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Keywords:

  • horizontal inequalities;
  • Nigerian ethnic relations;
  • affirmative action;
  • Federal Character Commission

Abstract

To deal with the tensions created by ethnic diversity and inequalities, many African countries have instituted affirmative action programmes ranging from informal ethnic balancing to explicit quotas. This study examines the reasons for affirmative action in Nigeria and the effectiveness of the Federal Character Commission (FCC) that was set up to oversee the programme. It argues that the affirmative action is an important aspect of governance in divided societies. Furthermore, while the FCC has not succeeded in achieving its formal objectives, it has nevertheless encouraged the non-violent resolution of ethnic grievances. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.