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Indian Journal of Federal Studies (1/2011)

ISSN No. 0976-8408

Contending Issues in Nigeria’s Federal Practice

Adetola Odubajo


Since the emergence of modern federalism as a system of government through the exertions of American statesmen in the 18th century, the system has gained universal acceptance but more particularly in heterogeneous societies. The federalist model of accommodating diversity through the management of social cleavages and the schisms that often occur provides a suitable option for multicultural societies. Its mechanistic character of shared rule and separate rule, amidst the foreclosure of secession has provided assurances for political stability and peaceful coexistence amongst the variegated segments of heterogeneous states. Nigeria’s adoption of the system in the 1954 Constitution offered possibilities of managing the complexities that come with the country’s wide diversity. However, the application of federalism to the country’s scenario has been found wanting in numerous respect. This paper isolates specific variables (horizontal and vertical relationships; asymmetry and symmetry relationships; diversity issues; minority question; constitutionalism and constitution-making processes) that are germane to the prospects of successfully working the federal system and processes in Nigeria. In the final analysis, the point is made that no other system may be more suitable for Nigeria other than federalism; as such the need for concerted and coordinated efforts by all stakeholders for appropriate management of federalism is required.

[Page No. 60 - 85]





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