Newsletter of the French Institute for Research
in Africa, Vol. X, No. 3, 2001
A call for proposals for the new IFRA research program titled :
“Transnational Networks and New Religious Actors in West Africa” has been sent to
various institutions and researchers in Africa and in Europe. This project will be led
by a multi-disciplinary committee (anthropology, history, political science)
comprising specialists of African religious issues. If this program has been launched
in particular circumstances – the events of 11th September 2001 brought to our mind
the necessity of knowing better the Moslem societies – we still have at the back of our
mind the dynamism of new churches, and ancient settlements of Christian Networks
in West Africa. The comparison of these networks (Islamic, Christians but also neotraditional) constitutes the central point of this programme that will reflect a religious
globalisation radiating from many centres. Nigeria influences the whole region but
Anglophone and Francophone actors easily cross borders in both directions. General
orientations of the call for proposals are summarized in this number (see p.2-3). In the
same vein, a political analysis of the Sharia debates in Nigeria has been a new line of
study since December 2001 (see p.4).
IFRA’s research on urban studies is also being developed: two new projects
(one on Ibadan, and the other one on Lomé) centred on urban management and
territorial matters will allow us, in a comparative perspective, to study the process of
fragmentation/segregation in two cities which belong to different historical
backgrounds. If the process started at the beginning of the century in Ibadan, it seems
to have started from the last decade of the 20th century in the case of Lomé (see pp.45). Results of the fieldworks will be published in two different books on the two
Finally, the rate of the exchange programme of researchers and Ph. D.
students between France and Nigeria is still on (see p.7-9). The conferences given by
Catherine Coquery-Vidrovitch in various Nigerian Universities have been very
successful and would be able to project the new interest of this country in French
academic research.
Laurent Fourchard
This text is an abstract of the call for proposals given to the different Universities and Research
Institutes interested in religious issues in West Africa
The religious ferment characteristic of the
1980’s in African cities (undoubtedly) owes a lot
to the publicity organized by religious activists
(banners, posters) but should not make us overlook
the long history of religions imported into Africa
and the conversion of its peoples. The writing of
A. Appadurai and others emphasize the fact that
the cultural phenomenon of globalization – which
is concerned with trade just as much as churches
and brotherhoods – is by no means the same thing
as homogeneity and the wiping out of individual
The worldwide expansion of certain
religious movements (Pentecostal or Islamic) often
goes hand in hand with the fragmentation of local
and national identities and even the desire to remap the territories of communities of believers.
Seen from a West African perspective,
exchanges between Francophone and Anglophone
countries are dominated by Ghana and Nigeria.
The establishment of evangelical churches of
Ghanaian or Nigerian origin (the Pentecostal
Church of Ghana, the Foursquare Church, Deeper
Life, Action Faith etc.) in francophone towns is an
incontrovertible fact and the spread of new
theologies (the theology of prosperity and
deliverance) show clearly the religious and cultural
influence of Nigeria and Ghana throughout the
region. But looking back, the complicated history
of how churches break up or form new churches
from the old shows that missionary activities and
religious enterprises are never unilateral and that
the globalisation of religions here as elsewhere
radiates from more than one centre. Religious
activities cross borders in both directions. One
thinks of the expansion of the Assemblies of God’s
Church since the 1930’s starting from
Francophone countries (Burkina Faso) or the
history of the Celestial Church of Christ poised
between Benin and Nigeria and divided between a
Francophone mother parish and Anglophone
leadership. This atmosphere of interaction and
exchange leads certain neo-traditional cults to
model their forms of religious activity on the
church (e.g., the church of Ifa in Nigeria) or
conversely, leads the established Christian
churches, Catholic or Protestant, to adopt the
religious style of “charismatic” prayer groups. It
also results in the building up of a united world (or
of a single market for religious enterprises) and at
the sametime, the re-affirmation of ethno-national
differences. The Islamic revival south of the
Sahara cannot be separated from the ferment,
which obtains in the Revivalist Churches and the
neo-Christian evangelical and Pentecostal domain.
While preserving its image of “African religion”
offering through the strategy of its brotherhoods a
refuge for local identities and through its
holymen/itinerant preachers/ marabouts the
solution to many problems, the “IslamoAfricanist” domain in its fundamentalist version
takes on the most professional forms with
maximum media exposure of religious
proselytism through the new intellectual elite, new
entrepreneurs or young preachers.
The scientific committee will look at the proposals along three main lines :
1. Strategies for the establishment of churches
and Islamic brotherhoods, which are developing
or have developed a proselytism across West
Studies of the religious movements in
West Africa have, with some exceptions,
concentrated on one region or one country.
However, churches and Islamic brotherhoods are
spreading their evangelisation campaigns across
the whole sub-region, the continent of Africa,
indeed the whole planet. The itineraries of
religious leaders are not restricted by state
boundaries. The most important matters to address
are how religious movements split up or come
together, how sites and territories acquire a
symbolic significance, how places of pilgrimage
acquire international recognition as well as forms
of proselytism (prayer camps, evangelisation
campaigns or crusades which cross borders),
claims of autonomy or attempts to re-form
religious movements in line with the politics of
national identity and ethno-national identity crises
must also be taken into consideration.
2. An urban and social geography of places of
worship and urban publicity strategies
The proliferation of places of worship in
the town and the development of urban publicity
strategies (the use of streets and central places
within the city such as cinemas, stadium) endow
these places with a religious geography, which
varies from town to town and era to era. These
strategies for space in the city are also
distinguished by religious forms of social action
(setting up schools, promoting public health).
Particular attention will be given to the role of the
media (radio, T.V., publishing houses) in the
spread of new religious practices. It is also
necessary to examine the role of religious leaders
in the public domain and their position in relation
to the state (national debates on corruption, AIDS,
National Reconciliation).
3. Travels and influence of religious preachers
An anthropological and historical study of
religious preachers (marabouts, Imams, teachers in
Koranic schools, pastors, bishops, spiritual guides,
prophets) must take into consideration the role that
churches and Islamic brotherhoods play in social
development. At the same time this study must
evaluate the role and importance of personal
charisma, the institutionalisation of prophecy and
the powers of vision and healing. From this will
emerge the reasons for the success of the new
pastors, doctors, religious entrepreneurs, their
relationship with politicians and the elite, their
international networks.
More broadly, it is
necessary to investigate the modalities of the
hierarchy and the functions it performs within
religious groups and communities, the routes
travelled in pursuit of conversion, the avenues for
advancement within the church and the
opportunities for a career in religion, the
procedures followed when choosing a new leader
for churches or other groups.
The call for proposals will be sent on demand. Proposals from researchers or institutions must
be forwarded to IFRA Ibadan before the 20th of March and selections will be made by a scientific
Scientific Committee
Jean-Pierre Dozon, EHESS, Paris.
André Mary, CNRS, EHESS, Aix-en-Provence.
Laurent Fourchard, IFRA, Ibadan.
René Otayek, IEP, CEAN, Bordeaux.
Pierre-Joseph Laurent, Université catholique de Jean-Louis Triaud, Université d’Aix-Marseille,
Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve.
IEA, Aix-en-Provence.
The Shari’ah Debates in Nigeria : A Political Analysis
Rotimi Suberu, Department of Political Sciences, University of Ibadan (new project)
One of the most daunting challenges to the
stability of Nigeria’s new democracy has involved
the actual or planned extension of Shari’ah or
Islamic law from personal and civil matters fully to
criminal cases in several northern states, notably,
Zamfara, Bauchi, Borno, Jigawa, Niger, Kaduna,
Kebbi, Kano, Katsina, Sokoto and Yobe. This
project seeks to provide a political analysis of the
explosive, wide ranging, debates generated by the
In an attempt to move beyond current
journalistic and overly partisan interpretations of
the Shari’ah campaign, the project will do two
things. First, it will provide an overview of the
successive rounds of Shari’ah debates since the
late colonial era up until the period immediately
preceding the inauguration of the new democracy
in May 1999. A cursory review of Nigeria’s
constitutional history suggests that important
debates over aspects of the Shari’ah issue took
place in 1958-59, 1961, 1975-78 and 1988. A
historical review of these debates should provide
the background to a balanced analysis of the
current Shari’ah controversy. Secondly, therefore,
the project will undertake an empirical analysis of
the major local, national and international political
issues arising from the extension of Shari’ah law in
three selected states, namely, Zamfara, Kano and
Kaduna. The three states have been selected to
reflect the geo-cultural and political diversity of
the North, as well as the divergent trajectories and
outcomes of the on going Shari’ah campaign in the
Data for the study will come from primary
documentary sources (especially the publications,
legislations and records of governments or
religious organizations), secondary literature
(books and journal articles), and interviews with
political, regional and religious leaders in the three
selected states and beyond. The project should
offer important analytical and policy oriented
insights regarding the development and political
management of religious divisiveness in Nigeria.
Analytically, the study may illustrate the
complementary roles of “primordial” (culturalsymbolic) and instrumental (strategic politicoeconomic) factors in shaping sectarian conflicts in
deeply divided societies like Nigeria. In essence, it
is hypothesized that the Shari’ah issue has
involved both a theological and cultural struggle to
protect and project Islamic institutions and values
in the largely secularised (and dysfunctional)
modern Nigerian state, as well as the strategic
orchestration and manipulation of religious
symbolisms by northern Muslim power elites. The
project’s policy-oriented contributions would come
from an examination of current proposals and
prospects for managing the Shari’ah issue and
promoting inter-religious amity in Nigeria.
Rotimi Suberu : [email protected]
Urban Management, Local Government and Urban Space
The Ibadan Case (1893-2000), Laurent Fourchard, IFRA (new project)
Many books and monographs have been
published but for a while, few of them were
interested in urban management within a long
time period. Here, the question will be on the role
of different government levels and especially
Local Government in the organization of cities
and to estimate the consequences of this
management on urban space. Contributions from
ten French and Nigerian researchers are expected
in March. The following text gives the principal
view of the book.
Firstly, the city is studied as a place of
competition between different circles of power.
During the thirties, the educated elites re-joined
the Native Authority (Baale, Olubadan, Iyalode)
to which the colonial power gave a major role in
the 1st half of the century while in the forties and
political party leaders took over. The official
promotion of the Local Government between
1950 and 1970 has emphasised rivalries between
those Local Governments and the Western
Region (1952-1976) then Oyo State (1976-2000).
We will first of all identify the role played by
these various levels of power in the management
and the development of Ibadan town.
Secondly, emphasis is put on the Policies
operated by the Local Government in the
management of Ibadan for a century by studying
the way these politics affected the planning of
urban spaces. The city has been scarcely
considered as a whole both during the colonial
period and the period of independence. The
absence of a master plan is just one of those
things. During the 20th century, there is a
tendency to establish segregated spaces on racial
and social basis, tendency of mobilizing lands by
a small group of chiefs, civil servants and
business men, lack of housing policy, rapid
resignation since the eighties, of local
governments from the management of public
places (streets, markets, parking, motor parks).
Seeing the lack of different government’s
authorities one would like to know to which
extent urban management comes under
individual and group initiative. In fact, the whole
of the urban body has, throughout a network of
associations, professionals or neighbourhood
developed formal structures or informal practices
to complement the vacuum of the authorities in
urban management. Hence, the city is fragmented
into multiple territories subject to specific bypass, control and uses. Our interest is to identify
this privatisation process of the city by compiling
different levels of the town concerned (from the
market to the ward passing through the
Laurent Fourchard : [email protected]
Evaluation mission from 12th to 20th December 2001 on a research programme in sciences of cities
with the University of Lomé (Togo)
Philippe Gervais-Lambony, University of Paris X.
Sponsored by IFRA, this mission is part of
different on going projects. It is included in the
frame of the research on segregation in West
African cities, already launched by IFRA
(especially on Ibadan city) and PICS (Programme
Interdisciplinaire de Coopération Scientifique)
CNRS, directed by CEAN (Bordeaux) and
University of Stellenbosch (South Africa) titled
“Urbanisation, local government and citizenship:
comparative studies of selected African and
European cities”. Togolese partners are on the one
hand, GRESH (Groupe de recherche et d’Etudes de
Sciences Sociales et Humaines), on the other hand,
the Department of Geography, University of Lomé.
The main subject line of this research
project is as follows: What are the respective
influences of the recent various urban changes on
territorial matters in town? This question will be
treated in different angles: politic (effect of
troubles), economic (effect of state disinvestments,
of privatisations and the rise of informal sectors),
management (effects of decentralization policies).
Hence, it is a socio-spatial issue. The practice of
the territorial system allows us to analyse the
development of socio-spatial segregation in it
various forms (economic, political, ethnic…), by
treating from the lower level (enquiries from
citizens on spatial representations and practices)
and from the higher level (research on urban
government and urban economy). This research
also allows us to emphasize on the role of new
social actors (among which churches and NGOs
seem to be essential) the new role of old actors
(political parties, associations of natives…). Apart
from the territorial question we have, at the level of
the city, the question of citizenship. The scientific
issue is clearly that of the present thought on
segregation/fragmentation: In which way do these
political, economic and recent social changes
provoke or obscure the tension of identity on small
territories that are about to separate from each
other ? As at now three main points were raised
during the meetings with the local partners:
municipal management of district markets, the
management of loss (judicial aspects), images of
the wards (representation and reality of socio-
spatial segregation).
Philippe Gervais-Lambony : [email protected]
Climatic variations, migration network and adaptation strategies in West Africa : case study of
the Zarma people of West Niger (new project)
Boureima Alpha Gado, Dept. of History, University of Abdou Moumouni, Niamey
The demographic pressure and the there is a need to: 1) disseminate enough
unfavourable climatic conditions in the Sahelian information on a proper knowledge of the
Africa, drains millions of people from their states migration networks between the two countries and
of origin every year. The problems of migration, as the conditions of life of the migrants in the areas
a result of climatic variations and the chronic food they migrate to; 2) identify and analyse in an
insecurity studied in this research work, are historical perspective, the main human and natural
focused on Zarma people of the Western part of factors of migrating as well as the networks and
Niger, who, migrate specially towards the North the migration strategies adopted; 3) identify and
analyse the conditions of life and the alternative
West of Nigeria.
The main objective of this research is to adaptation strategies of the communities and
look into the migration strategies (individual & families in regions they migrated to; 4) generate
collective), within a long period of time, the information which will allow better understanding
itineraries, the mechanism of integration in hosting of this Diaspora through social networks created
areas and the organizations created to handle the for rapport with the rural communities.
relationship with indigene communities. Hence,
Boureima Alpha Gado : [email protected]
Gender Technology and Empowerment : A Social History of Nupe Women since 1900
Mrs Carolyn Nnanusa Ezeokeke, Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan,
Gender analysis is a burgeoning field in
the discipline of history. Consequently, this study
focuses on the gender analysis of indigenous
technology processes in Nupeland, Nigeria since
1900. Literature on the Nupe society abounds,
nevertheless, very little exists on Nupe women or
gender relations in Nupe society. Rationale for the
present study, therefore, rests on the fact that it
seeks to expose the precise status of women in this
predominantly Moslem society and argue for a
more purposeful development programme, which
is based on the concept of gender
complementarity. Using a multi-disciplinary
research technique, the study will make use of
written, oral and anthropological sources. Also in
view of Nupe territorial spread and diversity,
fieldwork will be limited to Bida Emirate, the
largest of the Nupe Emirates, which contain six
Local Government Areas. On the whole, the study
will analyse the extent to which Nupe women,
within Nupe gender relations have been
economically empowered, by gaining access to,
and control over people and resources through
their participation in, or mastery of five indigenous
technological processes notably food processing,
pottery, metal work, textile and straw weaving.
Carolyn Nnanusa Ezeokeke :
[email protected]
A comparative study of Feminist Aesthetics in the plays of Tess Onwueme (Nigerian)
and Were Were Liking (Camerounian)
Mrs Lilian Ogbenege, Dept. of European Studies, University of Ibadan
This study seeks to evaluate the
contributions of African women to the growth of
African feminist theatre both in English and
French. Although very little was known of feminist
literature by the turn of the 20th century, by the
1970’s it had caught the attention of the public and
literary criticism as production increased.
Concerning drama as a literary genre, few works
are available. Fewer still are plays written or
directed by women than those written and directed
by men. This is why the researcher decided to
explore the domain of African feminist theatre.
For this study, two famous female
playwrights were chosen one each from
Francophone and Anglophone west Africa. From
francophone West Africa, Were Were Liking was
chosen for her plays and theatre group - the Ki –
yi M’bock theatre. Were Were Liking’s thematic
concerns include the African woman’s condition
and her struggle for emancipation, social malaise,
pan-Africanism and, most importantly, ritual
theatre which has remained her exclusive preserve.
From Anglophone Africa, the plays of Tess
Onwueme who is also a Professor of Multi-cultural
studies were chosen.
Onwueme’s thematic focus includes the
emancipation of women, a critique of social ills,
neo colonialism in Africa, capitalism, economic
exploitation of the masses etc.
The major objective of this study is to
examine for analytical purposes, feminist
aesthetics in the works of the selected playwrights.
Emphasis will be laid on the comparative analysis
of the works of the two dramatists.
research procedure includes: (a) A feminist (and
womanist) analysis of the selected plays. (a)
Seeing the selected plays on stage and (c)
Interviewing both playwrights. Most of the work
on the Nigerian playwright Tess Onwueme is
already completed. As regards the plays of WereWere Liking, the researcher will be going to Côte
d’Ivoire very soon for field work. This trip, which
is being sponsored by IFRA Ibadan, will enable
the researcher Interview Mrs. Werewere Liking
and gather relevant data and material for the thesis.
Lilian Ogbenege
Nigerian Researchers in France
Rotimi Suberu, Senior Lecturer, department of Political Science, University of Ibadan. The visit was
designed to enable Dr. Suberu to undertake some initial library research in connection with a proposed
IFRA-funded project on the politics of the ongoing Shari’ah debates in Nigeria. During the two first
weeks of December 2001, Suberu used the CEAN library extensively and discussed aspects of his
work with some CEAN researchers, notably Daniel Bach, Christian Coulon and Rene Otayek. He
also gave a well-attended research seminar on Federalism, Democracy and Politics in contemporary
Nigeria. For two other weeks, the researcher was able to utilize the huge collections on Islam and
politics in Africa at the Library of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.
He also discussed his research with two leading SOAS scholars of African Islam, Murray Last and
Louis Brenner.
Hudu Ayuba, Senior Lecturer, Department of Political Science, University of Zaria. Conference
during the Week of Solidarity in Bordeaux (19-23 November 2001). Meeting with the Head of
International Relations of the “Institut d’Etudes Politiques” d’Aix-Marseille to establish of university
exchange between this Institute and the Department of Political Science, University of Zaria.
Joseph Jemkur, a Professor of Archaeology, University of Jos. Scientific Research (December 2001)
at Paris. Seminar of M.Phil/Master at the University of Paris I. Research documentation on Nok
culture. Constitution of a scientific committee with Jean Polet (a Professor of Archaeology, University
of Paris I) concerning the organization of an IFRA conference in July 2002 in Nigeria, titled:
“Transmission of knowledge: metal and terra cotta”.
French Scholars in Nigeria
Bernard Caron, Researcher CNRS, LLACAN, a linguist, conference at the Institute of African
Studies, University of Ibadan (18th January 2002, see the next page).
Catherine Coquery-Vidrovitch, Emeritus Professor of Contemporary History, University of Paris 7,
series of conferences in Nigeria (November-December 2001, see the next page)
Florent Dovonou, Ph. D. student from Paris I University, fieldwork in Ibadan on Nigeria and Ivory
Coast in the Process of Regional Integration in West Africa since 1960.
West African territories being decolonised are divided into small national markets operating
which are not economically powerful enough. Due to the extreme insignificance of their internal
markets, African countries were compelled to merge these markets since the independence with the
aim of being beneficiaries of a balanced economy. The regional economic integration came into
existence as a way of liberating African countries from external dependence and the state of
underdevelopment. Nevertheless parochialism, distrust among leaders and the pursuit of political and
economic hegemony, constitute an obstacle to the realization of a viable regional organization.
The objective of this research work is to analyse the present interests, the relationships, the
economic and political capacity and different strategies developed by the two principal actors to
control the regional integration. In addition to the access to IFRA documentation, my stay in Ibadan
granted me the opportunity to meet researchers from various institutions and lecturers from the
University of Ibadan working on similar area and with whom I was able to share my point of view.
Quentin Laurent, Masters student in Geography, University of Paris X (January-April 2002).
Dwellers mobility and accessibility to services facing urban insecurity in Lagos
Being particularly interested in urban geography and by Sub-Saharan Africa, I have been
rapidly attracted by Nigeria. To be written by September 2002, and considered as a first research and
field experience in a student’s curriculum, my fourth year thesis will be entitled: “Dwellers Mobility
and Accessibility to Services Facing Urban Insecurity in Lagos”. Therefore, my investigations and my
analysis will focus on two or three areas of the city, chosen in the light of their different social
conditions and level of urban facilities.
My main goal will be to characterize and explain fragmented modes of spatial organization,
that are different, depending on neighbourhood and operating on a more or less autonomous and
original basis. This fragmentation and originality can be particularly found in the interactions between
radiance of individuals (“dwellers mobility”) and polarization of services (“accessibility to services”)
on the one hand, and urban insecurity, seen as a form a social and spatial “contingency”, on the other
hand. This term of contingency seems to be justified in the idea that insecurity appears in different
forms (among which is violence) according to places, perceptions and practical experiences of urban
spaces, influencing, consequently, modes, motives and functions of dwellers’ mobility and their
access to services.
In this perspective, the analysis of work and issues raised by the LASEMS (the Lagosian and
public emergency medical service) should be a key point in my reflection. Thus, my work shall meet
both descriptive and analytic interests, and will rely on the classic tools of qualitative inquiry as well
as on studies or data analysis.
IFRA Director’s Mission
27th November to 6th December 2001: Participation at the series of conferences of Catherine CoqueryVidrovitch in different Nigerian Universities (Lagos, Ibadan, Kaduna, Zaria).
10-11 January 2002: Participation at the orientation council of the franco-nigeria cooperation, directed
by the French Ambassador, Jean Marc Simon, in Abuja.
23-24th January 2002: Participation at a one day conference on studies on the evolution of
contemporary Muslim societies organized by SUR/RSA an arm of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at
the Centre de Conférence International in Paris.
Aryeetey E., Harrigan J., and Nissanke M. (eds.) (2000), Economic Reforms in Ghana: The Miracle the Mirage, Oxford: James Currey Ltd., 374 p.
Bello-Imam I. B. (ed.) (2001), Local Government Finance in Nigeria, Ibadan: Centre for Local
Government and Rural Development Studies (CLGARDS), 295 p.
Berry S. S. (2001), Chiefs Know Their Boundaries: Essays on Property, Power, and the Past in
Asante, 1896-1996, Portsmouth: James Currey Ltd., 226 p.
Murphy J. M. and Sanford M. - M. (2001), Osun across the Waters: A Yoruba Goddess in Africa and
the Americas, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 273 p.
Odunlami I. S. (1999), Media in Nigeria’s Security and Developmental Vision, Ibadan: Spectrum
Books Limited, 198 p.
Olaoba, O.B. (2002), Yoruba Legal Culture, Ibadan: FOP Press, 122 p.
Orekoya T. and Agbugba T. (eds.) (2001), Local Government Administration in Nigeria Vol. 1 & 2,
Lagos: Pure Language Communications Limited, 636 p.
REVIEW OF BOOK by Rotimi Suberu
Kunle Amuwo, Daniel C. Bach and Yann Lebeau (eds.), Nigeria during the Abacha Years (1993
– 1998) : The domestic and International politics of democratisation, Ibadan, IFRA, 2001, 395 p.
This book consists substantially of the updated
proceedings of the conference on “The Nigerian
Democratization process and the European
Union,” which was held at the Centre d’Etude
d’Afrique Noire (CEAN) in Bordeaux in
September 1996. In the book’s preface, Daniel
Bach and Yann Lebeau describe the Abacha
years as Nigeria’s darkest since the 1967 – 70
civil war. Their inevitably sketchy portrait of the
corruption and polarization of the Abacha
dispensation is developed extensively in Kunle
Amuwo’s introductory chapter. Amuwo’s wide-
ranging essay points to several factors behind the
rise and relative longevity of Abacha’s venal and
brutal rule, including the deinstitutionalization of
the Nigerian state under the preceding
administration of Ibrahim Babangida, the moral
bankruptcy of the civilian political class, the
complicity, acquiescence or reticence of key
segments of the international community and, of
course, the Abacha government’s shrewd
deployment of the twin–strategy of cooptation
and repression.
In a perceptive analysis of Nigeria’s
succession of military managed transition to civil
rule programmes since 1975, Chidi Odinkalu
identifies several features common to these
transitions, including the often arbitrary creation
of new administrative units, the tight regulation
of party formation, the close dictation and
supervision of the entire transition process by the
military, and the persistence of illiberal
tendencies in the military government despite the
rhetoric or rigmarole of liberalization and
democratization. These and related features of
the transition process, Odinkalu persuasively
argues, have invariably endangered the
constitutional rule in Nigeria.
In another excellent chapter, Attahriu
Jega links the fragility of the Nigerian democratic
project to the elitist and self-serving
conceptualization, corruption and subversion of
the project by the political class, the business
class, the established religious institutions and
the traditional rulers. He sees the hope for the
rise of a truly democratic regime of popular
empowerment and mass-based welfare in Nigeria
to lie in a coalition of pro-democracy groups and
the workers’, peasants’, and women’s
movements. The prospects for such a democratic
coalition are provided in Raufu Mustapha’s
masterful analysis of the evolution, activities and
problems of the major pro-democracy and human
rights groups during the Abacha years. While
acknowledging the crucial roles of these groups
in exposing and opposing the excesses of the
military government, Mustapha identifies the
profound contradictions arising from the regional
concentration, weak internal democracy,
factionalism and narrow social bases of these
The Nigerian press, which gets only a passing
mention in Mustapha’s essay, is the subject of a
searching analysis by Michelle Maringues. Her
exhaustive survey of the Nigerian press under
Abacha’s rule effectively “highlights the
Sisyphean nature of draconian actions (by the
junta) aimed at annihilating the press”. The
essays by Nicole Chevillard, Francois Misser and
Richard Sklar focus, respectively, on Nigeria’s
external debt problems, on the country’s
relationship with the European Union, and on her
capacity to “evade” international sanctions.
Collectively, these three essays provide useful
insights into the tangled contradictions of
Nigeria’s international political and economic
In an outstanding chapter, Alex Gboyega
offers a critical assessment of the multiple
options for a stable system of federalism in
Nigeria. While acknowledging the ingenuity of
many of the reform proposals that were
canvassed during the 1994-95 constitutional
conference convened by the Abacha government,
Gboyega points to the wider and deeper political
and ethno-regional currents that have impeded
the stabilization of the Nigerian federation. In the
book’s last two chapters, Stephen Wright offers a
fine report on the 1996 Bordeaux conference on
which the volume is based, while Enemaku
Idachaba provides a valuable chronology of the
major political events of the Abacha years.
effusive and impressive collection is an
important addition to the literature on Nigerian
government and politics.
Rotimi Suberu : [email protected]
Series of conferences in Nigeria by Catherine Coquery-Vidrovitch, Emeritus Professor of
Contemporary History, University of Paris 7
Catherine Coquery-Vidrovitch was invited by
IFRA for series of conference organized in
collaboration with the cultural service of the
French Embassy, a department of History,
University of Lagos (UNILAG), departments of
History and Political Science of the University of
Zaria and Arewa House at Kaduna. I extend my
gratitude to the whole Nigerian scientific
community that made these conferences a
success through their excellent organization.
Conferences: The Process of Urbanization in
Africa, Department of History, UNILAG,
Chairman, Professor Ayodeji Olukoju, Head of
History Department, (28th November). Western
History, African History, World History,
conference at Institute of African Studies
(University of Ibadan), Chairman, J.F. AdeAjayi, Emeritus Professor of African History
(30th November). France’s African Politics,
Arewa House, Kaduna (4th December). French
written historiography and English written
comparison, methodological Seminar in the
Department of History, Ahmadu Bello
University, Zaria (4th December). The Process of
Urbanization in Africa, Chairman, Vice
Chancellor of ABU (5th December). Furthermore,
David Hivet, the audio-visual Attaché of the
cultural service, French Embassy, Lagos, has also
organized meetings with two Nigerian radio:
Voice of Nigeria, Lagos (29th November) and
FRCN, Abuja (3rd December).
Catherine Coquery-Vidrovitch, African cities’ history from the origin to colonization
African urbanization history has been unknown
due to two types of hatred: on one hand, it is due
to the old believe that Africa did not have any
history since there was a little or no written source.
On the other hand, the emphasis laid on colonial
innovations, among which the modern city
overshadowed the former urban realities. Urban
history is not just in Africa an old matter as in the
rest of the world but the cities played (as
elsewhere) a driving cultural and political role
without even mentioning their economic
We are not trying to renovate the
traditional cities in opposition to the modern cities,
i.e. cities of industrial and contemporary third
world. Such a conception of African History is
obsolete. African cities just as any other urban
phenomenon in the world originate from universal
concept and reality and they also went through a
dynamic evolution. But, in Africa, for different
periods and in various areas, they were at the same
time classical and specific because every city
reflects its society. There is a certain urban model
for every ecological environment, for every social
system, for every economic operation, for every
cultural group and for every era, which is still
developing. In this under continent where societies
could be involved either in the more remote
pastoral life or in State construction and
international trade more favourable to the
edification of towns-capitals or market cities,
urban histories are quite different. Through
centuries, one noticed two important sets of
successive urbanization from West Africa as well
as central Africa. The first was the type of premodern, pre-capitalist but also autochthon: ancient
cities revealed by archaeology, by regional and
local complements, Islamic cities –“ports du
désert”, capitals from Sahel empire or Swahili
business towns -, Creole cities but not westernised,
mercantile towns but not colonial. Right from the
beginning of 19th century, the second batch of
urbanization reacted to the great transformation, a
result of the western industrial revolution, being
either the Yoruba urbanism from the West or the
Zanzibarites colonies of the East. The ancient
cities were ruined by the destructions of the great
military internal invasions and the slaveries while
the new cities were encouraged by the
development of the international market and this,
before the colonial conquest stricto sensu. The late
colonial episode broke or took as profit, the
traditional dynamism: urban continuity, assuredly,
for a long time; separation is sometimes rough but
instigated by internal forces as well as simply
imposed by the West and this does not necessary
coincide with the classical chronology of European
Catherine Coquery-Vidrovitch
Borrowing and code switching between Hausa, English and Zaar by Bernard Caron, CNRS –
LLACAN, Paris, Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan, 18th of January, Discussant : Francis
Egbokare, Department of Linguistics, University of Ibadan.
Bernard Caron, first Director of IFRA and current Director of LLACAN (Langues, Langages et Cultures
d’Afrique Noire) Paris, was in Nigeria for a two month fieldwork (Bauchi State). He accepted to deliver a
lecture at the University of Ibadan on his research on Zaar Language.
When speakers of a minority language,
conversing among themselves, use foreign word
and expressions, does that mean that the
language is declining? This is what the older
generations and conservative linguists tend to
consider. However, mixing languages or "code
switching" as it is generally called, may be
viewed as a sign of vitality and linguistic
expertise used by educated speakers to enforce
the sense of belonging to the same linguistic
community. This must be distinguished from
borrowing, which is a way of expanding and
adapting the lexicon of a language. This thesis
will be developed taking examples from two
conversations between Zaar speakers (south of
Bauchi state) switching between Hausa, English
and Zaar.
Bernard Caron
IFRA Ibadan, a foundation of the French government, was establish in 1990 as a branch of the French
Institute for Research in Africa founded in Nairobi, in 1980. It was set up to promote research in the
Social Sciences and the Humanities as well as to enhance collaborative work between scholars in France
and English-speaking Africa. The Institute operates from the University of Ibadan where it is housed by
the Institute of African Studies.
The permanent staff of the Institute are :
Laurent Fourchard
Elisabeth De Campos
Evelyn Emeahara
Nike Akande
Moses Ishola
Sarah Nwaubani
Abosede Davies
-Administrative Secretary & publications Officer
- Documentalist/ Librarian
- Library Assistant
- Internet Room Assistant
-Réceptionnist/Office Assistant
Office hours:
8h00 - 15h30
Institut Français de Recherche en Afrique / French Institute for Research in Africa
Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan
P.O. Box 21540, U.I. Post Office, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria
Tel/Fax 234 2 8104077 E-mail: [email protected]
Web page: http://www.skannet.com/ifra
Edited by :
Fourchard Laurent : Chief editor
Elizabeth de Campos, Fourchard Laurent : Translation
Sarah Nwaubani : Formatting