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2016 | 49 | 2 | 307-320
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Towards a proverbial explanation of political instability in independent Nigeria

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The challenge of political instability in Nigeria has defied all solutions till date. The National Youth Service Scheme introduced in 1973 and the Federal Character principle entrenched in the Constitution since 1979, among others, have failed to engender peace and stability in the polity. Judging from this, 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 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.
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  • Department of History and International Studies, Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti, Nigeria
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