, Covenant University, Nigeria,

*Corresponding author



Since the end of the Cold War, West Africa has continued to languish in protracted insecurity situations. The history of the sub-region is synonymous to violent conflicts such as civil wars, political crisis, resource conflicts, coup d’états, militancy, religious extremism, ethnic unrests, insurgencies, terrorism, and so on. Most of these security challenges are products of proto-nationalism; that is, a deliberate manipulation of nationalist identities (like ethnicity, religion, language, descent, et cetera) by political elites who use them as instruments to fulfil their self-serving political and economic agenda. This has polarized countries and communities by creating deep feelings of marginalization, unwontedness, ostracism, and exclusion. Interestingly is how this insecurity situation is being able to spill-over and across state borders rendering the entire West African security architecture precarious and unstable. It is to this end that this paper interrogates the role of proto-nationalism in regional security concerns in West Africa. By so doing, the study investigates the manifestations of this phenomenon in Cote d’Ivoire and Nigeria, and how they are able to have knock-on effects on other countries so that they become regional emergency situations. 27 in-depth interviews were conducted face-to-face, with interviewees from the security agencies, political parties, religious organizations, traditional institutions, academia and the road transport unions in Cote d’Ivoire and Nigeria. Data collected were analysed using NVivo 10 software through which open-coding was carried out thematically, matrix coding queries were conducted on the themes to generate tables and charts after which textual and discourse analytical approaches were employed. The result indicates that the failure of the Ivorian and Nigerian states to guarantee the socio-economic security of the numerous ethno-religious splinters in their countries created vacuums that are been filled by proto-nationalists. Also, most of the ethnic groups in these countries have cross-border alliances that are being mobilised for solidarity movements, thereby causing trans-border security concerns. Therefore, the study concludes that though the phenomenon of proto-nationalism is domestic, it has very high tendency of destabilising security at the regional and international levels. To this end, ECOWAS, African Union and United Nations should insist on good governance as solution to the problem.

Keywords: Conflict, ECOWAS, ethnicity, identity politics, religion, political elites, regional insecurity.


CITATION: Abstracts & Proceedings of SOCIOINT 2019- 6th International Conference on Education, Social Sciences and Humanities, 24-26 June 2019- İstanbul, TURKEY

ISBN: 978-605-82433-6-1