THE NIGERIAN CONSTITUTION AND FEDERAL CHARACTER PRINCIPLES: A CRITICAL APPRAISAL

Ann Chinwe AKPUNONU

Abstract


No nation strives nor develops under the atmosphere of disintegration no matter the efficiency and effectiveness of its leadership and other paraphernalia put in place for an effective legal system. The Nigerian polity faced this challenge since the inception in 1914 as a result lumping together of many nations with different cultural backgrounds as a country without their consensus by the British imperialist for the latter’s self economic interests. Though the British administration in Nigeria has come and gone but the effects of the lumping are still having its tolls in the polity, worsened by the effects of the civil war which was also partly caused by the lumping. To remedy this rancor among these different nations called a country and actualize national integration of the system, measures such as federalism, zoning of the political leadership and Federal Character Principles among others measures were introduced to accommodate all and sundry especially the minority. The object of this paper is to appraise the effectiveness of the Federal Character Principles as enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution in the light of the rationale for its establishment. To critically look at this, the paper adopted doctrinal methodology using primary and secondary sources of information supported with historical and comparative approaches to drive home the points. Unfortunately, it is discovered that the federal character principles as currently practiced does not depicts the rational for its adoption. Rather it is for the personal aggrandizement of the bourgeois class. The principle sacrifices meritocracy at the altar of mediocrity among other ills; this is unlike what is obtainable in Germany that practices it. Thus the paper proposes for its scrap and suggests among other things, the restructuring of the polity based on regionalism to bring nearer home the minority participation in government affairs.

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