Power-sharing in an Emerging Democracy: The Nigerian Experience


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Nigerian leaders adopted federal system as a political means to govern different nationalities amalgamated in 1914 by Lord Lugard.

But these leaders were “uncritically accepting the Wheare ‘model’ of federalism”.

This “uncritical” thinking produced imbalance federal structure imposed on the country.

The political imbalance was transferred to the post-colonial state where the ruling elites manipulated the socio-instruments to ensure hegemony and control of resources by the Federal government.

The military in politics did not help matters.

The creation of more states was meant to weaken the federating states.

Therefore, the issue of devolution of powers in Nigerian society is to correct pre independence abnormalities fostered on the Nigerian peoples partially by the colonial government.

The mechanisms provided in the constitution to pacify various nationalities in the country, such as constitutional provision, federal character principle have not stopped the agitation for devolution of powers.

For the Nigerian state to be regarded as a ‘true’ federal system, power devolution is important, and is an effective and efficient way of running heterogeneous society such as Nigeria.

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