Will Kymlicka’s Idea of Multicultural Citizenship Rights and the Nigeria Federation
Will Kymlicka is a Canadian political philosopher using his Federal Canadian society as a basis argued for the recognition of minority rights, in what he calls multicultural citizenship. His idea is that the claims to self-determination or autonomy, protection of a distinct cultural language and special representation need to be accommodated. National minorities should not be forced to integrate as this can lead to violence. Without recognizing the group rights of ethnicities, they will be culturally disadvantaged. Using Kymlicka’s idea in an analytical manner, this paper applies his theory to the Nigerian federation. Despite many years of operating so-called federalism, the system is be-devilled by ethnic agitations, violent militancy, youth restiveness, and many other social ills. The paper theorizes that failure to operate a true federal structure that recognizes and fully accommodates minority rights is a key problem responsible for these social ills. Nigeria is a weak and troubled federation where the rights of national minorities are often neglected, suppressed and denied. When it comes to language, the languages of the three dominant groups in terms of population are privileged over others. Representations in both state and federal establishments are often in favour of dominant ethnic groups. The cries for autonomy and restructuring of the federation are often not heeded. The paper argues that accommodating the rights of minorities can help them integrate and foster a sense of equality in a true federation. It also argues that beyond restructuring, ethical leadership is needed to move the federation forward. The paper finds and concludes that some ideas of Kymlicka can help in creating a peaceful and unified federal Nigeria
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