Publishing postcolonial Africa: Nigeria and Ekeh’s two publics a generation after

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Onuoha, B.
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This paper interrogates Peter Ekeh’s “two publics” in Africa in the context of African studies. It argues that what Ekeh analysed was a society in transition. Thirty-eight years after Ekeh’s publication, also using a Nigerian case study, the “attacks” on the “civil public” which Ekeh theorised, are suggested to have extended to the “primordial public”: amorality is presently ubiquitous in the “two publics.” The paper identifies a combination of three elements pushing the “attack”: military rule, a civil war and enormous resource from mineral oil (oil boom). Furthermore, the paper suggests that “two publics” evolved largely because before colonialism, there was no hegemony built in any known “state” in what was Nigeria at the time to sustain any common (moral) value system that could have resisted the “civilising” ideology of colonialism. The paper underscores the fact that knowledge production in African studies has not paid sufficient attention to the gap created in nation building in Africa because of the inability of pre-colonial African states to establish hegemony which is critical in state and nation building in other civilisations. In conclusion, the paper argues that the inability to build hegemonic order before colonial rule, not only in Nigeria, but in most parts of sub-Saharan Africa largely explains why 50 years after colonial rule, there may still be debate about and delay in resolving the problem of the “two publics.”
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Africa , Civic public , colonialism , Nigeria , Peter Ekeh , Postcolonialism , primordial public , Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES::Social sciences::Political science
Onuoha, B. (2014). Publishing postcolonial Africa: Nigeria and Ekeh’s two publics a generation after. Social Dynamics, 40(2), 322-337.