Origin Crisis and the Future of Nigerian Federalism Mr Waziri
By Aboki Associates
The authors argued that the option of federalism is undoubtedly the best option in Nigeria by which too many of the ethnic expressions and identities can be successfully managed. However, they have demonstrated that despite its viability, the application of the federal system of government in Nigeria has met several challenges, ranging from constitutional crises, and the war, too many military interventions/engagements in the nations’ body politic, ethnic nationalism etc.
The authors have further shown that at the moment, the prospect of the Nigerian Federalism appear rather bleak and wondered if the system worked well in some other countries why can’t it work in Nigeria? The book is presented in eight chapters:
Chapter one deals with Conceptual and Theoretical Issues in which the concept of Power and Federalism is clarified. Chapter two deals with the antecedents and origin of Federalism in Nigeria. Chapter three is concerned with the emergence of political structures along the ancient problem of multi-ethnic and religious identities in Nigeria. The idea of the chapter is to underscore the necessity for federalism in a country with too many nationalities. Chapter four which is a follow upof the previous issues deals with the problem of ethnic minorities in historical perspective. Chapter five is on Federalism under crises in Nigeria. Chapter six examines the shuttle between the successive military and civilian regimes in Nigeria since 1960. Chapter seven is on the controversial issue of Resource Allocation in Nigeria since 1960 to date, while chapter eight examines the prospects of Federalism in the present century.
From the foregoing, it is evident that the authors have succeeded in clarifying the basic issues of Federalism in Nigeria.
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Nigeria is a very complex and heterogeneous society made up of people with diverse cultures. Historically, what is now Nigeria consisted of large ethnic polities brought together after the British departure by the will and consent of its people.
The British conquered these polities and reduced their citizens to colonial subjects, largely because of the later’s debilitating failure to forge new, and more incorporative, and economically progressive political orders. The sovereignties of these groups which were lost to the British were not recovered by any of the successor entities of these pre-colonial sovereign states or by the new ethnic nationalities which have come to be identified with them. This sovereignty was fought for and recovered by organizations and movements whose identities and aspirations were pan-Nigerian and pan-African.
It was the Universal Negro Movement Association and the Negro world of Marcus Garvey, the West African Pilot of the Great Zik of Africa, and the West African Students Union led by Folake Solanke, the Nigerian Trade Union Congress, under the leadership of Michael Imodu, etc. who fought and recovered this sovereignty and independence, not any ethnic or tribal organization.
Prior to these developments, the 1914 amalgamation gave the Northern and Southern Protectorates a common political head and between the 1914 amalgamation and 1939, Nigeria had already resembled a federation of two Protectorates. From that period to 1960, the Colonial Government had already adopted a federal Constitution. The Constitution continued since independence with constitutional amendments by successive regimes.
Against this background, this work seeks to unravel the origin, crisis and the future of Nigerian Federalism. The work argues that, despite several attempts at state creation, devolution and decentralization of power among the component units of Nigerian Federation overtime, there have been massive reactions from ethnic, regional and religious groups advocating for a Sovereign National Conference to determine the future of Nigeria, whether the county will ever remain as one. This forms the basis of our argument.
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