Is Nigeria a nation or a country?

Is Nigeria a nation or a country?

Nigeria is our motherland, and we all love it. However, some people are still wondering about the answer to the simple question – is Nigeria a nation or a country? What is the difference between these terms, and which one applies to Nigeria the best?

Is Nigeria a nation or a country?

Difference between State and nation

So, is Nigeria a nation, State or country? Or perhaps it can be described by all of these terms? Sometimes people use them in a wrong way and get confused by what Nigeria really is.

Even though the terms State, country, and nation are often used in an interchangeable manner, they actually mean entirely different things. Country and State are synonyms and both of them mean political entity that has its own government. They can be used interchangeably, which cannot be said about the term “nation”, which we will explain later. If an entity wants to be called a country or a State, it has to fufil the following criteria:

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  • Has a territory, marked by the boundaries which have been internationally recognized and acknowledged (even if there were some boundary disputes).
  • Has people who reside there on a regular basis.
  • Has an active economic life, along with a well-organized economy, the functions of which are regulating trade (foreign and domestic) and issuing money.
  • Has a social engineering power, for instance, education.
  • Has strong transportation system for moving various goods, as well as people.
  • Has governmental powers which provide public service.
  • Has the sovereign power – for instance, king/queen, president/prime minister, etc. depending on the form of leadership. The other States should not have any power over the territory of the State.
  • Has the recognition from external countries. For instance, it should be voted in by the committee of countries, such as United Nations.

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Nigerian boy

The term “State”, which we are talking about and which is synonymous with the term “country”, has to be written with the upper-case “S”. The reason for it is that the term “state” with the lower-case “s” means a different thing. It means the division of the federal State. For instance, there are 36 states in Nigeria, which all have their own territories and governments, but they are all parts of the bigger entity Nigeria. Same can be said about some other big countries like United States, Canada, France, and Japan.

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What is a nation? The term “nation” is defined as a group of people, who share common history and culture. They are bigger than a tribe or community. The nation usually unites a large number of people. For instance, the major nations in Nigeria are Igbo, Yoruba, and Hausa-Fulani, but they have no countries of their own. There are many nations without countries. The members of the nation do not have to live in one country. For instance, the Yoruba people often can be met in the other parts of Africa, like Benin or Togo, or in places like Caribbean islands and Brazil.

There is also a term “nation-State”, which is defined as a country which is mostly made up of people who belong to the same nation. Nigeria is not a nation-State, because it is a multinational territory and there are many people of different nations. To be a nation-State, the country has to consist mainly of the same nation. For instance, Japan, Iceland, Denmark, Finland, North Korea, South Korea are good examples of nation-States.

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Nigerian people

Is Nigeria a nation?

Basically, Nigeria is not a nation, but it is a country which consists of multiple nations, ethnic groups, religions, and language families. The fact that there are three major tribes, Hausa-Fulani, Yoruba and Igbo also shows that Nigeria cannot be called a nation, but a country.

The problem of tribalism in Nigeria is really more serious than some people might think. Many people from Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa tribes consider their own tribe a superior one and refuse to acknowledge the other ones and accept the differences between them. They also identify not as Nigerians, but as people of their own tribe. The issue of lack of the national identity among Nigerians often leads to lack of unity in general.

Nigerian fans

Now you know the answer to the question what is Nigeria. It is a country but, hopefully, one day it will become a nation. We can only hope that there will be less internal conflicts and more unity in the future.

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