DEMOCRACY AND THE PROBLEMS OF FEDERALISM IN NIGERIA: A CASE STUDY OF THE OLUSEGUN OBASANJO’S CIVILIAN REGIME
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Nigeria, the most populous black nation on earth with a population of about 140 million people and over 350 distinct language groups, successfully transmitted to democratic governance on May 29, 1999 after so many years of military rule. A federal system of government often arises from the desire of groups of people to form a union without necessarily using their identities. 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 out right 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. Democracy in the real sense of it should be there to accept and respect the opinion of the diverse units, which have come together to form new political society.
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. The following problem stated would be relevant.
- What are the problems faced by Nigeria’s federal system?
- How has these problems compounded the already worsen democratic settings in Nigeria.
- What are the steps and strategies taken to solve these problems?
- What are the prospects that Nigeria’s democracy will strive and survive not withstanding the federal problems?
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The objectives of this study are an attempt at identifying the problems posed by federalism to the practice of democracy in Nigeria. It is as well within the objective of this work to try and identify the sources of revenues, problems areas and solution and recommendations of the problems which is the anchor point here this questions will helps this research work to be relevant.
- The problem of federalism in Nigeria impinges on democratic practices.
- Does democracy thrives will in a federal system of government after identifying the problems the researcher will put up some recommendations which will help if implemented to go a long way to solve the persistent federalism problems in Nigeria.
Sources of revenue can serves as one of the objectives of this study in the sense that if the federalism government refuses to bring the finance money to pay the workers there will be problem in the system.
1.4 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:
- The study will investigate into the problems of federalism in Nigeria.
- 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.
- Serves as reference materials
- Fulfillment of graduation.
1.5 ASSUMPTIONS OF THE STUDY
- About 90% of the questionnaire sent out would be completed and returned to the researcher by the respondents.
- Researcher will worked hard
- Supervisor will give full cooperation
- No strike in the University System.
1.6 PLAN OF WORK
The research project is arranged in chapters. Chapter one encapsulates introduction, statement of the problem, objectives of the study, significance of the study, plan of work, definition of terms and Assumption of the Study.
Chapter two is a brief review of related literature while three is a research design and methodology; chapter four is data presentation and analysis, while the last chapter is the summary of findings, conclusion and recommendations of the study.
1.6 DEFINITION OF TERMS
For the purpose of this work, the following terms shall be conceptualized.
- Democracy: it refers to the system of government where by 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. Wheare (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. Wheare (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.
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