The Developments in Nigerian Federal Constitution: 1966-1979

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Ade-Lawal, N
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University of Lagos
The study examines the changing nature of the Nigerian Federation. Substantively, it is organized against the twin background of the country’s political history and colonial rule and the received paradigm of the subject matter. The dominant intellectual viewpoint on the subject of federalism conceives it as basically incompatible with authoritarianism or military rule. According to this view, where there are no liberal democratic institutions and structures such as an elected parliament, an open competitive party system and free periodical elections, ipso facto there is no federalism, even if there is an apparent federal arrangement of governmental power and political structures. By 15 January 1966, the existing constitutional and political framework was altered by a coup d’etat, and between then and 30 September 1979 the country was ruled by a military government. Thus, it is argued that in theory military rule concentrated power and also eliminated the accoutrement of liberal democracy in the 1966-79 period; there was in practice- in spite of the authoritarian character of military rule – a dispersal of power between the federal and state governments of a kind that made the Nigerian Government distinguishable from a unitary system. As a corollary to this position, it is argued with evidence that the observable factors making for concentration and deconcentration of power emanated directly from the challenge of the country’s political order- a challenge of the nature and scale of societal conflict, consensus and resources which, as products of the country’s economy and social structures are themselves rooted in its history of colonial domination. Given the contention that the study of federalism is in a theoretical jungle, with each theorist in a habit of speaking a language peculiar to himself, it must be noted in the light of the thesis of this study that that is neither a study in the justification of authoritarianism – military or civilian nor is it a study in the denunciation of liberal democracy. The value of the perspective adopted in this study lies in the use to which a political structure like federalism can be put in the service of developing a modern state out of a situation of colonial domination, under development, ethnicity and mal – integration. This is, therefore a study in the development of the Nigeria state. In consequence, emphasis throughout the study is placed on the policies pursued by the Federal Government in the sense that it has greater policy – determining voice that the state. What is of empirical interest is whether such powerful position in Federal – State relations makes it impossible to observe discernibly profound areas of policies freely determined and executed by the State government
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Nigerian Federal Constitution , Nigerian Federation
Ade-Lawal, N.(1990). The Developments in Nigerian Federal Constitution: 1966-1979. A Dissertation Submitted to the University of Lagos in Partial Fulfilment of the Requirement of the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy.