CHALLENGES OF FEDERALISM ON DEMOCRACY IN NIGERIA 1999-2013
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Table of content
- Background to the Study
- Statement of the Problem
- Objectives of the study
- Basic assumption
- Justification of the Study
- Definition of major terms
- Methodology 12
- Scope of the Study 1
- Limitations of the study
Organization of chapters
- Theoretical Framework And Literature Review
2.1 An overview of Theoretical framework
2.2 Literature review
- The History Of Federalism And Democracy In Nigeria
- An overview of Nigeria’s experience with federalism
- History of democracy in Nigeria
- The Nexus between Federalism and Democracy in Nigeria
4.0. Challenges Of Federalism And Democracy In Nigeria
4.2. Overview of the Evolution of Nigerian Federalism
- Summary, Recommendations And Conclusion
is often regarded as the appropriate governmental principle for
countries with hugeethno-cultural diversities. Nigeria, with over
twohundred and fifty ethnic groups inherited a federalsystem from
Britain in 1960 and successivegovernments have attempted, with varying
degreesof sincerity and commitment, to operate federalinstitutions that
can accommodate the country’sethnic, cultural, religious and linguistic
diversitiesand nurture a sense of national unity. However, theleaders of
these governments, at all levels, havefailed to fulfill their
obligations to offer goodgovernance anchored on equitable
politicalarrangements, transparent administrative practicesand
accountable public conduct. Indeed, failure toencourage genuine power
sharing has triggereddangerous rivalries between the central
governmentand the thirty-six states governments over revenuefrom the
country’s oil and other natural resources.The defective federal
structure has also promotedbitter struggles between interest groups to
capturethe state and its attendant wealth; and facilitatedthe emergence
of violent ethnic militias, whilepoliticians exploit and exacerbate
inter-communaltensions for selfish reasons. Thus, communitiesthroughout
the country increasingly feelmarginalized and alienated from the
Nigerian state.This writer contends that the deeply flawed federalsystem
in Nigeria constitutes a grave threat tonational integration, stability
and development; andthat unless the government properly engages
theunderlying issues of resource control, powersharing, equal rights and
accountability, the countrywill face an internal crisis of increasing
anddangerous proportions. This paper seeks toexamine the contentious
issues in Nigeria’s federalarrangement, and the challenges they pose
fornation-building and national stability.
Background tothe Study
is the expression and determination by people in a polity on how the
society should be governed. However, the translation of this expression
into certain action viaappropriate power is the obligation of the
government. Since democracy entails the protection of lives and
properties of the people, therefore, the purpose of any political system
is to maintain law and order in the society.
In Nigeria, a state
having diverse ethnic groups which consist of over 250 ethnic
formations.These group can be regarded as nations in the sense that,
before the evolution of the colonialism, these groups though may be
small, but were living independently before they were forcefully merged
After the acquisition of the Nigeria territories by the
British government, federalism as a preferred system of government was
adopted in Nigeria in 1954 due to the cultural diversities of the
country (Omotoso 2008:33). It was believed that federalism would allow
each group or ethnic group to develop at its own pace, while
co-operating with others within the federation.
inception of democracy in Nigeria, peoplehoped to have true democracy
that would guarantee free and fair periodic elections for the people to
elect their representatives But, their efforts towards the attainment of
democracy was in vain. Moreso, in 1993 people voted massively to the
extent of attaining democracy, but the election result was annulled
and large, this study is mainly on how democratic principle is
impacting on federal arrangement. It also concerns the nature of factor
ethnic politics in Nigeria. Ethnicity is the major factor affecting or
causing the abuse of federalism and democracy in Nigeria. This can be
seen in the various crisis that rocked the country since the inception
of the democratic rule between 1999 to 2013, the study however, examine
how ethnic politics is affecting democracy and smooth running of
federalism in the country. Democracy which should guarantee free and
fair periodic election and good lives, living for the people in
Nigeria.But, on the way to true democracy, ethnicity and religion are
the most dangerous treats to the attainment of the democracy in Nigeria
(Nnoh, 1999:93 in democracy and civil society in Nigeria)
The study also tends to examine the consciousness of the ethnicity in
Nigeria polity as retard the smooth practicing of democracy and
federalism in the country.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
the advent of democracy rule in 1999, Nigeria as a country has not been
practicing true democracy and federalism, hence the need for this study
which is on the challenges of federalism and democracy in Nigeria,
1999- 2013. Hence, Nigeria political system has been facing with many
challenges the range from political and religion, which are political
realities in Nigeria, remain the forces that have contributed greatly to
socio-political instability in the country.
electioneering period in 2003 to be precise, these was sectarian
turbulence in the country and the agitation for the presidency by the
various ethnic groups as a result of the background nature of the
country due to tribal and religion sentiments.
the years, in 1999, Nigeria has been practicing democracy did not show
elements of the democracy. Basically, ethnic factor is the bone of
democratic rule in the country right from the historical perspective to
date. There is lack of vital democratic value in such that civil and
human right abuse are rampant, freedom of speech and expression are
hampered, there is lack of security, justice and tolerance of political
oppositions, all these andmany more are causing social unrest in the
More so, the nature of the federal government in Nigeria
can be regarded as a forced federalism. The federating units are
subordinate to the central government. The federal government is very
overbearing as it controls about 80 percent of the resources in the
country, leaving state and local government at its mercy. Also, the most
dissuaded issue in the country are fiscal federalism and revenue
allocation because of its effort on
In the view, what accrued to
each at what percentage and ration is of major concern to every
individual and the federating units. Going to this, scholars have
discussed revenue allocation extensively. We have like of Olowomoni
(1998), Adesina (1998), Mbaneto and Suberu (2001) in this category.
the federal system, there must be an arrangement on how the revenue and
power of the state will be shared among the component parts. What these
emphases implies is that, the federating units re just subordinate to
the central government and federal government is very overbearing, as it
controls the largest percentage of the revenue in the country.
Objectives of the Study
The following are the Objectives of this study:
- To examine the history of federalism in Nigeria
- To examine the consciousness of ethnicity in Nigeria polity
- To examine the challenges of Nigeria federalism and democracy
- Also, the study will interrogate ethnicity and federalism in Nigeria.
- The assumption of this study is predicated on the following
- That ethnic can retard both political and democratic development.
- It is assumed that, true federalism will promote development through democracy as a system of government
- It is also assumed that, true quota system as practised in Nigeria is a problem to democratic growth and development.
JUSTIFICATION FOR THE STUDY
The study is justified to the extent that ethnicity is a major factor in Nigeria democracy.
justification is that Nigeria federalism is only unique to the country
in such that none of the attributes of federalism can be found in it.
study is also justified that power sharing in Nigeria federalism is a
major problem that always affects the cooperate existence of the
Also the study is justified because ethnic politics tends to retard unity and democratic development.
DEFINITION OF THE MAJOR TERMS
In this study, some terms that will be constantly used which will be
given operational meaning so that, they will not be misconstrued when
comes across in the study.
DEMOCRACY: –There is
no hard and fast definition to the term democracy. Many scholars have
variously defined the term based on the perspective they viewed it from.
to Kolawole (2004:30) he sees democracy as a political ideology that
restores faith in people, allows the majority to determine the direction
of things and accepts the rational of the people in making decision
that affects them. He stressed further that, democracy can be defined as
a political system that allows the majority to choose their leaders
(Kolawole, 1997: 161).
Democracy has been accepted to be most
popular system of government, from the two Greek words, demos meaning
people, while kratos meaning power, put together. It literally denotes
people’s power or rule of the people (Adeyemi, 2004:163).
according to Abegunde(2010:142, he sees democracy as a system of
government that allows the citizens to choose their leader, make
important decision through wide consultation and voting, it also allows
for the supremacy of the rule of law. He also defined democracy as a
process that allows every individual in a country to be partaker in the
system of government.
Democracy is the philosophy of government
that sets a high premium on the basic fundamental human rights of
citizens. It is concerned with the institution and process of government
(Omotoso, 2005:3). It may also be described as a system of government
under which the people exercise their governing power either directly or
through representatives that are periodically elected by themselves
Nevertheless, democracy can be regarded as
the system of government, mainly determined by the people. It is a
representative government in which people in a particular society elect
their representatives that are to be in the helm of affairs in the
FEDERALISM:-Federalism has no specific
definition therefore there are a lot of intellectual view points to the
definition of federalism. Hence, No general agreement on the definition
Nevertheless, as a social concept, federalism is
about the linkage of people and identities as the ideal form of social
organization. Also, as a political device, federalism can be
conceptualized as a kind of political order animated by political
principles that emphasize the primary to bargaining and negotiating,
coordination among several power centers, a pre-requisite to the
exercise of power within a single political system and stress the value
of diverse power centered as a means of guarding individual and local
liberties (Omotoso, 2003:3)
Federalism is the means of unifying many people for special but limited purpose, without disrupting their primary tiers.
to Wheare (1964:33)it is the methods of dividing power so that, general
and regionals government are each within a sphere, coordinate and
Though, Whear we believed that both the central
government and the units are equal and coordinate. It also sees
inevitability of conflicts in the relations of the central and component
From the various literature available, it is
simply about sharing of power among the various units or various levels
of government to the extent that opportunities given to each to perform
effectively either administratively and financial in its spheres of
operations. Legislative and practically, no levels of government should
be hamstrung in any way that makes it solemnly subordinate to the levels
in the performances of its functions.
According to Daniel
Elazer’s, he recognized the unavailability of strain and stresses in the
group relations particularly among the component units. He therefore
emphasized the need for compromise and reconciliation. For example, in
Nigeria federalism, there are strains and stresses among the component
units; these are most noticeable in the ethnic uprising area of revenue
allocation issue of domination and marginalization of one section of the
country over others. But desire for the compromising and conciliation
among the various groups in the federating is still keeping the country
together (Elazer, 1977:26).
Federation refers to a political
system where there are at least two levels of government. In which case,
there is the juxtaposition of two levels of power of a central
government otherwise called the federal government and other state
labeled variously as states region, republic, canton or union. The
juxtaposition of these two levels of government present a car models
situation engine (Schmitt, 2007:22)
More so Friedrich defined
federalism as a process rather that a design. Any particular design or
pattern of competence or jurisdiction is merely a phrase, a short run
view of a continually evolving political reality. It is understood as
the process of federalizing, it will become apparent the federalism may
be operating in both direction of integration and differentiation
Federalism is a system where the federal
government shares power with the autonomous states that make up the
federalism (Adeniran, 1997:24). Also, federalism is based on the mutual
agreement of a federal government for the purpose of securing a more
efficient government and better security and power in the centre.
Democratic Rule:-Democratic rule is the governance that is based on the principles of democracy.
to Kolawole(1972:27), he sees democracy as political ideology that
restores faith in people, allows the majority to determine the direction
of things and accepts rationality of the people in making decision that
affect them. He stressed further that democracy can be defined as a
political system that allows the majority to choose their leaders.
to Larry Diamond, he noted that there must be extensive competition
among individual, political participation in the selection of leader and
political liberties (Diamond etal, 1988.Pxiv). It was a system of
government that entails the setting of affairs, according to know rules
of government toleralism, forward mainly views, regular elections (that
is free and fair election), freedom of speech and above all, observance
of rule of law.
Democratic rule, is the rule that allows the
supremacy of the people, their freedom and equally guarantee when the
ultimate power in that is lodge in their hands.
to Nnoli (1998:11) Ethnicity is a phenomenon associated with the
competition, exclusiveness and conflict in relations among ethnic
groups, which are members of a political community.
reference to Omu(1996:170), ethnicity denotes the consciousness of
belonging to identifying with and being loyal to a social group
distinguish by shared cultural traditional, a common language, in group
sentimental and self identity.
Basically, ethnicity exists only
within a political society consisting of diverse ethnic grouping. It is
associated with people that are socially and culturally related through
which they tend to protect their identity and dignity.
defining this concept will be based on the perception from which one
views it. One perspective sees ethnicity as the acceptability of one
another by the members of one ethnic group and discrimination by the
member of one group against others on the basis of differentiated system
of socio-cultural symbols and costume with the primary focus of members
of groups and loyalties of individual member of such group consciously
or unconsciously, ethnicity is expressed in every plural society.
conflict in the words of Osaghae (1992:218) refers to conflict between
people from different ethnic groups which may arise from competition of
control of state power, distribution of resources or non-material
struggle for supremacy. Ethnic conflict is not based on race but, or
other socio-cultural difference (Maikudi, 2003:376). Ethnic conflict
therefore can be regarded as the agitation and strives among
socio-culturally different groups within a political system for the
dominance in the governance process. It is the conflict which is all
about subjugation of one ethnic group or more by another ethnic group
within a policy in the pursuance of political supremacy.
(1922:114), opined that, conflict emerges where a clear contradiction
exists or it perceived to exist between the participants who view the
outcome of such a conflicts extremely important. In summary, conflict
implies struggle, competition, context or disagreement between the
participants over valued and scarce resources in which the aim of the
ethnic groups or participants is to have advantage over each in the
control of such resources.
is an orderly procedure used in conducting an enquiry. Secondary source
is the source of data collection and gathering adopted for this study.
It also entails to use literature on the subject, journal and newspapers
written by eminent scholars on the area of the study.
Also government publications and library materials and text books on federalism and democracy in Nigeria were consulted.
SCOPE OF THE STUDY
study covers challenges of federalism and democracy in Nigeria between
1999 to 2013. The reference will be made to historical democratic values
and federal structure and the evolution of ethnicity, as a very vital
factor in the country’s policy.
Also, this study covers the emergent of federalism and its role to the Nigeria’s national unity.
LIMITATION TO THE STUDY
The following are some of the major problems encountered during this study were carried out:
in getting access to available data for the study. That is, access to
official document was stressful because government officials were
reluctant to release document that are important for this study due to
the classification nature of the document.
Also, logistic problem
as a result of financial constraint and insecurity of lives and
properties due to bad economy and national security problems.
More so, various divergent views and opinions by scholars as to the meaning of the subject matter of this pose a great threat.
ORGANIZATION OF THE CHAPTERS
This study is divided into five chapters.
one contains background to the study, statements of the problem,
objectives of the study, definition of the major terms,
theoreticalframework, methodology, scope of the study, limitation of the
study, organization of the chapters and references.
Chapter two, is the theoretical framework and literature review
Chapter three focuses on the history of federalism and democracy in Nigeria.
Chapter four examine on the challenges of federalism and democracy in Nigeria between 1999 to 2013.
Chapter five dwells on summary, recommendation and conclusion.
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