Importance of Borders: Almost every major conflict in Africa is based on Ethnic/Secession disputes caused by Colonial drawn borders.

Oct 2019
39
Area Ocean
One thing that's overlooked when discussing the reasons why several (not all many are doing well despite popular belief, and IMF WorldBank skewing) countries in Africa are in turmoil, is due to the colonial border drawings.

To put things in perspective, up till the late 80's, there were still small states and tribes that had no idea they were part of a "country" draw up by colonials, and generally had no interaction with the "country" at all and some had never seen white people until some came with "shots" and "vaccines" around the same decade (which might explain how some of these states/tribes ended up with aids despite being isolated but that's another subject to discuss).

Now one of the most important things to look at is, since independence, and in many cases before independence, a lot of the major conflicts on the continent were based on conflicts between ethnic groups, which continues on till this day. In fact, almost every major conflict that was sparked at or near the start of independence for almost every "country" were either secession movements or government take overs due to colonial governments picking one ethnic group to be in charge allowing them to pick winners and losers.

Let's look at Nigeria for example:

Before the state of Nigeria existed it was the location of many states: The Youruba empires such as Oyo etc, the remnants of the fallen Kingdom of Dahomey, Igbo related kingdoms, Benin City, and the northern Sokoto Caliphate. There's actual a couple more as well.

The British decided to draw a border around all these conquered empires (and made sure to burn a lot of things in places like Benin city so they can claim there was nothing there as well as parts of Oyo) and call it Nigeria.

Immediately after independence, you saw that the civil war between "NIgeria" and the Biafra, which used to be the where the Igbos dwelled, and for the most part still do. Not only were they attacked by "Nigeria" but also directly by British troops and mercenary volunteers, despite Britain and others advertising the war as a "genocide" and an act of aggression toward Biafra.

Until this day, the demographics is as such:



What you see could have possibly been 3 different countries (Benin city of old is in the Yaruba area).

I still think it's not too late, as it is, the country is being inflated due to the amount of money lost due to constant conflicts in the North that sometimes make their way to the south west.

The capitals are already prepared as well, you can split off the Biafra and make Port Harcourt the capital, Yaruba can make Lagos the Capital, and Abuja can kick out all other ethnic groups and be given to the Ex-Sokoto peoples, who also have the largest land mass.

This would lead each ethnic group to have their own countries, pursue their own goals, and be at relative peace. Except the north will still likely be killing each other, which is also due to colonialism, but that's another story.

Another example would be the Congo(East congo), which even before independence, was having civil wars as the Kingdom of the Congo, and then when the borders were redrawn during colonization, not only were the civil war states in the new DRC, but other states as well, and since right before and right after independence, till today, you have secessionist movements, or other countries like Uganda and Rwanda trying to take land.

Central African Republic? Another Ethnic group skirmish. It goes on and on.

There's many more examples but you get the point. Sometimes these Ethnic clashes are made worse by religious differences as well, Africa has a major issue with crime and violence if the Muslim population is above 10% of the states population if the country is primarily a Christian nation or a mix of christian and traditional religions.

It seems to be that one of the quickest ways to solve a large number of conflicts in Africa is to admit the borders were dumb, and give ethnic groups their own sections to create their own states WITHOUT STOPPING THEM. We've seen it done in Europe (although most of the time it was due to fighting, though Eastern Europe did it without that a few times, even within the last 30 years.) Asia was allowed to do it as well.

But for some reason whenever someone wants to secede or redraw borders in Africa it's stopped by world orgs, European troops and UN troops along with whoever they give weapons to domestically to assist them in stopping said redraw or secession.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out the possible reasons why, one is that having states still set-up like a colony allows Europe in particular to still siphon resources and prevent anyone from getting full control over them. The same group that barely helps with "real" aid. Hence, why you see many countries going to China.

I think it's going to happen sooner or later, we are already seeing an increase of rebel groups getting near modern militaries themselves and it's clear that it is becoming harder and harder for the "governments" to win these conflicts even with help from the outside.
 
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kandal

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,780
USA
Peoples and countries across the globe had been fighting over borders forever throughout history. So, I don't see any substance in blaming colonial powers for Africa's conflicts just because they drew the borders. Even the colonial powers fought over their own borders in Europe - WW1 & 2. Russia and Ukraine are fighting over border now.

Blame for conflicts and problems in Africa lie with the Africans. A more introspective or critical self-evaluation by Africans is needed to solve such problems.
 

Ighayere

Ad Honorem
Jul 2012
2,627
Benin City, Nigeria
Dahomey wasn't in Nigeria. It was in the modern day country called the Republic of Benin (which was formerly called Dahomey).
It's spelled "Yoruba". I don't know why you're writing "Yaruba".
Benin City was the capital of a state (the Benin kingdom), not a state.
"Benin City of old" was and is in the Edo area, not the "Yaruba" area. "Edoid" languages are at least as different from "Yoruboid" languages as French is from German.

"and Abuja can kick out all other ethnic groups and be given to the Ex-Sokoto peoples, who also have the largest land mass."

Most Northern Nigerians do not want to secede and form their own independent state or states.

I guess you just don't understand much about Nigeria yet. Maybe read some more books and try and get a more realistic picture.

I do agree with you that Nigeria should not be one country and that it was pretty stupid to create it as a single territory/country though.
 
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Naomasa298

Forum Staff
Apr 2010
35,205
T'Republic of Yorkshire
Let me ask you this question. Why can't all these ethnicities simply live alongside each other in peace?
 
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Oct 2019
39
Area Ocean
Dahomey wasn't in Nigeria. It was in the modern day country called the Republic of Benin (which was formerly called Dahomey).
It's spelled "Yoruba". I don't know why you're writing "Yaruba".
Benin City was the capital of a state (the Benin kingdom), not a state.
"Benin City of old" was and is in the Edo area, not the "Yaruba" area. "Edoid" languages are at least as different from "Yoruboid" languages as French is from German.

"and Abuja can kick out all other ethnic groups and be given to the Ex-Sokoto peoples, who also have the largest land mass."

Most Northern Nigerians do not want to secede and form their own independent state or states.

I guess you just don't understand much about Nigeria yet. Maybe read some more books and try and get a more realistic picture.

I do agree with you that Nigeria should not be one country and that it was pretty stupid to create it as a single territory/country though.
You seemed to have hastily read the thread, I only called it Yaruba in relation to the picture above that labeled the Yoruba area Yaruba. The Benin city response was a strawman, I'm only mentioning what used to be in the location (which benin city technically still is.in the Yaruba area of the above map pictured iirc.). I didn't speak about languages either, jsut what used to exist before the border was drawn.

I also never said Northern Nigerians wanted to secede or not, I was saying what would likely be the best way to split Nigeria into 3 countries instead of being one state, which you agreed with (that it shouldn't be one state) which contradicted your earlier point.

I will say that I got Dahomey location wrong due to some bad maps online, otherwise I'm quite familiar with Nigeria.

Let me ask you this question. Why can't all these ethnicities simply live alongside each other in peace?
Probably for the same reason it never worked well for many centuries in Asia and Europe, especially if they weren't sister ethnic groups. Which still goes on today in many areas.

Peoples and countries across the globe had been fighting over borders forever throughout history. So, I don't see any substance in blaming colonial powers for Africa's conflicts just because they drew the borders. Even the colonial powers fought over their own borders in Europe - WW1 & 2. Russia and Ukraine are fighting over border now.

Blame for conflicts and problems in Africa lie with the Africans. A more introspective or critical self-evaluation by Africans is needed to solve such problems.
You basically said that borders caused conflict yet said that Europeans FORCING borders on Africans didn't contribute the the ethnic clashes that started BECAUSE of the border drawing in many cases BEFORE independence.

There's nothing to blame the Africans for, especially since that attempts t fix the problem were stopped by, you guessed it, European ex-colonial powers and mercenaries. While many other areas in the world colonized, most were allowed to draw their borders along ethnic lines, except Africa, and societies the colonists themselves split the colony in that way and left it that way when they left. But again, not in Africa.

Again, it's easy to blame the Africans when you don't look at context and do some critical thinking on the historical background.

With that said, not every country in turmoil is based on ethnic/religious lines, just most of them, the others could be blamed on the governments.
 

Naomasa298

Forum Staff
Apr 2010
35,205
T'Republic of Yorkshire
Probably for the same reason it never worked well for many centuries in Asia and Europe, especially if they weren't sister ethnic groups. Which still goes on today in many areas.
Nobody is making them fight each other.
 
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Ighayere

Ad Honorem
Jul 2012
2,627
Benin City, Nigeria
You seemed to have hastily read the thread,
No, I read and understood the entire opening post. I only commented on the part that I was interested in commenting on. It's not that I didn't understand the larger overall point, which I agree with anyway.

I only called it Yaruba in relation to the picture above that labeled the Yoruba area Yaruba.
Yeah, I don't know where the map is from but that is not the accurate designation. It is not spelled or pronounced that way ("Yaruba").

The Benin city response was a strawman, I'm only mentioning what used to be in the location (which benin city technically still is.in the Yaruba area of the above map pictured iirc.).
The map isn't something accurate though. As I said, Benin City is in the Edo area, and the "Yaruba area of the above map" is something called the Western Region of Nigeria, which is something that was created by the British in 1939, and which lasted until 1963 when that region was divided into the Western Region and the Mid-Western region.

I didn't speak about languages either, jsut what used to exist before the border was drawn.
The borders in the map you showed only existed from 1939 to 1963 (and were completely altered even more significantly after 1967) and were also imposed on the region by the British.

I also never said Northern Nigerians wanted to secede or not, I was saying what would likely be the best way to split Nigeria into 3 countries instead of being one state, which you agreed with (that it shouldn't be one state) which contradicted your earlier point.
No, I didn't "contradict my earlier point". My only earlier point is that your designations and ideas about geography were inaccurate. I didn't ever disagree with the idea that Nigeria should not be one state - it shouldn't. Just as India was partitioned into Pakistan (and then later Bangladesh split from Pakistan as well) and India, Nigeria should have been partitioned into at least 3 countries, but preferably 5 or 6.
 
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Ighayere

Ad Honorem
Jul 2012
2,627
Benin City, Nigeria
Let me ask you this question. Why can't all these ethnicities simply live alongside each other in peace?
In the context of Nigeria this question doesn't even make much sense.

Even before the creation of Nigeria, the Sokoto Caliphate in the north was essentially an enemy state of the peoples to the south of it, invading territories of some of the peoples of the Middle Belt (the central region of Nigeria) and also warring directly with a state in the Yoruba speaking area.

In your own country (the UK) there is an entire movement for independence for one part of the country (Scotland) which seems to be based mostly on what seems to be mere tribalism (the English haven't oppressed or exploited the Scottish, the two groups are both mostly Christian and speak the same language, the countries have shared the same monarchy for hundreds of years, etc.) and current differences in political leanings (pro-EU vs. anti-EU, conservative vs. socialist leaning, etc.) rather than for more serious/intractable reasons. Why there is even an independence movement in the UK is a better question than why can't Nigerians or Congolese or Chadians etc. get along and simply live alongside each other in peace.
 
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Oct 2019
39
Area Ocean
Nobody is making them fight each other.
Nobody made the Asians and Europeans fight each other either. The issue isn't just the border, there's lost of oppression or government/cultural issues as well as the result of the border.

Don't forget certain colonials tried taking some cultures away and propped up others and making some ethnic group leaders over the others for divide and conquer tactics. Rwanda has no ethnic conflict originally because historically the ethnic groups there lived together for a long period of time and they were culturally similar unlike many other countries, the result of the genocide and other conflicts before that was due to the colonists. Afterward, Rwanda fixed up, pointed out the involvement of european powers and still investigating, and at the same time, the country has recovered and is growing rapidly.

This can't happen in places like the East Congo, CAR, and other areas because there of the reasons I mentioned in the first sentence above, along with clashing traditions, and uneven governmental powers. in many cases the only way for a peace that would ensure equality would either be to try and attempt to use Ethiopias segregated regional formula, or to fully assimilate and abandon identities to create a new one, which is basically impossible to do with people that have completely different mindsets and ways of doing things.

Instead just simply separating the countries would work, and have been attempted, and were stopped by Ex-colonizers, which didn't happen for the most part in Asia East or south, nor did it happen in the Central and South Americans for the most part. Africa, in comparison, is being deliberately kept from solving this problem. Almost every country that managed to split off, or originally was homogenous relatively, are among the fastest and most developed nations naturally (not artificial).

The only other realistic solution would try to implement Ethiopias plan, which in some places I can see work, such as mid-sized nations that have religious homogeneity, however that still wouldn't work in the Congo which kind of artificially is split up in that way.

I think having the Congo (East congo) be 3 separate states, two states for CAR, Nigeria being 2-3 states, and Mali (as much as the french don't want it to and currently shooting people down to stop TODAY) being two states, would greatly reduce conflicts, greatly reduce the refugeee crisis that's draining other countries not involved causing local crisis, and would lead to quickly developing nations no longer having to worry about domestic problems preventing growth.

Most analysts Nigeria domestic or outside, are predicting a crash in the economy without some solutions for some of the clashes, and the funding neglect in the south west. The north is bleeding a ton of money, and none of the three "zones: are interested in cross-integrating in large numbers usually staying in their "ethnic zone" This is one example of the cross country system not working, causing a lack of full state progress, and selective funding.

This is why it was predicted even decades ago that the artificially propped up SA, and Nigeria would eventually cave to the "dark horses" due to their homogeneity or ethnic group similarities that make them compatible. Not just in GDP, but in relative stability, business, infrastructure, percapita,and other factors.

The fact this is 100% consistent with no outliers or exceptions show that splits are very effective.
 
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Aug 2018
274
America
In the context of Nigeria this question doesn't even make much sense.

Even before the creation of Nigeria, the Sokoto Caliphate in the north was essentially an enemy state of the peoples to the south of it, invading territories of some of the peoples of the Middle Belt (the central region of Nigeria) and also warring directly with a state in the Yoruba speaking area.

In your own country (the UK) there is an entire movement for independence for one part of the country (Scotland) which seems to be based mostly on what seems to be mere tribalism (the English haven't oppressed or exploited the Scottish, the two groups are both mostly Christian and speak the same language, the countries have shared the same monarchy for hundreds of years, etc.) and current differences in political leanings (pro-EU vs. anti-EU, conservative vs. socialist leaning, etc.) rather than for more serious/intractable reasons. Why there is even an independence movement in the UK is a better question than why can't Nigerians or Congolese or Chadians etc. get along and simply live alongside each other in peace.
More importantly, one can mention the conflict in Northern Ireland, also part of the UK, which has been violent for decades and even required the signing of a peace treaty.

Honestly, the idea of the African civil war is nothing but a stereotype anyway. Three of the wars in Africa right now - in Mali, Somalia and Libya - are not civil wars but direct imperialist wars waged by the US or one if its allies such as France against these countries, as these three have been either occupied or been continually bombed by Western militaries. How many more civil wars (and I don't mean internecine sporadic conflict but an actually sustained civil war) are there actually in Africa? Other than Congo, what other country is suffering from it? Nigeria, for instance, doesn't suffer from a civil war, even if there's a conflict against Boko Haram. However, this conflict seems to be even less violent than the Mexican Drug War and the Colombian Civil War, as well as the conflict with gangs in Central America. Nigeria's murder rate is only 10 per 100,000 inhabitants. That's about five times the average in the Central American northern triangle and Colombia and at least 2.5 times that of Mexico (and Mexico is notorious for underreporting, with numbers for the drug war at 200,000 deaths by now with over 1 million displaced).
 
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