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Ethnic Stereotypes, Igbo Market Place Culture and the Nigerian Democratic Space

Ethnic Stereotypes, Igbo Market Place Culture and the Nigerian Democratic Space


Abstract: Fear of ethnic domination has shaped Nigeria’s political history. It gave birth to and has sustained the federal system of government, which provides for a measure of self-rule for ethno-regional groups in the constituent states of the Nigerian federation. It has remained a factor in the access to the highest executive office. Elite based perspectives on the fear of ethnic domination, which has denied the Igbo access to presidential office, focused the posturing and utterances of Igbo elites and mentioned the Igbo ethnic mass only as choristers of hate speech and not as creators of messages of fear of ethnic political domination. Conversely, economic creativity based perspectives present the fear of ethnic domination as the result of sheer envy of other Nigerian ethnic groups of the entrepreneurship of the Igbo. This article advances a perspective based on stereotypes from Igbo marketplace culture, arguing that the experiences of people of other ethnic groups in this culture could be a veritable source of fear of the emergence of an Igbo-speaking president of Nigeria in the near future. The basis of the conclusion is the proven effect of stereotypes on political choices.

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