FEDERALISM, NATIONAL PLURALISM AND ETHNO-RELIGIOUS CONFLICTS IN NIGERIA: A Normative Interrogation of the Peace-Promoting and Integrative Function of Federalism in Nigeria

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URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10900/58489
Dokumentart: PhDThesis
Date: 2014-12-18
Language: English
Faculty: 7 Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät
Department: Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät
Advisor: Rothfuss, Rainer (Prof. Dr.)
Day of Oral Examination: 2014-12-15
DDC Classifikation: 550 - Earth sciences
Keywords: Föderalismus , Nigeria
Other Keywords:
national pluralism
ethno-religious conflicts
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Federalism has been widely acclaimed as a form of political organisation that is most suitable for plurinational states because of its potential to foster unity in diversity and peaceful co-existence among the diverse and territorially concentrated groups in a state. By having the ability to accommodate the combination of shared rule and self-rule among federating units, federalism has the potential to mediate or overcome the centrifugal forces tending to pull a state apart. As a result of this binding effect, federalism functions as a centripetal force that is able to keep a state together. This highly-praised potential function of federalism appealed to many states that have embraced the federal formula, especially erstwhile colonial African states, which contain within their boundaries culturally diverse and disparate ethno-religious groups partitioned into one political territory by the “colonial masters” without regard to geographical contiguity and the historical backgrounds of the groups. Thus, federalism was considered a viable and necessary option for state-building. The preoccupation of this study was to understand why Nigeria, one of the African states that embraced federalism, has remained deeply divided and prone to ethno-religious conflicts, despite having a federal system in place. Taking a normative approach, this mixed methods case study, driven by a qualitative priority, sought to understand that puzzle by interrogating how the prevailing political culture of federalism among the population harnessed or hindered the peace-promoting and integrative function of federalism in the country. The findings suggest that there was a dearth of peace-enabling federative culture in Nigeria. This conclusion highlights the disjuncture between the designed aspiration of federalism and its outcome, and the challenge of post-colonial state-building in Africa. Hence, it is argued that for Nigeria to overcome this challenge, its people have to understand, accept and internalize the values and principles of federalism.

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