Political Restructuring And Devolution Of Powers And National Development

Project and Seminar Material for Political Science

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.

Chapter One


1.1 Background 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 make resolve 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 nation building 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. Chimaroke Nnamani, 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 nationhood

The 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 MurtalaI Obasanjo 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 Alhaji Shehu Shagari, 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 Bendel Statedand 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.

1.2 Statement of Problem

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 quid plantato 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.

1.3 Objective of the Study

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:

  1. To investigate the impact of political restructuring in the national development of Nigeria
  2. To ascertain the effect of devolution of powers on National unity
  3. To investigate if there is any relationship between political restructuring and national development in Nigeria
  4. To examine the role of devolution of powers on the economic development of Nigeria

1.4 Research Hypotheses

To aid the completion of the study the following research hypotheses were formulated by researcher

  1. H0: political restructuring has no impact on the national development of Nigeria
    H1: political restructuring has impact on the national development of Nigeria
  2. H02: there is no significant relationship between political restructuring and national development
    H2: there is a significant relationship between political restructuring and national development

1.5 Significance of the Study

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 governance organized 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


Devolution is the statutory delegation of powers from the central government of a sovereign state to govern at a subnational level, such as a regional or local level.

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.

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Introduction

It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was to investigate the impact of political restructuring and devolution of powers and national development.

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 restructuring and power devolution in Nigeria to aid national development

5.2 Summary

The Nation has always been sufficiently orientated to the realities and struggles in and of Nigeria. Yoruba people arrived in Nigeria, as a strong urban civilization that had predisposed us to much openness – in political life, to free discourse, free contests, free choices, societal independence, the individual‘s pride in his worth what the Western world calls democratic‘ behavior and Yoruba people call Omoluabi. Part of that openness is that people concede the right of individuals to practice the religion of their choice we do not quarrel or fight over religion. Nigerian people accept foreigners and non-indigenes into our midst and are hospitable to them and, if they desire to live with us or stay longer, to absorb them into our communities. Yoruba people are sympathetic towards, and supportive of enterprise and the enterprising person – irrespective of their ethnic nationality. As a nation and a people, Nigerianis confident and fearless, and possess an acute sense of justice with clear definition of vision and leadership. These were the value system southern race came with into the amalgamated Nigeria and these are the values the southerners aim to retain and sustain in a truly federal Nigeria. This is why Eastern people empathize with the submission in the Northern publication, when it states that; …Nigeria and especially the Northern states need leaders that are knowledgeable that have vision and have the ability to think of the future; in terms of what needs to be done now to cope successfully with what the future might bring; Leaders that are fearless and are prepared to persevere and that are responsive and sensitive to the feelings and perceptions of its followers. Nigeria, especially the Northern states need a leadership that is nationally accepted regardless of ethnicity, Region, religion, and where he/she comes from. Nigeria needs a leader that could promote good governance, forge national integration through deliberate and articulated policies. Whilst the focus of the North should be on developing this new form of required leadership hopefully with less focus on dependency on oil revenue and the quest to perpetually rule Nigeria – the focus of Yoruba people continues to be the development of a people and a nation, upholding our core values and the strength to defend ourselves, whilst continuously seeking ways to be cohesive and focused as a nation so as to keep advancing in prosperity.

5.3 Conclusion

The researcher concludes that the issue of restructuring of Nigeria should not only be a legal cum constitutional matter; it must go beyond it as important as legality and constitutionalism may be. To start with, Nigeria is not working because there are administrative practices that have become an albatross to efficiency and the development of the country. No matter how much restructuring is done in constitutional and structural terms, if the basic ingredients and values of development administration – such as honesty of purpose, dedication to duty, absence of corrupt practices, discipline, decisiveness in taking and implementing acceptable options, etc. – are still absent and/or are not cultivated, it is saying the obvious that one could have the best structural arrangement in a federal setting, but it is the same thing or same result that one would harvest. Better results are more likely to be achieved if the aforementioned positive values have been imbibed and have become ingrained in the psyche and practice of government officials. To reiterate, if what some analysts may call “true federalism” (which actually does not exist anywhere; we can have a functional federalism instead) can be structured out, corruption can still kill it, just as it is generally accepted that it is killing the quasi- or unified-federal system that is being practiced in the country at the moment.

5.4 Recommendations

The researcher therefore recommends that positive values can work wonders even in unitary system of government, and also in heterogeneous societies, just as in homogeneous ones, if only they can become the articles of faith of the government employees. The major problem one has observed in the style of the Buhari Administration is its sluggishness. Issues of governance are allowed to incubate for too long without any time limit. Nigeria, as an underdeveloped country, does not have the luxury of time. What is more, the world is undergoing rapid changes as a result of ever increasing and rapid changes in information and communications technology. Therefore, the regime should learn to move with time or even faster than it, as time is never prepared to wait for anyone. The paper is for a sound and functional federal system, which is, at the same time, accompanied by values of positive administrative practices.

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