True Federalism and Restructuring in Nigeria: Challenges and the Way Forward
5 Pages Posted: 23 May 2018
Date Written: April 20, 2018
The basic minimal structures required for a country to lay claims to the practice of federalism include a political system in which there is power sharing under a written constitution with a government consisting of at least two orders: a central or federal government and the governments of the constituent units. Each order of government receives an allocation of financial resources tailored to their specific requirements. Nigeria has been a federal state since 1954, yet even this basic requirement of federalism has not been attained in the Nigerian federalism especially in line with the postulations of Professor KC Wheare.. This paper discusses restructuring and Nigeria’s political development with emphasis on the need for a review of the present governance and political structure to allow for practice of true federalism as it were. The argument is that the long years of military rule virtually annihilated tenets of federalism as the state was administered as a unitary state in consonance with military centralized command and authority structure. In place of a system where federating units ought to independent and coordinate and the federating units contributing parts of their sovereignty to a central authority, we have is a scenario where the federating units are agents of the central government dependent on it for survival. The implication therefore is that instead of operating as co-equals, the federation is run as a unitary state against the tenets of federalism as put forward by Wheare (1964). This has led to series to political logjam, constitutional crises and litigations which has threatened the political and economic stability of the Nigerian state with the attendant effect of struggle among various ethnic groups for capture of the state power and control of resources. This has led to a deep sense of alienation and politics of ethnic identity. This paper recommends that there should be an overhaul of the political system through constitutional amendment process to expunge provisions that negate federalism and provide for implementation of true federalism. The paper also recommends that there is need to enthrone visionary and transformational leadership that will sincerely tackle and implement true federalism for the good of all.
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