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
 States
and local governments in the Federal Republic of
Nigeria
 Unity and diversity
 Sharing power at the center
 Distribution of powers between the two orders of
government
 Oil and gas in the context of fiscal federalism

Concluding thoughts
Introductory remarks
Nigeria and Iraq: A brief comparison
Nigeria





British colonial history
Troubled post-independence
political history
Rich in oil and gas
Ethnically, religiously,
culturally, geographically
diverse
Experienced a war of
secession and episodes of civil
war
Iraq





British colonial history
Troubled post-independence
political history
Rich in oil and gas
Ethnically, religiously,
culturally, geographically
diverse
Experienced an insurgency,
inter-state conflicts and widescale internal violence
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


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


A Crown colony with a legislative council and an English judicial system
Indirect rule, grooming of extremely conservative traditional rulers
Which fostered rivalries between the various regions
Willink Minorities Commission Map (1957-1958)
Nigeria under British administration
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.
Major ethnolinguistic groups in Nigeria
States and local governments
An experiment in fragmentation
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
Ethnic group and state boundaries
Three regions (1954-1963)
A fourth region (1963-1967)
Twelve States (1967-1987)
Twenty-one states (1987-1991)
Thirty states (1991-1996)
The 36 states of Nigeria (1996-)
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 majority members in:




Approved in a referendum by at least 2/3 majority of people in the area
The result of the referendum to be approved by simple majority of




Senate, House of Representatives
House of Assembly and Local Government Councils of the area
All States of the Federation, and
Members of the Houses of Assembly
The proposal is approved by a resolution passed 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 Assembly is supported by 2/3 majority of members representing the
area demanding and the area affected in:



The Senate and the House of Representatives
The House of Assembly and the local government councils of the ara
The proposal for boundary adjustment is approved by a simple majority of


Each House of teh National Assembly
Members of the House of Assembly in respect of the area concerned
Unity and Diversity
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



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
The impact of military rule
Phases in Nigeria’s Federal Practice
Phase
Type of
Government
Federal
Practice
Comment
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: Osita Agbu, “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

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 Federal Military Government 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

« 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 army






The quota system (1958) – only in nonofficer ranks
The quota system (1961) – extended to officer ranks
Section 197 (2) of the 1979 Constitution
The Armed Forces Service Commission
The federal character in practice
The Federal Civil Service


1954 – Creation of State Civil Services
1966 – FCS assumes greater salience


1974 – The case for regional representation in the FCS



The Udoji Commission (1974)
Ad hoc transfers of senior civil servants from states to FCS
FCS regulation on recruitment in federal agencies working outside teh federal capital
The Civil Service (Reorganisation) Decree (Decree no. 43, 1988)


Adherence to the Federal Character Principle at entry level
Promotion on the basis of experience, performance, good conduct, qualification, training, performance at
interview and relevant examination where appropriate
The distribution of 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

Decision rules
The federal level has paramountcy in case of conflict
 Residual powers belong to the states


The issue of state capacity
Vast asymmetries between states in education
 Vast asymmetry in resources between states and center


The residual impact of centralisation of powers

Chief Justice decision (2000) about payment of all federal
and state judicial officers by the Federal government
Oil and gas in Nigeria
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

1969: The Petroleum Act
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 Federal Government, 20% to the States

1978 Land Use Act: derivation expunged in favour of the principle of equality
of states (with land and mass poppulation as important criteria)

Into the 1990s: successive military decisions lower 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 erasing onshore/offshore distinction
The Niger Delta Problem

The Niger Delta Development Commission
Established in 2001
 To alleviate the ecological and developmental problems of
the oil-bearing communities


The Report of the Special Committee on Oil Producing
Areas


An admission of government failure
Resource allocation vs Resource control
Institutional capacity and accountability
 Democratic checks and balances at the levels of the States
and the Local Government Areas

Concluding thoughts
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, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, 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, Nnamdi Azikiwe, becomes governor-general.
1962-63
Controversial census fuels regional and ethnic tensions. The census is aborted in 1962. Repeat of
census exercise in 1963; compromise agreement over controversial census 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 Federal Military Government.
Timeline: Nigeria (2)
1967
1970
1973
1975
1976
1978
1979
1983
1983
1985
1986
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.
Biafran leaders surrender, former Biafran regions reintegrated into country.
Another controversial census exercise; the provisional results announced in 1974 were canceled in
1975.
Gowon overthrown, flees to Britain, replaced by Brigadier Murtala Ramat Mohammed.
Mohammed assassinated in failed coup attempt. Replaced by his deputy, Lieutenant-General
Olusegun Obasanjo, who helps introduce American-style presidential constitution. Local
governments are formally established as a third tier of government. Local government elections
are held in December. Abuja is designated the new Federal Capital Territory.
Adoption of a new presidential (federal) constitution, to become operational in 1979, and
commonly referred to as the 1979 Constitution.
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 Alhaji Shehu Shagari to power.
Competitive party elections at the state and federal levels. Shagari is reelected president amid
accusations of irregularities.
December - Major-General Muhammad Buhari seizes power in bloodless coup.
Ibrahim Babangida seizes power in bloodless coup, curtails political activity, and is the first
military leader to assume the title of President.
Controversy over Nigeria's membership in the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC).
Timeline: Nigeria (3)
1987
1989
1990
1991
1993
1993
1993
1994
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2002
Creation of two new states, one in the North and the other in the South.
Creation of 149 additional local governments, bringing the total to 453.
Abortive 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.
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.
June - Military annuls elections; preliminary results show victory by Chief Moshood Abiola.
August - Power transferred to Interim National Government.
November - General Sani Abacha seizes power, suppresses opposition.
Abiola arrested after proclaiming himself president.
Abacha dies, succeeded by Major-General Abdulsalami Abubakar. Chief Abiola dies in custody a
month later.
Parliamentary and presidential elections. Olusegun Obasanjo sworn in as president.
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.
Tribal war in Benue state, in eastern-central Nigeria, displaces thousands of people.
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.
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
2003
2003
2004
2004
2005
2006
2006
2006
2006
2007
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.
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".
August - Inter-communal violence in the Niger Delta town of Warri kills about 100, injures 1,000.
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.
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.
July - Paris Club of rich lenders agrees to write off two-thirds of Nigeria's $30bn foreign debt.
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.
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.
April - Helped by record oil prices, Nigeria becomes the first African nation to pay off its debt to
the Paris Club of rich lenders.
May - The Senate rejects proposed changes to the constitution which would have allowed President
Obasanjo to stand for a third term in 2007.
April - Umaru Yar'Adua of the ruling People's Democratic Party is proclaimed winner of the
presidential election.
The Architecture of the Federation
Federal Government


The Executive

Elected President; Vice-President

Cabinet: The Federal Executive Council
The Legislative: The National
Assembly


State Government

The Executive


The Legislative:

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 Governor
The State House of
Representatives
The Local Government Areas

Local Government Councils


Chairman: Chief Executive of the
LGA
Councillors
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Nigeria: - Forum of Federations. Federalism in action.