Unfederal Practices among Nigerian Governments: Implications for Good Governance and Sustainable Development

A.T. Simbine, Abubakar Oladeji


That federalism is ‘one of the best known and tested strategies for managing territorially delineated diversity’ is perhaps not contestable. Federalism varies from place to place, and from time to time, and the federalness of a system as well as its suitability and viability can only be determined by relating the system to the nature of the plural society it serves at a given point in time (Osaghae, 2006). However, where it is practiced faithfully federalism accords a system a dual advantage of managing deep seated diversity as well as providing a tendency for rapid development to all the nooks and crannies of the territory under federal practice. Federalism affords local (territorial, regional, provincial, state, or municipal) units of government, as well as a national government the opportunity ‘to make final decisions with respect to at least some governmental activities and whose existence is specially protected’. In a fundamental sense, this decentralization attribute of federalism creates opportunities for ‘separate self-sustaining centres of power, prestige and profit’ with a high likelihood of translating into sustainable development. In other words, ‘it is not by the concentration of powers, but by their distribution, that good government is effected. We are in total agreement with this observation.

Be that as it may, the operation of federal system of government in Nigeria since demise of first republic (1960-66) has been characterized by serious anomalies that authors and scholars have coined such words as ‘quasi federal’, ‘military federalism’, ‘unitary federalism, etc, in describing Nigerian system of federalism. It is even contended that ‘the federal framework in Nigeria from inception in 1954 has been fraught with a number of anomalies that tend to make federal practice in the country rather problematic’ This is in spite of wide acknowledgment that a federal system is more suitable for Nigeria than any other system. Among such unfederal practices are hyper centralization of power and resources, increasing fiscal and governmental dependency of the lower tiers of government, the over bearing posture of the federal centre, uncontrollable overlapping jurisdictions by tiers of government, a total lack of autonomy by the organs and tiers of government, etc. all of which collectively and individually erode the concept of co-ordinate supremacy, a critical element of federal system. Thus, by many accounts there is subversion of federalism in Nigeria, and this has constituted the greatest threat to Nigeria’s unity and survival as a nation-state, to its lack of democracy and has continued to undermine efforts at achieving sustainable development.

This paper examines and documents the sources, causes, and consequences of all unfederal practices in Nigeria since post 1966 era. By the nature of this topic, secondary data sourced from library, internet sites, and government publications are mainly used in this paper, and content analysis is used in analyzing the data.

Keywords: Unfederal practices, Nigerian Governments, Good Governance, Sustainable Development

Full Text: PDF
Download the IISTE publication guideline!

To list your conference here. Please contact the administrator of this platform.

Paper submission email: PPAR@iiste.org

ISSN (Paper)2224-5731 ISSN (Online)2225-0972

Please add our address "contact@iiste.org" into your email contact list.

This journal follows ISO 9001 management standard and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Copyright © www.iiste.org