True federalism, conceived as a political system in which there is dynamic but efficient and effective balance of power between the federal or central government and a number of coherent self-sustaining federating units capable of responding to developmental challenges confronting the population, can be affirmed to be an imperative necessary for Nigeria in the second decade of the 21st Century in consequent of the peculiarity of Nigeria’s political history and geography on the one hand and the exigencies of global governance in the 21st Century as well as the recrudescence of micro and macro-nationalism in the post Cold War Era.
In order to demonstrate the above thesis this paper will proceed as follows:
What is federalism and what constitutes true federalism?
What are the current features of Nigerian federalism and how did we get here?
What are the centrifugal and centripetal forces propelling Nigeria towards true federalism?
What benefits does Nigeria as a country stand to reap from the practice of true federalism?
Some tentative conclusions.
Today marks the tenth memorial anniversary and 3rd Memorial Lecture in honour of the late Dr. Clement Nyong Isong (1920-2000) former Governor of the Central bank of Nigeria (1967-1975), former Governor of the old Cross River State (1979-1983) and undoubtedly one of the greatest minds this nation has produced.
The late Dr. Clement Nyong Isong was a renowned economist, banker, educationist, administrator and politician. A first class honours graduate in Business Administration at lowa Wesleyan College, USA in 1954, he attended the prestigious Harvard Graduate School of Art and Science, Massachussetts where he obtained his Masters and Doctorate Degrees in Economics.
He served and excelled in various capacities in Nigeria and abroad. However, his tenure as the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, managing Nigeria’s civil war economy from 1967 to 1970, stands out not only for his brilliance, but particularly, for the patriotic zeal with which he served his country.
His venture into politics later on in life was founded on his belief that his experience at the national and international level could be employed to the greater benefit of his home-state of Cross River. The late icon gave his best in the pursuance of his conviction that we can all contribute to the greatness of our nation.
Indeed, his strong belief in Nigerian Federalism was, in many ways, responsible for his insistence and resolves to work within the realm of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. His esteemed service clearly shows that Nigeria has the sufficient intellectual resources to overcome the challenges of underdevelopment if only the country can find the necessary framework of coexistence to maximize the country’s huge and diverse potentials. It is particularly in this connection, that today’s lecture is entitled: “THE IMPERATIVES OF TRUE FEDERALISM IN NIGERIA AND THE CHALLENGES OF SUB-NATIONAL”.
THE CONTENDING PERSPECTIVE ON THE DEFINITION OF FEDERALISM.
As times has passed and more organic and distinct forms of governance have evolved, it appears that Wheare’s (1947) definition of Federalism Government as “a system of rule in which the legislative powers are shared equally between a Central Government and Regional or Provincial Government that are equal and coordinate one to the other” is no longer adequate. This is because, even in the so-called classical federations, the federating units can no longer be said to be equal and co-ordinate. Rather they have adopted interdependence and joint governance.
However, a careful study of the evolution of most federations shows that the system of inter-governmental relations in those countries oscillates between three distinct models: the coordinate authority model which I the oldest model characterized by exclusive powers, autonomy and independence on the one hand, the overlapping authority model whose chief features include the absence of clearly defined limits of authority, constant bargaining among the different tiers of government and the relationship of inter-dependence among the different tiers of government and
The inclusive authority model of inter-governmental relations which features a hierarchical relationship between the central government and the other tiers of government as well as a dependence of the lower tier…