Yoruba Elites and Ethnic Politics in Nigeria investigates the dynamics and challenges of ethnicity and elite politics in Nigeria, Africa's largest democracy. Wale Adebanwi demonstrates how the corporate agency of the elite transformed the modern history and politics of one of Africa's largest ethnic groups, the Yoruba. The argument is organized around the ideas and cultural representations of Obafemi Awolowo, the central signifier of modern Yoruba culture. Through the narration and analysis of material, non-material and interactional phenomena - such as political party and ethnic group organization, cultural politics, democratic struggle, personal ambitions, group solidarity, death, memory and commemoration - this book examines the foundations of the legitimacy of the Yoruba political elite. Using historical sociology and ethnographic research, Adebanwi takes readers into the hitherto unexplored undercurrents of one of the most powerful and progressive elite groups in Africa, tracing its internal and external struggles for power.
Wale Adebanwi is Associate Professor in the Program in African American and African Studies at the University of California, Davis.
Introduction; Part I: 1. Elite agency: the making of the modern progenitor; 2. The secular ancestor: the political life of a dead leader; Part II: 3. The politics of heritage: (re)constitution, conservation and corporateness in Yoruba politics; 4. The mantle of Awo: the politics of succession; 5. Reconciliation and retrenchment; 6. How (not) to be a proper Yoruba; 7. Seizing the heritage: playing proper Yoruba in an age of uncertainty; Conclusion: corporate agency and ethnic politics.