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Nigerian Federalism

Continuing Quest for Stability and Nation-Building

edited by Okechukwu Ibeanu, Mohammad J. Kuna

Nigerian Federalism: Continuing Quest for Stability and Nation-Building explores the nature of and the debate over a number of recurrent issues, such as the “origins of Nigerian federalism, the number of state units in the federal system, fiscal issues, political parties, distributional issues, and intergovernmental relations” in Nigerian federalism since the establishment of protofederalism under the Richards Constitution, 1946 seventy years ago. In exploring the issues, the book seeks to answer the question, “what accounts for the persistence of Nigerian federalism, despite the serious discontents that the debate throws up now and again?” The book offers a reinterpretation, which argues that the demand for true federalism, which anchors the major trend in the age-long debate on the structure of Nigerian federalism, is ahistorical and therefore static.

The book uniquely emphasises the need to periodise the practice of Nigerian federalism into four major phases. Based on the periodisation, two cardinal propositions emerge from the various chapters of the book. First, in spite of separatist and centrifugal threats to its existence, Nigerian federalism has typically never sought to eliminate diversity, but to manage it. In this sense, the construction of Nigeria’s federal system from its earliest beginnings shows clearly that it is both a creature of diversity and an understanding that diversity will remain ingrained in its DNA. Secondly, Nigeria’s federal practice has not sought to mirror any model of “true federalism”, be it in the United States, Canada or elsewhere. Instead, Nigeria’s federal system has been a homegrown, if unstable modulation between foedus and separatus, a constantly negotiated terrain among centripetal and centrifugal forces and between centralisation and decentralisation. Consequently, a historical, periodised understanding of Nigerian federalism is inevitably essential. It is this historical and theoretical-methodological approach to explaining and understanding Nigerian federalism that gives the book its unique character.

The book is for the general reader as well as for students, including researchers of Nigerian federalism and of Nigerian constitutional and political development, policymakers, and political parties.

ISBN 9789788431992 | 374 pages | 229 x 152mm | 2016 | Safari Books, Nigeria | Paperback




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