Nationalism In Nigeria: Meaning, Definition And Effects

Meaning Of Nationalism

There is no generally accepted definition of ‘Nationalism’ as several scholars defined nationalism in various ways to suit their milieu and to reflect the time and place.

Nationalism means determination, commitment and resolve to make earnest contributions towards the development of one’s state. In other words, it is seen from the perspective that a particular people are dominated by foreigners and the desire to be free from such colonial bondage. It can be said to be a strong patriotic feeling for one’s country.

In this case, it be necessary to provide some definitions offered by some scholars in the subject.

Appadorai (In 1975) views nationalism as a recognition of the principle that states should vary in their variety of distinctions of huma groups. Appadorai maintains that states, that are unified by national sentiment are usually more stable and their laws better obeyed than states that are only held together by subjection to a common authority.

Coleman (1965) cited in Obikeze and Obi (In 2003) explained nationalism to include sentiments, activities and organizational developments aimed explicitly at the self government and independence of Nigeria as a nation.

According to Okpo (In 2004) nationalism may be described as the conscious awakening of a people to project their image in and out of the boarder to assert the separate existence and group individualism in world affairs expressed through self determination, political and economical independence.

In the context of colonial politics, nationalism can be best defined as a policy designed to achieve national self determination or political independence by the removal of alien rule. Nationalist activities and resistance against colonial rule took different forms at different times, “traditional nationalism” or what was referred to as a “proto-nationalism” which is used to denote all the efforts made by traditional rulers and local people to resist colonialism. Some of these local chiefs waged crude war against the colonizers and even refused to sign treaties for effective occupation of the territories by the Whiteman. Independent African and native churches were also involved in the fight against imperialism and alien rule.

Anti-colonial nationalism, in a modern sense, is a reaction against the experience of foreign domination and rule shown in the struggle for the independence of the country by education citizens who saw colonialism very unpleasant and dehumanizing.

Effects Of Nationalism In Nigeria

1. It enlightened the masses and increased their awareness about politics.

2. It led to the end of colonialism.

3. It led to the independence of Nigeria.

4. It led people to be aware of their fundamental human rights.

5. It made so much impact in the spread of Western education, but the increased waves off nationalist agitations compelled colonial authorities to establish schools to help educate Nigerians.

6. Nationalist activities led to political and constitutional changes in Nigeria and other African countries.

7. It provided opportunity for the training of political elites.

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