CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
- Background to the Study
The military has been involved in Nigerian politics for almost three decades, indeed, since the coup d’état of January 1966 that ousted the civilian administration; the military has played a dominant role in the affairs of the nation. Except for the four-year civil administration of Shagari, that is, 1979-1983, Nigeria from 1966 to the present has been administered entirely by the military although democratic structures were experimented at the state level between 1992 and 1993.
One of the issues which the military has paid attention to in Nigeria is the question of creation of states which has continued to be a topical issue in the country Both the civilian and the military administrations had been involved in the politics of state creation, and both had employed the vehicle of state creation for political engineering, although the military more than any civilian administration had always used the issue of state creation to stabilize their administrations. The first involvement of the military in creation of states took place a year after they took over the country.
Since the civilian rule in 1999 the issue of state creation has also been an issue of national debate, which has created controversy anomg the elites. This as will be shown later was dictated by the need to weaken the secession threat of the Eastern Region. Without doubt, states are important variables in a federation, and thus a pre-requisite for its existence (Noser : 1975 : 170). Nevertheless, creation of states by the military in Nigeria has so far not succeeded in satisfying all interest groups in the country. However, it is important to stress that the creation of states by the military has been one of the most important achievements of military administration in Nigeria.
It is against this background that this study examines the issues and challenges and prospects of states creation in Nigeria and Adada state in particular. It analyses the important factors which the various military regimes took into consideration in the creation of states. The chapter submits that the military in Nigeria has over the years used creation of states not only to attempt even development but also to stabilize their administrations.
Demands and agitations for creation of new states in Nigeria have been a recurrent feature since the London Constitutional Conference of 1957. The fundamental reason for the demand has always been cultural affinity or pluralism or differences in agreeing on issues of governance, leading to the marginalization of one sector or people. This has led to the perennial problem of “minority groups” within administrative units, thinking objectively or otherwise that they are at a disadvantage. The Willink Commission that was set up by the British colonial government in 1857 did not make any recommendation that would break-up the three regions.
Instead, it held the view that the only meaningful way of allaying the fears of minorities was to encourage democratic government within the regions. After independence in 1960, only the Mid-West region was created out of the old Western Region in 1964, leaving the East and North intact. The Military Regime under Gowon tried to solve the problem of minorities by breaking up the regions into twelve states in 1967. The euphoria did not last as demands for more states continued. Minorities within the “1967 new states” started agitating. This project work examines the nature and structure as well as causes of this sustained and incessant agitation in the context of the present demands for the creation of Adada State out of the present Enugu State of the South East Region.
The topic “State Creation and Political Unity in Nigeria: A case of the request for creation of Adada State” is at this time really appealing, and demands in-depth discussion. This is because, for almost half a century after Nigeria independence, the nation is yet to resolve the problem of nation building. Political disunity understandably, within this period, has been on the ascendancy. The centrifugal forces of division, violence, crises and indeed disunity have continuously played on the North and South in the North/South struggle for dominance and control of the political forces and of the common-wealth.
Justification for this study lies in the fact that unity and peace are the key ingredients of development. Hardly can any society give in their best when in chaos. The study, is promising in content, it can provide answer to political disunity and marginalization in Nigeria, it is for this reason that I am moved to carry out this study.
The history of political disunity in Nigeria is a chequered one. The British, prior to independence, forcefully without consultation, and consideration of the incompatibility status of Northern and Southern Nigeria, amalgamated the North and South to become a federation. Either borne out of the British imperialistic or commercial interest, or for reasons of convenience in administration or as the only way thought out at the time to be able to govern the vast, diverse and disparate Nigeria society, the 1914 episode of amalgamation and the subsequent incorporation of the federal system by the Lytteton constitution of 1954 facilitated the further division of the country and its unequal regions making the Northern Region larger than the remaining parts put together. This ‘adopted federalism’ which in all intents, runs outside the full consonance of the basic principles that should underline federal practices, introduced uneven structure and imbalances that led to the continued centralization and concentration of power at the centre with the attendant consequences of depriving the federating units, the needed nationalities; self actualization and determinism. Conceded, the Lyttetton constitution was an offshoot of the crises generated by the Macpherson constitution, especially the motion of self government, and the Kano riots of 1953. These events convinced the colonial government that considerable regional autonomy must be granted to the regional governments and that only federalism could hold the Nigerian peoples together.1 Nigerian Federalism became consolidated at independence. Since then, it has been operating in both political and fiscal contexts. Historically, Nigeria’s federal system has oscillated between the excessive regionalism that marked the First Republic (1960-1966) and the excessive centralization of the military, and relatively, the post military era. From the initial three region structure at independence to a four region structure by 1964, to a twelve states and to the present thirty six states structure including seven hundred and seventy four local governments. These creations were ostensibly made to promote political stability and to establish a convenient administrative system. It was meant to bring the masses nearer to government. It was made ostensibly to ginger development and psychologically kick-start the process of self determination of the federating units. It was ostensibly made to correct the observed structural and administrative imbalances in the country and minimize future political friction. It was made to provide a much needed political cohesion and unity. It was made to ginger political unity and reduce tension in the polity.
But, as Gowon puts it: “The main obstacle to the future stability of this country is the present structural imbalance in the Nigerian federalism. Even Decree No. 8 or Confederation or loose association will never survive if anyone section of the country is in a position to hold others to ransom”. It therefore means that no matter how novel a system of government is, once there is an imbalance, the society is bound to fail.
The idea of state creation which ordinarily would have reduced political disunity within Nigeria, and amongst the North and the South, unfortunately became a keg of gun-powder. By this indiscrete division, without adherence to the norms, the states as created polarized the North and the South. First, the exercise was decided and implemented-without deep considerations. Some strange bed-fellows were grouped into the same state and the Boundary Adjustment Committees usually set up in such cases fail to provide any enduring solution to the problems that follow. The state creation initiative which is a good reform to-equalize the society and bring equilibrium rather became a destabilizing force. As was clearly seen, the failure was seen, as it was the decision to create Nigeria into 12 states that sparked off the attempted secession of the Eastern Region.
Despite this, minority agitations and state creation questions had since then been prevalent in Nigeria. In a nutshell, subsequent state creation exercises aimed at curbing-political disunity within the polity had been carried out in 1976, 1987, 1991, and 1995.
Dominant interest group had captured the state and managed its attendant wealth thereby facilitating the emergence of violent ethnic militias, distrust, disharmony and crises. The bothering issues of resource control, power sharing, equal rights and accountability, which are offshoot of a veritable state creation, became improperly engaged, leading to increasing political disunity, internal crises, and anarchy of unprecedented dimensions. Out of the 36 states and local government structure, while the North has 20 “states”, the South has 17 states. A closer look at the share of the 774 local governments will also show the North having almost 70% against the South’s 30%. The imbalance is quite apparent. Genuine considerations that would enable creation viewed as a reformation policy for balancing, equity and peace are avoided. This is the quagmire of the Nigerian federalism.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The origin of Federalism is the hallmark of politics in Nigeria. Federalism is a political system in which each of the federating units are equal and co-ordinate. Wheare was correct to pinpoint in his definition of federalism “equality and cordinacy”. Equality is equity according to Mills, where a group becomes dominant in joint deliberations, over and above the others, there is no federalism.8 Equality of federating units, or better put institutional balance between the North and the South would undoubtedly ginger national integration and harmony.
Politics on its own, it the authoritative allocation of values.9 As has been variously emphasized, a region that has more seats in the National Assembly; that enjoys more ministers than its counterparts; that has more Personal Assistants; Executive Assistants; more Commissioners and indeed more Governors, invariably would appropriate more state resources to its advantage. A dominant region that has more seats in the National Assembly would also have laws and policies of state, passed to serve its interests. The superstructure which is the Politics of State, thus becomes the ready instrument of the dominant region or class. This control of the sub-structure, the economic base of society, determines the super-structure of society. Such region understandably would have more of the constituency projects, more salaries and allowance paid to its legislators from coffers of the state and would summarily have more control of the common-wealth.
In such situation, political disharmony would be generated as dominated units would stand against their oppressor. Struggles and violence as well as crises would be the effect, in-all, in quest of control of the social relations of exchange and indeed even relations of what to consume or refuse to consume (social relations of consumption). A veritable exercise of state creation is a reformatory move for political unity. It would right the wrongs. This however, has not been the case in Nigeria where creation of states and local government-(federating units), had over time been used to create inequality and imbalances leading to expressed political disunity.
Federalism which is novel in form and in content has also been wrongly engaged in Nigeria to perfect the divisive and unequaler relations between the North and the South. Instead of the federating units which are bases for the share of the common wealth, to be equal and co-ordinate, they have been unequal and crisis-ridden. This is the problem of this study.
In this study the following research questions are posed to guide this study
- What steps has been made by the people towards the creation of Adada state?
- What are the obstacles inhibiting the creation of Adada State?
- How can the creation of Adada state bring about national development in Nigeria?
- What are the recommendations for the achievement of the creation of Adada state?
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The objectives of the research are borne out of the fact that disunity within the Nigerian polity had adversely affected development. Democracy which is an offshoot of federalism had also been vigorously threatened by political disunity, such that severally, the democratic experience has been thwarted over and over again by the military institution. It is against this backdrop that this research work intends to achieve the following specific objectives:
- To Discover the various steps that has been made by the people towards the creation of Adada state.
- To find out the obstacles inhibiting the creation of Adada State.
- To forecast if the creation of Adada state will bring about national development in Nigeria.
- To find out recommendations for the achievement of the request for the creation of Adada state
1.4 Significance of the Study
This study has both theoretical and empirical significance. The theoretical significance lies in the fact that the veritable creation of Adada State out of the present of Enugu State would correct the imbalance in the number of states of the Geo-political Zone of Nigeria. Today, the South East Zone has only five states against 6 or 7 for others. The creation will restore equity in not only Nigeria but in Igbo land as the Northern and southern Igbo-land would have equal number of states, it will be a tool for equity and unity. Others, that Adada State creation generates equity, reduce imbalances and provide political unity in Nigeria.
The creation of Adada state will bring about development to the grass root. In addition, it will stimulate grass root democracy. This will at the long run increase people’s political consciousness and eliminates political apathy. Empirically the study will help to solve the marginalization that exists in the minds of the people of Adada state. Furthermore it will bring about the reduction in unemployment opportunities because the creation of a new state will provide opportunities for new jobs. In addition, the people of the Adada as a result of marginalization limits their input to net national product which is an essential part of GDP therefore, its creation will contribute to national growth.
1.5 Scope and Limitations of the Study
This study undertakes the trendy issue of state creation in Nigeria in relation to political unity of the component units, with special emphasis on the case for the request for the creation of Adada State. In terms of scope therefore, the study affects the entire Nigerian society. The study concentrated however its analysis on the request for Adada State creation.
Nonetheless, a study of this magnitude cannot be completed successfully without the researcher encountering some constraints or limitations. The core limitation of this study is that some of the big wigs whose input could lead to the creation of Adada state are not given the needed cooperation to make the creation of Adada state a reality. These are the political entities from the favoured political zones.