Herskovits, Jean
January 1973
Foreign Affairs;Jan1973, Vol. 51 Issue 2, p392
The article examines the history of Nigeria's politics and government from 1966 to 1972. In military-ruled Nigeria it is no more possible to measure the popularity of the government in East-Central than in other states, and it is unlikely that a government in Iboland, inevitably seen to represent the side of defeat, could be acclaimed. Reconciliation is not, of course, just a matter of relations between the federal government and the East-Central State, or of what happens inside the state. One reason why until mid-1966 the Ibo were the most active and committed Nigerians was demographic: Iboland is the most densely populated part of Nigeria. Vast political implications lie in the new state structure and in the economic changes. For the moment under the military government, politics are dormant, or at least below the surface. But Nigeria is a very political country; whereas in the fifties and sixties animated talk of politics was everywhere, Nigerians now speculate endlessly on what these changes will mean when there is a return to civilian rule. Much of the federal government's activity is still in the nature of experiment. Now comes a statement about an imminent federal policy for primary education; now another about federal moves toward controlling all universities; now another about federal government siting of industry throughout the country; now plans for a compulsory National Youth Service Corps. Through all the complexities, however, the central government is quietly increasing its strength.


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