This thesis explores the history of the nation-state formation in the contemporary failed state of Somalia. In doing so, it examines the political uses of the concepts of the nation-state and nationalism through the prism and paradigm of the African state. Previous historians have focused almost entirely on the external dimensions on the state-making, particularly on the aspect of the colonial legacies on the nation-state-building process. By using the Somali Republic as a case study, the thesis traces the internal dynamics of the nation-state project to interrogate the dialectics of the state-society relations. The focus is not necessarily on the nation-state-building process per se, but also on the practices and performances of the political players. In short, the thesis critically assesses the extent to which the notions of nation-state and nationalism assisted to the buttressing of élite power competition, an important theme overlooked in the historiography on Somalia. By analysing élite competition and the local discourses of the nation-state project, the thesis approaches the nation-state project from a new perspective. This reveals the discursive ways in which the political players engaged with each other to compete for power. The timeframe for the historical inquiry covers from 1950 through 1969, the most significant moment for the nation-state-building process in Somalia. Drawing upon so far inaccessible archival records, oral history and other rare sources, the thesis develops an original argument from these new sources to suggest that, however powerful the nation-state-building project may be, it was contested on various levels by local political groups. The nation-state disillusionment that occurred after the post-independence period in the early 1960s was not only a revelation but a reflection of the élite competition that began in the late 1950s. The purpose of the thesis is to further our understanding of the history of the nation-state-building project in Somalia. A comprehensive historical study on this subject contributes to historiographies concerned with the complexities that shrouded the nature of the African nation-states.