Structure versus Process: Exploring the Link between Distributive and Procedural Justice Beliefs and National Identification among the Peoples of Southern and Northern Nigeria

W. A. Asekun


Nigeria’s ethno religious plurality has persistently hindered cohesion among its many peoples. Thus, for over four decades, a debate has been ongoing over whether or not the Nigerian polity should be restructured. The present study drew from System Justification Theory to examine how the constituent groups in Nigeria are apparently kept united amidst perceptions of injustice from some of her ethnic groups. The paper also examined the extent to which the perceptions of distributive and procedural justice influence national identification. The study involved a survey of 230 federal university undergraduates. Participants responded to a scale on distributive and procedural justice beliefs as well as on measures of national identification. Results revealed that distributive and procedural justice beliefs have a significant influence on national group identification. Furthermore, respondents from the southern Nigeria showed strong identification with their ethnic groups but weak identification with the national group, while participants from northern Nigeria showed strong identification with the ethnic group and an equally strong identification with the national group. These findings suggest there is less national cohesion among Nigerian ethnic groups than is necessary for faster national development. Recommendations are therefore made on how national cohesion might be achieved in spite of cultural differences.

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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