• Examining State Development in West Africa, through Senegal and Nigeria

      Housley, Kasandra L. (2011-03-16)
      This paper studies the relationship between the state and armed conflict in West Africa with an emphasis placed on the value, influence, and role of social institutions on the long-term stability of the West African state. The countries of the Republic of Senegal and Nigeria represent the primary focus of the paper. Comparisons are made of the history of each country/state and experience with socio-political conflict in an effort to explain the penultimate place of social as opposed to legalistic or political influences responsible for the long term survival of the independent state in West Africa. The central question explored in this study is: is the survival of the state in West Africa due to the strength of socio-institutional influence as related to culture or ethnicity, or does primacy of power rest with legalistic influences that are the by-products of the legal establishment such as a state Constitution, the political party system, or established electoral procedures? Chapter 1 explores this issue in-depth with an examination of literature from a variety of major sources as they relate to the central question posed in this study (see above). Chapters 2 and 3 delve further in the specifics with detailed cases of Senegal and Nigeria. Chapter 4 attempts to compare and contrast the complexities and similarities found in the Senegal and Nigeria cases. Chapter 5 summarizes the findings of the study. This study demonstrates the importance of social institutions in West African state formation and reaches the conclusion that in the case of the nations of West Africa at least, successful state formation ultimately rests on strong social institutions that function to fortify political cohesion while facilitating long-term stability and cohesion.