AbstractDue to its size, large population, oil-based economy and geographical location in West Africa. Nigeria is regarded as an important state in Africa. The country is also one of the longest surviving federal states on the continent and therefore represents an ongoing experiment in federalism in the Third World. Since its independence in 1960, however, Nigeria has been devastated by chronic political instability. This article tries to address the issue why this is the case and to identify ethnic-religious diversity and successive military regimes as the most important sources for the mentioned political unrest. The course and nature of political instability in Nigeria is pul in historical context - a context which also include the secession attempt by Riafra as one of the tragic highlights in the past of Nigeria. In conclusion, the author speculates on ways and options as to how secession attempts can be prevented and a larger amount of national political stability be achieved.
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