Federalism And National Integration In Nigeria: Issues And Challenges

Project and Seminar Material for Political Science

Federalism And National Integration In Nigeria: Issues And Challenges


The problem of federalism and the associated crises of national integration in Nigeria raise serious alarm. The situation attracts growing interest and concern. The crises are very severing such that they culminate in a strong force being mounted on the federation with tendency to disintegrate the country. The works addresses this phenomenon by investigating and analyzing the problem. Documentary research method is used in gathering and analyzing data. So textbooks, journals, periodical publications by related government agencies formed necessary source of our data while we employed system theory for pour analytical framework. The work identifies the method of revenue allocations as the major factor responsible for the crises of national integration in the Nigerian federalism. It concludes that in face in this problem, harmonious unification or integration cannot take place, political system cannot successfully adapt to both internal and external environment such that the survival of the system is difficult. The work recommends among others that federalism is the ultimate solution to the problems of national integration, so federal character and other related approaches should be effectively enforced.

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the study

The crises of national integration in Nigeria are very severing such that the Nigerian federation is at its collapsing point. The heterogeneous nature of the country combines with the improper mode of the country’s formation gave rise to antagonistic and integrative processes. Nigeria as a country came into corporate existence in 1914, as a result of the fusion between the northern and southern protectorates by the British. National integration is the ultimate goal to be achieved in a multi ethnic country like Nigeria for there to be any reasonable development. According to Chime, [1971.50], national integration is a process of cohesion between two or more social units, whereby these units come together to constitute a political whole which include among other things the joining of various parts of society into a functioning whole, the growth of obedience and loyalty to its pars and the emergence of shared national values. It follows, that Nigeria would have received national unity where obedience and loyalties to the Nigerian state, transcend loyalties to its parts. Thus conceptualization implies social equality of citizens. Federation is a system of government adopted to enhance national integration in Nigeria; it is also a form of government that defines the relationship between component parts assumed to have the potential for integrating diverse cultural societies. The religions rather engage in ethnicity, political struggle by social classes, religious conflict etc, which culminate in the crises of national integration that reached climax during the period of the attempted succession and civil war.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Nigeria is essentially a plural society, its component groups are separated apart from each other by significant differences of language, ethnicity, and cultures of Nigeria created differences in attitude, outlook and character. Faced with these problems, Nigeria adopted federalism as a means of achieving its much needed goal of national integration. In essence the federalism so adopted is expected to reduce the immensely aggressive inter ethnic competition and tension, allay the usually alleged fear of domination, bringing government nearer to the people and give the different groups more opportunities, thereby integrating the country.

Federation requires decentralization of power among the component units. It also requires that no component unit should be as large in size as to eliminate others. The case of Nigeria shows that power is concentrated in the central government. On the other parts, there exist structural imbalance between the northern, the east and west of Nigeria. This situation therefore by majority, political power is proportionately in favour of the north above other religions. The issue of revenue allocation in Nigeria is not without its own problems. As if all these problems are not enough for Nigeria federalism, the issue of on shore offshore dichotomy and equally the alarm raised about the marginalization from all religion in Nigeria are by setting the unity of the country.

We can summarily state the under following as our research questions.

  1. Is the method of revenue allocation the major factor responsible for the crises of national integration in the Nigerian federalism?
  2. Could the practice of true federalism in Nigeria alleviate the problem of national integration?
  3. Could religion and ethnic loyalties be a major challenge in national integration in Nigeria?

1.3 Objective Of The Study

The research is set out to among other things

  1. To find out the relationship between revenue allocation and national integration in Nigeria.
  2. To discover if the operation of true federalism in Nigeria could help in tackling the problems.
  3. To inquire into the impact of religions and ethnic loyalties and national integration in Nigeria.

1.4 Research Hypotheses

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

  1. H0: there is no relationship between revenue allocation and national integration in Nigeria.
    H1:there is relationship between revenue allocation and national integration in Nigeria.
  2. H02:there is no impact of religions and ethnic loyalties and national integration in Nigeria
    H2: there is impact of religions and ethnic loyalties and national integration in Nigeria

1.5 Significance of the Study

It has become obvious that Nigeria cannot make any meaningful progress in the absence of unity. Some founding fathers of Nigeria adopted federalism as a pragmatic instrument for the achievement of the goal of national unity. The rationale was to see if there could be unity in diversity which means that there could be ways of bringing diverse ethnic groups into a modern nation. However, amidst all the efforts, the goals of national integration are not yet possible owing to the numerous problems inherent in Nigeria federalism. It is therefore the task of this work to contribute in no little measure to the solution of the problem of national integration. Apart from thus, the work will equally add to the volumes of research materials available for further work on federalism and national integration in Nigeria

1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study

The scope of the study covers federalism and national integration in Nigeria.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

In this study, some key concept will be used. Some of these concepts include national integration and federalism.

I. National Integration:

National integration involves the existence of national consciousness, which is the feeling of individual or group identity within the nation state as the only political unit through which their collective interest can be realized.
National integration therefore involves patriotism which a call for supreme scarifies on the part of the entire citizenry for the whole country if the need arises.

II. Federalism:

Federalism means an arrangement whereby powers within a multinational country are shared between a federal or central authority and a number of regionalized governments in such a way that each unit, including this central authority exists as a government separately and independently from the others.Division of power among the levels of government by the constitution is explicit. The centre and the component unit [regions, states] have defined spheres of authority, powers and shared among the levels of government which are coordinates. Powers shared among the various levels could be categorized as exclusive list, concurrent list and residual list.

3A. Exclusive list

Subjects on this list are reserved for the centre [federal government] examples here are, defense, internal affairs, national currency, immigration, maritime activities, aviation, etc.

B. The Concurrent List

Subjects here are to be exercised both by the federal and the state. Example includes agriculture, health, commerce, education, works etc.

C. Residual List

This comprises functions to be exercised by the state/ unit government alone, example includes chieftaincy title etc.

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

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Introduction

It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was to ascertain federalism and national integration in Nigeria: issues and challenges

In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing the challenges of federalism and national integration in Nigeria: issues and challenges

5.2 Summary

This study was on federalism and national integration in Nigeria: issues and challenges. Three objectives were raised which included: To find out the relationship between revenue allocation and national integration in Nigeria, to discover if the operation of true federalism in Nigeria could help in tackling the problems, to inquire into the impact of religions and ethnic loyalties and national integration in Nigeria. In line with these objectives, two research hypotheses were formulated and two null hypotheses were posited. The total population for the study is 200 staff national assembly in 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 up secretaries, senior supply assistants, national communication coordinators and national corporate relation coordinators were used for the study. The data collected were presented in tables and analyzed using simple percentages and frequencies

5.3 Conclusion

In this study, I have tried to examine the suitability of the federal system in promoting national integration. Analyses have shown that the way federalism is being practiced in the country could not serve as a viable instrument for integrating the diverse ethnic groups that make up the country. The study has shown that Nigerian federation of the First Republic truly fulfilled all the ingredients, fundamentals and practice of orthodox federalism. The incursion of military into Nigerian politics undermined our federal system and ever since, Nigeria has been a federal in name and not in practice. It was this structural defect in Nigerian federal system that necessitated the call for the restructuring of the polity. The failure of federalism as an integrating mechanism led to the introduction of such integrative mechanisms as Unity School, National Youth Service Corp, Federal Character, State Creation and Rotational Presidency and they were thoroughly discussed and analyzed.

5.4 Recommendation

Government should de-emphasize tribe and ethnic origin in all official documents. The National Assembly should as a matter of urgency amend the constitution and remove all references to Indignity from the constitution. As it is now, the Nigerian federal system of government is centralized. There is need for reassignment of legislative powers and resources to the constituent units in order for them to be able to discharge their constitutionally assigned duties. The application of the federal character principle must be revised. The principle should be applied such that 90 percent of appointments are on merit, five percent on the equality of state and five percent on ecological ground. Besides, the principle should be phased out after fifty years which is enough for the so-called educationally less developed states to catch-up with the rest of the states. In the final analysis, if Nigerian political leaders adhered strictly to the federal tenets or principle, it is a viable system of allocation of power as well as an instrument for national integration.

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