Regional integration from “below” in West Africa

A study of transboundary town-twinning of Idiroko (Nigeria) and Igolo (Benin)

in Regions and Cohesion
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Abstract

This article examines the phenomenon of town-twinning between Idiroko (Nigeria) and Igolo (Benin). While transboundary town twinning is the integration of settlements across distinct state territories—an emerging pattern of borderland urban evolution—this seems to be a new impact of the colonially determined borders in West Africa. Despite the challenges posed by the partition of West African culture area s, town twinning has more recently turned into an established form of regional integration based on a “bottom-up” rather than “top-down” approach in the region. Using qualitative methodology based on descriptive analysis of oral interviews, government records, geographical data, as well as diverse literature, this paper uncovers the role of “borderlanders” in negotiating borders through increased non-state transnational sociospatial cooperation and networking. Apart from altering the traditional state-centric territoriality, this new development may entail broader economic and socio-political implications in the region.

Contributor Notes

OLUKAYODE A. FALEYE studied at the University of Ilorin where he received his BA in History and at the University of Ibadan where he obtained his MA in African Studies. He is a Lecturer in the Department of History and International Studies at Joseph Ayo Babalola University. He is presently studying for his PhD in History at the University of Ilorin. His most recent publications are co-authored chapters—“Eco-violence or trans-border terrorism? Revisiting Nigerian pastoral nomadic Fulani Question” and “Civil society and terrorism in Africa: Rethinking borderland security in northeastern Nigeria” in Nigeria’s ungoverned spaces (Obafemi Awolowo University Press, 2016), edited by R.A. Olaniyan and R.T. Akinyele. He is a member of African Borderlands Research Network (ABORNE). His research focuses on Environmental History and Borderlands Studies.

Regions and Cohesion

Regiones y Cohesión / Régions et Cohésion

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