Nigeria is widely known as the African state where interethnic conflicts led to civil war. A great deal has been written to explain the ‘crisis’, as Nigerians prefer to call it, but there has been little study of the less newsworthy peace—the fact that large numbers of Nigerians in mixed communities get on fairly well together and have done so over a long period of time. In the Nigerian situation, a case can be made that intercommunal conflicts are really about economic and political power; ethnicity is only used to categorize people met in impersonal situations, or not met at all. Since the real game is power, it can also be shown that conflict is stronger at the top than at the bottom of the social system; the élites have more to gain than the masses by forwarding their ethnic group in relation to others. Of course, the élites have, on occasion, convinced the masses that benefits would be shared by all. Ethnic violence would not have been so well supported if this were not the case. The ordinary people have participated in riots, supported a civil war (on both sides), and most can be shown to harbour some prejudice toward members of other groups. But large numbers of them who migrate to the towns live peacefully with members of other groups, often find friends among them and, sometimes, wives or husbands.