Rotational Presidency And Power Shift As An Instrument Of National Integration In Nigeria

Project and Seminar Material for Political Science

Rotational Presidency And Power Shift As An Instrument Of National Integration In Nigeria


One of the biggest issues Nigeria is grappling with, apart from systemic corruption, is that of the perennial struggle among the various regions and ethnic groups that make up the country for power at the centre or federal level. If it is not elements in the North insisting power should return to them, it is elements from the south insisting they have not had enough of it yet to let go. This jostle since independence has led not only to the various regions and ethnic groups working against one another, but also stunting of the nations development, violence and crisis before, during, and after general elections. The cry of marginalization and threat of secession by southerners has been as a result of the “sit tight syndrome” and perpetual dominance and control of central power by Northerners. The fear of dominance by the north has threatened the corporate existence of Nigeria Severally, the rest of the ethnic groups that failed to find themselves in the mainstream of power at the centre resort to unpatriotic attitudes and pursue the interest of their region or ethnic group to the detriment of our national aspirations. The effect of this unequal sharing of central power is already devastating.

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

Since the attainment of independence in 1960, Nigeria has been haunted by general political instability. Her political history has been punctuated by social upheavals, deepening ethnic cleavages, attempted secession, and threats of secession, military coups and corruption. The atmosphere of the Nigerian politics has been assailed by ethno-Political movements and incoherent struggle for central power. The tragedy of Nigeria is that after fifty-six (56) years of independence, succeeding government, whether military or civilian, has predominantly contrived to be a birth right of ethno-geographical entity, specifically the North, to the political annihilation of other sections of the country.

The impression has been created that Northern Nigerian Oligarchy can only allow a Northerner to lead Nigeria be it in a military or civilian government. In these connections, the question of competence of leaders and the correspondent ability to offer positive leadership which can erect virile and stable nation has been made secondary to the primary decision to hoist Northern Nigerian leadership upon the rest of Nigeria in pursuit of hegemonic legacies. This unrestrained power nomination by the North had made other sections of the country unbridled and restive. However, the continued dominance of the North in the political affairs at the centre could be traced to colonial legacies of our British masters. The 1960 constitution, like its predecessors, provided for larger representation in parliament for the Northern region than Eastern and western regions put together. Also, the quota system which was effected during recruitment into the colonial army which gave the North 50%, the East 25% and the south 25%. The problem was not with the principle itself but its process, the quota system was not based on geographical distribution but on the system of elective representation that was introduced. Eme Awa having critically analyzed power sharing at the centre submitted that “the Northern claim of numerical superiority over the south, with the resulting concentration of political powers in the hands of Northerners constitutes today the greatest threat to the unity of the Nigerian federation.

The perpetual dominance of the North at the centre has led to social unrest severally. The apex of this crises was some how reached when June 12 1993 election, which produced a southerner was annulled and an interim government instituted. The end result of June 12 annulments was the emergence of late General Sani Abacha as the Head of state. Many sections in the country are crying for being marginalized, to dispel the fear of continuous domination of political power by the North a viable political system must be adopted to ensure political integration and stability in Nigeria.

It is by the foregoing that this research work seeks to take a voyage to examine and analyze Rotational presidency and power shift, Its adoption and implementation as an instrument of National integration which will engender peaceful co-existence, economic recovery, justice and equity, and of course, political stability.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Every scientific research generally evolves from a problem or problems that are usually obvious. Nigeria, a heterogeneous society since independence has witnessed several threats to it’s corporate existence resulting mainly from the continuous domination of political power by a section of the country. It is this haphazard leadership arrangement that necessitate questions of National leadership as follows;

  1. What is national integration?
  2. What led to a particular section of the country dominating the rest in terms of political power?
  3. Why do the South and East shout foul at the concentration of power in the North?
  4. What are the consequences of depriving other sections of the country from power at the centre?

Other issues which constitute problem of this research study include that:

  1. Injustice exists in power sharing between the component sections of the country. The North has been accused of monopolizing political power to the detriment of others.
  2. Also identified as the greatest source and origin of Nigeria’s political problem is the colonial legacy of 1914 to 1946, namely, the arbitrary amalgamation of the diverse ethnic groups into a single entity called “Nigeria” and the principle of regionalism which divided the country into three unequal parts.
  3. The fifty-six (56) years of Nigeria’s political independence, the central power has largely been dominated by the North ruling for thirty nine years (39) while the south has only got there by struggle and by compensation in 1999 for the June 12 1993 annulment, and 2010 when a Northern President died in office and his deputy, a Southerner constitutionally replaced him.
  4. Minorities accuse majority ethnic groups of sentencing them to a permanent second class status and would therefore want a new arrangement that guarantees them access to national power.
  5. The problem of the value of power that is largely concentrated at the centre particularly the office of the President.

It is the foregoing issues and questions that this study seeks to proffer solution and see the extent to which the option of rotational presidency can alleviate the problems of National integration to achieve unity, stability and prosperity.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

Efforts have been made by many Nigerian leaders and scholars to find lasting solution to the various problems bedeviling Nigerian politics. These efforts are yet to yield satisfactory results. This project is undertaken as a result of a patriotic concern for the ailing political stability in Nigeria. The aims of this research include the following:

  1. To examine how political power at the centre was concentrated on the North and how such monopolization of power has contributed to our political instability and disunity.
  2. To examine the effect of rotational presidency in consolidating Nigeria national unity
  3. To examine the relationship between rotational presidency and credibility of candidate
  4. To examine the impact of rotational agreement on national unity

1.4 Research Hypotheses

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

  1. H0: rotational presidency does not have any effect on Nigeria’s national unity
    H1: rotational presidency does have any effect on Nigeria’s national unity
  2. H02: there is no significant relationship between rotational presidency and candidate credibility
    H2: there is a significant relationship between rotational presidency and candidate credibility

1.5 Significance of the Study

It is believed that at the completion of the study, the study will be of benefit to the leaders of political parties in their quest for credible candidature in the fourth coming presidential election as the study seek explore the principles of federalism, the study will also educate the electorate on how to effectively demonstrate their civic responsibility

The study will also be beneficial to researchers who intends to embark on a study in a similar topic, finally the work will be beneficial to the general public as it will contribute to the pool of existing literature in the subject matter

1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study

The scope of the study covers rotational presidency and power shift as an instrument of national integration in Nigeria. But 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) 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


A rotation is a circular movement of an object around a center of rotation. A three-dimensional object can always be rotated around an infinite number of imaginary lines called rotation axes


A Presidency is an administration or the executive, the collective administrative and governmental entity that exists around an office of president of a state or nation

National Integration

The National Integration Council is a group of senior politicians and public figures in India that looks for ways to address the problems of communalism, casteism and regionalism

1.8 Organization of the Study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

  1. 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.
  2. Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature.
  3. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study.
  4. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.
  5. 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 the efficacy of rotational presidency and power shift as an instrument of national integration.

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 power rotation and power shift in National integration.

5.2 Summary

In view of the ongoing matter, this study does not condemn in totality the concept of power shift, but it has only argued that it cannot solve the socio-economic problems of Nigeria. At least, if it attains nothing, it shows that the so-called Nigerian radicals and human right activists are nothing other than tribal cabals and sectional jingoists. In essence, the solution to Nigeria’s socio-economic and political problems should be searched for in other areas and not in power shift. Like Jeja (2000), observed; the role of the post-colonial state in Nigeria has been drastically affected and conditioned essentially three major factors; its colonial origin, excessive factionalism amongst the multi-ethic, multi-religious and regionally segmented elite and prolonged military authoritarian rule, and (democratic dictatorship). These defines the pattern and the character as well as the essence of its role in the capitalist development process in state civil society relations, in international relations, and in the dynamics of resources utilization and accumulation in the Nigerian political economy.

5.3 Conclusion

Nigeria has adopted a complex power-sharing arrangement in which elements of power sharing straddle federalism and electoral systems in order to guarantee broad representation, cross regional collaboration in the appeal for votes and, particularly, to ensure that all segments of society feel they have guaranteed access to the number one position in government. This framework could be defined as federal character and zoning with rotation. While power-sharing principles have evolved since the 1960s, the federal character principle was introduced in 1979 and the zoning with rotation principle emerged out of the post-12 June 1993 presidential election annulment negotiations. The power-sharing arrangement was essentially responsible for stability in Nigeria in spite of the poor conduct of electoral administration between 1999 and 2007. It was, however, upset by the death of President Yar’Adua and the interest of Goodluck Jonathan, his vice-president, in standing for the presidency before a president from the North had completed two four-year terms, as set out by the power-sharing principle. The fact that the PDP presidential primary and the presidential election did not end in grave political polarisation shows that the power-sharing arrangement is flexible enough to blunt the sharp NorthSouth divide, reflecting the capacity of the Nigerian system to manage electoral competition. This has been made possible partly by the creativity of politicians, the long experience of cross ethnic and cross regional interaction promoted by the federal framework, as reflected in party organisation and the electoral formula and the zoning with rotation principle that has liberalised access to the office of president by means of ‘power shift’. Previous state reorganisation, as Suberu (2010) has observed, has transformed the arenas that groups and parties can dominate as springboards to power, thereby promoting greater proportionality in the relationship between ethnic group size and electoral strength. The national spread required by the electoral formula has also promoted the inter-ethnic alignments and coalitions that facilitated moderate behaviour in the conflict over the entrance of Goodluck Jonathan to the presidential race. This was shown in the constant effort to adjust the zoning arrangements and in the voting pattern revealed by the results of the 2011 presidential election. However, the debates and controversies that dogged the choice of candidate and the violence that greeted his victory show that the powersharing zoning with rotation principle remains a problematic formula in the effort to transform democracy into a system of limited or provisional victories.

5.4 Recommendation

The researcher recommends that only a comprehensive democratic culture with all its intricacies that can take Nigeria closer to the emergence of stable, meaningful, purposeful and beneficial polity. If this is not attained, there would hardly be any need for an ideology such as power sharing or power shift. But if it is the rotational presidency that could bring the necessary platform for entrenching democratic culture in Nigeria with her pluralistic structure, it could be adopted and entrenched into the country’s constitution. Such an arrangement should also state the modalities for its operation, either on two zone basis or on six zones as well as it would oscillate. This is necessary because the method adopted by the south west should not be repeated by other zones before power could shift them. This includes blackmail and even ethnic militia which is damaging. This is because the effects of the 1993 destructions of public utilities in the name of call for power shift is still within our hearts/minds till date.

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