Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-846f6c7c4f-msmtk Total loading time: 0.212 Render date: 2022-07-07T10:34:55.989Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true } hasContentIssue true

Article contents

BUREAUCRATS AND INDIGENES: PRODUCING AND BYPASSING CERTIFICATES OF ORIGIN IN NIGERIA

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 January 2015

Abstract

In the last three decades, the politics of indigeneity have led to discrimination against and marginalization of non-indigenes as well as numerous violent conflicts between indigenes and non-indigenes in Nigeria. This discrimination, which is based on a localized place of belonging, has today become bureaucratized: local governments produce ‘certificates of indigene’ to identify the origin of their holders. This article looks at the bureaucratic machinery of issuing certificates of origin in two local governments of Oyo State (in the south-west) and the everyday encounters between users and bureaucrats that cannot be reduced to practices of corruption. It looks at the complicated and ambivalent process of identifying a ‘true indigene’; this process is supposed to strengthen local citizenship but it also contributes to the daily functioning of the state and is largely accepted by the majority as part of the state's ‘insidious gentleness’. The article also seeks to understand why official discrimination against non-indigenes is poorly contested locally by assessing the role of these documents in accessing public employment, university places and basic services, and examining whether areas inhabited by non-indigenes are perceived as being neglected or abandoned by the state. Currently, discrimination policies are implemented unequally and in many instances client–patron relationships help sidestep these policies.

Résumé

Au cours des trois dernières décennies, les politiques de l’indigénéité ont conduit à la discrimination et la marginalisation des non-indigenes au Nigeria et à de nombreux conflits entre indigenes et non-indigenes. Cette discrimination fondée sur une politique localisée de l’appartenance est aujourd’hui bureaucratisée : les gouvernements locaux produisent des certificats d’indigene qui identifient clairement les origines de leur détenteur. Cet article explore l’appareil bureaucratique chargé de délivrer ces certificats dans deux gouvernements locaux de l’Etat d’Oyo (dans le Sud-ouest) et les interactions quotidiennes entre usagers et bureaucrates qui ne peuvent se réduire, contrairement aux perceptions populaires, à des pratiques de corruption. Il examine plus particulièrement le processus compliqué et ambivalent d’identification d’un ‘vrai indigene’ censé renforcer le sentiment d’appartenance à une citoyenneté locale et qui contribue simultanément au fonctionnement routinier de l’Etat. Cette « douceur insidieuse » de l’Etat est largement acceptée par la majorité. L’article essaie aussi de comprendre pourquoi la discrimination officielle contre les non-indigenes est si peu contestée localement en évaluant le rôle de ces certificats dans l’accès à l’emploi public, à l’université et aux services de base. Il se demande enfin si les quartiers habités par les non-indigenes sont localement perçus comme abandonnés par l’Etat. Il s’avère que les politiques discriminatoires sont en réalité très inégalement appliquées et l’importance des relations de patronage permet en réalité de contourner nombreuses formes de discriminations.

Type
The politics of exclusion and inclusion in Africa
Copyright
Copyright © International African Institute 2015 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

Adebanwi, W. (2009) ‘Terror, territoriality and the struggle for indigeneity and citizenship in Northern Nigeria’, Citizenship Studies 13 (4): 349–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Adebanwi, W. and Obadare, E. (2013) ‘Democracy and prebendalism: emphases, provocations and elongations’ in Adebanwi, W. and Obadare, E. (eds), Democracy and Prebendalism in Nigeria: critical interpretations. New York NY: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ajala, A. S. (2008) ‘Identity and space in Ibadan politics, western Nigeria’, African Identities 6 (2): 149–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Akinyele, R. (2014) ‘Lagos is our land: indigeneship associations and the protection of the rights of Lagosians since 1950’. XenAfPol Conference, University of Cambridge, 16–18 December 2014.Google Scholar
Anthony, D. A. (2002) Poison and Medicine: ethnicity, power, and violence in a Nigerian city, 1966 to 1986. Oxford: James Currey.Google Scholar
Barber, K. (1991) I Could Speak Until Tomorrow: Oriki, women and the past in a Yoruba town. London: International African Institute.Google Scholar
Bayart, J.-F., Geschiere, P. and Nyamnjoh, F. (2001) ‘Autochtonie, démocratie et citoyenneté en Afrique’, Critique internationale 10: 177–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bierschenk, T. and Olivier de Sardan, J.-P. (2014) ‘Ethnographies of public services in Africa: an emerging research paradigm’ in Bierschenk, T. and Olivier de Sardan, J.-P. (eds), States at Work: dynamics of African bureaucracies. Leiden: Brill.Google Scholar
Blundo, G. (2006) ‘Dealing with the local state: the informal privatisation of street-level bureaucracies in Senegal’, Development and Change 37 (4): 799819.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Blundo, G. and Le Meur, P. Y. (eds) (2009) ‘Introduction: an anthropology of everyday governance in collective service delivery and subject making’ in Blundo, G. and Le Meur, P. Y. (eds), The Governance of Daily Life in Africa: ethnographic explorations of public and collective services. Leiden: Brill.Google Scholar
Blundo, G. and Olivier de Sardan, J.-P. (eds) (2007) Etat et corruption en Afrique. Une anthropologie comparative des relations entre fonctionnaires et usagers (Bénin, Niger, Sénégal). Paris: Karthala and Apad.Google Scholar
Bourdieu, P. (1990) ‘Droit et passe-droit’, Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales 81 (1): 8696.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Breckenridge, K. (2011) ‘Capitaliser sur les pauvres: les enjeux de l'adoption de services financiers biométriques au Nigeria’ in Ceyhan, A. and Piazza, P. (eds), L'identification biométrique: champs, acteurs, enjeux et controverses. Paris: Maison des Sciences de l'Homme.Google Scholar
Breckenridge, K. and Szreter, S. (eds) (2012) Registration and Recognition: documenting the person in world history. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Chalfin, B. (2010) Neoliberal Frontiers: an ethnography of sovereignty in West Africa. Chicago IL: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cooper, F. (2012) ‘Voting, welfare and registration: the strange fate of the Etat-Civil in French Africa, 1945–1960’ in Breckenridge, K. and Szreter, S. (eds), Registration and Recognition: documenting the person in world history. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Crozier, M. (1964) The Bureaucratic Phenomenon. Chicago IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Darbon, D. (2001) ‘De l'introuvable à l'innommable: fonctionnaires et professionnels de l'action publique dans les Afriques’, Autrepart 20: 2742.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ekeh, P. (2007) History of the Urhobo People of Niger Delta. Ikeja, Lagos: Urhobo Historical Society.Google Scholar
Englebert, P. (2012) ‘Incertitude, autonomie et parasitisme: les entités territoriales décentralisées et l'Etat en République démocratique du Congo’, Politique Africaine 125 (1): 169–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Erhardt, D. (2014) ‘Indigeneity, belonging and religious freedom in Nigeria: citizens’ views from the street’. Policy Brief No. 5. Oxford: Nigeria Research Network.Google Scholar
Foucault, M. (1975) Surveiller et punir: naissance de la prison. Paris: Gallimard.Google Scholar
Fourchard, L. (2003) ‘Urban slum report: a case of Ibadan, Nigeria’ in Understanding Slums: case studies for the global report. London: University College London and UN Habitat.Google Scholar
Fourchard, L. (2007) ‘Violence et ordre politique au Nigeria’, Politique Africaine 106: 528.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fourchard, L. (2009) ‘Dealing with “strangers”: allocating urban space to migrants in Nigeria and French West Africa, end of the 19th century to 1960’ in Locatelli, F. and Nugent, P. (eds), African Cities: competing claims on urban spaces. Leiden: Brill.Google Scholar
Gboyega, A. (1984) ‘The federal character or the attempt to create representative bureaucracies in Nigeria’, International Review of Administrative Sciences 50: 1724.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Geschiere, P. (2009) The Perils of Belonging: autochthony, citizenship and exclusion in Africa and Europe. Chicago IL and London: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hibou, B. (2011) Anatomie politique de la domination. Paris: La Découverte.Google Scholar
Hibou, B. (2013) ‘La bureaucratisation néolibérale ou la domination et le redéploiement de l'Etat dans le monde contemporain’ in Hibou, B. (ed.) La Bureaucratisation néolibérale. Paris: La Découverte.Google Scholar
Higazi, A. (2007) ‘Violence urbaine et politique à Jos (Nigeria), de la période coloniale aux élections de 2007’, Politique Africaine 106: 6991.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hoffman, L. and Nolte, I. (2013) ‘The roots of neopatrimonialism: opposition politics and popular consent in Southwest Nigeria’ in Adebanwi, W. and Obadare, E. (eds), Democracy and Prebendalism in Nigeria: critical interpretations. New York NY: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
HRW (2006) ‘They Do Not Own This Place’: government discrimination against ‘non-indigenes’ in Nigeria. Volume 18, No. 3(A). New York NY: Human Rights Watch (HRW).Google Scholar
Kirk-Greene, A. (1983) ‘Ethnic engineering and the federal character of Nigeria: boon of contentment or bone of contention’, Ethnic and Racial Studies 6 (4): 457–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mustapha, R. U. (2007) ‘Institutionalising ethnic representation: how effective is the Federal Character Commission in Nigeria’. CRISE Working Paper No. 43. Oxford: Centre for Research on Inequality, Human Security and Ethnicity (CRISE).Google Scholar
Nwagwu, C. C. (1997) ‘The environment of crisis in the Nigeria education system’, Comparative Education 33 (1): 8795.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Obadare, E. (2007) ‘Lamidi Adedibu ou l'Etat nigérian entre contraction et sous traitance’, Politique Africaine 106 (2): 110–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Oka Orewa, G. O. and Adewumi, J. B. (1983) Local Government in Nigeria: the changing scene. Benin City: Ethiope Publishing Corporation.Google Scholar
Osaghae, E. (1998) Crippled Giant: Nigeria since independence. London: Hurst and Company.Google Scholar
Osaghae, E. and Suberu, R. (2005) ‘A history of identities, violence and stability in Nigeria’. CRISE Working Paper No. 6. Oxford: Centre for Research on Inequality, Human Security and Ethnicity (CRISE).Google Scholar
Owen, O. (2013) ‘Positions of security and the security of position: bureaucratic prebendalism inside the state’ in Adebanwi, W. and Obadare, E. (eds), Democracy and Prebendalism in Nigeria: critical interpretations. New York NY: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
Paden, J. (1973) Religion and Political Culture in Kano. Berkeley CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
Paden, J. (1986) Ahmadu Bello, Sardauna of Sokoto: values and leadership in Nigeria. Portsmouth: Hodder and Stoughton.Google Scholar
Saint, W., Hartnett, T. A. and Strassner, E. (2003) ‘Higher education in Nigeria: a status report’, Higher Education Policy 16: 259–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sayne, A. (2012) ‘Rethinking Nigeria's indigene-settler conflicts’. Special Report 311. Washington DC: United States Institute of Peace.Google Scholar
Suberu, R. (2001) Federalism and Ethnic Conflict in Nigeria. Washington DC: United States Institute of Peace.Google Scholar
Ukiwo, U. (2006) ‘Creation of local government areas and ethnic conflicts in Nigeria: the case of Warri, Delta state’. CRISE Working Paper. Oxford: Centre for Research on Inequality, Human Security and Ethnicity (CRISE).Google Scholar
Villott, C. (2011) ‘Get to the bridge and I will help you to cross: merit, personal connections and money in access to Nigerian higher education’, Africa Spectrum 46 (1): 85108.Google Scholar
Watson, R. (2003) Civil Disorder is the Disease of Ibadan: chieftaincy and civic culture in a Yoruba city. Oxford: James Currey.Google Scholar
Yahya, M. (2007) ‘Polio vaccines – “no thank you!” Barriers to polio eradication in northern Nigeria’, African Affairs 106 (423): 185204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
19
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

BUREAUCRATS AND INDIGENES: PRODUCING AND BYPASSING CERTIFICATES OF ORIGIN IN NIGERIA
Available formats
×

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

BUREAUCRATS AND INDIGENES: PRODUCING AND BYPASSING CERTIFICATES OF ORIGIN IN NIGERIA
Available formats
×

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

BUREAUCRATS AND INDIGENES: PRODUCING AND BYPASSING CERTIFICATES OF ORIGIN IN NIGERIA
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *