FEDERALISM AND POLITICAL RESTRUCTURING IN NIGERIA
Nigeria has undergone a long process of restructuring in terms of the number of geo-political administrative units constituting the polity. This process is popularly referred to as “state creation” and/or “reorganization” the process whereby new geo-political units/constituents known as “states” in most federations are created out of existing or old ones. The outcome of this process is usually an increase in the number of states constituting the Nigerian federation. Historically speaking, the issue of state creation in Nigeria started as far back as 1963, when the Midwest was carved out of the former Western Region by the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa administration. In 1967 the country was further divided into 12 states by the administration of General Yakubu Gowon. This progressive increase in the number of territorial units continued in 1976 when the Murtala Administration created an additional 7 states, making the total of states 19. Between 1987 and 1991, General Babangida in two separate exercises, created 11 additional states, bringing the total up to 30. And in 1996, the Abacha administration created 6 more states to make the territorial units of the country 36. In attempting to trace the history and politics of state creation in Nigeria, scholarly opinions vary widely, almost occasioning confusion, with particular reference to the timing of the first exercise. A major means of evaluating the level of civilization or civicness of modern political systems are the level and extent to which they are well-organized. The political organization of states most often, reflects the structure of governmental authority, level of administrative efficiency and the attendant power relations. Based on the structure, it is convenient to determine the extent to which authority is dispersed or concentrated in a particular political system. One of the most enduring modes of political arrangement in the world today is federalism. Federalism presupposes that national and states/or regional governments should stand to each other in a relation of meaningful autonomy resting upon a balanced division of powers and resources. Each state/or region must have power and resources sufficient to support the structure of a functioning government, able to stand and compete on its own against the others. The attraction for federalism borders on its perceived integrative tendency, which makes it capable of serving heterogeneous societies well in situations of crisis. In the words of Roberts and Simbine (2003) when socially and culturally distinct people find themselves together in the same polity through circumstance of history, to live peacefully together and govern together, they have to strike a balance, which must be acceptable to all the parties involved. Federalism is the system which shares power in such a way that each recipient unit assumes a separate existence and commands relatively exclusive authority over some clearly specified sphere of state activity, in principle, ensures such a balance. However, in spite of its integrative tendency, Odukoya and Ashiru (2007) are quick to point out that federalism does not necessarily posses the magic wand or formula that instantaneously resolves the problems and contradictions of heterogeneous societies. Rather they argue that the socio-economic and political specificities of different societies, coupled with constant and continuous engineering, reengineering and adjustment are needed, if the goals of federalism are to be achieved.
As a system of political arrangement, federalism has endured as one of the most preferred form of governmental authority in the modern world. Its attraction borders on its perceived integrative tendency that serves heterogeneous societies well in situation of crisis. In Nigeria, attempt at integrating the various nationalities towards mutual accommodation and national consciousness provided the incentive for its adoption. However, the politics of domination strategy adopted, particularly by the major ethnic groups shortly after independence created a non-accomodationist scenario that seriously undermined the potentials of the federal structure in the country. Also, the emergence of the military on the political scene brought about a military styled federal system of administration characterized by over-centralization. Politics and governance under such an atmosphere of undue centralism created fertile ground for corruption, primodialism and explosive ethnic competition. The viability and potentials of sub-national entities as co-ordinate spheres of authority and development was equally undermined, as they became mere appendage of the central government. The eventual outcomes were a general sense of alienation, frustration, insecurity and subjugation. The necessity of harnessing and integrating the country’s diverse indigenous experiences into the governance framework becomes fundamental for proactive and positive civic engagement. Effective mass participation emplaces accountability and transparency which are viable ingredients in the management of governmental powers and resource utilization.
1.3 AIMS OF THE STUDY
The major purpose of this study is to examineFederalism and political restructuring in Nigeria. Other general objectives of the study are:
1. To examine the nature of the Nigerian government.
2. To examine how federalism and political restructuring has help in good governance
3. To examine the roles of federalism and political restructuring in Nigeria.
4. To examine the challenges of political restructuring.
5. To examine the relationship between political restructuring and economic development.
6. To suggest ways in which political restructuring can help in developing Nigeria.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What is the nature of the Nigerian government?
2. How will federalism and political restructuring help in good governance?
3. What are the roles of federalism and political restructuring in Nigeria?
4. What are the challenges of political restructuring?
5. What is the relationship between political restructuring and economic development?
6. What are the ways in which political restructuring can help in developing Nigeria?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H0: There is no impact of federalism and political restructuring in Nigeria.
H1: There is a significant impact of federalism and political restructuring in Nigeria.
H0: There is no significant relationship between federalism and political restructuring
H1: There is a significant relationship between federalism and political restructuring.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The national question has remained an intractable challenge to Nigeria’s existence. The debate revolves around the demand for restructuring of the federation and the elaboration of governmental structures in the country. The pattern of restructuring advocated has tended to follow closely the way the national question is framed. Federalism, the governmental framework of the Nigerian state, has been the subject of constant demands for tinkering or fundamental reforms since 1954 when it was first adopted, but these demands have been shaped by the underlying discourse on the national question. Thus this study will help the Nigerian government and students in further research.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is based on federalism and political restructuring in Nigeria.
1.8 LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Federalism:Is the mixed or compound mode of government, combining a general government (the central or 'federal' government) with regional governments (provincial, state, cantonal, territorial or other sub-unit governments) in a single political system. Its distinctive feature, exemplified in the founding example of modern federalism by the United States of America under the Constitution of 1787, is a relationship of parity between the two levels of government established. It can thus be defined as a form of government in which there is a division of powers between two levels of government of equal status.
Political: Relating to government, or the conduct of government, concerned with the making as distinguished from the administration of governmental policy.
Restructuring: Bringing about a drastic or fundamental internal change that alters the relationships between different components or elements of an organization or system.
POLITICAL RESTRUCTURING AND DEVOLUTION OF POWERS AND NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
The “Nigerian Project” is a euphemism for how the country could properly be built to ensure that, like a real building project, it shall stand the test of time. Nigeria is a colonial creation, which process brought together motley nationalities and ethnic groups that were at various levels of sophistication in terms of statecraft and the bewildering assets and powers of demographics,especially in an electoral political practice. Obviously, because the colonial process did not bring people of the same level of development together, there has been a great deal of mutual suspicions and misgivings, particularly if the available patrimony can’t get to every community equitably, which is the backbone of the study.
The word “restructuring” has acquired widespread usage, with sonorous reverberations, particularly in Nigeria’s public space within the last 18 months of the coming to office of the Buhari Administration. In historical terms, it must be emphasized that this is not the first time that words with prefixes such as “Re” have found their ways into national consciousness and reckoning. As a matter of fact, after the bitterly fought civil war between 1967 and 1970 in the country, the Yakubu Gowon Administration coined the three “Re’s,” namely, “Re-conciliation:” “Reconstruction;” and “Re-habilitation;” to depict the determination of the regime then to come up with programs that would, at least, be used to blunt the rough edges of the traumatic years of the civil war on the war-torn erstwhile Eastern Region. It should be quickly stressed that the three “Re’s” were not even evocative then as compared to the current“restructuring” crusade that some of its protagonists would be prepared to even pay the supreme sacrifice in order to realize it. If what should have been the more evocative “Re’s” did not bring out the worst in us (considering the fact that during and, particularly, shortly after the war emotions were still high given that lives were lost on both sides and properties were similarly destroyed), then the tenor of the call for restructuring, even when it is not conceptually so crystal clear at this point in time, should makeresolve of government to embark on re-conciliation, re-construction, and re-habilitation should have been resisted. But the feeling then was that the war was a misadventure by the rebels who took up arms against their fatherland; they were misguided and therefore should be forgiven. Between then and now, so much water has passed under the bridge as far as nationbuilding process is concerned. This is to the extent that some people openly canvass the dismemberment of the country, as its peoples cannot stay together. True federation and resource control have increasingly become buzzwords in recent times in Nigeria. The discussions, debates and controversies are predicated on who gets "what", "when", "how" and "why" of the national resources amongst the levels of government, that is, the vertical arid horizontal allocation. Federalism is one of the most pressing problems concerning many states of the world today. The nature and conditions of the financial relations, in any federal system of government, is important for the survival of such a system. Thus, in most of all federal states, one of the constant areas of intergovernmental wrangling centres on the problem of b securing adequate financial resources for the lower tiers of government, to discharge their essential political and constitutional responsibilities. Although, the call for resource control and true federalism had been disparate in Nigeria's new democratic experience since May 1999, it assumed L a more co-ordinated dimension when the southern Governors began their conferences. In a 17-point communique, the governors resolved among other things:"That Resource control and derivation should henceforth &be accepted as the basis for revenue generation and allocation; and that Nigerian's federal status as presently constituted be restructured along a legal framework that would grant reasonable measure of autonomy to the states and component parts of the federation". Dr. ChimarokeNnamani, the host governor, articulated the whole"the raging agitation in the Niger Delta as well as other parts of the country were compelling indication that resource control and restructuring had become imperative in order to resolve the turning issues of Nigeria's continued nationhoodThe seed of discords between the states and the Federal Government was sown by the military intervention in politics, specifically in 1969 by Cowon, and sustained by the MurtalaIObasanjo regime between 1975-1979. In 1969, Gowon had vested all minerals in the control of the Federal Government. He enacted decree No. 9 of 1971, whereby: "the rights of the regions (states) in the minerals in their continental shelves were abrogated and ownership and title to the territorial waters, continental shelf as well as royalties, rents and other revenues derived from or .relating to the exploration, prospecting or searching for or winning or working of petroleum from seaward appurtenances of the states become vested in the Federal Government". Subsequent governments, including that of AlhajiShehuShagari, sustamed this policy of absolute control of minerals by the Federal Government. Expectedly, those constitutional provisions brought some of the states in the South-South in constant clash with the Federal Government. Late Governor Ambrose Ali of the former BendelStatedand late Governor Clement lsong of Cross River State challenged the authority of the Federal Government at the law courts over the vexed issue of resource control.
To all intents and purposes, resource control, remains a major point of disagreement between the centre and the federating units. It raises important questions of ownership, control, management, equity, justice, fairness, natural rights, even development;and the processes of inter-governmental relations. In Africa, land is an important value, both occupational and spiritual. The attachment to land determines a people's sense of identity, and serves as the primary basis for the construction of their history. Land and space is much about ownership, control and distribution of resources therein. The Latin maxim, "quid quidplantato solo so credit", that is, he who owns land owns what is on, under and above it, speak much of the value placed on land in Nigeria.It is in view of this that the researcher intends to investigate the impact of political restructuring and devolution of powers and national development in Nigeria.
The main objective of the study is to investigate the impact of political restructuring and devolution of powers and national development in Nigeria, to aid the completion of the study, the researcher intends to achieve the following specific objective:
To aid the completion of the study the following research hypotheses were formulated by researcher
H0:political restructuring has no impact on the national development of Nigeria
H1:political restructuring has impact on the national development of Nigeria
H02:there is no significant relationship between political restructuring and national development
H2:there is a significant relationship between political restructuring and national development
At the completion of the study, it is believed that the findings will be of great importance to the federal government of Nigeria as the study seek to enumerate the benefit of political restructuring to the national unity of the country, this is because when the federal character is properly adhered to it brings the sense of oneness and national unity, the findings of the study will also help the long standing problem of national disunity in the country The study will also be of great benefit to researcher who intends to embark on research in similar topic as the study will serve as a reference point to the study. Finally, the study will be of great importance to academia’s, researchers, lecturers, teachers, students, and the general public as the findings will add to the pool of knowledge.
1.6 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The scope of the study covers political restructuring and devolution of powers and national development, in the cause of the study, there were some factors 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)Finance: The finance available for the research work does not allow for wider coverage as resources are very limited as the researcher has other academic bills to cover.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Politics is the process of making decisions that apply to members of a group. More narrowly, it refers to achieving and exercising positions of governanceorganized control over a human community, particularly a state.
Restructuring is the corporate management term for the act of reorganizing the legal, ownership, operational, or other structures of a company for the purpose of making it more profitable, or better organized for its present needs
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), statement of problem, objectives of the study, research question, significance or the study, research methodology, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlight the theoretical framework on which the study its 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.
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