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    An Exploration of the Ogoni People’s Resistance in Nigeria: A Participatory Action Research Approach


    Udogbo, Samuel Terwase (2021) An Exploration of the Ogoni People’s Resistance in Nigeria: A Participatory Action Research Approach. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    Abstract

    This thesis focuses on the Ogoni minority ethnic group in Rivers State, which forms part of the Eastern Niger Delta, Nigeria. It explores the Ogoni people’s struggle for survival by tracing the problems of the Ogoni to British colonial rule and its political effect on the minority groups in Nigeria and the post-colonial reality of maintaining equality between the majority ethnic groups and underprivileged minorities as the Ogoni people. The thesis explores the Ogoni’s protest against Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and the Nigerian government challenging the environmental degradation of their lands, and the reason behind the socio-economic and political marginalization of the people since the inception of oil extraction of oil and gas in 1958. The rights of Ogoni people to political and economic self-determination which they claim as their legal right and fair entitlements to proceeds of natural resources located within Ogoniland are key factors to the Ogoni struggle. The contribution of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People- MOSOP (as agency in this context) to achieve Ogoni self-rule within Nigeria is germane. Though a nonviolent movement, it continues to face the state’s violent reaction against the entire Ogoni people - the climax being the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa (founder of MOSOP) and eight other Ogoni activists in 1995. The thesis draws heavily on Marxism and social movement studies; the idea of social movement from below pursued by grassroots groups who through locally- generated skills seek to challenge dominant structure of oppression. Rather than mainstream social movement theory, the research adopts movement relevant theory, which relies on activists’ experience to explain the everyday struggles of the Ogoni people; how their collective nonviolent approach contributes to their fight for justice. To serve as an example to the Ogoni struggle, the thesis discusses the principled and pragmatic nonviolent paradigms of Mahatma Gandhi and Gene Sharp respectively. The research adopts a Participatory Action Research (PAR) methodology and draws on 33 qualitative semi-structured and focus group interviews and 9 participant observations across 5 kingdoms of Ogoni within the period of 5 months (plus 2 months of pilot). It includes a partially gendered-balanced cohort of individual Ogoni youth, students, activists, farmers, graduates, chiefs and those living in the city. The thesis is based entirely on primary material. Given the centrality of PAR, the research reflects on the PAR learning cycle; the iterative and participative action process that highlights the research constraints and provides an understanding as regards the research context. Apart from the academic knowledge gained, the egalitarian, iterative and relatively open-ended, sometimes serendipitous (Rudman et al. 2018) PAR process was beneficial for the Ogoni participants. As the research findings show, though the Ogoni’s struggles seems stalled, their campaigns against Shell and the Nigerian State continues. The research is a learning process for the Ogonis and myself; hence it concludes with the recommendation to take the study further until justice is achieved.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Keywords: Ogoni People’s Resistance; Nigeria; Participatory Action Research Approach;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology
    Item ID: 14945
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2021 15:46
    URI:

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