Federal Character and National Integration in Nigeria: The Need for Discretion and Interface
Kayode Asaju, Tony Egberi

The unfolding events during and especially after independent in 1960 call to question the idea of a federating unite called Nigeria. This situation no doubt impedes efforts at national integration as it applies to the building of a united Nigeria out of the incongruent ethnic, geographic, social, economic and religious elements in the country. This culminates into the establishment of federal character principle, which was entrenched in the 1979 Constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria as the best solution to solving this problem. But since its establishment in 1979, it seems the aim of building a virile and united nation as not being achieved. So the question is why is it that achieving national integration has been difficult? The main thrust of this paper is to understand the reasons why the struggle to ensure national integration through the instrument of Federal Character has proved abortive in Nigeria. The paper is a documentary research and data were collated from secondary sources i.e. journals, books, official publications of the government and other NGOs, internet materials among others. The data was analyzed using the content analysis. It has been argued that the principle will make for a more equal federation to which more people will owe loyalty. But unfortunately, findings reveal that the principle while stressing the imperative of ethnic balancing, invariably enthrones ethnicity and deemphasizes the nation. In the process, too, it strengthens the parochial, particularistic orientations and individual ethnic attachments of Nigerians. Thus by focusing on regional and ethnic representation, federal character exacerbates differentiation instead of enhancing mutual trust, accommodation and national development. Hence the paper advocates for a reversal of the principle of federal character.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/rhps.v3n1a12