Ethnic versus national identity and satisfaction with democracy: The decline of the ethnic cleavage in Nigeria?
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionRegional & Federal Studies. 2022, . 10.1080/13597566.2022.2128339
In this article, we evaluate the impact of ethnic and national identities on satisfaction with democracy in Nigeria, a state with deep historical ethno-regional divisions. Applying Easton’s (Citation1965) seminal framework of diffuse versus specific support, we examine how Nigerians combine their ethnic and national identities (diffuse support), and analyze the extent to which territorial identities influence democratic satisfaction vis-à-vis evaluative factors (specific support), such as trust in institutions and the current government’s performance in addressing the needs of its citizens. We employ a multilevel model using the seventh round of the Nigeria Afrobarometer survey. We find that a dominant ethnic identity does decrease democratic satisfaction. However, a number of specific support measures, such as trust in the state and local governments and evaluations of the government’s economic performance are stronger predictors. We interpret this as a decline in the salience of the ethnic cleavage in Nigeria.