Towards A Proverbial Explanation of Political Instability in Independent Nigeria

  • Johnson Olaosebikan, Aremu Department of History and International Studies, Faculty of Arts, Ekiti State University, P. M. B. 5363, Ado – Ekiti, Nigeria.
Keywords: Political Instability, Proverbs, Corruption, Nigeria, Ethnicity


This paper offers a possible explanation for the seeming failure of all efforts to combat the
monster of political instability in Nigeria since independence. Given the fact that most Nigerian
leaders and commoners alike are always quick in reverting to some proverbs either to rationalize
their actions or inactions; five of the most widely acclaimed causes of political instability in
Nigeria were examined vis-à-vis some selected Yoruba proverbs. This was done against the
backdrop of a Yoruba proverb: Owe lesin oro, oro lesin owe; b’oro ba sonu, owe la fi n waa.
(“A proverb is like a horse: when the truth is missing, we use a proverb to find it”). A thorough
analysis reveals that political instability in Nigeria has its philosophical foundations well
entrenched in the spirit of selected Nigerian proverbs and concludes that political stability may
continue to elude the country as long as citizens indulge in hiding under the cover of the letters
and spirit of selected Nigerian proverbs to perpetrate evil in governance.

Author Biography

Johnson Olaosebikan, Aremu, Department of History and International Studies, Faculty of Arts, Ekiti State University, P. M. B. 5363, Ado – Ekiti, Nigeria.

Department of History and International Studies, Faculty of Arts, Ekiti State University, P. M. B.
5363, Ado – Ekiti, Nigeria.


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