The phenomenal expansion of university education in Nigeria in the 1960s and 1970s accentuated this dependence on external sources. The Americans were quick to take advantage of the situation, for philanthropic reasons, and to advance U.S. national interests and 

spread U.S. cultural influence. It was against the background of these disturbing social and political trends in the country that the founding of the Nigerian Political Science Association (NPSA) must be located.

In the early 1960s, autonomous political science departments were established first at the University of Nigeria and later at the University College, Ibadan, the University of Ife, Ahmadu Bello University and the University of Lagos. The political science syllabus and research work, especially for dissertation purposes, undertaken by Nigerian political scientists reflected concern with the formal and informal legal, constitutional, and socio-political processes of government – the roles of parliaments and political parties, political leadership roles, and other mechanisms of institutional transfer and national integration – which formed the basic concerns of the modernization school, particularly in the US, in their

application of pluralist theories and structural-functionalism to the study of the new nations. The major political science texts arising out of doctoral dissertations written by Nigerian political scientists in the 1960s reflected this concern with constitutional forms and engineering. They were also influenced by the emergent federal system of government which the country had adopted. Thus Kalu Ezera (1960) and Eme Awa (1964) both provide descriptions and diaries of political developments in post-World War II Nigeria. They combine both historical and formal legal analyses of the emergent political system in Nigeria but are not informed by a consciously formulated theoretical framework.

These trends threatened the integrity of Nigerian professional political scientists at a time when the discipline had come of age in the organization of academic programmes in Nigerian universities and was in the process of consolidating and establishing its relevance.

Given the effect of the Anglo-Saxon, Canadian and American scholarship on the emerging African States, the process of incorporation of Africans, nay, Nigerians in the social sciences and development in Africa was facilitated by the recruitment of expatriate staff, mainly European and North American, in the critical early years of the institutionalization of political science and the other social sciences in sub-Saharan Africa, and by continued reliance on staff development programmes, mainly in the U.S. and Great Britain. The phenomenal expansion of university education in Nigeria in the 1960s and 1970s accentuated this dependence on external sources. The Americans were quick to take advantage of the situation, for 

philanthropic reasons, and to advance U.S. national interests and spread U.S. cultural influence.

Thus, the professionalization of academic political science in Nigeria is set against trends and developments between 1970 and 1975 in the relationship between democracy and military rule in the country. These trends threatened the integrity of Nigerian professional political scientists at a time when the discipline had come of age in the organization of academic programmes in Nigerian universities and was in the process of consolidating and establishing its relevance.

A number of Nigerian academic political scientists felt that there was a need to provide an independent intellectual forum for academic political scientists to address and promote the view that Nigeria’s problems are mainly political and not economic; and thus the need to advance democratic political development and also advance their academic and professional interests.

It was against the background of these disturbing social and political trends in the country that the founding of the Nigerian Political Science Association (NPSA) must be located. A number of Nigerian academic political scientists felt that there was a need to provide an independent intellectual forum for academic political scientists to address and promote the view that Nigeria’s problems are mainly political and not economic; and thus the need to advance democratic political development and also advance their academic and professional interests. This was given a fillip with the convening of a meeting of Heads of Departments of Political Science in the country’s universities in 1973 at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, to inaugurate the NPSA, with Professor Billy Dudley as President and Professor Omo Omoruyi as Secretary.

The NPSA, having thrived at the national level for so many years, had a blip at some point, thus necessitating the formation of zonal chapters of the NPSA, which eventually became a constitutional matter as zones were empowered to start having annual conferences and regular meetings. This gap in history was majorly as a result of the migration of Professor Leo Dare of the country during the great period of brain drain, which left the association in the lurch until Dr. Paul Izah came in to take the reins of office in 1998.

Later, there was the IPSA RC 4 that provided the forum for the return of NPSA after many years of slumber. There was also the assistance of AFRIGOV.

Chronology of NPSA Presidents

Professor Billy J. Dudley 1973-74
Professor Babs William 1974-75
Professor Michael S. O. Olisa 1975-77
Professor Ali D. Yahaya 1977-79
Professor Omo Omoruyi 1979-80
Professor Claude Ake 1980-82
Professor Okwudiba Nnoli 1982-84
Professor Sam Oyovbaire 1984-86
Professor J. Moyibi Amoda 1986-88
Professor John A.A. Ayoade 1988-90

Professor Aaron T. Gana 1990-92
Professor Leo Dare 1992-98
Dr. Paul Izah 1998-2003
Professor L. Adele Jinadu 2003-2005
Professor Humphrey Assisi Asobie 2005-2007
Professor Sam Gabriel Egwu 2007-2012
Professor Abdullahi Sule-Kano 2012-2015
Professor Shuaibu A. Ibrahim 2015-2018
Professor Aloysius-Michaels Okolie 2018-Present

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