Ethnic Politics And Federalism In Nigeria

Project and Seminar material for Public Administration

Project and Seminar material for Public Administration


Ethnic politics and federalism in Nigeria focused on the practices that exist on the three tribes in Nigeria which lead to unfavorable condition and situation of Nigeria federalism.

However, it will talk more about how the British/colonial administrator’s introduced ethnicity in Nigeria which led to divide and rule system. Further, it will also talk about the oppression of the minority by the majority groups or ruling class which contributed in unequal distribution of federal allocation. It will also throw more light on the Nigerian policy and electoral practices which is not free and fair.

Table Of Contents

Preliminary pages

  • Title Page
  • Approval Page
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Abstract
  • Table of content

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

  • 1.1 Background of the Study
  • 1.2 Statement of the Problem
  • 1.3 Objectives of the Study
  • 1.4 Scope and Limitation of the Study
  • 1.5 Significance of the Study
  • 1.6 research Question
  • 1.7 Definition of Terms
  • References

Chapter Two

2.0 Literature Review

  • 2.1 References

Chapter Three

3.0 Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Research Design
  • 3.2 Methods of Data Collection
  • 3.3 Sample Size
  • 3.4 sampling techniques
  • 3.5 data analysis techniques
  • References

Chapter Four

4.0 Presentation And Analysis Of Data

  • 4.1 Data Presentation
  • 4.2 data Analysis
  • 4.3 Research Findings
  • References

Chapter Five

5.0 Summary, Recommendation and Conclusion

  • 5.1 Summary
  • 5.2 Recommendations
  • 5.3 Conclusion
  • Bibliography
  • Appendix
  • Questionnaire

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Background Of The Study

Ethnicism in Nigerian politics according to analysts dates back to the colonial politics of “divide and rule”. This was
later reinforced by the 1954 McPherson constitution which has regionalism as its operational model.

Emphasizing this ethnicity in Nigerian politics has its genesis in British colonial politics which through the obvious divide and rule policy encouraged the use of different application of colonial’s politics on the traditional institutions and structures of the various ethnic groups in Nigeria. With it’s over 120,000,000 people (UN estimates) and over 250 tribe, Nigeria is a land of great climatic territorial and ethnic variety.

From the four hundred miles long coast of tangled swamp and mangrove, a bell of dense rain forest ran in hand to a depth of between a hundred and a hundred fifty miles. This area known as southern Nigeria was split into Eastern and western parts at lokoja.

In the western part of south, the predominant group was the Yoruba, a people with a long history of highly developed kingdoms because of the British penetration through Lagos, it was acclaimed that western culture first reached Yoruba and the other tribes of the west.

Similarly, in the eastern part of the south lived a variety of peoples, predominant among them are the Igbos who are found on both banks of the Niger, but mainly east of the Ironically, in view of their later rapid development and progress which finally enabled then to overtake the other ethnic groups in Nigeria in terms of European styled development, the Igbos were formally regarded as being the most background of the major ethnic groups in the earliest part of the 20th century.

In the other hand, north of the Niger River lay the forest line and woodland, varying into savannah grass and prairie (wide area of land with grass but not dress) and finally to semi-desert and scrub. Along the southern fringes of these enormous areas runs the middle belt, inhabited by numerous non Hausa people mainly pagan and in the words of Frederick Forst “the animist in religion” were believed to be vassals of the Hausa/Fulani Empire.

The north proper was the land of the Hausa, the Kanuri and the Fulani, the later having originally come from the south Sahara in conquest bringing with them Islamic religion. The afore mentioned three ethnic groups (Hausa/Fulani, Igbo and Yoruba) found in the east, west and north respectively form the biggest and major ethnic group in Nigeria.

1.2 Statement Of The Problem

Amid the have and cry from individuals cooperate bodies and international communities on the devastating potentials of ethnic based politics on any federal structure. The problems the research has set out to investigate are

  1. To what extent has ethnic politics contributed to industrial, social and economic development of Nigeria?
  2. What are the negative implications of ethnicity to Nigerian federation?
  3. What is ethnic politics?
  4. How do we tress the origin of ethnicity in Nigeria?
  5. Does ethnic politics encourage unity in diversity in Nigeria federal arrangement?

1.3 Objectives Of The Study

The researcher has the following purpose in mind for embarking on this research

  1. To establish that the ruling classes indirectly encouraged and sustained dominate the minority groups.
  2. To establish that Nigeria was colonized by Britain and were ruled indirectly this made them to influence ethnicity in Nigeria.
  3. To examine the extent the ethnic politics has led to under development of the nation.
  4. To improve that the purpose of democracy in any given nation is to enforce free participation of the citizens in the affairs that concerns each tribe or those minority groups which expresses equity and fair judgment.

1.4 Scope And Limitation Of The Study

This research project is concentrated in the three major operation tribes in Nigeria namely Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa including the Efik, Tiv etc.

However, the researcher encountered such limitations of most of the required resources, materials, much stress from other academic obligation and inadequate financing.

1.5 Significance Of The Study

This research work shall be a very useful resource materials for further studies into related topics in additional. It is hoped that the findings contained in this work would be highly beneficial to those who fan the embers of disunity via ethnic politics since it would expose the dangers inherent in ethnicism. Therefore, the significance of the study is as follows;

  1. Ethnic politics has led to under development to Nigeria.
  2. Ethnic politics has also brought about conflict and crises between the three geographical tribes in Nigeria.
  3. It has led to oppression of the minority by the majority groups/ ruling class
  4. Ethnic politics has led to uneven distribution of federal allocation.
  5. Ethnic politics has also led to high level of favoritism in the nation (Nigeria).

1.6 Research Question

Research question is drawn up to assist the researcher to carry out a good research in the area of ethnic politics and federalism in Nigeria. This research work is purely for academic use, so therefore, every information that will be supplied through this questionnaire will be treated in strict confidence and will be utilized for academic purpose.
Answer the following questions with all sincerely by ticking (√) in the box provided.

  1. Do you think that the major purpose of ethnic politics is to sustain the ruling class?
    Yes No
  2. Has ethnic politics contributed to industrial, social and economic development growth of Nigeria?
    Yes No
  3. Is “Divide and rule system” introduced by colonial master still existing in Nigeria?
    Yes No
  4. Is it true that ethnic politics ensures equality among the majority and the minority groups?
    Yes No
  5. Does ethnic politics really encourage democracy in Nigeria?
    Yes No
  6. The British masters influence ethnicity in Nigeria by ruling indirectly?
    Yes No
  7. Does ethnic politics assist in maintaining government politics?
    Yes No

1.7 Definition Of Terms

Geetz (1973:261-262) refers ethnicity to assumed blood tied, as well as Horowitz (1985:51-51) claims that ethnicity is connected to birth and blood but not absolutely so in a useful starting point in that both expression focus on the minimum differences of ethnicity.

According to Gold and Kolb as in Obiukwu (1993:63) the term politics denotes those processes of human action by which conflicts are concerting on one hand the common good and on the other hand the interest group is carried on or settled always involving the use of or struggle of power.

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion And Recommendation

5.1 Summary

This research work tends to investigate, analyze, examine and determine that the ethnic politics and federalism in Nigeria enhances grassroots participation by the tribes and to address the problems, the following questions were raised:

  1. What are the major constraints on ethic politics?
  2. How do we trace the origin of ethnicity in Nigeria?
  3. To what extent has ethnic politics contributed to the industrial, social and economic development in Nigeria?
  4. Does ethnic politics assist in maintaining government policies?

In attempt to provide answer to the above questions, the research objectives were to established that the ruling class sustained ethnic politics in Nigeria and do dominate the minority groups. Nigeria was colonized by British and was ruled indirectly which made them to introduce ethnicity in Nigeria despite the misappropriation and misapplication of Nigeria administration by the ruling class/ majority group, Nigeria still develop socially, industrially and economically. The purpose of democracy in any given nation is freedom of speech, in the sense that each tribe or those minority groups would like to express their feelings to ensure free and fair judgment. Election and census encourage many people on their duties and rights as a bonafide citizen of Nigeria.

5.2 Recommendations

From the findings made, I therefore recommend thus:

  1. Ethnic activities should not be centralized to the extent that the minority will be cut off from ethnic politics.
  2. All the tribes around should be carried along in the scheme of affairs so that there can be even and consistent development.
  3. Ethnic politics should be closely surprised by higher authorities to ensure that its activities are in line with the objectives for its introductions they should be adequately funded especially by government.
  4. Moreover, ethnic politics should be carried out from those ruling class that are very large in order to reduce the administration burden associated with it.

However, the ethnic politics and a really federalism is mutual and dimension. The emergence of federalism in Nigeria bringing from the conception of the British government formally took over the administration of Nigeria in 1906, between this date and 1914, there were two separate administrations, one for the Northern protectorate and the other for the southern protectorate of Nigeria.

In 1914, the two protectorates were amalgamated under a governor- general, Fredrick Laggard.

In 1939, Bernard Bourdillion then governor of Nigeria divided the country into three administrative units, the eastern, northern and western provinces. Under the governor Richards, these provinces become regions, but were still administered under a unitary government. The making of McPherson constitution in 1951 was the first major step towards the emergence of federalism in Nigeria.

5.3 Conclusion

Ethnic politics is designed to serve as a viable instrument for rapid and even development of tribes. It will amount to understatement and ignorance if one should conclude that ethnic politics has not explained a socio- economic charge since its introduction. From all the available evidence as shown by the study, ethnic politics and federalism in Nigeria is considered meaningful, humanly speaking ethnic politics is not to welcome ideal because it goes on to the actualization of a particular group or region especially on their individual interest. In fact, it is good in a multi-dimensional state that comprises so many geo-political zone or body in a nation. It is not an instrument for getting the due to ethnic politics that the nations are suffering from sharing adequate revenue allocation that will please every tribes or group in the country.

However, ethnic politics should be used as an instrument of developing different ethnic groups especially our rural communities and ethnic centers such ideology should be allow to practice in communities for the purpose of political participation and also as a medium of getting Ezeship, Ohaship, Nzeship, Obiship and other traditional politics should be design and allow only for the internal use along.

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