Federal Character Principle and National Integration
1.1 Background of the study
Nigeria, a federation of many different nations, is the most populous country in Africa with approximately 160 million inhabitants. The country is divided into 36 states and 748 local government areas. The religious, ethnic and cultural diversity of the federative units is, without a doubt, an exception. Otite (1990) in Mustapha (2007) identifies 374 ethnic groups that are largely divided into "majorities" and "minorities." The majority ethnic groups are Hausa-Fulani from the north, Yoruba from the southwest and Igbo from the southeast. However, relations between these groups are characterized by fear and suspicion of domination of one state or ethnic group by another. Meanwhile, this suspicion and fear among the groups is historical. However, this was manifested when Sir Fredrick Lord Lugard began to subject ethnic groups to a history of mutual distrust and hatred as a single Nigeria. Surprisingly, these ethnic groups are not part of the same population and, as a result, some tend to dominate others, which exploits them. In addition, there are political and economic imbalances between these different states or ethnic groups that make up Nigeria. These imbalances come from the nature and character of the postcolonial Nigerian state. In almost all sectors, states, ethnicities or regions, people feel marginalized.
These have brought about a choking socio-economic competition among the various ethnic groups which have resulted into ethno-regional conflict and tension that characterize Nigeria since 1960. The emergence of various militia groups in the Niger Delta, OPC in the South-West, MASSOB in the South East and of recent Boko Haram in the North, are all indications of the existence of rivalries between and among the various groups over the sharing of national cake. These ethnic, regional, and religious divides in the country have become so problematic with resultant patterns of inequalities. These inequalities are caused by a complex range of factors, including history, geography, cultural orientation, religious affiliation, natural resource endowments, current government policies, and past colonial policies. Akinola and Adesopo (2011) in Aderonke (2013) support this argument when they posit that, the problem of ethnic minority has been receiving attention of scholars and practitioners of governance and development. This is because ethnic minority is usually sidelined and ignored by the majority in decision making and resources distribution. The consequence of such politics of exclusion has been agitation and demand for social inclusion, which at times results to violent actions. Society is a system of human cooperation, the question of how society can mainstream the minority groups in decision making on welfare matters, requires adequate policy consideration.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Lack of adequate representation by the ethnic groups constitutes a great threat to national integration. In realization of some inherent cleavages of inequalities, the federal character principle was introduced. The effectiveness of this policy measure in fostering national integration as well as promoting national development in Nigeria has been one of the most controversial and problematic issues in any political, social and economic discourse. The problem is that despite the adoption of the federal character principles since 1979, achieving national integration has been very difficult. It was in view of correcting this abnormality that the Federal Character Commission was set up and inaugurated on July 2002 as an executive agency charged with the responsibility of implementing Federal Character provisions and to uphold its principles. The essence is to ensure that government decisions on citing industries, building roads, awarding scholarships, appointment of public office holders, admission, employment and revenue allocations etc reflect federal character. But the problem is that, there is still a high rate of lopsidedness in the above mention areas of government decisions. The high rate of social segregation inherent in the political and social reams of the country, ethnic and religion divides, agitations, and crises brought to the front burner the basis for the adoption of the federal character principle in Nigeria.
1.3 Aim and Objectives of the Study
The general objective of this study is to examine the Federal character and national integration in Nigeria.
With specific objectives as follows;
To examine and have an overview of the Federal character and national integration in Nigeria.
To determine the level of national integration in Nigeria.
To determine if Federal character principle failed in bringing about the desired national integration in Nigeria.
1.4 Research Hypothesis
Hi: There is no level of national integration in Nigeria.
Ho: There is a significant level of national integration in Nigeria.
Hi: The Federal character principle failed in bringing about the desired national integration in Nigeria.
Ho: The Federal character principle did not failed in bringing about the desired national integration in Nigeria.
1.5 Significance of the study
The ability of the state to resolve or regulate the recurring crises and to create an enabling environment where the people's respect and love for their nation is enhanced would definitely affect the tempo of the national integration positively. National integration a process, leading to political cohesion and sentiments of loyalty toward a central political authority and institutions by individuals belonging to different social groups or political units is an issue of great delight and importance in Nigeria. This study would be useful to government agencies, private individuals and researchers.
1.6 Scope and delimitation of the study
The scope of this study is focused on the federal character and National Integration in Nigeria a case study of the Federal Ministry of agriculture.
The researcher encountered some constraints, which limited the scope of the study. These constraints include but are not limited to the following.
a) AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study
b) TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
The following terms were used in the course of this study:
National Integration: National integration is the awareness of a common identity amongst the citizens of a country. It means that though citizens belong to different castes, religions, regions and speak different languages, they still recognize themselves as one. This kind of integration is very important in the building of a strong and prosperous nation. National integration can also be seen as the process whereby several desperate groups within a given territorial are united together or cooperate under conditions which do not appear to permit satisfaction of their system needs in any other way.
Federal character: The Federal character is a principle which seeks to ensure that appointments into the public service fairly reflect the linguistic, ethnic, religious and geographical diversity of the country.
1.8 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY
This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows Chapter one is concerned with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.