Title Page                                                                                           i

Certification                                                                                        ii

Dedication                                                                                          iii

Acknowledgement                                                                              iv

Abstract                                                                                             v

Table of Contents                                                                               vi



1.1         Background of Study

1.2             Statement of Problem

1.3         Objective of Study

1.4         Significance of the study

1.5         Scope and Limitation of the study

1.6         Methodology of Research

1.7         Operational Definition of Terms






2.1         The Military and Practice of Federalism in Nigeria





3.1         Federalism: Federal Character Principles and division of powers

3.2         Creation of States and Balanced Federalism

3.3     Revenue Allocation

3.4         Balanced Federalism

3.5         Issues in Military Regime

3.6     Issues in Civilian Regime





4.1         Public Policies And Inter-Governmental Relations During Babangida’s Era






5.1         Summary

5.2         Recommendations

5.3         Conclusions






1.1      Background To The Study

Reasons are responsible for federalism. In Nigeria, the colonial experienced and geographical nearness of the various components of the union encouraged federalism the colonial masters in their efforts to exploit the various people of Nigeria, as well as reduce their administrative involvements brought together hitherto separate territories into the country.

Geographical nearness of the various nationalities that make up the federation is an indispensable factor. In the same vein, the American federation was also largely possible because of proximity of the first thirteen states that declared independence from Britain in 1776, one can recall that the history of federalism in Nigeria can be traceable to the Lytttleton constitution of 1956. Nigeria was a federation of three regions then. The powers of governance of a country were divided between the center and other levels of government such that each level did not encroach  in the sphere of administration of the other. There existed the exclusive list, which deals on matters of national interest, and the federal government had absolute jurisdiction on such. They included defence, foreign policy, example, shipping among others, where the center and component units could share powers like Agriculture, works, and education and so on. We also have the residual powers, which were left with other levels of government.

In 1963, Nigeria was divided into four regions and subsequently into twelve state on 2nd May 1967. Subsequently in 1976, Nigeria was further divided into nineteen states in response to the recommendations of the political Bureau. The Babangida administration increased the number of states by creating nine new states, bringing the number of thirty.

The political bureau argued that it was as a result of the need to promote a balanced and stable federation, the growth of democratic culture, social justice and even development.

Gen. Abacha later created six more states, bringing the number of thirty-six in 1996. The proliferation of states and local governments especially by military regimes in Nigeria has enormously affected the practice of federalism in Nigeria. This is not only in terms of imbalance in the federal structure, but also in the area of inter governmental relations and management of the nation’s economy among the levels of government. The absence of balance in power relations between the federal and coordinate levels of government as well as the increase dependence on the other has tended to vitiate some of the essential ingredients of the federalism.

The 10 years of democracy in Nigeria is like a journey in which the travelers, both politicians and Nigerian in general, have gone though with a mixed grill of experience when May 29, 1999. Ushered in civilian administration, hopes where high that thing would change for the better after a debilitating military era. Overtime, Nigerians have seen such hopes dashed, reawakened and dashed again in the labyrinth of inconsistent policies and abuse of rules and regulations that dotted the political and economic landscape.

There has not been any dramatic change in the quality of average Nigerian life since the military handed power over to civilians. During the military regime, the quality of life of an average Nigerian was dismally low, corruption was high, and water was not running in taps in many homes.

Electricity was erratic. Unemployment was high with no unemployment benefit. Today, nothing has changed much from the reign of ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo to the incumbent president Umaru Yar’Adua, the story of democratic governance has befuddled Nigerians. This is because the ruling elite act with impurity and show blatant indifference to providing the dividends of democracy to masses. Infrastructure such as roads, power and other social amenities have not been provided and the available ones are in a state of decay.


1.2      Statement of Problem

The statement of problem is based on looking at how effective is the Nigerian federalism under the limitary and civilian regime. Under the military “Babangida” he was the chief of Army Staff and a member of the supreme military council (SMC) under the administration of major General Muhammadu Buhari. Much was not achieved as he come into power in a military coup promising to bring to an end the human rights abuses perpetuated by Buhari’s government, and to hand over power to a civilian government by 1990. Eventually, he perpetuated one of the worst human right abuses and lots of unresolved political assassinations meanwhile, civilian administration hopes were high that things would change for the better after a military era. There ha snot been any dramatic change in the quality of life of an average Nigerian was dismally low.

Civilian regime under Obasanjo promoted the “Food first policy” and rowed that it would no longer be business as usual. Nigeria ranked so out of 180 developing countries in human poverty index. There was an attempt to tackle the hydra-healed corruption illness when the government established the independent corrupt practices and other financial crimes commission, ISPC, and the economic and financial crimes commission, EFFC, ICPC is perceived as a toothless building while EFCC effectively tackled the cases of 419 that pervaded the land. Obasanjo sent shivers down the spine of Nigerians when EFCC arrested Fabian Osuji, former minister of education, over a bribery scandal involving members of the National Assembly – the administration also arrested and prosecuted Tafa Balogun, the former inspector general of police, for embezzling police funds. Militarism and federalism are two strange bed fellows and often a sure recipe to disaster. The result is that military rule has affected the entire fabric of the Nigerian Nation but civilian has been able to overthrow the military through its effort on stability to the problems course during military era.


1.3      Objective of study

i)             To critically evaluate the impact of military rule on Nigeria’s federalism especially during the Babangida’s military era (1985-1993).

ii)           To effectively look at what the civilian regime has achieved after taking over from the military.

iii)          To establish the nature of military rule and its implications to federalism.

iv)          To suggest tenable solutions to some major problems militating against civilian rule.

v)           To contribute positively to scholarly works on Nigerians system of federalism.


1.4      Significance of the study

This research will be useful for the political education of those in positions of political authority. It will also be beneficial to policy analyst and military personnel in their arduous task of nation building. It will also be as a relevant reference materials and catalyst which would stimulate future studies in the field.


1.5      Scope and Limitation of the study

This research work focus on Nigeria’s federalism under the military and civilian regimes of Ibrahim Babangida’s regime and Yar’Adua Administration (from 1985-1993 also up till date of the ongoing civilian rule). The researcher encountered some problems in the course of the research one of these problems encountered during the period of the research was getting relevant resource materials. The researcher also had problem of time and finance constraints. However, efforts were made to ensure that the objectives of the research were attained.


1.6      Methodology of Research

This research was based on secondary data, which are derived from existing works. The sources of these works include research on internet, journal, textbooks, tell-magazines, newspaper etc


1.7      Operational Definition of Terms

Military – The military as an institution includes the Army, Navy, Air force, police and other constitutionally recognized agencies that have monopoly control over the coercive instrument of force in nay nation.

Federalism: Federalism refers to the arrangement where there exists a central authority that represent the whole in external matters and internal issues of common interests, and component units that share power with the center in defined fiscal and jurisdictional spheres.

Civilian: Civilian refers to the system whereby democracy is the system adopted every one is given the freedom of speech to express and give it opinion on matters relating to public affairs. The system also maintains a firm grip on political competition.

Centralisation: Centralisation implies that there is only one source of authority – this means that political power is net divided between central government and the constituent units in the country. All the existing units in the country are under the direct control of the central government.

Devolution: It is a situation whereby powers are devolved such that local authorities can decide and act on their own initiative on matters affecting the particular area. In other words, devolution means the transfer of authority to local government units such that those units are capable of making laws guiding them without interference from either the higher level or other levels in the country.

Decentralization: According to Ladipo Adamolekan, decentralization denotes the organization of government activity outside the headquarters of the central government either as an administrative measure involving the transfer of resources and responsibilities to agents of the central government located outside the headquarters or as a political arrangement involving the devolution of specific powers, functions and resource by the central government to sub-national level government units. We can deduce from this definition that decentralization implies a reversal of centralization more specifically, that it entail the transplantation of power and responsibility from the center to sub-national units of government or agencies.

Inter-governmental Relations-Inter-governmental relations refers to the pattern of relationship between the federal and other levels of government in a country. These relating determine to a large extent the organization of the country in terms of type of government.



I)            Animaseun,  Nigerian Element of government

II)          W. Ross Ashby, cited in Herbert Spiro’s “An Evaluation of the systems theory” in James Charlesworth (eds) cotemporary political Analysis (New York free press, 1967) P. 164-175

III)       Thomas Hobbes cited in Ibid

IV)        David Easton (1953), the political system, New York.

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