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Réèpúblikk Naìjírìà Republik Nijeriya جمهورية نيجيريا Republic nde Naigeria Republik Federaal bu Niiseriya Federal Republic of Nigeria. Nigeria’s Federal Experience . Selected issues. Outline. Introductory remarks Selected issues

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nigeria s federal experience

Réèpúblikk NaìjírìàRepublik Nijeriyaجمهورية نيجيرياRepublic nde NaigeriaRepublik Federaal bu Niiseriya Federal Republic of Nigeria

Nigeria’s Federal Experience

Selected issues

  • Introductoryremarks
  • Selected issues
    • States and local governments in the FederalRepublic of Nigeria
    • Unity and diversity
    • Sharing power at the center
    • Distribution of powersbetween the twoorders of government
    • Oil and gas in the context of fiscal federalism
  • Concludingthoughts
nigeria and iraq a brief comparison
Nigeria and Iraq: A briefcomparison



  • British colonial history
  • Troubled post-independencepoliticalhistory
  • Rich in oil and gas
  • Ethnically, religiously, culturally, geographically diverse
  • Experienced a war of secession and episodes of civil war
  • British colonial history
  • Troubled post-independencepoliticalhistory
  • Rich in oil and gas
  • Ethnically, religiously, culturally, geographically diverse
  • Experienced an insurgency, inter-state conflicts and wide-scaleinternal violence
why and how the logic of nigerian federalism
Why and how: the logic of Nigerian federalism
  • Three rival pluralities: the plurality of economic and geographic regions, the plurality of ethnic nationalities, and the plurality of colonial administrative traditions.
    • A big country ... 913,072 square kilometres
    • With many ethnic groups
      • Three major groups: Hausa-Fulani, Igbo, Yoruba
      • A myriad “minority” ethnic groups
    • And a history of separate colonial administrations
      • The Lagos colony
        • A Crown colony with a legislative council and an English judicial system
      • The Colony and Protectorate of Southern Nigeria
        • Foreign relations managed by the British; local administration in charge of maintaining law and order
      • The Protectorate of Northern Nigeria
        • Indirect rule, grooming of extremely conservative traditional rulers
    • Which fostered rivalries between the various regions
why and how the logic of nigerian federalism 2
Why and how: the logic of Nigerian federalism (2)
  • At independence, Nigeria was a federation of three member-states.
    • The Nigerian federation is multinational or multiethnic.
    • Nigeria's extensive geographic size has usually been cited as an important factor for understanding the making of Nigerian federalism.
    • But ... at no point in the evolution of the country has Nigeria been a federation of natural, geographic, economic regions.
states and local governments
States and local governments

An experiment in fragmentation

regions and governorates
Regions and governorates
  • The constituent units have not been delimited as national or ethnic states
  • Successive military leaderships have taken liberties in redrawing the boundaries of the states
    • From three to thirty-six
    • The logic of fragmentation
      • A means to access national appointments, fiscal and other resources
      • A way of rewarding local officers by creating public offices
    • The negative impact of regionalisation
      • The increase in ethnic consciousness
      • The lack of popular consultation
putting an end to nigerian fragmentation
Putting an end to Nigerian fragmentation?
  • Constitutional provisions on the creation of new states (Art. 8-1)
    • A request put to the National Assembly and supported by at least 2/3 majoritymembers in:
      • Senate, House of Representatives
      • House of Assembly and Local GovernmentCouncils of the area
    • Approved in a referendum by at least 2/3 majority of people in the area
    • The result of the referendum to beapproved by simple majority of
      • All States of the Federation, and
      • Members of the Houses of Assembly
    • The proposalisapproved by a resolutionpassed by 2/3 majority of members of each House of the National Assembly
  • Constitutional provisions on the redrawing of boundaries
    • A request put to the National Assemblyissupported by 2/3 majority of membersrepresenting the area demanding and the area affected in:
      • The Senate and the House of Representatives
      • The House of Assembly and the local governmentcouncils of the ara
    • The proposal for boundaryadjustmentisapproved by a simple majority of
      • Each House of teh National Assembly
      • Members of the House of Assembly in respect of the area concerned
a task that must be done
A task that must be done
  • The Biafra war
  • In Nigerian politics, political engineering along rigid ethnic-national lines is regarded with great suspicion.
  • 1999 Constitution: Chapter 1 - Article 2(1)
    • Nigeria is one indivisible and indissoluble sovereign state to be known by the name of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
language policies
Language policies
  • English has been maintained as the country’s official language
  • The constitutions of 1979 and 1989 provide for the development and diffusion of the three major indigenous languages
  • Federal government decision at the turn of the 1990s to adopt mother-tongue education in 27 languages
sharing power at the center
Sharing power at the center

The impact of military rule


Phases in Nigeria’s Federal Practice

    • Phase Type of Federal Comment
    • Government Practice
    • 1954–1966 Colonial/civilian Strong Functioned fully
    • despite imperfections
    • 1966–1979 Military Weak Over-centralization of
    • Public Policies
    • 1979–1983 Civil Rule Weak Imitation of Unitarist
    • tendencies of the military
    • 1983–1998 Military Very weak Over-centralization of
    • Public Policies
    • 1999– Civil Rule Strong Slow in adjusting to
    • democratic practice
  • Source: OsitaAgbu, “Reinventing Federalism, in Post-Transition Nigeria: Problems and Prospects” Africa Development, 29, no. 2 (2004): 26-52. Updated from Peter P. Ekeh (1997), Wilberforce Conference on Nigerian Federalism, New York, Association of Nigerian Scholars for Dialogue.
the impact of military rule
The impact of military rule
  • Centralisation of powers in the hands of the Federal executive (coup leaders turned rulers) as illustrated by problems in the areas of
    • Monopoly of state power
    • State creation
    • Revenue allocation
    • Federal character
  • Nevertheless, already in 1967, the FederalMilitaryGovernment of Nigeria acknowledged that

the failure of the Nigerian constitution at independence in 1960 to recognize the strong desires of the minorities and other communities for self-determination affected the balance of power at the centre, and that this deep-seated imbalance “plagued” the first Republic throughout its life’ (FMG 1967)

the federal character principle
The « Federal Character » Principle
  • « Federal character" -- defined in the 1979 Constitution as

The distinctive desire of the people of Nigeria to promote national unity, foster national loyalty and give every citizen of Nigeria a sense of belonging to the nation.“

  • Sections 14 (3–4) of the 1999 Constitution

The composition of the Government of the federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few states or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that Government or in any of its agencies.

The composition of the Government of a State, a local government council, or any of the agencies of such government or council, and the conduct of the affairs of the government or council or such agencies shall be carried out in such manner as to recognize the diversity of peoples within its area of authority and the need to promote a sense of belonging and loyalty among all the peoples of the Federation.'

the federal character at work
The Federal Character at work
  • The army
    • The quota system (1958) – only in nonofficerranks
    • The quota system (1961) – extended to officerranks
    • Section 197 (2) of the 1979 Constitution
    • The Armed Forces Service Commission
    • The federalcharacter in practice
  • The Federal Civil Service
    • 1954 – Creation of State Civil Services
    • 1966 – FCS assumes greatersalience
      • The Udoji Commission (1974)
    • 1974 – The case for regionalrepresentation in the FCS
      • Ad hoc transfers of senior civil servants from states to FCS
      • FCS regulation on recruitment in federalagenciesworkingoutsidetehfederal capital
    • The Civil Service (Reorganisation) Decree (Decree no. 43, 1988)
      • Adherence to the FederalCharacterPrincipleat entry level
      • Promotion on the basis of experience, performance, good conduct, qualification, training, performance at interview and relevant examinationwhereappropriate
exclusive and concurrent powers
Exclusive and concurrent powers
  • The central government has exclusive power over 68 areas including defence, internal security, foreign affairs, commerce, banking, natural resources, customs, nuclear energy, transportation and communications.
  • The states have powers over 38 areas including state public order, intra-state trade and commerce, state health policy, science and technology, state highways and public transit.
  • The Concurrent legislative list includes 12 items such as antiquities and monuments, archives, electoral laws.
from theory to practice
From theory to practice
  • Decisionrules
    • The federallevel has paramountcy in case of conflict
    • Residualpowersbelong to the states
  • The issue of state capacity
    • Vastasymmetriesbetween states in education
    • Vastasymmetry in resourcesbetween states and center
  • The residual impact of centralisation of powers
    • Chief Justice decision (2000) about payment of all federal and state judicialofficers by the Federalgovernment
oil and gas in nigeria32
Oil and gas in Nigeria
  • Daily Crude Oil Output (2006): 2.1 Million Barrels
  • Proven Oil Reserves: 34 Billion Barrels (World = 1.025 Trillion)
  • Proven Natural Gas Reserves: 4 Trillion Cubic Meters (World = 161.2 Trillion)
  • Gross Domestic Product - Per Person: $ 694
  • Economic Growth (1980-2002): 2% annually
  • Petroleum’s share of
    • Government Revenue = 76%
    • Export earnings = 95%
    • GDP = 33%
legal and constitutional provisions
Legal and Constitutional Provisions
  • 1969: The PetroleumAct

Vested the Federal state with “the entire ownership of all oil and gas within any land in Nigeria, as well as under its territorial waters and continental shelf”

  • The « Derivation » Principle
    • 1960/1963 Constitutions: 50% of revenue to the States
    • 1975, Decree Six: 80% to the FederalGovernment, 20% to the States
    • 1978 Land Use Act: derivationexpunged in favour of the principle of equality of states (with land and mass poppulation as important criteria)
    • Into the 1990s: successive militarydecisionslower the States’ share to 3% States
    • 1999 Constitution: 13% of revenue to the States; creation of the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission
    • 2002 Supreme Court decision on the Continental Shelf
    • October 2002 National Assembly Bill erasingonshore/offshore distinction
the niger delta problem
The Niger Delta Problem
  • The Niger Delta Development Commission
    • Established in 2001
    • To alleviate the ecological and developmentalproblems of the oil-bearingcommunities
  • The Report of the SpecialCommittee on OilProducing Areas
    • An admission of governmentfailure
  • Resource allocation vs Resource control
    • Institutionalcapacity and accountability
    • Democraticchecks and balances at the levels of the States and the Local Government Areas

Timeline: Nigeria (1)

1809 Single Islamic state - Sokoto caliphate - is founded in north.

1861-1914 Britain consolidates its hold over what it calls the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria, governs by "indirect rule" through local leaders.

1922 Part of former German colony Kamerun is added to Nigeria under League of Nations mandate.

1954 Adoption of a federal constitution and the establishment of one central government and three

regional governments. The central government was under a British governor-general, while

each regional government had a Nigerian premier and a British governor

1957 Eastern and Western regions become self-governing; the premier of each region assumed full

executive powers. A Nigerian, AbubakarTafawaBalewa, is appointed to head the national government; a British governor-general is maintained as head of state.

1959 Northern region becomes self-governing

1960 Independence. A Nigerian, NnamdiAzikiwe, becomes governor-general.

1962-63 Controversial census fuels regional and ethnic tensions. The census is aborted in 1962. Repeat of censusexercise in 1963; compromise agreement over controversialcensus figures. Adoption

of a republican (federal) constitution: the British Queen ceases to be the formal head of state, and Azikiwe continued to serve as head of state with the new title, president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. A new region, the Mid-West Region, is created, making Nigeria a federation of four regional governments.

1966 January - Balewa killed in coup. Major-General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi heads up military administration. In July, Ironsi is overthrown and Yakubu Gowon becomes head of the FederalMilitaryGovernment.


Timeline: Nigeria (2)

1967 Establishment of a twelve-state federal structure with the Northern Region reconstituted into

six states and the three southern regions also into six states. Three eastern states secede as the Republic of Biafra, sparking bloody civil war.

1970Biafran leaders surrender, former Biafran regions reintegrated into country.

1973 Another controversial census exercise; the provisional results announced in 1974 were canceled in 1975.

1975 Gowon overthrown, flees to Britain, replaced by Brigadier Murtala Ramat Mohammed.

1976 Mohammed assassinated in failed coup attempt. Replaced by his deputy, Lieutenant-General OlusegunObasanjo, who helps introduce American-style presidential constitution. Local governments are formallyestablished as a third tier of government. Local government elections are held in December. Abuja is designated the new Federal Capital Territory.

1978 Adoption of a new presidential (federal) constitution, to become operational in 1979, and

commonly referred to as the 1979 Constitution.

1979 Installation of civilian governments at the federal and state levels, following competitive

party elections involving five parties: the Great Nigeria People's Party; the Nigeria People's

Party; the National Party of Nigeria; the People's Redemption Party; and the Unity Party. Elections bring AlhajiShehuShagari to power.

1983 Competitive party elections at the state and federal levels. Shagari is reelected president amid accusations of irregularities.

1983 December - Major-General Muhammad Buhari seizes power in bloodless coup.

1985 Ibrahim Babangida seizes power in bloodless coup, curtails political activity, and is the first military leader to assume the title of President.

1986 Controversy over Nigeria's membership in the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC).


Timeline: Nigeria (3)

1987 Creation of two new states, one in the North and the other in the South.

1989 Creation of 149 additional local governments, bringing the total to 453.

1990Abortive coup d'état. Coup-makers seek to play up ethnoreligious and regional differences

by purporting to temporarily excise five Muslim Northem states from the federation.

1991 Creation of nine new states, four in the South, two in the Middle-Belt, and three in the far

North. 136 new local governments are also created. Nigeria becomes a thirty-state federation with 589 local governments.

1993 June - Military annuls elections; preliminary results show victory by Chief MoshoodAbiola.

1993 August - Power transferred to Interim National Government.

1993 November - General SaniAbachaseizes power, suppresses opposition.

1994Abiola arrested after proclaiming himself president.

1998Abachadies, succeeded by Major-General AbdulsalamiAbubakar. Chief Abiola dies in custody a month later.

1999 Parliamentary and presidential elections. OlusegunObasanjo sworn in as president.

2000 Adoption of Islamic, or Sharia, law by several northern states. Tension over the issue results in hundreds of deaths in clashes between Christians and Muslims.

2001Tribal war in Benue state, in eastern-central Nigeria, displaces thousands of people.

2002 February - Some 100 people are killed in Lagos in clashes between Hausas from mainly-Islamic north and ethnic Yorubas from predominantly-Christian southwest. City's governor suggests retired army officials stoked violence in attempt to restore military rule.

2002 November - More than 200 people die in four days of rioting stoked by Muslim fury over the planned Miss World beauty pageant in Kaduna in December.


Timeline: Nigeria (4)

2003 12 April - First legislative elections since end of military rule in 1999. Polling marked by delays, allegations of ballot-rigging. President Obasanjo's People's Democratic Party wins parliamentary majority.

2003 19 April - First civilian-run presidential elections since end of military rule. Olusegun Obasanjo elected for second term with more than 60% of vote. Opposition parties reject result. EU poll observers cite "serious irregularities".

2003 August - Inter-communal violence in the Niger Delta town of Warri kills about 100, injures 1,000.

2004 May - State of emergency is declared in the central Plateau State after more than 200 Muslims are killed in Yelwa in attacks by Christian militia; revenge attacks are launched by Muslim youths in Kano.

2004 August-September - Deadly clashes between gangs in oil city of Port Harcourt prompts strong crackdown by troops. Rights group Amnesty International cites death toll of 500.

2005 July - Paris Club of rich lenders agrees to write off two-thirds of Nigeria's $30bn foreign debt.

2006 January onwards - Militants in the Niger Delta attack pipelines and other oil facilities and kidnap foreign oil workers. The rebels demand more control over the region's oil wealth.

2006 February - More than 100 people are killed when religious violence flares in mainly-Muslim towns in the north and in the southern city of Onitsha.

2006 April - Helped by record oil prices, Nigeria becomes the first African nation to pay off its debt to the Paris Club of rich lenders.

2006 May - The Senate rejects proposed changes to the constitution which would have allowed President Obasanjo to stand for a third term in 2007.

2007 April - Umaru Yar'Adua of the ruling People's Democratic Party is proclaimed winner of the presidential election.

the architecture of the federation
The Architecture of the Federation

Federal Government

State Government

  • The Executive
    • Elected President; Vice-President
    • Cabinet: The Federal Executive Council
  • The Legislative: The National Assembly
    • The Senate
      • 109 members (3 per state + 1 FCT representative)
      • Elected for 4 year-terms in 36 three-seat constituencies + FCT
    • The House of Representatives
      • 360 seats
      • Elected for 4-year terms in single seat constituencies
      • Distributed according to the demographic weight of each state
  • The Executive
    • The Governor
  • The Legislative:
    • The State House of Representatives
  • The Local Government Areas
    • Local GovernmentCouncils
      • Chairman: ChiefExecutive of the LGA
      • Councillors