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Federalism and the problem of minority question 2007 to 2014

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The British invented federalism in Nigeria. When British colonialists first arrived in the region now known as Nigeria, the people there were governed by a variety of distinct dynasties and kingdoms.

A lot of squabbling and a lack of cooperation typified the interactions between these diverse parties. Additionally, certain people practiced cannibalism, ritual murder, and the murdering of twins (Adigwe, 1974).

These vices were gradually curbed by European explorers, traders, and religious missionaries once they arrived. A year after the Royal Niger Company's charter had been cancelled, the territory was effectively occupied by the British after a succession of peacekeeping and conquering campaigns. Following this, three new territories were formed. Protectorate of Southern Nigeria and Protectorate of Northern Nigeria are Lagos, respectively (Wikipedia, 2015).

It is a form of governance in which aspects of a country's administration are divided between the central government and the regional governments. It may also be characterized as a system of government in which the federal government and its sub-components (state and local government) share responsibility for various aspects of governance (Akpoto, 1995).

When we talk about federalism, we're talking about a system in which there are two levels of government, each having the authority to make decisions within its own legislative realm without relying on the other. Sir Kenneth Wheare's basic definition of a federal government is a form of governance in which sovereignty is shared between the federal government and the states. He therefore reasoned that under this system of administration, each level of authority should be restricted to its own realm and be independent of the other within its sphere. As a result, a Unitary System, in which the constituent units are legally subservient to the central authority, may be contrasted with this form of governance (Wheare, 1967). It's more suited to countries with a wide range of ethnic, linguistic and cultural diversity as well as other territorially defined cleavages, such as faiths and ethnic groups. There are advantages and disadvantages to each kind of federalism, depending on the nature of a nation's diversity. As a result of its great variety, Nigeria belongs to the latter category. In this category, there occurs a balkanization of a once-unitary state that is on the verge of dissolution, as well as a progression toward a state of diversity. Over-centralization has led to a host of undesirable and obnoxious outcomes for ethnic minorities, including the loss of their autonomy and security, the inordinate appropriation of the oil-rich Delta minority communities' resources by the central government, and the direct and often counter-productive intervention of central authorities in local and regional issues, such as l. (Friedrich, 1963). Fifty one years after Nigeria's independence, the country is still battling with one of the key consequences of federalism, the politics of attempting to placate all of the country's constituents. This is required since the multi-ethnic makeup of the society means that individual achievement in national positions and resources is constrained (Nwankwo, 20002). When it comes to dealing with power distribution in both the political and economic arenas, Ola believes that successive administrations have come up with different solutions at some time or another. This has led to allegations and counter-accusations about how power is divided or should be dispersed in order to prevent the marginalization of minority groups from across the political spectrum (Ola, 1995).


A lousy marriage that everyone hates but is afraid to leave is described as Nigeria's federal system by some as "a fragile balance in Abuja" (Ogbe, et al, 2011). Federalism is the major theoretical and legal underpinning for the country's internal political landscape. The expectation was that a federal structure would help create a united nation out of a diverse culture while still protecting the distinct social identities of the country's constituent sections. There has been a lack of cohesiveness in Nigeria's political system for some time (Ola, 1995). The fabric of Nigerian Sovereignty is being weakened by ethnic distrust and minority issues. The Nigerian Civil War is the culmination of this. Nigerian sovereignty is now entirely weak and brittle due to its involvement in the tumultuous June 12 political crisis (Ojo, 1989). Federalism is a system that aims to bring individuals of different ethnicities, cultures, geographic locations, and even religions together in a community. Therefore, after a government has been established, it is vital that it strives to divide authorities, functions, and resources among these varied groups in an equitable manner. When it comes to Nigeria, however, this notion of federalism has been openly flouted. In principle, Nigeria is working under a federal system of government, but in fact, the nation is moving toward a unitary form of government.

It is because of this that Nigeria's federalism is plagued by difficulties of minority rule and power distribution that this section is being misapplied or not applied (Awa, 1977). The allocation of power is a delicate topic that, if not managed correctly, might lead to a variety of catastrophes. Ethnic friction, mutual distrust among ethnic groups, a minority issue, and a clamor for a solution to the National question have all resulted from Nigerians' failure to adhere to this concept to the letter. This has led to ethnic tensions in Nigeria, as well as challenges for the country's minorities. As a result, those who have been marginalized feel compelled to turn to their ethnic groups for support in the face of resource competition and oppression at the hands of the dominant ethnic groups. This might lead to an open clash between the factions if things go out of hand. While examining the issue of minority groups, this research will provide a comprehensive picture of Nigerian federalism.


For this research, the following are the goals:

To provide an outline of the federalism in Nigeria.

2. To investigate the connection between federalism and the minority issue problem

To determine the obstacles that stand in the way of Nigeria achieving real federalism.

Research Questions (1.4)

Defining federalism is the first step in answering this question.

Is there a connection between federalism and Nigeria's minority problem?

Why is real federalism in Nigeria so difficult to achieve?