The United Nations Plebiscites in the Northern Cameroons: Post-Colonial Issues and Challenges in Sardauna Local Government Area of Taraba State, Nigeria

Lenshie, Nsemba Edward, Gambo, Jiebreeal Yakubu


The Northern Cameroons, which the Sardauna LGA of Taraba State constitutes a part, was neither a colony nor protectorate of Northern Nigeria, but a mandate of the League of Nations (1922 to 1945) and later, a trusteeship territory of the United Nations (1945-1961) handed to Britain to administer after Germany was defeated by the allied forces in the First and the Second World Wars. At the close of colonisation and the independence of most African countries, particularly the British colony, Nigeria and the French colony, Cameroon in 1960, the political future of the Northern Cameroons was not decided until the plebiscite of 1961 conducted under the supervision of the United Nations. The plebiscite impacted on the cooperate existence of the various ethnic groups, who on equal bases voted to join Nigeria, by creating identity question that have become a post-colonial dilemma in the area. This paper argues that since their amalgamation with Nigeria, ethnic groups from this region have had their indigeneity and the citizenship rights contested by the authorities.  The problem associated with indigeneity and citizenship questions have persisted because of their transverse nature on the Nigeria-Cameroon borders, lack of historical and political trajectories captured in the Nigeria’s political development, and the constitutional gaps in reflecting their unique status of citizenship in Nigeria. The paper concludes that except these problems are addressed, ethnic tension and conflicts will continue to characterise ethnic relations in the area.

Keywords: Plebiscite, United Nations, Northern Cameroons, Indigeneity, Citizenship, Sardauna LGA, Nigeria

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