A reader’s contribution to “Time to end Nigeria’s pseudo ‘federalism’”

October 11, 2011


by A. Ajetunmobi

The posting, “Time to end Nigeria’s pseudo ‘federalism,’ gives legitimacy to the question I raised in a different forum whether the affairs of Nigeria will best be served by localised exploitation by each ethnic entity or national development.

It is axiomatic the structure of government in Nigeria has remained hierarchical and not federally pyramidal ever since General Aguiyi-Ironsi’s Decree No. 34 of 1966, which officially declared Nigeria a unitary state. Although the Ironsi’s Decree was reversed by Decree No. 52, 1966 which returned Nigeria to a “federal” system, successive military regimes have continued to play a game of pretend in the operation of federalism. Today, even though we operate a federal democracy, the idea that the President could summon the governors at will while they, on their parts, act beholden to president underscores successive pretensions of our leaders in operating a federal system of government.


National wholeness is never simple to attain and in Nigeria there is a peculiar problem of different ethnic groups speaking many languages, different social and religious customs often bolstered by obstinacy and obscurantism. Since Nigeria is made of up different nations with different outlooks and traditions, different ideals for the future, I share the view that a true political and fiscal federalism, consisting of each self-contained nation bound by the common use of the name Nigerian, will serve the country’s interests better than national exploitation.

Finally, the  referred decision to send a delegation to President Jonathan about Yoruba being sidelined in federal appointment, by delegates at the the pan-Yoruba conference, held on Thursday, October 6, 2011 at Ikenne, Ogun State, gains my applause. However, given the general perception of political predominance in the Federation by a certain ethnic group, we must be right about facts and figures. That means in our drive to true federal democracy, we must be armed with statistical information relating to skewed federalism in public service, statutory corporations and agencies (e.g. Customs and Excise, Immigration, Prions, etc.), social and economic activities as well as conditions of different ethnic groups in the country. Such information, which I think is obtainable from National Bureau of Statistics, could help give solid support for a case for a truly federal state.

Dr. Ajetunmobi sends this from Portsmouth, U.K.



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