It is a privilege to be invited to deliver the University of Ibadan Faculty of Law 2014 Public Lecture on the subject ‘Federalism and National Unity – Optimising the Richness of Diversity’. I would like to share with you my thoughts on a subject, whose importance to our country, particularly at this point, has been brought to the front burner as it rightfully should. It is the subject of the dealing with the realities of our diversities in a plural system in a ways that enhance the common good rather than diminish it.
Attachment and allegiance to family, ethnic and cultural groups are universal phenomenon of civil societies, but in Nigeria these appear to have so undermined national consciousness and solidarity that it had in the past been difficult to replace the negative aspects of these feelings with a positive feeling of common identity, a shared community sentiment and a common sense of patriotism and nationalism. What Nigerians need, is rising above these parochial bases of allegiance to integrate on the basis of common interests for the good of the society, and which unites them against anything else that threatens that common good.
One of the criticisms against the federal system of government is that it encourages tribalism and ethnic differences. Several notions and beliefs have clouded the minds of “the good people of Nigeria” to the extent that the norm is “every man for himself” – a total disregard for oneness and national unity. The Federal system of government was adopted in Nigeria as a mechanism for managing the plural ethnic groups and regions where each region ought to optimize its richness without the fear of being marginalized, have a sense of belonging in the nation to which it owes its allegiance. Like every other Federal state, Nigeria has a vast land mass inhabited by several ethnic groups, within several regions all “united” as a nation. It is without doubt that the heterogeneity of the beliefs, norms, culture and value system of the people poses as a thorn upon which federalism thrives. Nevertheless, there is the need to focus on the “common good” which in effect is the bedrock of federalism.
This paper will reflect the very essence of federalism, its practice in Nigeria, the pitfalls and the need to renew its ideals in Nigeria. The subject of federalism is wide and cannot be effectively dealt with in a single short paper of this nature. However, this paper has narrowed down the subject to the Nigerian federal system of government with particular emphasis on some the topical issues in the Nigerian federalism. The paper is divided into six interrelated parts starting with this introduction. Part two of this paper examines the meaning and scope of federalism. Part three examines the evolution and practice of federalism in Nigeria. Part four is titled the “Irony of the Nigerian Federalism” and it aimed at highlighting some of the inadequacies that have been identified in the Nigeria federal system of government. Part five undertakes a critical analysis of the challenges facing the Nigerian federalism. The three major factors militating against the Nigerian federalism identified in this part of the paper include: ethnicity, issues of fiscal federalism, agitation for resource control and religious extremism. Part six shows that despite the diversity in Nigeria, such can be harnessed and optimized for the social, economic and political development of the country.
- MEANING AND SCOPE OF FEDERALISM
Federalism has been adopted as the appropriate governmental principle to accommodate a country’s ethnic, cultural, religious and linguistic diversities and nurture a sense of national unity. The term federalism is derived from the Latin word “feodus” which means formal agreement or covenant. The scope of federalism is to provide an arrangement or a pact between two or more states to become united under one central government with each state existing separately and independent of the other. The federal structure in Nigeria provides an arrangement for three levels of government namely the central or national government, the component state governments and the local governments.
Several scholars have made attempts to define the concept of Federalism; Nwabueze defines it as “an arrangement whereby the powers of government within a nation or country are divided between a national, country wide government, and number of regionalized governments in such a way that each exists as an entity separately and independently of the other, and operate directly on the persons and property within its territorial area, possessing a will of its own and apparatus for conducting its affairs, sometimes on matters exclusive to it”. Karl Fredrick sees federalism as “a situation where by the federal and regional (state) government are united to their spheres and within those spheres should be independent of the other”. Wheare defines federalism as “a system in which two levels of government-federal and regional (state) exist side by side, with each possessing certain assigned powers and functions.” Also according to Ugwu,
“Federalism can be generally seen as a principle in which there are two or more levels or units of government with federal authority representing the whole and acting on behalf of the whole on certain matters assigned to it by the constitution. Such matters are mainly of common interest exercise legislative and administrative powers and responsibilities on the subjects prescribed for it by the same constitution”
In all these definitions of Federalism, certain features of the concept reoccur which presupposes their existence for the proper working of a true federation. They include:
- Division of powers between the central government and the component states.
- Separateness and independence of each government.
- Mutual non- interference.
- Supreme Constitution from which the Central Government and component states derive their power.
- Equality of size and power
- EVOLUTION AND PRACTICE OF FEDERALISM IN NIGERIA
The origin of Nigerian federalism is traceable to British Colonial rule. Some scholars have given several opinions on the basic reason for its introduction. One of which is that federalism was introduced in Nigeria by the British for administrative convenience. Some believe that the British colonialists adopted federalism in Nigeria to solve the problem of how to keep the large and ethnically diverse groups of people together, and others are of the view that Britain imposed federalism on Nigeria in order to maintain some control on the country after independence Regardless of the status of each of these arguments, they all are useful in tracing the origin of federalism in Nigeria.
The origin of the federal system in Nigeria can be traced to the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern Protectorates in 1914. The federal structure began to form in 1939 under Sir Bernard Bourdillon who divided the Southern Protectorates into two. The Richards and Macpherson constitutions of 1946 and 1951 respectively only created a decentralized unitary system. The practice of federalism in Nigeria was officially adopted through the Lyttleton Constitution of 1954 as it was the first genuine federal constitution of the country. The constitution was introduced due to the crises generated by the Macpherson constitution, especially the motion of self-government, and the Kano riots of 1953. These events convinced the colonial administration that considerable regional autonomy must be granted to the regional governments and that only federalism could hold the Nigerian peoples together.
Nigerian federalism became consolidated at independence, and since then, it has been operating in both political and fiscal contexts, a far cry from the ideal practiced in other countries. Historically, Nigeria’s federal system has swung between the excessive regionalism that marked the First Republic (1960 – 1966) and the excessive centralization of the military, and relatively, the post-military era. Nigerian federalism overtime has also undergone structural changes by which the federation moved from its initial three-region structure at independence to a four-region structure by 1964, and to its current thirty-six states structure including seven hundred and seventy – four local governments. These changes have been necessitated by the agitation of the minority regions for a system of government which would give them a sense of belonging. However, these changes have increased imbalances in the Nigerian federation as exemplified in continued centralization and concentration of power at the centre with its attendant consequences. State and local government creation exercises have helped to spread development across the country to some extent.
There is a core principles of federalism which ought not to be violated, which is that of relative equality of component units in a federation. The contrary is a fulfilment of Mill’s Law of Federal Instability which states that no federation can be stable when one part of it constitutes a permanent majority in joint deliberations. Nigerian federalism has not been able to adequately promote national integration and development as the country continues to face various protestations and agitations by groups against the current federal structure.
Colonialism seemed to be the glue that stuck the various ethnic groups together into a shape recognizable in an atlas. When the glue dissolved and gave way to independence, many of the units started to fall apart. How to transform these groups/regions into a nation in the strict sense of the word seemed to be a problem. It is the problem that in the past provided the “excuse” for the disturbing phenomena of coups and secessions, which had at some point charcterised the government of Nigeria. Coups and secessions are no doubt manifestations of assault on federalism in the civil society. They inflict serious problems on the values and ethos of society by debasing institutions that are meant to strengthen leadership and accountability to the people.
Attachment and allegiance to family, ethnic and cultural groups are universal phenomenon of civil societies. In Nigeria, these appear to have so undermined national consciousness and solidarity that it had in the past been difficult to replace the negative aspects of these feelings with a positive feeling of common identity, a shared community sentiment and a common sense of patriotism and nationalism. What Nigerians need, is rising above these parochial basis of allegiance to integrate on the basis of common interests for the better good of the society, which unites them against anything or forces that threaten that common good.
- THE IRONY OF NIGERIAN FEDERALISM
Among the several necessities for true federalism are – the desire to have a common national defence, and the hope of economic advantage from the union. The federating regions which have their respective strengths in particular produce, should effectively compete with one another, and in the process of competition, they create wealth. Economic activities are at the pace of the peoples of the regions. Eastern region has its strengths in palm produce, the North produce groundnuts, the west, mainly cocoa, and the Delta areas produced rubber.
The benefits of such competition among the regions were found in the industrial development that followed shortly after independence. The Ikeja Industrial Estate in the West, the Kaduna textile Industry in the North, and the Aba factories are apt examples. The Nigerian economy between 1957 and the outbreak of the civil war experienced an annual growth rate of over 3%. Then, Nigerians had relatively better purchasing power parity than in present times, especially when compared with the oil reserves thenceforth accruing to the country.
Nigeria practiced true federalism for about six years after its independence, (1960 – 1966) however, with the military incursion into politics which took over the government of Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa and replaced it with the military government headed by Gen. Aguiyi Ironsi, the demise of federalism in Nigeria began. The military government could at best operate a unitary system and not a federal system wherein the powers were concentrated at the centre. Leadership, health, industry, Revenue allocation, education, law and policy making in trade and finance became matters for the center. The Gowon administration that took over after him, restored the federal system, but till date, it has not been what it used to be, we claim to have a federal system but we somewhat run a unitary system, which is practically not possible in a multi ethnic and pluralistic society like ours.
Concerning fiscal federalism, access to political power at the centre is perhaps the most crucial factor in resource distribution and revenue allocation. In such situation, the ‘group’ that controls political power at the centre is seen to be ultimately able to control revenue allocation and thus would have the opportunity to expropriate a larger share to its own advantage to the detriment of the wealth producers. This scenario is exemplified by the consistent and systematic relegation of derivation as the principle of revenue allocation since 1951. Expropriation of the larger percentage of national wealth by the various Nigerian governments, particularly since the advent of military rule, is a clear violation of the federal principle that requires the availability of adequate resources to support both the central government and federating units. According to Kenneth Wheare, if the Central government is able to finance itself while the Regional governments are unable to do so, true federalism will not be possible, no matter how much the latter desire a federal union or enact a federal constitution because the units would soon find it impossible to discharge their functions, or can only do so by depending on the central government.7 This viewpoint illustrates one of the grave contradictions in Nigerian federalism whereby the states rely heavily on the federal government that claims the greatest portion of national resources. The face-off between the Lagos State Government and the Obasanjo-led Federal Government over the latter’s with-holding of the former’s Local Government statutory allocations is an eloquent testimony on the disadvantages of excessive concentration and centralization of fiscal and political powers in the federal government.
- CHALLENGES OF TRUE FEDERALISM IN NIGERIA
The major challenges facing federalism in Nigeria have been identified as ethnicity, religion and issues of fiscal federalism. Fayomi and Olasupo described them as “trinity issues”.
- Identity Politics and Ethnic Allegiance
It has been noted that Nigeria’s population is over 160, 000,000 (one hundred and sixty million). The country also has more than 350 (three hundred and fifty) ethnic groups. Of this number, three are recognised as the main tribes and languages in Nigeria. They are Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo. A good number of members of the other tribes speak one or two of the three main languages. The States where members of the Hausa tribe can be found include Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Nassarawa, Niger, Plateau, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe, Zamfara. Nigerian States where members of the Yoruba tribe are found include Ekiti, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun and Oyo. Similarly, Nigerian States, which are homes to members of the Igbo tribe are Abia, Anambra, Delta, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo and Rivers. It is a fact that a significant number of all the tribes can be found in almost all the states especially the commercial and political capitals of the country.
The country Nigeria has struggled to accommodate (and govern in the presence of) ethnic pluralism that has a geographic or spatial component. There are always conflicts and tensions between the different ethnic groups in the country. Tension between south and north is strongly rooted in ethnic differences, with Hausa-Fulani peoples being the majority in the north, while the south is populated predominantly by Yoruba-speaking peoples in the southwest and Igbo (Ibo) peoples in the southeast.
Nigerians have been advised to play down ethnic and tribal differences; but to see one another as members of the same country. When the opposite was done, it led to ethnic and religious wars and genocide. Nigeria has seen so many lives lost to hostilities resulting from hate and ethnicity that such attitude should be abhorred. Thus in Monkom v Odili, the Appellants challenged the purchase of land by the Respondent on the ground that he was not from that community. Condemning the Appellants’ action, the Court of Appeal per Omokri, JCA said: It is strange and indeed very disappointing and disheartening that at this very period of our nascent democracy … the Appellants are brazenly waging a war of attrition based on tribal sentiments. After we fought a civil war for the unity of this country, some despicable elements are doing everything in their parochial mind and myopic vision to entrench the evils of tribalism. Let reason and wisdom prevail; let us move this country forward. 
- Issue of Fiscal Federalism and Resource Control
Fiscal federalism known otherwise as fiscal decentralization or resource control is defined as “the practice of true federalism and natural law in which the federating units express their rights to privately control the borders, and make agreed contributions towards the maintenance of common services of the sovereign nation states to which they belong.” Achieving sound fiscal federalism has been in the forefront of federalism in Nigeria and various attempts have been initiated in this regard. Starting with the Phillipson Commission of 1946 that recommended the use of derivation and even development as distribution criteria for revenue generated in the country. Phillipson Commission Recommended 50 percent to be retained by the region of origin, 35 percent to be shared among the regions including the region of origin while the central government was left with 15 per cent. This was followed by the Hicks-Phillipson (1951) which recommended Derivation in the following percentage: Area of Origin 50 per cent, Regions 35 per cent; and Central Government 15 per cent.
The Hicks Commission of 1953 recommended 100 percent for the region from which the revenue is generated with the payment or rents/royalties to the Federal Government. The Ralsman Commission of 1958 supported the principle ofDerivation of 50 percent to the state of origin, Regions 30 percent and Central Government 20 percent.
The Binn Commission of 1964 was in support of – 50 per cent to the Region (area of Origin). DINA Commission of 1969 was during the civil war and it recommended national minimum standard as balanced development. Aboyade Technical Committee recommended national minimum standard for national integration, equality of access to development opportunities, absorptive capacity, fiscal efficiency and independent revenue effort. The Okigbo Committee of 1980 recommended principles of population, equality, social development and internal revenue effort. Danjuma Commission of 1988 recommended federal share of 50%, states 30% local government 15% and special fund 5%.
In 1999 at the return to civilian rule, the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) was created as permanent revenue body in accordance with section 153(n) of the 1999 Constitution as amended. The RMAFC has powers to:
- a)monitor the accruals to and disbursement of revenue from the Federation Account;
b)review, from time to time, the revenue allocation formulae and principles in operation to ensure conformity with changing realities.
Provided that any revenue formula which has been accepted by an Act of the National Assembly shall remain in force for a period of not less than five years from the date of commencement of the Act;
- c)advise the Federal and State Governments on fiscal efficiency and methods by which their revenue can be increased;
- d)determine the remuneration appropriate for political office holders, including the President, Vice-President, Governors, Deputy Governors, Ministers, Commissioners, Special Advisers, Legislators and the holders of the offices mentioned in sections 84 and 124 of the Constitution; and
- e)discharge such other functions as are conferred on the Commission by the Constitution or any Act of the National Assembly.
Since the return to democracy in 1999, Nigeria has had fifteen (15) years of unbroken civil rule. This period of continuous civil rule has witnessed sustained debate with respect to fiscal federalism in the country. Fiscal federalism or decentralization debate in the country has been the focus of the press for more than a decade now.
Fiscal federalism debate that dominated the media in the last one decade was two pronged: the centripetal forces and the centrifugal forces: Centripetal forces were of the opinion that the federal government should be in control of all mineral resources throughout the country; while the centrifugal forces are in support that states should control the resources that are found in their various. The centrifugal school of thought are of the opinion that states should contribute part of the resources accruing to them to centre and not the state giving to them revenue from resources harnessed for their states. The argument in basic terms suggest that that ownership of resources should be the major determinant of who gets what, when and how in the fiscal federalism. Support for centrifugal-fiscal-decentralisation is aptly captured in the well-grounded economic proposition:
“… that land, labor, capital and entrepreneurship are factors of production, and, according to them, owners derives rent on royalty, from labor, wages, from capital interest and for entrepreneurship, profit. The reward for landowners for the use of exploitation or exploration of the land is an inalienable right that no government can abrogate. The only thing they felt the government could and should do is to impose tax to be used for the welfare of the community”
- Resource Control
The oil producing states have continued to make demands from the government which includes resource control and a restructuring of the nation’s federal system of government, autonomy and self-determination of the region. The essence of this agitation is to have total control of the resources emanating from these states, especially revenues from oil and gas exploration and production. Be that as it may, the 1999 Constitution as amended through the derivation principle, states of the Federation are paid 13% of revenue that accrue to the Federal Government from the exploitation of natural resources to the state from which the revenue is generated.
Under section 162(2) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, “the President, upon the receipt of advice from the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission shall table before the National Assembly proposal for revenue allocation from Federation Account, and in determining the formula, the National Assembly shall take into account, the allocation principles especially those of population, equality of States, internal revenue generation, land mass, terrain as well as population density: provided that the principle of derivation shall be constantly reflected in any approved formula as being not less than thirteen per cent of the revenue accruing to the Federation Account directly from any natural resources.”
- Religious Extremism
Religion is seen as one of the systems of faith that are based on the beliefs in the existence of a particular God or gods. The concept has also been defined as a particular interest or influence that is very important in one’s life. The spate of the religious conflicts which have plagued the Nigerian Federal system of Government is on the increase and must be paid close attention to. By ‘religious conflict’, it means a situation in which the relationship between members of one ethnic or religious group and another of such group in a multi-religious society is characterized by lack of cordiality, mutual suspicion and fear, and a tendency towards violent confrontation.
Ethnic tensions are closely related to religious conflicts this is because certain religions are associated with certain ethnic groups. In the North, the predominant religion is Islam, which is practiced by many in the majority Hausa-Fulani ethnic group. In the South-eastern region of the country where the Igbo ethnic group dominates, Christianity is the dominant religion. Finally, many people in the South-western section of the country, which is largely populated by the Yoruba ethnic group, practice a mixture of Christianity and Islam. In the South-southern section, the dominant religion is Christianity. However, a great amount of diversity exists within these religious groups. For example both Sunni and Shia Muslims live within Nigeria, with Sunni being the dominant sect. Similarly, various members of Christian denominations, such as Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Baptists, Methodists, Mormons, and evangelical and Pentecostal Christians exist throughout the country. Despite the presence of multiple religions in the same communities for many generations and an increase in inter-religious marriage, relations between religious groups continue to result in tension and conflict.
Religious sensitivities among Nigerians have blindfolded the nation from the richness of culture which it ought to benefit from. It has weakened patriotism, insecurity, commitment to national deals and true nationhood. Each group believing in the superiority of its norms and practices has led to a general uneasiness and distrust. This has in turn resulted in several conflicts. Some of the ethno-religious conflicts include; the Maitatsine sectarian crisis in 1981, the Kaduna and Bulunkutu (Maiduguri) in 1982, the Ilorin Muslim-Christian riot during Christian Easter procession of March 1986, Zaria and Funtua religious riots of March 1987. In October 1990, there was a clash between Christians and Muslim in Kano. The Christians invited a German Christian preacher Reinhard Bonnke to Kano but the Muslims felt cheated for the fact that Ahmed Deedat, a Muslim preacher was previously denied to preach in South Africa. As a means of retaliation, it resulted into crises left behind a casualty of over 500 lives and million-worth property. Another Kano civil disturbance of December 1991 and Jos crisis of April 1994 among several others cannot be overemphasized. The most worrisome account so far is the recent large scale of unimaginable bomb attacks by the Boko Haram movement, an Islamic sect, which is escalating every day. This sect clamours for an eradication of western education and are on a rampage to achieve their aim.
These ethno-religious crisis not only undermine the effectiveness of federalism to foster national unity and security, but also threaten the stability of the federation. There is bound to be some form of tension among the religious groups, this can be allayed by a general acknowledgement of the equality of each religion as against superiority of one over another. This will reduce the discrimination and marginalization prevailing in the nation.
- OPTIMIZING THE RICHNESS OF DIVERSITY
One of the fundamental features of a federal state is the diversity of the federating units in the federation. For instance, Nigeria is made up of more than 350 ethnic groups with over 470 languages. This is well recognised under the Nigeria Constitution in provisions dealing with citizenship and fundamental rights provisions. The 1999 Constitution as amended specifically recognised the diversity and federal nature and provides as follows: “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 any of its agencies.” In addition, section 15(2) of the 1999 Constitution as amended provides that national integration shall be actively encouraged, whilst discrimination on the grounds of place of origin, sex, religion, status, ethnic or linguistic association or ties shall be prohibited.
Article 2(1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights provides that each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes to respect and to ensure to all individuals within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction the rights recognized in the present Covenant, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
It is noteworthy that in a federal nation like Nigeria there is bound to be conflicts among the federating units. A fundamental problem of federalism, therefore, is how to manage or resolve such and other potential conflicts in the face of diversity. Diversity in any politically organized or democratic society like Nigeria should be more of a resource than a source of conflict. The diversity in the identity in the Nigerian Federal System should provide a strong competitive platform for economic, social and political development in the country. In supporting social science view that diversity should be seen as a resource rather than a problem, Ladan observed that –
Despite their diversity, identities can live in peace, as a community of citizens, cooperating with each other in order to advance their mutual wellbeing. However, as actors in the socioeconomic arena, they also compete for access to political and cultural power and economic resources. Such competition, no doubt, creates conflicts of interests and ideas, which are normal and can be handled peacefully by an effective system of governance, which ensures that the competition takes place within legal bounds that ensure a level playing field and that no identity group is marginalized from equitable citizenship rights and access to opportunities. In the absence of effective governance, however, identity groups, especially ethnic and religious groups, can engage in violent conflicts both against the state and against each other.
From the foregoing, the ethnic, religious and cultural diversity that exist in Nigeria can be harnessed for the good of the society. However, this requires a fundamental prerequisite: good governance. Good governance will breed effective and healthy competition in the country which promotes economic development; engender peaceful co-existence and equality of all within the bounds of the law. Ladan went further to highlight that under conditions of governance-deficit, where access to opportunities are not equitable, however, diversity, especially racial and ethnic diversities, which claim blood ties among their members, can be transformed into direct or indirect source of violent conflicts.
It is not only in ethnicity, religion and language that you find diversity in Nigeria. Different parts of the country are endowed with different mineral and natural resources that form a strong tool for economic development. Apart from oil and gas that is the major source of earning for the country, the following solid minerals are available in Nigeria: Gold, Lead/Zinc, Iron-Ore, Coal, Tin, Bitumen, Columbite, Tantalite, Wolframite, Talc, Gypsum, Bentonite, Rock Salt, Gemstones, Baryte and Kaolin. These solid minerals have attracted the following mining companies in different parts of the country: Gems and Minerals Limited Located in Toro, Bauchi State; Subelco Services Limited located in Auchi, Edo State; Paularge Veco Global Nigeria Limited located in Etsako East, Edo State; Matson Associates Nigeria Limited located in Egor, Edo State; Terra Cotta Mining and Manufacture Limited located in Jos and Ligu Nigeria Limited located in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State.
From the foregoing, the diversity in the natural resources and mineral endowment of Nigeria if properly harnessed should be among the drivers of economic development in Nigeria in addition to the enormous potentials in the Nigerian oil and gas industry. It also begs the question of good governance in the country. For these diverse natural resources to be properly harnessed, it requires good governance that understands and utilizes the principles of ideal federalism.
There is an urgent need for the renewal of the ideal practice of Federalism in Nigeria. It is obvious that in a heterogeneous nation like Nigeria, the option of federalism is the best system of government, but federalism must not be short of what federalism should be, the sovereignty should be co-owned by both the federal and state governments, when the power is divided, the existing rush for the occupation of the (Aso Rock) presidential villa, will be greatly reduced like when we had three regions of the East, West and North, each government was contented with her people at the helm of the affairs. The amount of power that would be given to the federal government will be decided by the federating units.
Each state should be allowed to have optimum control of its resources and be allowed to enjoy its benefits, for that will reduce our over emphasis and over dependence on the oil in the Niger delta, and face agriculture, mines and industry, with which God has blessed this nation. The federal government should control the defence, foreign policy, international trade, currency, monetary and fiscal policies, citizenship etc., while the states should be allowed to see to the running of the education, natural resources, agriculture, and the creation of local governments. There should also be legislative and judicial independence among the federating units in the country. The states houses of Assembly should control the law of the state in its entirety, and the situation where the federal government declares a state of emergency on an elected state government would not arise. With these in place each state would strive to be at par with other states in its economy which would encourage healthy competition and power concentration would shift from wealth creation to wealth distribution.
Dr Fabian Ajogwu, SAN, FCIArb
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