FEDERALISM AND NATION-BUILDING IN NIGERIA: CHALLENGES AND PROSPECTS

Abstract

This study is on federalism and nation building: the challenges and prospect. The total population for the study is 200 staff of National assembly, Abuja. The researcher used questionnaires as the instrument for the data collection. Descriptive Survey research design was adopted for this study. A total of 133 respondents made supervisors, computer operators, senior staffs and junior staff were used for the study. The data collected were presented in tables and analyzed using simple percentages and frequencies

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the study

Federalism would therefore, seem to provide an attractive system of government especially in the context of ethnic pluralism found in many African States. It is generally accepted that so far federalism as a conflict management system has failed to remove the bogey of ethnicity, sectionalism and religious conflict from Nigerian body politics. With over forty years of trying to navigate through the murky waters of Nigerian politics many, including the nationalists, politicians and civil society have become despondent to the extent that one can hear voices calling for the outright balkanization of the country. Furthermore is Nigeria, the contestation over federalism has fundamentally manifested itself in two principle either as a guest for access and control over political power or as access to federally generated revenue. As observed by Momoh (1999:3), the task to social engineering and reconstruction of the notion of federalism in both form and the substance was left in the hands in the military. It was not surprising that the crisis of federalism depended on the country. Also as the revenue allocation principle was restricted in favour of the states, there were more demands for increased revenue from the state and local governments. It is not out of place to note that the peculiarities, irregularities and tensions that vexed and continue to vex Nigerian federalism stemmed in apart from the arbitrary rule of the military (Suberu 1994:68). However, there is still doubt that the desire to improve on Nigeria’s federal practice exerts a magnetic force amongst many Nigerian. Also in the current dispensation, the expectations is that the various vexation issues like the over centralization of powers by the federal government, the creation of states, revenue allocation, the creation of local government councils and the question of citizenship is given urgent attention. Much as it has been obtained in most European colonies, the workability of federalism in Nigeria has been far reaching feat from being politically transparent. In Nigeria, this very process of the formulation of a sovereign civil state among other things stimulated the sentiments of parochialism, and ethnicity because it introduces into society a valuable new prize with which to contend. The doctrines of the nationalist propagandist to the contrary notwithstanding Nigerian tribalism is in their political dimensions not so much the heritage of colonial divide and rule policies as they are the products of the replacement of a colonial regime by an independent domestically anchored purposefully unitary. Tough they rest in historically developed distinctions, some of which colonial rule helped to accentuate (and others of which if helped to moderate), they are part and parcel of the very process of the creation of a new polity and a new citizenship” Geertz (1971). Thus, Nigeria is a country where size, cultural and linguistic diversity, historical particularizes and considerable decentralization prevail (Max Beloff, 1953). This is the view of Max Beloff and James Madison’s “diversity hypothesis” which states that the more diverse the elements within a political system, the better it is suited for federalism, and more homogenous the political society the better for unitary forms.

1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

The problem associated with the practice of federalism raised it ugly head immediately after independence when Nigeria adopted the republican form of government. The practice of federalism in Nigeria has been so problematic as it involved diverse ethnic groups. The major problem which this research is set out to tackle is to identify imminent problems of federalism in Nigeria’s democratic setting. From this background the researcher wants to investigate the federalism and nation building in Nigeria: challenges and prospect

1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY

The objectives of the study are;

1. Identifying the challengesof federalism in Nigeria

2. To ascertain the challenges of federalism in Nigeria impinges on democratic practices.

3. To ascertain the effect of federalism in Nigeria

4. To ascertain the relationship between challenges and prospect of federalism

1.4 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES

For the successful completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher;

H0: there are no challengesof federalism in Nigeria

H1: there are challengesof federalism in Nigeria

H02: there are no relationship between challenges and prospect of federalism

H2: there are relationship between challenges and prospect of federalism

1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

The problem of federalism in Nigeria has been a recurrent one and is fast receiving wider attention from scholars. The research shall be significant in the following ways:

1. The study will investigate into the challenges of federalism in Nigeria.

2. The study will be significant because it will bring to fore-font the problems of federalism in Nigeria.

The study is significant because recommendation will be made in which will help to solve some of the problems of fiscal federalism in Nigeria and also look at the prospect of federalism in building the nation

1.6 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY

The scope of the study covers federalism and nation building: challenges and prospect. The researcher encounters some constrain which limited the scope of the study;

a) AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study

b) TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.

c) Organizational privacy: Limited Access to the selected auditing firm makes it difficult to get all the necessary and required information concerning the activities.

1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS

For the purpose of this work, the following terms shall be conceptualized.

1. Democracy: it refers to the system of government whereby it is rule by the people. Democracy is a form of government organized in accordance with the principles of popular sovereignty, political and Economic Equality, popular consultation and majority rule. Okon, Eminue (2005), introduction to Political Science.

Federal Character: it implies the principle which tends to give every group an equal opportunity to participate in the socio-economic and socio-political life of the country. Where (1963:10), the substance of federal government administration in Nigeria.

iii. Federalism: it refers to a form of government with constitutional arrangement with some constitutional structure, which is deliberately formed by political architects to maintain unity. Where (1963), the element of Nigerian federalism.

Ethnicity: it refers to a situation or condition where preference is accorded a particular set of people based on their ethnic regional indication. It represents a feeling of belonging to a group of people. Truman, D. (1951), “The Governance” New York: Knopt Publisher.

1.8 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study