By Larry Diamond (auth.)
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Extra info for Class, Ethnicity and Democracy in Nigeria: The Failure of the First Republic
Whereas the NPC sought 'to unite and reform' , NEPU leaders sought 'to destroy and replace' - 'to overthrow the regime for their own ends'. Mobilising mainly 'market rabble' and 'semiliterates', NEPU, in this colonialist view, had a weak base of support, but its 'incitement to revolution ... could have been dangerous' (SharwoodSmith, 1969: 217-19, 223, 235). Not surprisingly, colonial officials were instrumental in identifying the future 'responsible' political leaders of the North and encouraging them to organise politically, and Sharwood-Smith himself developed unusually close relations with NPC leaders such as the eventual Northern Premier, Ahmadu 36 Class, Ethnicity and Democracy in Nigeria Bello, and especially the eventual Prime Minister, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa (Sharwood-Smith, 1969: 163, 191, 212, 313, 348, 363-5).
Loan programmes fostered not genuine agricultural and industrial development but, through favouritism in awards, security conditions and repayment enforcement, the enrichment of the well-connected (Schatz, 1977: 231-2; Helleiner, 1964: 98-123). The largest source of commercial patronage was the finance capital held by the agricultural marketing boards and statutory corporations of each region. These strategic funds were placed under the direction of trusted operatives of the ruling parties and dispensed, under criteria defying economic rationality, to party-connected businesses and banks.
Far-fetched in the extreme, such tactics nevertheless successfully transformed people's basest prejudices and wildest fears into resounding electoral mandates. The fact that 'political constituencies were geographical in nature and ethnically homogeneous' (Nnoli, 1978: 152; see also Melson and Wolpe, 1971: 13) and the tendency for opposition candidates to be nominees of parties associated with 'foreign' ethnic groups, further heightened the utility of 'tribalism' as an electoral vehicle for the entrenchment of each region's political class.
Class, Ethnicity and Democracy in Nigeria: The Failure of the First Republic by Larry Diamond (auth.)