Pluralism and Inequality in Nigeria: Factors Inhibiting and Promoting Development

A teaching unit for grade 11/12 social science students


The following unit can be used with the Social Science Global Politics course in the International Baccalaureate (IB) as well as any course exploring the complexity of the challenges we face in the 21st century. The materials provided examine to what extent Nigeria’s federal model has mitigated group grievances and addressed regional socio-economic inequalities or increased ethnic and religious competition. They focus on the impact of colonialism in creating current intergroup power dynamics, and the role of federalism in managing tensions over resources and representation. The materials also reveal the limits of the federal model in Nigeria: significant economic and educational inequalities between the North and South have persisted, and extremist insurgencies in the North continue to be a threat. This unit is comprised of seven tasks and offers a unique exploration of political power-sharing between several groups in the wake of protracted ethnic violence. Learning materials provide opportunities to examine inequality and development and the role of federalism, ethnicity and institutions in achieving social change and furthering respect for all groups.

Please note that these materials cover events up until 2019. In order to include more recent events, we recommend supplementing this case study with current articles.


IB and non-IB teachers of upper-grade secondary (high school) students. This could also be used in the CÉGEP system in Quebec.


IB teachers are expected to take a case study approach to allow a deep and conceptual understanding of these units.


  • Power, Legitimacy and Sovereignty
  • Peace and Conflict
  • Development and Globalization
  • Inequality
  • Federalism
  • Human Rights
  • Pluralism

    Learning Outcomes

    By the end of this unit learners will be able to:

    • Explain how a specific case study relates to inequality and development
    • Apply relevant key concepts, theories and ideas from the core units of analysis to the case
    • Evaluate the case study from different perspectives and in the wider context of global politics
    • Apply a pluralism lens in order to analyze the drivers of inclusion and exclusion in a specific country context


    This unit includes the following resources:

    • An overview which includes the information above, a Summary of Tasks and Works Cited
    • A student workbook with articles, tasks and activities
    • A slide presentation that accompanies the workbook and includes media clips (in PowerPoint) * available in PowerPoint format upon request

    About this Resource

    This unit was originally designed to support the IB Social Science course Global Politics. This teaching unit is related to a research paper on Nigeria commissioned by the Centre, “Federalism and Group-Based Inequalities in Nigeria,” written by Daniel Agbiboa.

    This teaching case study was produced by Vlad Gogelescu, a (former) Global Politics teacher with the International Baccalaureate (IB) in Amsterdam. This work has been developed independently from and is not endorsed by the IB.

    Photo credits:
    Santos Akhilele Aburime/
    PPT presentation: Tayvay/