Regionalism, tribalism and religion permeated the road to independence for Nigeria, a British colony since the mid-19th century. Those influences affect the Nigerian struggle to achieve a prosperous, functioning civil society to this day.
One source for these influences was, of course, embodied in the attitudes and prejudices of the citizens of Nigeria. However, the impact of these corrosive influences was exacerbated by the colonial policies of the British, who sought to preserve the indigenous cultures while also introducing new technology and Western ideas of politics and civic culture. These policies, coupled with the in-grown biases of the citizens, prevented the development of a real pan-Nigerian national identity.
The political opposition to colonial rule often took on religious dimensions. The northern region was Muslim, while other regions were Christian or animist and much more nationalistic. Interestingly, the influences for the nascent nationalism in the south included American political figures like Marcus Garvey and W.E.B. DuBois.