THE EFFECT OF ETHNIC SEGREGATION ON EMPLOYMENT IN ABIA STATE CIVIL SERVICE
1.1 Background of the study
The quest for imperial hegemony inspired the cartographic demarcation of ethnic boundaries (Ukiwo, 2005). What then is ethnicity? Ethnicity simply defined is a social phenomenon associated with interactions among members of different ethnic groups (Nnoli, 1980). Jinadu (2004) viewed ethnicity as a social construct which mobilization for competitive purposes includes political parties, public intellectuals, and university students, the military, public bureaucracies, trade unions etc. For him, the political salience of ethnicity is situated within the structure of social relations of production in the country. Ethnic groups as a social concept are social formations differentiated by communal boundaries. In Nigeria, colonialism introduced the concept of ethnicity, first through its policy of segregation which engendered mutual distrust and acrimony. For instance in Northern Nigeria, it was the official British policy to separate the
Hausa- Fulani from their Southern brothers and sisters (Attoh, 2009). Initially, the migrants and natives lived in harmony in the native city. But this negated the official view that only conflict characterized contacts among African tribes. Hence, the migrants were forced to live in Sabon- Gari while the natives lived in Tudun- Wada. However, in cities such as Katsina, and Gwandu where the Emirs resisted this policy of Sabon- Gari, the natives and migrants have continued to live in peace.
The socialization of Nigerians into this colonialists world view has resulted in the internalization of this form of discrimination. The relevant communal factor could be language, culture or both. For Nigeria, language has been a most fundamental variable as people tended to relate more with those they share a common language with (Kparapo). Ethnicity as a phenomenon is behavioural in form and conflictual in content in the sense that people from different ethnic groups see each competitor in the quest for resources rather than compatriots. It can only exist within a plural political state such as Nigeria with over three hundred and fifty language groups. It is the relations between the diverse ethnic groups within the political state that produces ethnicity. In the case of Nigeria, its conflictual nature stems from inter-ethnic competition for scarce resources. It is often characterized by inter-ethnic discrimination in jobs, housing, admissions into tertiary institutions, scholarships, marriages, distribution of welfare services, etc. This is often accompanied by nepotism and corruption.
According to Okwudiba Nnoli (2007) “In reality, ethnicity is a very complex phenomenon. It is always closely associated with political, economic, social, religious and other social views and interactions. Hence ethnicity finds expression in political domination, economic exploitation, psychological oppression and class manipulation.” Perhaps the commonest explanation of what an ethnic group means is that which says that it comprises people with a common ancestry. In other words, this refers to people who can trace their pedigrees to one ancestor. Apparently, most definitions and explanations on the term, by social scientists, seem to draw from this perspective. Max Weber (2008) for instance, described the ethnic group as “those human groups that entertain a subjective belief in their common descent.”
The main elements of ethnicity according to Nnoli (2008) include “exclusiveness manifested in inter-group competition, conflict in relation to stiff competition, and the consciousness of being one in relation to others.”
In addition to these, Mair (2003) identify three main characteristics of ethnicity. “One, it is a culturally specific practice and unique set of symbols and beliefs, especially the way in which an ascribed identity is given contemporary construction through socialization and mobilization in cultural and political movements. Two, it is a belief in common origin involving sometimes, the existence or imagination of a common past. Third and finally, it involves a sense of belonging to a group defined in opposition to others.”
A critical examination of these three elements on which ethnic identity rests shows an attempt to bridge the gap in literature between those who take ethnicity as a primordial inheritance and those who see it as something that is historically or socially constructed. Indeed, there is an increasing tendency to discard the earliest approaches to the conceptualization of ethnicity. These include approaches hat emphasize ethnicity as primordial (Geertz, 2003) and those that present ethnicity as a hang-over of the past which modernization – access to the media, western education and urbanization are expected to whittle down in the course of time.
1.2 Statement of the problems
A liberal scholar, Mair who is an anthropologist sees an ethnic group as a people sharing the same historical experience, having the same culture, speaking the same language and sharing the belief about the future together (Mair, 2002). Other liberal theorists (Zolberg, 2008), Oyovbaire (2004), Mitchell (2004), Young (2006), Stavenhagen (2007) see ethnicity as an inevitable consequence of modernization, economic development and political development, especially in Africa. The liberal theorists believe that an ethnic group has as its members, people who share a conviction that they have common interests and fate, and they tend to propound a cultural symbolism expressing their cohesiveness. Ethnic groups differ from other groups in their composition because they include persons from every stage of life and social class. It is suggested that the insignia of ethnicity is inescapable. Kasfir (2006) suggests four ways of recognizing ethnic groups. These are (i) culture; (ii) language; (iii) traditional political organization; and (iv) territoriality. Succinctly, members of an ethnic group must share a common culture, language and custom and occupy the same territory.
1.3 Objectives of the study
The aim of this research work is to examine the effect of ethnic segregation on employment in Abia state civil service. The specific objectives of this research work includes the following;
1. To examine the effect ethnic segregation on the development of Abia state civil service commission.
2. To evaluate the effect of ethnic segregation on the welfare of the employees in Abia state civil service.
3. To ascertain the effect of ethnic segregation on the development of Nigerian economy.
4. To identify the various causes of ethnic segregation in Abia state civil service. And also proffer possible solutions to the problems identified.
1.4 Research Questions
Based on the objectives above, the researcher asked the following question;
1. What are the effects ethnic segregation on the development of Abia state civil service commission?
2. What are the effects of ethnic segregation on the welfare of the employees in Abia state civil service?
3. To what extent does ethnic segregation affect the development of Nigerian economy?
4. What are the various causes of ethnic segregation in Abia state civil service?
1.5 Statement of Hypotheses
Ho: Ethnic segregation does not have any effect on the development of Abia state civil service commission.
H1: Ethnic segregation has significant effect on the development of Abia state civil service commission.
Ho: Ethnic segregation has significant effect on the welfare of the employees in Abia state civil service.
H1: Ethnic segregation has significant effect on the welfare of the employees in Abia state civil service.
Ho: Ethnic segregation does not influence the development of Nigerian economy.
H1: Ethnic segregation influences the development of Nigerian economy.
1.6 Significance of the Study
This research work will be of immense help to:
The Researcher: it will help the researcher to know more on the effect of ethnic segregation on employment in Abia state civil service.
Workers Abia State: It will also be of great importance to the workers in Abia state as it will enrich their knowledge on the effect of ethnic segregation on employment in Abia state civil service.
This study will be of great importance to the country Nigeria as it will help the policy makers to prorogate laws that will guide against ethnic segregation on employment in Nigerian civil service.
1.7 Scope and Limitations of the Study
The study shall focus on the effect of ethnic segregation on employment in Abia state civil service.
1.8 Limitations of the Study
The researcher in carrying out this study encountered numerous problems, which includes:
FUND – This included lack of enough fund to move around and visit the commission, the researcher has to visit the area more than two times, the researcher equally needed enough money to source material which constitutes an impediment. High cost of transportation in the city due to long distance also imposed its own limitation on the researcher.
LACK OF RESEARCH MATERIALS: lack of research materials was also one of the problems faced by the researcher in the cause of this research work.
RESPONDS OF THE RESPONDENTS: Another constraint to the researcher is that some of the respondents found it difficult to express their view with regards to the subject matter.
From the above points the researcher tried his best to carry out a detailed study on the effect of ethnic segregation on employment in Abia state civil service.
1.9 Operational Definition of Terms
Ethnic Affiliation: This isan association in which its members are of the same ethnic group
Globalization: Globalization (or globalisation) is the process of international integration arising from the interchange of world views, products, ideas and other aspects of culture.
Social System: A social system is the patterned series of interrelationships existing between individuals, groups, and institutions and forming a whole.
Politics system: This is a system of politics and government. It is usually compared to the legal system, economic system, cultural system, and other social systems.