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Federalism in Nigeria's new democratic polity.

Nigeria returned to civil democratic rule on 29 May 1999, after 13 years of military rule. Of Nigeria's 40 years of independence, she has had only about 10 years of democratic government. About 30 years of that period witnessed military rule of all shades. As the country embarks on a new democratic journey, what are the challenges faced by the Nigerian Federation? What problems have arisen in the federal process? How are these being resolved or tackled? What are the prospects of federalism in the new century, especially in the first decade of this century?

In order to answer these questions, it is suggested that:

1. the Nigerian federation, at the dawn of the twenty-first century, is characterized by strong unitarist streaks as a response to almost three decades of military rule;

2. there are, therefore, intense pressures for a review of the legislative list to devolve many of the powers concentrated at the center to subnational units;

3. resource distribution and/or management have become important issues of debate as Nigerian groups reassess the federation; furthermore,

4. in the context of the new democratic polity, new issues have emerged as part of the politics of federalism in response to the explosion of subnational identities; and

5. the quality of leadership is important in effecting the necessary compromises in Nigeria's reconciliation system.


The current Nigerian state came into being as a colonial quasi-state in 1914, after the amalgamation of the Colony of Lagos and the Northern and Southern Protectorates of Nigeria.(1) The British Colonial authority did nothing to integrate these political units until after the Richards Constitution of 1946. This constitution recognized three regions-the Northern, Western and Eastern regions, and the Colony of Lagos. The dissatisfaction of Nigerian nationalists with the level of Nigerian participation in government led to a number of constitutional reforms between 1951 and 1957. These reforms saw the gradual federalization of Nigeria's unitarist colonial state. As the prospects of independence became clearer, Nigerian politicians withdrew into their ethnic cocoons to mobilize for competitive politics. Mutual fears and suspicions of domination among ethnic and geoethnic groups generated intense pressures on the colonial administration for a federal Nigeria.

In 1956, Eastern and Western Regions secured self-governing status, while the Northern region's self-government had to wait until 1959. By 1957, a political dyarchy had been established which saw Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa as the prime minister. Nigeria attained her independence on 1 October 1960, after the 1959 federal elections. (2) The first Nigerian constitution provided for a federation operating in the context of a parliamentary democracy. By December 1965, the temperature in the polity had risen so high that politics had become dangerous for both players and spectators, as violence accompanied political disagreements.

It may be argued that the problems encountered in the operation of the federation in the first republic were related to the structural imbalance in the federation, inherited from the colonial administration. In the first republic, the lopsided federal structure generated fears and suspicions among groups. The Northern Region was in a position to hold the whole country to ransom, as shown by the following figures: the Northern region had 79 percent of the country's total area as compared to the Eastern region's 8.3 percent, the Western region's 8.5 percent and the Mid-western region's 4.2 percent. According to the 1963 census figures, the regions accounted for 53.5 percent, 22.3 percent, 18.4 percent, and 4.6 percent of the total population, respectively. It was not surprising that in the southern part of the country, there was always the fear of domination by virtue of the Northern Region's large population-the tyranny of population in the context of a democratic polity. The federal structure as it existed m ade it virtually impossible for the South to control political power at the center, given the ethnoregional politics of the country. (3)

Similarly, given the Southern head start in Western education (which had become a passport to occupational roles in the modern sector of Nigeria's political system), the Northern region feared Southern domination in the economic and public service sectors of society. The fear of the tyranny of skills from the South was fresh in the minds of Northern leaders. The North, therefore, sought to protect its civil service from being swamped by the South. It may be suggested that there was a relative division of functions between the North and the South that maintained some delicate balance in the political system. The Northern control of political power was counterbalanced by the South's monopoly of economic power in the country.

It was, therefore, not surprising that in January 1966, the military staged a coup. It may be argued that, contrary to Richard Sklar's contention, (4) the military coup in January 1966 tilted what had been a delicate balance on which Nigeria had been able to survive since independence. The concentration of both political and economic power in the hands of Southern leaders altered the delicate Nigerian balance. Political power had been the North's safeguard against the South's economic and educational advantages. The South's advantage in the bureaucracy, which, if anything, was strengthened by the coup, was greatly augmented. The North reacted violently as it saw its last card--the political card--suddenly taken away or rendered ineffective. It was again not surprising that Northern soldiers staged a coup in July 1966. Nigeria drowned in the vortex of crises that climaxed in a 30-month civil war. The military ruled Nigeria from 15 January 1966 to October 1979, from 31 December 1983 to 27 August 1993, and from 17 November 1993 to 29 May 1999. (5)

Except for the brief period following General Ironsi's Decree No. 34 of 1966, (6) when Nigeria was officially declared a unitary state, successive military regimes exhibited pretensions in operating the federation. Thus, each military regime called itself "The Federal Military Government." Its administration was hierarchical in structure (not federally pyramidal). The Military Head of State and Commander-In-Chief appointed and removed the Military Governors/Administrators of the states. These appointees were answerable to their boss, not to the people. As events showed later in Nigeria's history, (7) these governors (depending on the personality of the head of state) were quite autonomous in their administration of the states.

By 29 May 1999, when the military handed political power to civilians, the Nigerian federation had become excessively centralized. If the loose federation with a weak center of 1960-1965 had elicited demands for a strong center, there were now demands for a federation with a weaker center, by some Nigerians. (8) Why did Nigeria's central government become so strong?

A number of factors may account for this centralizing trend since 1965. These were (1) military rule, (2) the civil war, (3) the creation of states, (4) the increase in petro-naira, (5) demands for federally desirable harmonization, and (6) international trade and globalization.

The nature of military rule by decrees meant that the central or federal government could assume functions reserved for the erstwhile regions through decrees, without opposition from politicians. Popular institutions of representation were, in any case, banned under military regimes. Politicians were shoved into the backwaters. Thus, many matters in the concurrent list, such as university education and television stations were moved, at a point, to the exclusive list of the federal government. Under this provision, the federal military government took over the new Nigerian newspapers and television stations in some states and some tertiary institutions. The military took deliberate actions to centralize authority, (9) given the country's background of the civil war.

In addition, the emergency powers acquired by the federal government during the civil war were hardly reversed. Thus, the federal government acquired powers which, because they were not reversed after the civil war, made it more powerful vis-a-vis the states.

The creation of additional states from the four regions that existed by 1966 meant weaker states, with narrower resource bases. General Gowon created 12 states in 1967. These were increased to 19 states by Murtala Mohammed in 1976. General Babangida created two additional states in 1987, thus making 21 states. He increased the number of states to 30 in 1991, while General Sani Abacha increased the number of states to 36 in 1996 (see table 1).

Paradoxically, as additional states were created to meet the demands of subnational groups for greater autonomy, the greater the number of states, the stronger the federal center, and the more imperative its role, as a center, for taking necessary homogenizing or harmonizing actions in matters that transcend each state.

The advent of revenues from petroleum resources and the gradual dependence of the economy on this source made a huge difference to fiscal federalism in Nigeria. The federal government derived greater resources than did subnational units, especially from the profit tax. Similarly, as from 1966, the federal military government adjusted the revenue formula in favor of the center. The nature of military rule meant that there were few, if any, debates before such formulae were adopted by the military's highest ruling body. Finally, the federal government's role in international trade and foreign relations in a world caught up in globalization fever gave advantages to the federal center at the expense of states.

By 29 May 1999, therefore, Nigeria was a highly centralized federation in which the federal center had enormous political and economic powers, with an apparently suffocating hold on the states. It was, therefore, not surprising that various Nigerian groups called for a "Sovereign National Conference (SNC)"; "National Conference"; a "Conference of Ethnic Nationalities"; "Devolution of Powers"; "Restructuring of the Federation"; and others. While some Nigerian groups called for a federation with a weak center as on 15 January 1966, others called for a conference to enable ethnic nationalities to negotiate the nature of their association in the federal polity.

When the military handed over power to the civilian politicians in 1999, the federation was characterized by a very strong central government, popular agitation for a more decentralized structure, dissatisfaction with the distribution of scarce but available resources, communal conflicts, and demands by some subnational groups for greater self-determination. What has been the nature of Nigeria's federation since May 1999? What are the new challenges at the beginning of this millennium?


In the terminal days of Nigeria's transition to civil rule, a number of issues had become evident in the political horizon. Given many years of the military's authoritarian rule, the Nigerian polity was like a bottle of wine, properly corked and airtight. With the dawn of democracy and the opening of the bottle, the wine popped up explosively. It will take a while for the bubbles to settle down.

The Nigerian federation faces a number of challenges. Among these are (1) issues of centralization and decentralization in the relations among the three tiers of government; (2) resource distribution and/or management; and (3) the politics of federalism and aggressive subnationalization. There are many issues of interest in the current dynamics of Nigerian federalism, but let us concentrate on these three major points to illustrate the trend in the operation of the Nigerian federation.


As mentioned above, the military had left behind a highly centralized federation. Some Nigerian observers have argued that if the center were to be decentralized in its functions and accompanying powers, there would be less fighting among politicians for the center, and there would be greater political stability in the system. This is not really as simple as it seems. It does seem that the federal government will continue to attract politicians who feel that their political stature and ambitions transcend the state arena.

Relations among the three tiers of government illustrate how the political operators of each tier perceive the other. The current debate is illustrated by these summaries of perceptions:

1. State government: the federal government's powers are too sprawling and it is carrying out functions it has no business carrying out. Its powers should be curbed to allow the federal system to breathe a new lease of life from the squeeze imposed by years of military rule; the revenue formula must be reviewed to reflect these changes in functions. After all, the states are closer to the grassroots and should have more resources to carry out development programs; the fiscal dominance of the center has made it so priced that politicians will do anything to get there.

2. Federal government: remember the period between 1960 and 1966? Do you want a weak federal center unable to give the country a sense of security? The trend all the world over is to have a strong federal government that can intervene to carry out fiscal and developmental equalization among the component units of the federation; the states and local governments are complacent about revenue generation and must realize that autonomy in a federal association presupposes fiscal autonomy.

3. Local government: state governments are still living in the past; they have not realized that local governments are now a constitutionally guaranteed third tier of government and are therefore autonomous of state governments; state governors must stop removing local government chairmen as if they are bureaucrats; states should release appropriate statutory allocations to the local governments promptly. In fact, states should be abolished because they have outlived their usefulness.

4. State governments: local governments are the most problematic tier in the federation; they lack executive capacity. Their leaders are inexperienced and mistake federally desirable autonomy for independence or sovereignty; they even forget the provision that the State House of Assembly can make laws specifying additional functions for them. They generate no revenue from internal sources and expect to be autonomous; really they need education on their roles; they have so much money that they are unable to manage properly, partly because of their lack of executive capacity. Money spent on local government is money thrown down the drain-pipe; give such money to the state government for a more productive performance. Autonomy for the local government is autonomy for excellence in wastage and mismanagement.

These summaries reflect the current state of debate on the vertical structure of the federation and the powers and functions of each tier in the context of the politics of power sharing.

In the relations among federal, state, and local governments, there are signs of residual militarism in the actions of political executives. The ghost of the military's politics of control has had difficulty leaving the scene. Federal officials treat state and local government officials with overbearing arrogance. In similar ways, state governors patronizingly relate to local government chairmen.

In federal-state interactions, the relations between President Olusegun Obasanjo and state governors have oscillated between hot and cold. The governors are not pleased with the president's way of operating as if he is still a military president. (10) They accuse him of taking actions in flagrant disregard of the federally desirable and constitutionally guaranteed autonomy of state governments, especially as provided in the legislative lists. Let us illustrate these concerns with three cases.

The first source of conflict between both tiers of government was the National Minimum Wage (NMW). On Labour Day (1 May 2000), President Obasanjo announced a national minimum wage of 5,500 naira for state government and 7,500 naira for the federal government. (11) Apparently under pressure from the Nigeria Labour Congress, the president did not consult the governors or the National Assembly. The governors were livid and reminded the president that the era of centralization under military rule was over. (12) They insisted that only the states could negotiate wages with their employees. While recognizing the powers of the federal government to set the minimum wage, they held that the president could not announce such a wage without due consultations with state governments (as employers of labor) and without sending a bill to the National Assembly.

For almost a year the country was gripped by wage crises (13) and strikes because many state governments could not afford to pay the new wages and arrears as demanded by their labor force. Some analysts believe that the president hastily announced the NMW in order to court the support of the labor force against the National Assembly with which he was having problems. General Obasanjo's military background and unilateral actions goaded him into a number of political hot waters with the state governments.

In a similar manner, the federal government introduced the Universal Basic Education (UBE) program. This program is aimed at providing free, universal, basic education from primary school to the first three years of secondary school. The federal government announced this program and launched it in Sokoto, before a bill was sent to the National Assembly. State governors complained of lack of consultation. They claimed that the matter is under the concurrent legislative list, and that because the federal government was going to depend on states to implement the program, states should have been adequately consulted by the president.

In addition, some state governments are controlled by political parties different from the one at the federal level. Each political party has its own program on education. They therefore frowned on the "military" fashion in which federal programs were announced in areas of concurrent legislation, without regard to the priorities of states, especially where states were to be the implementing agency. The governors and the vice-president later met to harmonize areas of disagreement over this program, but many grey areas remained. Adequate political consultations could have reduced tensions in federal-state relations. While the federal government accused state governments of sabotaging the UBE program, state governments felt that they could not abandon their programs in order to execute federal programs. The federal government had similar problems in getting the cooperation of state governments in the implementation of its Poverty Alleviation Programme (PAP), now replaced by the Poverty Eradication Programme (PE P). Again, the states reminded the federal government that each government had its own poverty-eradication program. If the federal government desired the cooperation of states in the implementation of its programs, it should carry state governments along. Unlike the German Basic Law, the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 does not provide for states as implementors of federal laws.

Finally, there is the issue of the Nigeria Police Force and the maintenance of law and order. Given the ineptitude and inefficiency of the Nigeria police in the maintenance of law and order, governors of states with large urban centers and high rates of crime found themselves helpless in dealing with crimes. Police is a federal matter, even though the governor of a state is the chief law officer of the state. As happened in the second republic, many governors complained that state commissioners of police ignored orders from them but took orders only from their boss, the federal inspector-general of police. (14) In frustration, some governors demanded a review of the Constitution to enable the states to establish their own police forces. However, some governors are opposed to establishing state police forces. The opponents expressed their reluctance to spend their meager resources on maintaining state police. These governors opted for a greater level of decentralization of the Nigeria police to enable it to re spond to problems on the ground more effectively and promptly. In some states, the government officially resorted to using vigilante groups to maintain law and order. (15)

Nor have the relations between the national and state assemblies been smooth. In view of the confusion over the actual tenure of chairmen of local governments, state houses of assembly had made laws limiting the term of office of these chairmen to two years in some states, and three years in others.

In an attempt to sort out the problem, the Senate set up a committee to make recommendations to the National Assembly. The state houses of assembly believed that this was a usurpation of the powers given to them under section 7 of the Constitution that the "Government of every state shall... ensure their existence under a Law which provides for the establishment, structure, composition, finance and functions of such councils." They threatened to go to court. (16)

Similarly, some state governments created or tried to create additional local governments. Bayelsa State, for example, created new Local Government Councils, and deployed the chairmen of the old local governments to new local governments. The Senate of the Federal Republic declared this action a nullity because it violated Section 8(3) of the Constitution, which provides elaborate processes for the creation of new local governments, including a referendum. (17) In addition, the Senate argued that unless the list of local governments as contained in the first schedule, Section 3, Part 1, is duly amended, no new local government is legal.

In state-local government relations, there have also been cold wars. Local governments complain about undue interference from state governments. As an illustration, the Sokoto State government was taken to court by 15 local governments councils in the state, and the court restrained the state government from deducting 3 percent of its statutory allocation for funding the Sokoto Emirate Council as passed by the state House of Assembly. (18)

In addition, local government chairmen have argued that state governors, especially where the chairman comes from a party different from the governor's, plot to remove such chairmen by using the audit powers of the state. Governors have also been accused of plotting with the state houses of assembly to shorten the tenure of three years of elected local government officials in order to put their supporters in office. In some states, there have been protests by elected local-government officials against attempts by state houses of assembly to reduce their term to two years. Thus, in Imo State, the police arrested 11 local government councillors along with 300 others who had gone to the state House of Assembly to protest the reduction of their tenure from three to two years. (19) In the case of Bayelsa State, where new local governments were created, some councillors have taken the governor and chairmen of the local government councils to court because they believe that it was illegal to share funds from the Fed eration Account with new and illegal local governments. Similarly, these chairmen also went to court to protest their deployment to new local governments as a form of illegality and disenfranchisement of the people, being perpetrated by some state governments. (20)

However, many governors claim that a majority of chairmen and councillors of local governments, only sit down to share money drawn from the Federation Account and hardly embark on development projects. President Obasanjo had publicly chided the chairmen over this issue. The governors are at pains to point out that the chairmen of local governments do not have the powers they had under the 1989 Constitution, and that they should be enlightened on this matter. In addition, the governors are angry that the federal government relates directly with local government councils, which operate under them. They argue that the 1999 Constitution, section 162(6), provides for the "State Joint Local Government Account" into which statutory allocations from the federal and state governments accruing to the local governments should be deposited.

The states are therefore opposed to what they perceive as attempts by the federal government to relate directly to local governments under them. They cite the case of the federal government aiding the local government chairmen to buy security vehicles and gadgets for the maintenance of law and order locally without the knowledge and involvement of state governors, as evidence of the federal government's interference in matters under state governments. The governors are the chief law officers of the state and should be involved in this kind of arrangement.

The leaders of both the federal and state governments have so far demonstrated some caution in their interactions in order not to endanger Nigeria's new democratic polity. Time will tell how far this self-imposed restraint will last. It does seem that personality clashes and the lack of an adequate culture of relations among the component tiers of government, after long periods of military rule, have bedeviled relations among tiers of government. It is hoped that as a new democratic culture of consultations and the rule of law take root in the polity, and as new patterns of intergovernmental relations are established, unnecessary and abrasive conflicts will give way to cooperation and interdependence among tiers of government.

Let us turn briefly to the issue of centralization and decentralization of power in the federation. Federalism presupposes non-centralization of powers among the component units of the federation. (21) No one component, federal, state, or (as in the 1999 Constitution) local government, is superior to the other. They all act directly on the people. If there is no superior government, which tier devolves powers to the other? Herein lies the difficulty of devolution of powers in the Nigerian federation, like some others in the world. A review of the legislative list is one effective way of dealing with the devolution of powers. It is hoped that the process of constitutional review and amendments will take care of some of these issues.

Given the post-military rule situation and the emergence of a very strong central government, some Nigerians have called for "true federalism." By "true federalism," the protagonists of a weak central government refer to a "confederation" or what they claim to be the classical model of federalism delineated by K. C. Wheare. This is evident in the 1995 Report of the Constitutional Conference Containing the Resolutions and Recommendations, Volume 11, which recommended "innovation" to Nigerian federalism thusly:

It should be true federalism with clear demarcation of powers and functions among the levels of government. In the exercise of those powers and functions assigned by the Constitution, each level of government should be autonomous. (22)

However, as Ranjit Sarkaria of India correctly observed:

The classical concept of federation which envisaged two parallel governments of coordinate jurisdiction, operating in isolation from each other in watertight compartments, is no where a functional reality now. With the emergence of the Social Welfare State, the traditional theory of federalism completely lost its ground. After the First World War, it became very much a myth even in the old federations... By the middle of the twentieth century, federalism had come to be understood as dynamic process of cooperation and shared action between two or more levels of government, with increasing interdependence and centrist trends. (23)

In essence, the old sense of autonomy of component units in their areas of jurisdiction has given way to cooperation, interdependence, and interaction. That there is still a call for a return to a nostalgic classical model of federalism, however, is a reflection of the extent to which centrifugal forces are at work in Nigeria's federation, as groups seek greater autonomy or self-rule in their state arenas in order to control their destiny. Paradoxically, the greater the number of states, the less "autonomous" the content of this self-rule, and the stronger the federal center.

However, the prospects of a review of the legislative list in favor of subnational units are high. The future is most likely to witness a relatively less strong center than Nigeria has now. But it is unlikely that Nigerians would revert to the loose federation they had between 1960 and 1965, or even adopt a confederal constitution. (24)

It can be argued that the federal legislative list (or the exclusive list) is overloaded. It does seem more appropriate that the federal government should make policies for agriculture, health, education, and others. Thus, there should be no need for a Federal Ministry of Agriculture, for example. A unit should be responsible for agricultural policies. It can also provide for federal forms of intervention in research, capacity-building, and funding. On the other hand, given the peculiar development of Nigeria's formal Western education, the recommendation by the 1995 Constitutional Conference on Education may be unworkable. The report left primary education to local governments, and transferred secondary and tertiary education to states' legislative lists. The intention of such action is understood, but Nigeria's experiences show that the problem with the education sector is not just funding. These are human problems of capacity and attitude. The gross anti-intellectual posture in the country is part of thes e. Perhaps, universities should continue to be in the concurrent list, but they should be rationalized. There is no reason why seven good medical schools, six faculties of law; six or seven faculties of engineering, seven faculties of information and computer services, as well as architecture and others--spread Out across the country, properly staffed and appropriately funded--should not serve as centers of excellence for the country. No single state can handle these problems. It lies squarely at the door of the federal government. Paradoxically, some state governments are requesting the federal government to take over their universities, while new universities are springing up in other states of the country.

In essence, the democratic pressures in the Nigerian federation are likely to respond to the current centrifugal swing in the federal pendulum. It seems unlikely that Nigeria will eventually have a federation with a weak center in the next decade, unless something dramatic happens. In addition, as political leaders imbibe greater democratic values, as democratic institutions get grafted and embellished by the federal grid, and as new cultures of tolerance and cooperation in intergovernmental relations are imbibed, Nigeria may witness a gradual adjustment in its vertical federal structure in favor of more appropriate power-sharing formulae among the levels of government. For now, centrifugal forces are likely to continue to push for a drastic reduction in the strength of the central government, beginning with the revenue-sharing formula in the federation.

Another important challenge to Nigerian federation, is resource distribution and management.


Resource distribution includes both statuses and resources. In fact, it includes the distribution of all scarce but allocatable resources. The location of government projects as well as the pattern of recruitment into political offices and the public service are also yardsticks for measuring the fairness of leaders in the distribution process in Nigeria.

In order to ensure relative fairness in the appointment of people from various groups into the Federal Public Service, government established the Federal Character Commission to monitor the pattern of appointment into all the public services of federal, state, and local Governments in order to give Nigerians a sense of belonging to the nation. Cries of discrimination and marginalization by groups have not abated since the establishment of this commission. But, at least, there is a point to which complaints can now be addressed for redress.

The 1999 Constitution provides in Section 162 (2) that the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission has the function of tabling before the National Assembly a draft revenue-allocation formula. The National Assembly shall then deliberate on this document, taking into account the principles of "population, equality of states, internal revenue generation, land mass, terrain as well as population density." The National Assembly shall note that the principles of derivation applied on all proceeds from all natural resources will not be less than 13 percent. Since the advent of the new democratic polity, governors have argued that a new allocation formula should be put in place giving the states at least 40 percent. As a matter of fact, a delegation representing governors made the same point to the members of the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission. This point was reinforced by the resolution of the Governors' Forum, meeting in Abuja in August 2000.

On the horizontal level, there have been cries of "marginalization" by all groups. The oil-producing states of Niger-Delta are angry that the dividends of oil produced in their area go to other parts of the country, without adequate concern for their own interests and concerns. Basically, while oil accounts for more than 80 percent of the country's annual revenue, it has not changed the lives of the Niger-Delta people. Although the Constitution provides for 13 percent revenue (on the principles of derivation) to the oil-producing area, the governors of these states argue that the federal government only agreed to pay these funds to the oil-producing states from January 2000, and has failed to do so between 29 May and December 1999. In response, the governors of the South-South Zone decided to demand 100 percent control of their resources. As Governor Ibori of Delta State put it:

Generally, given the centralization of political power under the military, the center became a financial titan, because military rulers altered the revenue formula (25) as they deemed fit. They did not need to debate the formula at any legislative forum, except at the Armed Forces Ruling Council or the Provisional Ruling Council. There have been calls for the revision of the legislative list and accompanying tax powers in favor of local governments and states. The argument is that the federal center has too much funds at its disposal, thus encouraging it to engage in policy adventures in areas it should not, and in activities reserved for other tiers of government.

the Federal Government has not, and we believe does not intend to resolve that very provision of the constitution, so we are not asking for 13 per cent any more, what we are taking now is everything, the 100 percent control. (26)

The point is that, as in Canada and Australia, the Revenue Commission should be tasked to carry out two functions, in addition to its current functions. It should carry out fiscal equalization on a vertical dimension to ensure that funds are available to all three tiers of government to carry out their functions. Furthermore, its fiscal equalization measures on a horizontal level should carry out relative equalization among states in order to ensure some political stability.

In response to the complaints of neglect in the Niger-Delta a new body, the Niger-Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has been established to replace the old (OMPADEC). The NDDC is designed to alleviate poverty in the Delta area and to embark on development projects aimed at improving the quality of lives of the average Niger-Delta person.

Similarly, states with solid minerals also complain that despite environmental degradation as a result of mining activities in their areas, they have not been adequately compensated for damages. They are therefore calling for the establishment of the Solid Minerals Producing Area Development Commission (SOMPADEC). Interestingly, all the states from which hydroelectric power is generated have also called for the establishment of Hydro Power Producing Areas Development Commission (HYPPADEC) to compensate them for the consequences of any environmental damages caused by the activities associated with the generation of hydro-related energy.

Given that the current quarrels are over the nature of distribution and not over the recognition of claims by contending parties, compromises will continue to be found. While the federal government went to court to seek the definition of the on-shore and off-shore minerals (or oil) in the context of resource distribution, there have been pressures for a political, rather than a legal, solution of the matter. In addition, the politicians are likely to strike compromises over the percentage of resources in the federation account that should be allocated on the basis of derivation. Currently, all mineral resources belong to the federation, and the 13 percent of the proceeds return to the state of origin of such minerals (including petroleum). Given the centrifugal pulls in the federation, the percentage of the derivation principle may go up gradually during the decade. (27)

One disturbing trait in the politics of leadership and resource distribution is the extent to which actions of leaders (military and/or civilian) can be easily ethnicized. It is very easy for a leader's mandate to be ethnicized or geoethnicized by his people, by the way they lay claim to him. It is also easy for a leader to ethnicize his mandate by his policies and actions. Usually, a leader's mandate being ethnicized by his people becomes more dangerous if the leader also ethnizes his mandate through his official actions in government. The qualities of fairness and justice in a leader cannot be overemphasized in the process of nation-building in a federal context. Let us now turn to the politics of Nigerian federalism and the challenges of aggressive subnationalism.


At the terminal period of transition from military to civilian rule in 1998-1999, there were signs of resurgence of aggressive subnationalism which had been suppressed under the regime of General Abacha. After 29 May 1999 when the military handed over power to civilians, latent aggressive subnationalism exploded into violence.

One effect of the over-centralization of power by various military regimes was the emergence of strong centrifugal forces that felt disadvantaged in the system. Many subnational groups believed that if the Nigerian federation were not as centralized as it was, they would have had a fairer deal in the federation.

On the horizontal dimension, there were many expressions of dissatisfaction with the federation by many groups. The summary of positions expressed below reflects the nature of concerns by various groups:

1. Why should one group of Nigerians tend to monopolize the leadership of Nigeria, (that is the presidency or head of government)? We must have it this time or we will reassess our relations within the federal association.

2. Why is it that the major resources which give blood to the Nigerian federation come from my area and yet there is no evidence of the impact of this wealth on the lives of my people? We would like to control resources from our area in order to improve the quality of lives of our people. We must discuss the adequate sharing of this and other resources now or pack it up.

3. What makes some parts of Nigeria attract more federal presence in terms of industrialization and the location of major federal projects to the exclusion of our area? Is this a federation? If so, should there not be a more equitable distribution of resources? Should the federal presence not be felt all over the country, or are we federally pariah?

4. Why is it that some Nigerian groups think that they must concentrate political and economic powers in their hands? Do they realize that federal compromise involves sharing and not concentration? If we lose our political guarantee against their economic powers, we shall have to reassess our position in this federation.

5. In the context of a relatively primitive capitalist system with a dominant state role in the economy (in spite of efforts at privatization), the powers of the center are very important; therefore, you cannot divorce political from economic power. To rob us of the access to political power is tantamount to undercutting our economic power; this we shall not accept; the principles of l2 June must therefore be adequately addressed or we shall pull out of the federation.

6. Those of us who fought over the nature of the federal association are not fools; we are watching the greed of others as they share political and economic powers. We shall not originate the excision from the polity this time, but we shall not allow anyone to go; those who betrayed us the last time, cannot do it twice, and if they try to go, we shall force them to stay. To "keep Nigeria one" is a task that was accomplished, and must continue to be done, so let us sit down and discuss.

7. What makes our bigger brothers behave as if they do not need this country anymore, and that only those of us who are small need it; are they saying they have milked the system enough and now that there is nothing to exploit, they must quit? What have we gained in our areas from this federal association--nothing; yet the smaller groups are in the majority. We must discuss our new pattern of relationship in the federal system to take account of our grievances.

Under this "democratic" polity, the suppressed "angst" of various groups with the Nigerian federation found expressions in many ways. The emergence of a fiscally and politically titanic center had questioned the basic sense of security of groups. Let us illustrate this with some cases.

As a result of the Constitutional Conference of 1994-1995, Nigeria was informally divided into six geopolitical zones (see table 2). These zones were regarded as development zones and zones for sharing resources among Nigerian groups. The Southwest zone, from the Abacha days had pressed for a Sovereign National Conference to discuss the restructuring of Nigeria. In essence, it was asking for a return to the old regions with their accompanying autonomy. This demand was partly predicated on the assumption that the federation was too centralized and that those who controlled political power at the center also controlled resources, including their extraction and distribution. They therefore opted for the old regional autonomy (between 1960-1965) in order to control their resources and pace of development.

After May 1999, the O'dua Peoples' Congress (OPC) declared its stand for the freedom of Yorubas to go it alone as an independent unit. It declared its desire to protect and defend Yoruba interests anywhere in Nigeria. The first eruption of crises was in Shagamu between OPC-backed group and Hausa settlers. Many people were killed and goods were destroyed. The corpses of Hausa men that were carried back to Kano generated a retaliatory wave of violence in that city against Yorubas. In response, Northern youths formed the Arewa People's Congress (APC) to challenge OPC violence.

OPC violence at Ketu and other places in Lagos angered the Ibos, who also set up the Ibo Peoples' Congress (IPC) to deal with what they considered OPC's unwarranted meddlesomeness and violence. The OPC violence in Lagos got to a point at which the president threatened the governor of Lagos State with a declaration of a state of emergency in the state, unless he could restore law and order. Lagos had become extremely unsafe. Many people saw OPC's espousal of Yoruba nationalism as the reason for OPC leaders who had been declared wanted being shielded from the police. If OPC activities were not properly curbed by President Obasanjo, because of the logic of federal autonomy of Yorubas espoused by that group, why should President Obasanjo deal with political manifestations of autonomy in other states? Some Northern states then chose to use Sharia law to declare their federally desirable autonomy. Since May 1999, it was clear that the old North had lost political power, even though it had voted massively for Genera l Obasanjo. The announcement of the introduction of Supreme Sharia in Zamfara State introduced a new factor in the politics of federalism. Up until then, state governments had operated Sharia law as provided in the constitutions of 1979, 1989, and 1999; it was applicable only to civil proceedings involving Islamic personal law (such as inheritance, divorce, and others). The Supreme Sharia expanded the parameters of Sharia Law to include criminal matters. As a result of this Sharia Law, two thieves were amputated in Zamfara State. A 17-year-old girl was also flogged 80 times for fornication in the same state. In Kano and Katsina, a number of people were convicted for consuming alcoholic drinks and were sentenced to varying number of strokes of the cane.

Since its introduction in Zamfara State, Sharia Law has been adopted in ten other northern states. (28) News of its introduction in Kaduna State (which is multi-ethnic and multi-religious in nature) led to gross communal violence and the deaths of many Nigerians. The killing of Ibos and others in Kaduna extracted reciprocal killings of Hausa-Fulani Muslims in Abia and Imo states. In fact, the governors of Abia, Imo, Enugu, Anambra, and Eboniyi states (of the Southeastern zone) called for a Confederal Nigeria. (29) The governors were quickly backed by the Yoruba "Afenifere" leader, Chief Abraham Adesanya, who argued that there was hardly any difference between "true federation as demanded by Yorubas" and "confederacy which the Ibos are now demanding." In his usually blunt style, President Obasanjo described the call for a confederation as "highly mischievous and extremely unpatriotic." (30) Mischievous or not, the demand for confederation by the Southeast zone sent shivers down the political spine of the North , which then sent emissaries to the Southeast on reconciliation trips.

If OPC activities were not properly curbed by President Obasanjo, because of the logic of federal autonomy of Yorubas espoused by that group, why should President Obasanjo deal with political manifestations of autonomy in other states? Some Northern states then chose to use Sharia law to declare their federally desirable autonomy. Since May 1999, it was clear that the old North had lost political power, even though it had voted massively for Genera l Obasanjo. The announcement of the introduction of Supreme Sharia in Zamfara State introduced a new factor in the politics of federalism. Up until then, state governments had operated Sharia law as provided in the constitutions of 1979, 1989, and 1999; it was applicable only to civil proceedings involving Islamic personal law (such as inheritance, divorce, and others). The Supreme Sharia expanded the parameters of Sharia Law to include criminal matters. As a result of this Sharia Law, two thieves were amputated in Zamfara State. A 17-year-old girl was also flogged 80 times for fornication in the same state. In Kano and Katsina, a number of people were convicted for consuming alcoholic drinks and were sentenced to varying number of strokes of the cane.

Following closely these developments was the announced intention to declare a "Republic of Biafra" by the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) on 27 May 2000. Disowned by Ojukwu and the pan-Ibo "Ohaneze" group, MASSOB hoisted a Biafran flag, while the leader escaped on a motorcycle during the so-called ceremony. Was the call for confederation, like the Sharia a political card? If it was, other zones were soon to put their cards on the political table.

As mentioned earlier, the governors of the South-South had complained about the non-release of 13 percent derivation fund to their states from 29 May to 31 December 1999. From the days of the military rule, the Niger-Delta had always been an area of violence. Devastated by oil exploration, inadequately touched by the benefits of oil, and overwhelmed by an army of unemployed youth, the area has seen violence aimed at extracting positive responses from the federal government and oil companies.

In fact, oil pipelines had been sabotaged at various times, while communities involved in illegal oil-bunkering had suffered tragic consequences resulting from unexpected explosions and inferno. In a demonstration of anger, Bayelsa youths in Odi had captured policemen, and ambushed and killed four soldiers. In reaction, the federal government ordered military action that razed Odi village. It was a wanton military operation, illustrating clearly the need for Nigeria to establish a para-military unit appropriately trained for dealing with civil disobedience.

With this background of restlessness among the youth and their pressures on state governments, what was seen as the refusal of the federal government to release the 13 percent derivation fund, due to the states from 29 May 1999 to 31 December 1999, soon took another dimension. The governors of the states in the South-South Zone met and issued a communique that they had set the machinery "in motion to assume full control of its resources within the framework of true federalism." (31) Was this constitutional? Could states control mineral resources when mining is under the exclusive legislative list of the federation? Again, the reaction by governors of the South-South zone reflects the level of dissatisfaction among Nigerians with the operation of the federation.

Similarly, the Middle Belt (or the North Central Zone) also reacted to a number of issues in the federation. The trigger for the Middle Belt reactions was the complaint by the core North or Hausa-Fulani that the service chiefs of the armed forces came from the Middle Belt and not from the North. There were spontaneous reactions to what was regarded as Northern hypocrisy-using the Middle Belt when it was convenient to fight its war, and then turn around to dump them. The Middle Belt Forum made it clear that it was no longer interested in being part of the old Northern geopolity or in sharing Northern identity with the Hausa-Fulanis. (32) The Middle Belt supported a federation with a strong center, with equity of opportunities for all. It called for equity in the distribution of resources and the need to encourage solid-minerals, agricultural, and industrial development in the zone. Like the Southeast, Southwest, and South-South zones, the Middle Belt or the North-Central zone called for a national conference t o discuss all outstanding issues in the Nigerian federation.

In essence, the violent protests in the Niger-Delta over perceived injustice in resource distribution; the Itsekiri-Ijaw violence in the Niger-Delta; the resumption of the Ife-Modakeke communal violence; the Odi violence and the sacking of the community by the Obasanjo administration; the menace of the Odu'a Peoples' Congress (OPC) and the accompanying violence in Lagos and Shagamu areas; the formation of the Arewa Peoples' Congress (APC) and the Ibo Peoples' Congress (IPC); the MASSOB feeble attempt to resuscitate Biafra; the Sharia crises and the demands for a confederation; and the South-South demand for the control of its resources, are all part of the bubbles of the Nigerian federation.

That these political bubbles worried President Obasanjo was reflected in his address to the members of the Obasanjo Leadership Forum when they paid a courtesy call on him. Obasanjo claimed that the Sharia, OPC, and Niger-Delta crises were all programmed to destabilize Nigeria. According to the president, "some people want to secede. Some people want to break away from Nigeria while others want a stronger federation." (33)

Is Nigeria likely to break up? Let us now turn to the prospects of federation in the Fourth Republic.


It does seem that given the verdant memory of the last civil war, most Nigerian politicians believe that Nigeria cannot survive a second civil war. Given the new freedom embedded in the democratic polity, after years of military rule, they want to test the system to see the extent to which they can go. They may even go to the precipice before finding a line of retreat into the center of the polity. However, transforming democratic freedom into democratic license can be very costly for any system, and Nigerian politicians have to watch out.

From our discussions above, it does seem like each geopolitical zone is looking for a political bargaining card. While the Southwest card is "true federalism" or a very loose federation or confederation, the Northwestern and Northeastern card is the Sharia. The South East has dropped its confederation card on the table. The South-South is hanging unto its resource-control card, while the Middle Belt or North Central card is a stronger federation to protect minorities. The constitutional-review exercise embarked upon by the National Assembly (34) and the prospects of a National Conference make such bargaining cards very attractive and important for political leaders.

The reasons for the adoption of a federal system of government in the early 1950s are still very much around. The mutual fears and suspicions among the groups in the competitive political process continue to bug the polity. The issues and the context in which they were acted out have probably changed, but Nigerians are most likely to continue with federation or a federal type compromise in the management of their conflicts in the next decade.

During the next decade, however, a number of issues will continue to attract the attention of political leaders. The distribution of power among three tiers of government will continue to engage Nigerian political leaders, irrespective of their political party affiliations. (35) It is most likely that the legislative lists will be reviewed in favor of subnational units. The center may be less powerful than it is now, but it is probably unlikely that Nigeria will adopt a confederal technique in the management of conflicts arising from its federal association.

Second, the issue of resource distribution and/or management will continue to dominate debate in the federation. It may raise the political temperature of the federation. There may even be violent dimensions to the problem, but given the complementarity of the Nigerian economy during the past 80 years, piecemeal compromises are likely to be effected over time.

It is hoped that as democratic institutions take their root, as the political processes get routinized, and as intergovernmental relations improve and a new culture of interdependence and cooperation develop among the operators of the federation, the current bubbles will burst, and Nigerians will develop a greater sense of tolerance and accommodation of one another.


We have argued that at the dawn of the twenty-first century, the Nigerian federation is characterized by strong unitarist streaks as a response to almost three decades of military rule. As a result of overcentralization of the Nigerian federation, there have been numerous reactions by subnational groups for a review of the legislative list.

The Nigerian federation faces a number of challenges in the next decade of the new millennium. Among these challenges is the issue of how to decentralize an overly centralized federation. The next few years are likely to witness a constitutional review, including a review of the legislative list. It is most likely that the powers of the center will be reduced in favor of subnational units.

In similar vein, the distribution of scarce but allocatable resources will continue to dominate the debate on the state of the federation in the next decade. As Nigerian groups reassess their benefits from (more often rather than contribution to) the federation, conflicts over distribution of resources will continue to arise. However, given the complementarity and interdependence of the Nigerian economy, political leaders are likely to find appropriate forms of compromise from time to time. The conflicts of distribution may even reach crises proportions, but they are unlikely to threaten the existence of the nation-state.

In the new democratic setting, the politics of federalism has led to the emergence of geopolitical bargaining platforms in anticipation of a National Conference. The explosion of subnational identities and associated aggressive nationalism are likely to surface over time, without destroying the polity.

Ultimately, it is clear that the reasons for the adoption of federation are very much around. The mutual fears and suspicions of one another by Nigerian groups are likely to continue in the next decade. Yet, it is hoped that as groups interact and establish relative mutual confidence in one another and in the federal system, necessary compromises will be effected and conflicts managed appropriately. For a long while, it does seem that federation or one-federal-type or the other will continue to provide the desirable compromise for managing conflicts in Nigeria.
Table 1

States Created from the Four Old Regions Since 1966

Northern Region  Western Region  Eastern Region  Midwestern Region

Sokoto, Zamfara      Lagos *        Anambra           Edo
Kebbi, Kaduna        Oyo            Enugu             Delta
Katsina, Kano        Osun           Imo
Jigawa, Borno        Ondo           Abia
Yobe, Adamawa        Ekiti          Ebonyi
Taraba, Plateau      Ogun           Rivers
Benue, Nasarawa                     Gross River
Kwara, Kogi                         Bayelsa
Bauchi, Gombe                       Akwa-Ibom

* Lagos was the federal capital territory until 1991, when Abuja became
the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Table 2

Nigerian Political Zones













(1.) James Coleman, Nigeria: A Background to Nationalism (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1958), p. 30. Also see J. P. Mackintosh, ed., Nigerian Government and Politics (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1966); Adebayo Adedeji, "Federalism and Development Planning in Nigeria," Reconstruction and Development in Nigeria: Proceedings of a National Conference, eds. A Ayida and H. M. A. Onitiri (Ibadan: Oxford University Press, 1971).

(2.) See K. W. Post, The Nigeria Federal Election of 1959 (London: Oxford University Press, 1963).

(3.) The term ethnoregional is used to refer to the administrative territory in which identities of the major ethnic group crystallizes around the regional administrative boundaries.

(4.) According to Sklar, on the January 1966 coup, "political power had shifted away from the Northern rulers and their allies to a more progressive section of the population. The dangerous imbalance between legal and technological power had been corrected." In other words, the January coup corrected existing imbalance. Richard L. Sklar, "Nigerian Politics in Perspective," Nigeria: Modernization and the Politics of Communalism, eds. R. Melson and H. wolpe (East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 1970), p. 60.

(5.) This period accounted for about 30 years, that is three-quarters of Nigeria's political life.

(6.) Federal Government of Nigeria, Decree No. 34, 1966, declared Nigeria a Unitary State to be called the "National Government of Nigeria." The period was short-lived and marked by violence. It was reversed by Decree No. 52, 1966, which returned Nigeria to a "federal" system--"Federal Military Government."

(7.) Under General Gowon, these governors were accused of being too autonomous for a military regime. Succeeding military regimes were more centralizing, even though governors always retained a sizeable measure of autonomy.

(8.) Some Nigerians believe that about three score years of military rule has overly centralized the federation, and are therefore asking for a federation with a weak center or a "Confederation."

(9.) For details of these, see J. Isawa Elaigwu, "Military Rule and Federalism in Nigeria," The Foundations of Nigerian Federalism: 1960-95, Vol. 3, eds. J. Isawa Elaigwu and R A. Akindele (Abuja: National Council on Intergovernmental Relations, 1996), pp. 166-193; J. Isawa Elaigwu, "The Military and State Building: Federal State Relations in Nigeria's 'Military Federalism' 1966-76," Readings on Federalism, eds. A. B. Akinyemi, P. D. Cole, and Walter Ofonagoro (Lagos: Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, 1979), pp. 155-181.

(10.) Geneal Obasanjo was a former Military Head of State (1976-1978). He came to power as an elected President on 29 May 1999. He has not yet shed his military toga. He is fond of taking actions without sensitivity to due process as required in a democratic polity.

(11.) The Vanguard (Lagos), 24 June 2000, p. 6.

(12.) The Vanguard (Lagos), 4 May 2000, p. 2.

(13.) There were labor crises all over the country. Many state governments could not pay the new wages, thus negotiations with their labor forces failed. In some states, public servants were on strike for between three to six months. See Vanguard, 4 May 2000, p.2, in which Governor Dariye of Plateau State expressed his concern, "Our concerts is that we don't want to go back to the ugly past when workers were owed several months arrears of salaries."

(14.) It has been suggested that the Structure of the Nigeria Police Force be decentralized in order to allow the zonal commands to be more responsive to local situations. Quite a number of Nigerians are apprehensive of the wanton misuse of the local police by local governments, politicians, and traditional leaders, in the past.

(15.) This is the case of Anambra State where the "Bakassi Boys" have become officially recognized "vigilante" to complement police efforts. Attempts by the governor of Lagos to use the OPC has been criticized by the police, especially since the OPC is a banned organization. See This Day (Lagos) 18 August 2000, p. 13; 2 August 2000, p. 1; 30 July 2000, p. 1, and 27 July 2000. p. 1.

(16.) The Punch (Lagos), 7 July 2001, pp. 1-2.

(17.) This section (8-3) of the 1999 Constitution States that:

"(3) A bill for a Law of a House of Assembly for the purpose of creating a new local government area shall only be passed if-

(a) a request supported by at least two-thirds majority of members (representing the area demanding the creation of the new local government area) in each of the following, namely

(i) the House of Assembly in respect of the area, and

(ii) the local government councils in respect of the area, is received by the House of Assembly;

(b) a proposal for the creation of the local government area is thereafter approved in a referendum by at least two-thirds majority of the people of the local government area where the demand for the proposed local government area originated;

(c) the result of the referendum is then approved by a simple majority of the members in each local government council in a majority of all local government councils in the State; and

(d) the result of the referendum is approved by a resolution passed by two-thirds majority of members of the House of Assembly."

(18.) The Vanguard (Lagos), 23 August 1999, pp. 1-2.

(19.) The Vanguard, 9 March 2001, p. 1.

(20.) The Punch, 7 July 2001, pp. 1-2.

(21.) There are many publications on Nigerian federalism, among which are: Frederich Ebert Foundation, Constitutions and Federalism: Proceedings of the Conference on Constitutions and Federalism (Lagos: Freidrich Ebert Foundation, 1997); E. E. O Alemika and Festus Okoye, eds., Constitutional Federalism and Democracy in Nigeria (Kaduna: Human Rights Monitor); A. Adedeji, Nigerian Federal Finance (London: Hutchison Educational, 1969); A. Akante, The Power to Tax and Nigerian Federalism (Lagos: Centre for Business Executives, 1985); E. O. Awa, Federal Government of Nigeria: A Study of the Development of the Nigeria State (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1964); Peter P. Ekeh, ed., Nigerian Federalism (Buffalo: Association of Nigerian Scholars for Dialogue, 1997); Ladipo Adamolekun, ed., Publius: The Journal of Federalism 21 (Fall 1991); J. Isawa Elaigwu and Erim O. Erim, eds., Foundations of Nigerian Federalism: Pre-Colonial Antecedents, Vol. 1 (Abuja: National Council on Intergovernmental Relations, 19 96); J. Isawa Elaigwu and Godfrey Uzoigwe, eds. Foundations of Nigerian Federalism: 1900-1960, Vol. 2 (Abuja: National Council on Intergovernmental Relations, 1996) ; J. Isawa Elaigwu and R. A. Akindele, Foundations of Nigerian Fed Federalism: 1960 - 1995, Vol. 3. (Abuja: National Council on Intergovernemtal Relations, 1996); D. Rothchild and Victor Olorunsola, eds., State Versus Ethnic Claims: African Policy Dilemas (Boulder, CO: Westview, 1983).

(22.) Federal Government of Nigeria, The Constitutional conference Containing The Resolutions and Recommendations, Vol. 2 (Lagos: Nigerian Government Printer, 1995), p. 61.

(23.) Ranjit S. Sarkaria, "Foreword," Current Issues and Trends in Centre-State Relations: A Global View, ed. S. C. Arora (New Delhi: Mittal Publications, 1991), p. 3; Government of India, Sarkaria Report: Commission in Centre-State Relations (India: government of India Press, 1988).

(24.) The nearest Nigeria went to a Confederal constitution was the crisis period 1966-1967, when the Federal Military Government issued Decree No. 8, 1967, of 17 March 1967, in response to the Ahuri peace accord in Ghana.

(25.) There had been Revenue Commissions in the past: (1) Philipson Commission (1946); (2) HicksPhilipson Commission (1951); (3) Chicks Commission (1953); (4) Raisman Commission (1958); (5) Binns Commission (1964); (6) Dina Committee (1969); (7) the Military governments issued decrees in 1967, 1970, 1971, and 1975 on revenue allocation matters; (8) Aboyade Commission (1978), and (9) Okigbo Commission (1980). The Okigbo Commission formula was amended by subsequent military regimes, as they deemed fit. See T. Y. Danjuma, "Revenue Sharing in Nigerian Federalism," Federalism and Nation-Building in Nigeria: The Challenges of the 21st Century, eds. J. Isawa Elaigwu, P.C. Logams, and H. S. Galadiman (Abuja: National Council On Intergovernmental Relations, 1994), pp. 87-115.

(26.) This Day, 28 July 2000, p. 7.

(27.) After all, between 1964-1969, the percentage of mineral rents and royalties which went back to the States was 45 percent. It may go up again beyond the current 13 percent.

(28.) These states include, Kebbi, Niger, Sokoto, Kano, Yobe, Bauchi, Borno, Kaduna, Jigawa, and Katsina.

(29.) The Vanguard, 27 March 2000, p. 1.

(30.) The Source (Lagos), 3 April 2000, p. 12.

(31.) This Day (Lagos), 16 August 2000, p. 10; The Vanguard, 26 September 2001, pp. 31 and 33.

(32.) The Nigeria Standard (Jos), 17 August 2000, p.7.

(33.) The Vanguard, 19 July 2000, P. 2.

(34.) The National Assembly has a committee on constitutional Review which has been collating ideas on review exercise. It is not clear how far this exercise will go in the context of calls for a National conference. In addition, there is also a Presidential committee on Constitutional Review, comprising members of the three political parties.

(35.) Nigeria has three political parties: The Peoples Democratic Party (POP) which controls 21 state governments and the federal government; the All Peoples Party (APP) which controls nine state governments; and the Alliance for Democracy (AD) which controls six states. All the political parties have splinter groups or factions, and the Independent National Electoral Commission has indicated its willingness to register additional political parties. In fact, a hill to this effect is with the National Assembly.

J. Isawa Elaigwu is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Jos. He was Director-General and Chief Executive of the National Council on Intergovernmental Relations (NCIR), Abuja. He is currently President, Institute of Governance and Social Research (IGSR), Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria.
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