Departmental Bulletin Paper The Minority Question in Ife Politics, 1946–2014

ADESOJI, Abimbola O.  ,  HASSAN, Taofeek O.  ,  AROGUNDADE, Nurudeen O.

38 ( 3 )  , pp.147 - 171 , 2017-09 , The Center for African Area Studies, Kyoto University
The minority problem has been a major issue of interest at both the micro and national levels. Aside from the acclaimed Yoruba homogeneity and the notion of Ile-Ife as the cradle of Yoruba civilization, relationships between Ife indigenes and other communities in Ife Division (now in Osun State, Nigeria) have generated issues due to, and influenced by, political representation. Where allegations of marginalization have not been leveled, accommodation has been based on extraneous considerations, similar to the ways in which outright exclusion and/or extermination have been put forward. Not only have suspicion, feelings of outright rejection, and subtle antagonism characterized majority–minority relations in Ife Division/ Administrative Zone, they have also produced political-cum-administrative and territorial adjustments. As a microcosm of the Nigerian state, whose major challenge since attaining political independence has been the harmonization of interests among the various ethnic groups in the country, the Ife situation presents a peculiar example of the myths and realities of majority domination and minority resistance/response, or even a supposed minority attempt at domination. This study examines the nature of relationships between Ile-Ife and its surrounding communities, all of which are organized using a nomenclature that has been variously called Ife Division, District, Constituency, or Zone since 1946. It examines the claims or allegations of marginalization vis-à-vis efforts at integration and accommodation over a period of time with the aim of determining trends and/or changes or shifts, along with their underlying causes and implications. Given that political accommodation mostly goes beyond ethnic or sub-ethnic factors and defies majority–minority permutations, this study contends that building bridges across ethnic or sub-ethnic divides will enhance reciprocity and the eventual accommodation of the supposed minority.

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