TOPIC: FEDERALISM IN NIGERIA / NIGERIAN FEDERALISM
- Origin of the Nigerian federalism
- Factors responsible for federalism in Nigeria
- Nature and structures of the Nigerian federalism
NIGERIAN FEDERALISMFederalism is a system of government which involves the sharing of powers between the central government and other federating units or tiers of government such as the state or regions and local governments. The United States of America and Nigeria are examples of federal states.
ORIGIN OF THE NIGERIAN FEDERALISMFederalism in Nigeria has a mixture of structural and constitutional sources. It originated in 1939 when Nigeria was divided into three provinces (Northern, Eastern and Western provinces). Prior to that time, governmental power in Nigeria was centralised. Sir Bourdillon later recommended the replacement of the provinces with regions in the succeeding constitutional regime. So, in 1946, Richards Constitution introduced regionalism. The federating units were renamed Northern, Eastern and Western regions instead of provinces. In Macpherson Constitution of 1951, regionalism was improved upon with the establishment of House of Representatives at the centre to make laws for the whole country while Houses of Assembly were established in the regions to make laws for them on specific local matters.
The federal system and structure of government was established in Nigeria through the Lyttleton Constitution of 1954. This came as an implementation of the decision reached at the London constitutional conference of 1953 that Nigeria should be made a federal state.
Structurally in 1954, Nigeria had two tiers of government namely, the Centre (federal level) and the Regions. The power and functions of the two tiers were defined by the constitution. The federal government performed exclusive legislative functions; the regions performed residual functions; and both tiers jointly performed the concurrent legislative functions.
FACTORS RESPONSIBLE FOR NIGERIAN FEDERALISMThe system of government adopted by different states depends on varying peculiarities. In Nigeria where federalism happens to be the system, the following are some of the factors responsible.
- Large size of population and territory.
- Heterogeneity – diverse culture, religions, and ethnic groups made federalism the best option.
- Federalism was important for checking or preventing the dominance of powerful ethnic nationalities in the country.
- Interests and rights of the minorities are better protected in federalism.
- Nigeria has vast human and natural resources to afford federalism.
- Federalism was a residual of the divide and rule tactics of the colonial master – Britain.
- Federalism facilitates the people’s participation in governance.
- Federalism was essential for creating a formidable political and economic sovereign entity.
- Nigeria became a federation as a result of the promulgation of the constitution of (A) 1922 (B) 1946 (C) 1951 (D) 1954 (E) 1963
- The existence of the exclusive, residual and concurrent legislative lists means that Nigerian State is (A) presidential (B) military (C) unitary (D)parliamentary (E) Federal
- Nigeria became 19 states in (A) 1967 (B) 1976 (C) 1985 (D) 1991
- Which constitution introduced regionalism in Nigeria? (A) Clifford 1922 (B) Richard 1946 (C) Macpherson 1951 (D) Lyttleton 1954
- Which constitution brought about the federal system in Nigeria? (A) Clifford 1922 (B) Richard 1946 (C) Macpherson 1951 (D) Lyttleton 1954
- What is federalism?
- Describe the origin of federalism.
- Why must Nigeria practice the federal system?