The efficacy of federalism in a multi-ethnic state: the Nigerian experience
Babalola, D. 2015. The efficacy of federalism in a multi-ethnic state: the Nigerian experience. The Journal of Pan African Studies. 8 (2), pp. 74-92.
The continuing debate among social and political commentators over the utility of federalism in a multi-ethnic federation like Nigeria, as well as the unending clamour in some parts of the country for the dissolution of the federal union, make the writing of this article not only timely, but also a worthwhile exercise. The paper, which adopts a historical and descriptive method of analysis, is therefore an attempt to join the discourse on the efficacy of federalism in Nigeria by arguing that the geo-demographic complexity of the Nigerian state and society makes federalism the most appropriate political framework for the country. This is not suggesting that the federal system of government constitutes a panacea to the country’s hydra-headed multiplicity. There is no denying that the system is not working the way it ought to in its current incarnation, but it has lived up to the expectation of the country’s founding fathers in ‘holding together’ the diverse ethnic groups in the country as well as in achieving ‘unity in diversity’. Therefore, our suggestion is that Nigerian political leaders should improve upon the current system and redress the inherent imbalances that have become its features, because history suggests that federalism is Nigeria’s best obtainable option.
|Keywords||Federalism; Nigeria; Ethnic groups; Federal character principle|
|Journal||The Journal of Pan African Studies|
|Journal citation||8 (2), pp. 74-92|
|Publisher||The Journal of Pan African Studies|
|Publication process dates|
|Deposited||07 May 2020|
|Accepted author manuscript|
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