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Nigeria during the Abacha Years (1993-1998)

 | 
‘Kunle Amuwo
, 
Daniel C. Bach
, 
Yann Lebeau

Current Options for a Stabilized Federal System in Nigeria

Alex Gboyega

Texte intégral

Introduction

  • 1 For a report on the judgement, see, The African Guardian, Lagos (22 November 1993): 16-21.
  • 2 For the full text of their resolution, see, The Guardian, Lagos (13 October 1993): 1-2.

1On November 10, 1993, a Lagos State High Court declared that the Interim National Government (ING), which General Babangida set up following the annulment of the June 1993 presidential election results, was not legally constituted.1 A few days later, on November 16, 1993, the military dismissed the ING headed by Chief Ernest Shonekan. Prior to this, a substantial segment of the political community refused to recognize the ING. For instance, public officers elected on the platform of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Abiola’s party, had resolved after a meeting in Jos that they would not participate in the local government and presidential elections that the ING had slated for February 1994. They also insisted on the installation of Abiola as President.2 Therefore, pro-democracy advocates viewed the military’s intervention after the court ruling, with cautious optimism.

  • 3 West Africa, London (14-20 February 1994): 250-252.

2When announcing the dismissal of the ING, the new Head of State, General Sani Abacha promised that the government would soon establish a constitutional conference with ‘full constituent power’ to decide the country’s future constitutional structure.3 This promise, coupled with the appointment of many prominent pro-democracy advocates into the Cabinet and the widely held (but wrong) belief that the new government would be short-lived, pacified the pro-democracy groups that had maintained strong opposition to the ING. In proposing a constitutional conference to debate the future of the country, the new military administration was ostensibly bowing to persistent, longstanding demands for a national conference at which all ethnic groups would have complete freedom to partake in shaping the future of the country.

  • 4 The Democrat, Kaduna (11 February 1990).
  • 5 For a discussion of the differences between the two groups see the cover story, Talks about talks, (...)

3As far back as 1990, many groups had rejected the newly completed 1989 Constitution that formed the bedrock of Babangida’s transition to civil rule programme. In February 1990, a group of retired senior public servants advertised in The Democrat, a plea for the government to call a national conference to examine and proffer solutions to the country’s socio-political and economic problems. This group, whose members became commonly described as ‘technocrats’, also proposed that the American presidential system adopted in the 1989 Constitution be replaced with the French presidential model.4 The advertisement elicited different responses from the government and its radical critics. In April, another group of people well known for their pro-democracy activities responded with detailed criticism of the technocrats’ proposals but also welcomed the idea of a national conference.5 The two groups found common ground in their desire to have a national conference and came together to form a National Consultative Forum to plan the conference.

  • 6 See, Patriots in disarray, The African Guardian, Lagos (16 July 1990): 22-27.
  • 7 Newswatch, Lagos (9 July 1990): 17.
  • 8 The African Guardian, Lagos (16 July 1990): 25-26.
  • 9 African Concord, Lagos (17 September 1990): 25-27.

4Other critics of the government, such as Gani Fawehinmi, said the proposed conference was diversionary and could confuse the masses.6 The government itself denounced it as a waste of time and resources as nothing good could come out of it. Yusuf Mamman, Press Secretary to the Chief of General Staff, remarked that ‘the government was not interested in the conference since it would not succumb to unreasonable demands that may emanate from it’.7 However, it was retired General Danjuma who accurately pinpointed the import of the proposed conference and reflected the government’s fears when he noted that the organizers proposed to amend the newly adopted constitution through the back door.8 The government therefore aborted the proposed conference by dissuading several invited participants from attending, threatening the organizers with imprisonment for violating the laws of the transition programme and by ensuring that the venue was sealed off on the date of the conference.9

Reactions to the Constitutional Conference

  • 10 African Concord, Lagos (10 January 1994): 35.

5The government’s proposal for a constitutional conference in 1990 was greeted with controversy by certain groups, whilst others interpreted it differently. Most pro-democracy groups wanted a sovereign national conference, while the government preferred a constitutional conference whose recommendations could be reviewed. The Movement for National Reformation, for example, in its reaction to the proposal for a constitutional conference, stated that it welcomed ‘with eagerness, the prospect of a sovereign national conference which democrats must insist should not be a mere cosmetic constitutional conference’.10 According to Femi Falana, one of the leaders of the Campaign for Democracy (CD), who also preferred a sovereign national conference:

  • 11 African Concord, Lagos (27 December 1993): 16.

In demanding for a sovereign national conference in the last 3 years, we have constantly argued that the imposed transitional programme could not lead to genuine democracy. Hence we are warning once again that any attempt by Abacha to tinker with the organisation of the conference or veto the decision that might arrive thereafter will simply compound the crisis.11

  • 12 African Concord, Lagos (6 December 1993): 27.
  • 13 Communique on the National Workshop on the State of the Nation: Which Way Forward, issued by Profe (...)
  • 14 African Concord, Lagos (14 March 1994): 18.

6The Chairman of Akwa Ibom People’s Forum, Dr. Mfon Okon Amana also said that the time had come for the military to allow Nigerians to ‘accept responsibility for their national destiny without the intervention of a foreign power or a group of people in uniform who arrogate to themselves the knowledge of governance and everything’.12 The ‘national workshop’ convened by Arewa House, Kaduna endorsed the idea of a constitutional conference with ‘power to discuss all matters pertaining to the future of the country’, the recommendations of which ‘should be subjected to a national referendum’.13 Most prominent Igbo groups also preferred a sovereign national conference to a constitutional conference. As Dr. Chuba Okadigbo said in an interview in March 1994, ‘All the different Igbo groups agree on this’.14

  • 15 For details of the terms of reference of the Commission, see, National Concord, Lagos (19 January (...)
  • 16 For criticisms of the Commission, see, Tell, Lagos (31 January 1994): 27-28.

7A second source of disagreement was the establishment of a National Constitutional Conference Commission to organize the conference, set its agenda and determine its duration.15 The membership of this Commission aroused suspicion because of what many considered as either the dubious political past of some of its members or their known pro-annulment views.16 The delay in tackling its assignment compounded the apparent lack of confidence in the Commission by some segments of the political élite. Inaugurated on January 18, 1994, the Commission was to ensure that the conference began in March as government had announced. They delayed the conference for three months, and General Abacha inaugurated it on June 27, 1994.

  • 17 The Guardian,Lagos(13 Decemberl993): 1-2; and Tell, Lagos(14 March 1994): 10-19.
  • 18 African Concord, Lagos (6 December 1993): 27.
  • 19 Tell, Lagos (3 January 1994): 21.

8Yet another source of concern was the scope of issues that the conference would be allowed to discuss. According to the government, the conference could neither debate the unity of the country nor its federal structure. Similarly, it was beyond the conference to re-examine the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election results. However, not all those who were interested in the constitutional conference agreed that any of these subjects should be taboo. The pro-democracy activists from all parts of the country and the Yoruba generally expected that the conference would redress the injustice of the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election results.17 To Chief Alex Ekiotenne, the Director of Research of the Ijaw Ethnic Rights Protection Organization, ‘The first question that should be answered is whether the diverse groups feel this federation is no longer beneficial, we should dissolve peacefully without bloodshed as in Czechoslovakia and Soviet Union ... ’18 Not surprisingly, some people feared the consequences of holding the conference. For example, Dr. Olusola Saraki (who later became Chairman of the Business Committee of the Conference) demanded that the government should shelve the conference as it would discuss issues ‘that will further divide the country’.19

  • 20 Excerpts of the communique issued by NADECO were published in the African Concord (30 May 1994): 1 (...)
  • 21 For a report on NADECO’s call for boycott of the conference polls and reactions of various groups, (...)

9The National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) undermined the legitimacy of the conference by calling on people to boycott it. It took this decision after it saw that the government obviously had no intention of validating the June 12, 1993 election results. The organization quarelled with the non-sovereign status of the conference. It also opposed the government’s decision to nominate 96 out of the 273 members. NADECO demanded that the government should actualize the June 12, 1993 mandate of Chief M.K.O. Abiola and swear him in as President before May 31, 1994. He, in turn, would form ‘a broad-based national government, composed of representatives of various ethnic and interest groups in the country’.20 Other pro-democracy groups such as the Campaign for Democracy (CD), the National Association of Democratic Lawyers (NADL), the Movement for Social and Economic Justice (MOSEJ) and the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) supported NADECO’s call for a boycott of the conference.21 The campaign to boycott the election of delegates to the conference reinforced voter cynicism and apathy. Voters turnout, therefore, was generally poor.

10Thus, the constitutional conference was trapped in controversy from its conception. The Head of State, General Abacha’s speech to the inaugural meeting of the conference was clearly designed to address the fears of sceptics and assure its members of the government’s intention to respect their decisions. In his words:

  • 22 Address by General Sani Abacha, GCON, fss., DSS., Mni., Head of State, Commander-in-Chief of the A (...)

The proponents of a conference that will assume sovereign powers must draw a distinction between the situation in Nigeria and that of those countries which went through traumatic sovereign national conferences. In all other cases, the issue was how to resolve the competition for political power and control between an incumbent regime and opposition groupings. As you know, we in the present government in Nigeria are committed to ensuring that there is speedy and unimpeded transition to a civil democratic rule in which we shall not be participants. We are, in short, arranging to surrender power through a peaceful and orderly process. In our circumstance therefore, there cannot at the same time be two sovereign entities in our country...
At the same time, we are aware that you are more than just a Constituent Assembly. You do not have a prepared draft constitution. You have instead a comprehensive agenda, suitably itemised for detailed discussion. Our role is merely that of facilitators. Recognising as we do, that there cannot be a presumption of greater patriotism and commitment to national unity than that which can be made in favour of eminent Nigerians like you Honourable Members, no fear should be entertained that any one will lightly set aside your decision and conclusions. There need, therefore, be no apprehension as to the nature of the freedom of the proceedings.22

Proceedings of the Conference

  • 23 See, Federal Republic of Nigeria Report of the Constitutional Conference containing the Resolution (...)

11The conference sat for a year and its proceedings were as controversial as had been anticipated. The most provocative discussions concerned the validation of the June 12, 1993 election results and the setting of a terminal date for the military government to vacate office. On July 19, 1994, other members of the conference shouted down the Western delegates when they tried to initiate a debate on how to validate the June 12, 1993 presidential election results and free its winner, Chief M.K.O. Abiola, from detention. Consequently, these delegates staged a walkout, but returned to the conference after the deputy chairman of the conference, who presided that day, pleaded with them.23 Even more controversial was the debate on the terminal date of the military government. On December 6, 1994, the conference decided that the government should hand over power to a democratically elected government on January 1, 1996. General Abacha’s inaugural speech to the conference had left the question of the terminal date of his administration open-ended. In his words:

  • 24 See, Address by General Sani Abacha, GCON, fss., DSS., Mni., Head of State, Commander-in-Chief of (...)

Much heat and little light has been generated on the issue of the terminal date of this administration. No amount of assurances that our rescue mission is short, decisive and conclusive seem to persuade the regular cynics who find the media speculation of our ‘motives’ and ‘plot’ very financially rewarding. We are aware that it is neither in our personal interest nor that of the nation to perpetuate ourselves in power. Nothing could be further from our plans. It ought to have been clear even to the most doubting Thomases that once political parties begin to emerge from the first quarter of 1995, the next logical process would be activities leading to elections into the various tiers of governance, which the Constitutional Conference will recommend.
How do we now begin to settle for an exit date when it is unclear what the Constitutional Conference will decide? The amount of time required to establish the framework for realising the various decisions of the Conference depends on the nature of those decisions. An attempt to fix a date totally without reference to the decisions of the Conference will not only appear to jump the gun, but would surely be seized upon by a fresh rash of cynics to suggest the Administration is teleguiding the Conference. We are also not unmindful of the high price the last Administration had to pay when it set dates only to change them because of one exigency or the other. We wish to avoid that mistake and urge that our actions and commitment to the democratic process should speak for themselves.24

  • 25 See, Tell, Lagos (19 December 1994): 11.
  • 26 Comments reported in Tell, Lagos (19 December 1994): 8.

12The conference decision was very unpalatable to the government. It had apparently expected that it would take a much longer time. As the Minister of Transport and Aviation then said, ‘I don’t want to offer any apology to the military. But believe me as an honest person ... I think a three-year programme is not too much’.25 Proponents of the January 1, 1996 date believed that the conference had the authority to set the terminal date for the administration. A happy Dr. Alex Ekwueme remarked that, ‘Thank God that today the conference did not disappoint Nigerians. Any other decision would not have spoken the minds of Nigerians on this matter’.26 However, some like Banji Olowofela, thought the conference had no right to do so. The conference turned down an attempt by government supporters to seduce the members with a power-sharing arrangement. This plan would have converted the conference into a kind of permanent consultative assembly within a diarchical government. As Chief Emeka Ojukwu commented:

  • 27 Comments reported in Tell, Lagos (19 December 1994): 11.

We must not fall into the brigade of Nigerian leaders who glue themselves to their seats whenever they assume power. If anybody wants to give jobs to the boys, he should let us go first.27

  • 28 See, Federal Republic of Nigeria Report of the Constitutional Conference containing the Resolution (...)

13During the next three months, the government deployed its resources of patronage to ensure that the conference changed its decision. On April 25, 1995, this decision was modified. It was noted that it had become ‘abundantly clear that all assignments ... (i.e., the programme of reforms already approved by the conference) cannot be accomplished by the Federal Military Government before the 1 st day of January, 1996’.28 This rendered the earlier decision void, leaving it to the government to decide its own terminal date. This development was greeted with consternation in pro-democracy circles. The popular belief was that the conference had sold out for sundry benefits promised or given by the government. The appointment of some of the conference members as ministers in the next cabinet reshuffle gave further credence to these suspicions.

  • 29 See, interview in Tell, Lagos (13 December 1993): 20.

14Other controversial issues raised and discussed at the conference were those involving rotational presidency, power-sharing, and revenue allocation. Since the decisions on these issues are substantively reflected in the draft constitution, they will be discussed under the section on the new draft constitution. However, it is pertinent to mention that the said draft constitution is an incomplete document. Contrary to what the previous Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Dr. Olu Onagoruwa, had led people to believe, the draft constitution submitted to the Administration was altered. In December 1993, he had assured the country thus, ‘And for the first time they are not going to rewrite, they are not going to manipulate. They are going to promulgate into law what the people decide. It has never happened before. It is the first time the military government is giving the people latitude to decide’.29

  • 30 General Abacha’s speech to the nation on the occasion of the 35th anniversary of Nigeria’s indepen (...)
  • 31 These changes were published in many newspapers. See, for example, Nigerian Tribune, Ibadan (2 Oct (...)

15After the conference submitted the draft constitution, the government appointed a Review Committee to advise it on necessary changes. A Constitution Analysis Committee was also appointed by the government to review the work of the Review Committee, after which the draft constitution was examined by the Federal Executive Council, the Council of States, and the Provisional Ruling Council. The government also considered views ‘received from a wide range of other contacts’.30 Following this elaborate process of reviews, the government decided to make changes in the draft constitution, which were broadcast to the nation on October 1,1995. The changes announced then ‘form part of the draft constitution’.31

Interim Provisions

16The conference advised the government immediately to implement some resolutions even before promulgating the constitution. These were:

  1. Setting up the Federal Character Commission.
  2. The creation of new states and local governments.
  3. Recommendations on revenue allocation.
  4. Decentralization of federal ministries of education, and agriculture and sharing of their assets.
  5. Decentralization of federal universities and sharing of their assets.
  6. Total lifting of the ban on politics.32

17The government accepted these recommendations and has started to implement them. The reports of the Committees on the creation of States and Local Governments and on Devolution of Powers will reflect in the constitution when it is finally promulgated in 1998.

The Draft Constitution: Structure of the federation

18Nigeria’s federal structure has evolved basically through fragmentation. Save for the amalgamation of 1914, each successive restructuring has resulted in fragmentation of the units. The process began in 1939 when the Colonial Government divided the Southern Protectorates into the Eastern and Western Protectorates. The 1946 Constitution sanctioned the divisions and renamed them regions. These regions became the component units of the federal system in 1954. Thus, the country gained independence as a federal country with three regions. However, the federal structure was not balanced as the Northern Region was much bigger in population and geographical size than the two southern regions combined. In 1963, the Western Region was divided into two with the creation of the Mid-West Region. This accentuated the imbalance in the federal structure and provoked demands from the other regions for the Northern Region to be subdivided. Minorities within the various regions demanded further fragmentation so that they could be politically autonomous.

19Creating new states as a way of dealing with the structural problems of the federal system became the vogue only after the military took over political power. In 1967, Colonel Gowon restructured Nigeria into twelve states in response to the agitation of the minorities for states of their own and to contain the threat of secession by Ojukwu. In 1976, the Murtala Muhammed-Obasanjo administration increased the number of states to nineteen mainly in response to state agitators. General Babangida raised the number to twenty-one in 1989 and to thirty in 1991. All these fragmentations have left the states smaller in population and resources and, therefore, much weaker in comparison to the federal government. Contrariwise, the federal government has grown stronger because it has progressively appropriated more of the revenue resources.

20Many critics have called for changes in the federal structure because of the progressive weakening of the states and the inverse strengthening of the federal government. One constant critic of the centralization of Nigeria’s federal system, Chief Anthony Enahoro, once complained that:

  • 33 See interview in The News, Lagos (15 February 1993): 20.

... gradually, since probably 1966, and the emergence of the military, because of the military structure itself, Nigeria is being increasingly run as one huge barracks with one officer in charge (o/c barracks) whose word is law all over the place and to which people are chained. There is now no opportunity for self-expression by the various groups who make up this country.33

  • 34 Federal Republic of Nigeria, Constitutional Conference Commission, Memoranda Synopsis, Vol. 1, 199 (...)
  • 35 Contained in a press statement issued at Benin City to announce the formation of the MNR on Decemb (...)

21The annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election results vividly portrayed the helplessness of the states, even in the face of gross abuse and injustice. Many prominent politicians became disturbed by the fact that power was concentrated at the centre and that it was dominated by northerners. Thus, many memoranda to the conference concerned devolution of power and restructuring of the federation. It will suffice to illustrate the thinking of key stakeholders in the political system on these issues by referring to their views. The Movement for National Reformation (MNR) suggested in its memo to the conference that the country should be comprised of eight federations which would form a Union Government at the centre.34 The MNR’s proposals amounted to a confederate system. The MNR first made this proposal in 1992 when it declared that one of its goals was to ‘work for a truly federal structure in Nigeria (as opposed to the hegemonic and barely concealed unitary system), without which the unity of the country cannot be sustained’.35 It grouped the existing states into the following federations:

  • Western Federation: Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun and Ondo States and any states created therefrom.
  • South Central Federation: States made up of each of the nationalities or group of nationalities in Edo and Delta States
  • East Central Federation: Anambra, Enugu, Abia, and Imo States and any additional states created therefrom
  • South Eastern Federation: States made up of each of the nationalities or group of nationalities in Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River states
  • Central Federation: States made up of each of the nationalities or group of nationalities in Benue, Plateau, Bauchi and Kaduna states
  • North Eastern Federation: States made up of each of the nationalities or group of nationalities in Taraba, Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states
  • Northern Federation: Kebbi, Sokoto, Katsina, Kano and Jigawa states
  • West Central Federation: States made up of each of the nationalities or group of nationalities in Niger, Kwara and Kogi states

22The ‘Obas, Chiefs, Leaders of Thought and the entire peoples of Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun and Oyo States’ in their memo submitted to the National Constitutional Conference Commission on May 11, 1994, decried the frequent fragmentation of the units of the federation. In their words:

  • 36 See, the Memorandum by the Obas, Chiefs, Leaders of thought and entire people of Lagos, Ogun, Ondo (...)

Given their one-dimensional approach to complex matters, successive military regimes have acted as if the balkanisation of Nigeria into more and more states was the panacea to national unity. Consequently, we have moved from the sublime to the ridiculous... Nigeria has thus become de facto a highly centralised country, albeit with the heavy burden of maintaining 30 state administrations in addition to the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja.36

  • 37 See, Memorandum submitted to the National Constitutional Conference Commission (NCCC) by the Counc (...)

23The group, therefore, recommended that Nigeria should be restructured into six federating regions. They proposed that Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, and Oyo should form the Western Region. The states that make up the other regions (Eastern, Southern, Northwestern, North-Eastern and Middle Belt) should make their own choices. An earlier memorandum submitted by the ‘Council of Obas of Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun and Ondo States’ said that a ‘loose federation is highly recommended’.37 They also endorsed a federation of six regions.

  • 38 See, Memorandum submitted by the Benin people to the Nigerian Constitutional Conference 1994, publ (...)
  • 39 See, A memorandum submitted on behalf of the Igbo speaking people of Nigeria by Chief (Dr.) Alex E (...)
  • 40 See, Memorandum on the National Constitution submitted by Chief (Dr.) H.I. Uzoewulu on behalf of M (...)

24The ‘People of Benin’ also supported the restructuring of the federation into six regions.38 Separate memoranda submitted by the Igbo also recommended the restructuring of the federation into six regions. Dr. Alex Ekwueme and his co-signatories, however, added that the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Police and other security agencies should also be regionalized.39 Their proposals were even more confederal in import than that of the MNR. Another Igbo group, the Mkpoko Igbo, also demanded that Nigeria be divided into six zones.40 The southern minorities, who are predominantly from the oil-producing areas, preferred a confederal system that would give them greater self-determination.

  • 41 See, Memorandum to the National Constitutional Conference Commission submitted by Emirs and Chiefs (...)
  • 42 See, Memorandum submitted by Kebbi State Elders on behalf of Kebbi State in Federal Republic of Ni (...)

25Most memoranda submitted by Northern interest groups were, however, in sharp contrast to those from the south. The memorandum of the Emirs of the northern states endorsed ‘proper federalism’ to allay the clamour for confederation or loose federalism.41 Kebbi State Elders also preferred the federal system, but did not recommend any restructuring.42

Conference decision

  • 43 Section 2(2) and 2(3), and Section 3 of the draft constitution.
  • 44 See, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Report of the Constitutional Conference containing the Resolutio (...)

26The conference rejected proposals that would amount to Nigeria being a loose federation or a confederation. It also turned down the proposal to restructure the country into a federation of six regions. Instead, it confirmed the status quo. Thus, the draft constitution says that Nigeria shall be a federation made up of states and the Federal Capital Territory. It goes on to confirm the three tiers of government as the federal government, the state governments and local governments. Lastly, it contains the names of the thirty states.43 However, the conference also noted that the system should be a ‘hue federalism with clear demarcation of powers and functions among the levels of government... (and in exercising those powers) each level of government should be autonomous’.44 The decision of the conference, regarding the structure of the federation, had implications for the overwhelming desire of most of its participants for a more equitable power-sharing arrangement. It made the power-sharing arrangement more difficult to resolve.

Power Sharing and Rotation of Offices

27The retention of the existing federal structure did nothing to assuage the fears of the marginalized groups that the old hegemonic system would prevail. To counteract this reality, the conference decided to discuss and adjust the allocation of legislative lists between the federal and state governments. A major change is that the draft constitution provides three substantive lists rather than the traditional two. Now, there are the ‘federal legislative list’ (previously the ‘exclusive list’), ‘concurrent legislative list’ and the ‘state legislative list’. Since the draft constitution still vests the states with residual powers, it is tempting to regard the ‘state legislative list’ as superfluous. Nevertheless, it does serve a useful purpose by emphasizing the greater devolution of powers to the states as it contains items such as agriculture, education, health, creation of local government areas, etc. The 1979 Constitution, for example, placed education on the concurrent list. Although local government was on the residual list, federal intervention in the regulation of local governments was pronounced.

  • 45 These conference recommendations are reported in: Federal Republic of Nigeria Report of the Consti (...)
  • 46 See, Memorandum submitted on behalf of the Igbo speaking people of Nigeria by Chief (Dr.) Alex Ekw (...)

28The government equally appointed a ‘Committee on Devolution of Powers between Federal, State and Local Governments’ to recommend how to carry out the conference recommendation to also decentralize the federal ministries of education, agriculture and the federal universities.45 The more controversial decision concerned the rotation of power at the centre. The two major problems were: what offices should be rotated and among what units? The key office was, of course, the presidency. The Ekwueme-led Igbo group suggested that the office of the president should be rotated among the six regions that it proposed. It wanted six vice-presidents to represent the six regions, each of whom should be assigned specific responsibilities. In addition, they demanded drastic reduction in the powers of the office of the president through shedding some functions to the vice-presidents.46 Mkpoko Igbo also demanded that the office of the President be rotated among the six regions. The ‘Councils of Obas of Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun and Ondo States of Nigeria’ and many other groups shared the same view on the rotation of the office of the president.

Conference decision

  • 47 Federal Republic of Nigeria, Report of the Constitutional Conference containing the Resolutions an (...)
  • 48 Section 229 of the draft constitution.

29The conference Committee on Power Sharing was split evenly on this issue. The conference itself found it a very explosive issue. It, therefore, referred it to a ‘Consensus Committee’. The Consensus Committee recommended that the conference accept the principle of a rotational presidency.47 Having agreed that the office of the President should be rotated, the conference, in line with its decision not to accept the restructuring of the federation into six regions, decided that the office should alternate between the north and the south.48 The rotation also applies to the offices of Governor and Local Government Chairman. Whether this should be a permanent or transitional aspect of the constitution created bad blood among many members. While the northern delegates proposed that it should be a transitional provision, the southern delegates demanded that it should be a permanent feature of the constitution. In October 1994, when the conference first agreed on a compromise to accept rotation of the office of the President, it seemed certain that it would be a permanent aspect of the constitution.

  • 49 See, the Daily Champion, Lagos (5 April 1995): 1 & 3.

30Northern delegates changed their mind, however, as the issue reached the drafting stage. It was at this stage that they demanded that it should be a transitional rather than a permanent provision. So they tried to reopen debate on the issue in April 1995. When the Chairman of the Conference refused to allow the delegates to reopen the said debate, he was vilified by the aggrieved members. But as the Chairman, Justice Adolphus Karibi-Whyte, explained, the decision not to allow the debate to be reopened was based on the Standing Orders of the conference and ‘It [was] therefore wrong for any person or group to see the decision as a personal decision of the Chairman against the north’.49

31The delegates from the minority areas of the north broke the deadlock when they supported the southern delegates. At a press conference on April 4, 1995, they contended that rotation was a major achievement of the conference that should be upheld and made a permanent aspect of the constitution. Their strong defence of rotation said in part:

It is an open secret that without the consensus agreement on the rotatory clause of the proposed Constitution, the National Constitutional Conference would have, for long, not only gone into disarray but also into oblivion.
We firmly believe that the principle undergirding the practice of the federal character system also applies to the proposed rotatory system. Just as the educationally disadvantaged areas of the country were catered for under the federal character system, the politically disadvantaged areas should be given a sense of belonging in the practice of government in Nigeria.

32The conference tried to ensure a rough balance in the composition of the Presidency. So, although it recognized only two units (north and south) for the purposes of rotating the office of the President, it provided for three Vice-Presidents. One of the Vice-Presidents was to come from the same zone as the President so that he could complete the President’s term should he die or vacate office prematurely, while the other two should be nominated from the other zones. The conference prescribed a single term of five years for the President. This should presumably encourage each zone to be patient to wait for its turn to produce the President.

Government decision

  • 50 General Abacha’s Speech to the Nation on the occasion of the 35th Anniversary of Nigeria’s Indepen (...)

33The Government has intervened to change three important aspects of the power sharing formula described above. First, it has enlarged the number of units that should partake in the rotation of offices to six. The six zones are: North-East, North-West, Middle-Belt, South-West, South-East and Southern Minority. Second, it has modified the presidential system and by that increased the number of offices to be rotated. The offices to be rotated are those of the: President, Vice-President, Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, Senate President, and Speaker of the House of Representatives. Third, the Government stated that, ‘This power sharing arrangement which shall be entrenched in the Constitution shall be at federal level and applicable for an experimental period of 30 (thirty) years’.50 Consequently, the rotation of key political offices is now a transitional provision for thirty years only.

  • 51 ibid.

34The modalities for the implementation of this rotational system have not been fully stated. The Government has shifted the duty of implementing this new decision to the National Electoral Commission of Nigeria which is ‘empowered to draw up guidelines which will require political parties to comply with the principle of rotational power sharing’.51

The Federal Character Principle

35The federal character principle was first made a part of the constitution in 1979. The motive was to give most sectional groups in the country a sense of belonging. It was thought that this objective would be promoted if most sectional groups were given fair representation in the key political and bureaucratic offices of the State. Thus, the 1979 Constitution provided that:

  • 52 Section 14(3).

The composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few States or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that government or any of its agencies.52

  • 53 Section 135 (3).
  • 54 Alex Gboyega, The federal character or the attempt to create representative bureaucracies in Niger (...)

36The 1979 Constitution made it mandatory for a member of the Cabinet to be selected from each state of the federation.53 However, the application of the principle was problematic from the start.54 Since the government did not provide any operational guidelines, various top government officials applied it haphazardly, even to promote nepotism. Thus, a principle purportedly designed to integrate the nation became an instrument for precisely the opposite. However, very few people disagreed with the underlying motive for introducing it. What many people demanded was an objective guideline that would ensure equity and justice in the application of the principle.

  • 55 Federal Republic of Nigeria, Report of the Constitutional Conference containing the Resolutions an (...)

37The conference Committee on Power Sharing admitted that the federal character principle had not been properly applied. It, therefore, recommended ‘an independent Commission to monitor and enforce federal character application and proportional representation in all aspects of our national life... ’55 The draft constitution, therefore, has established for the first time a Federal Character Commission and the government has already constituted it. The functions of the commission are:

  1. to promote to work out an equitable formula subject to the approval of the National Assembly for the distribution of all cadres of posts in the Public Service of the Federation and of the States, the Armed Forces of the Federation, the Nigerian Police Force and other security agencies, government owned companies and parastatals of the states
  2. , monitor and enforce compliance with the principles of proportional sharing of all bureaucratic, economic, media and political posts at all levels of government
  3. to take such legal measures including the prosecution of head or staff of any ministry or government body or agency which fails to comply with any federal character principle or formula prescribed or adopted by the Commission.56

38The draft constitution delimits the scope of the public offices concerned as comprising the following posts: permanent secretaries, directors-general in extra-ministerial departments and parastatals, directors in ministries and ministerial departments, senior military officers, senior diplomatic posts, managerial cadres in federal and state parastatals, bodies, agencies and institutions.

  • 57 Section 148 (7).

39The federal character principle is also reflected in the composition of the Cabinet. The draft constitution provides that, ‘any political party which wins not less than 10 per cent of the total number of seats in the National Assembly shall be entitled to representation in the cabinet in proportion to the number of seats won by that party in the National Assembly’.57 With the scrapping of the two-party system and the adoption of a multi-party system, this provision may be an incentive to the establishment of many political parties. The National Electoral Commission, however, has the power to register political parties and can, therefore, limit the number of parties. Only political associations that are registered can operate as a political party. It is pertinent to point out that the commission recently stopped its processes for deciding which political parties to register in order to give more time for those associations that wanted to merge.

Creation of New States and Local Governments

  • 58 Federal Republic of Nigeria, Report of the Constitutional Conference containing the Resolutions an (...)

40The pressure on the conference to create new states and local governments was overwhelming. The Committee on Creation of States and Local Governments received requests for the creation of thirty-five new states and 1002 local governments.58 It recommended approval for the creation of twenty (!) new states and 438 new local governments. Due to the members’ interests in the fragmentation of their own states and local governments, the conference could not approve the recommendations of the Committee. Those who lost, and naturally they were the majority, threw out the recommended list. Instead, the conference decided to adopt the procedures outlined for creating new states contained in the 1979 Constitution. It also decided that the requests for the creation of new local governments should be directed to each state house of assembly since the power to create new local governments was vested in the state governments by the draft constitution.

  • 59 General Abacha's speech to the nation on the occasion of the 35th anniversary of Nigeria's indepen (...)
  • 60 Rotimi Timothy Suberu, Federalism and Nigeria’s political future: A comment. African Affairs (87(3 (...)

41The failure of the conference to meet the demands for the creation of new states and local governments encouraged rather than discouraged agitators. Consequently, the government decided ‘that the aspirations of... people for self-determination which have been expressed in the demands for new states and local governments [would] be considered on their individual merits’.59 Therefore, the government established a committee on the Creation of States and Local Governments to receive and deal with demands for the creation of new states and local governments and to make appropriate recommendations on it. The Committee has submitted its report and the country eagerly awaits the government’s decisions. Whatever the government decides concerning the creation of new states and local governments will not, however, end agitations for more fragmentation. The elites that lead these agitations benefit from it through favourable revenue allocation and greater access to public service positions through the application of the federal character principle.60

Revenue Allocation

  • 61 Sam Egite Oyovbaire, The politics of revenue allocation. In: Soldiers and Oil: The political trans (...)
  • 62 Federal Republico(Nigeria,ReportofthePoliticalBureau. (Lagos: Federal Government Printer, 1987): 1 (...)

42Most Nigerians are concerned over the centralization of the federal system and the domination maintained by a northern oligarchy because of the concentration of resources at the centre. This process began when the military seized political power in 1966. Since then, the revenue allocation system has progressively changed to encourage concentration of revenue at the centre.61 When the country is under military rule, the revenue allocation formula is easy to tamper with because the hierarchical structure of the army prevents the subordinate officers who rule the states from complaining. Under the civilian administration, however, it becomes a very explosive political matter. So, the Political Bureau recommended that the government should establish a permanent national commission to advise it on revenue allocation.62

  • 63 Federal Republic of Nigeria, Report of the Constitutional Conference containing the Resolutions an (...)
  • 64 ibid., 165.
  • 65 See the Allocation of Revenue (Federal Account, etc.), Amendment Decree of 1992 in, Supplement to (...)

43The Babangida administration established the National Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission in September 1988. Nevertheless, the existence of this Commission has not made revenue allocation less controversial because the formula has hardly changed. In fact, 27 per cent of all the memoranda submitted to the conference pertained to revenue allocation.63 When the Political Bureau recommended the establishment of the commission, the formula was: federal government – 55 per cent; state governments – 32.5 per cent; local governments – 10 per cent; other funds administered by the federal government – 2.5 per cent.64 The current system gives the federal government – 48.5 per cent; state governments – 24 per cent; local governments – 20 per cent and special funds (administered by the federal government) – 7.5 per cent.65 Thus, effectively, the federal government had given away only 1.5 per cent (!) at the time the conference commenced.

  • 66 Federal Republic of Nigeria, Report of the Constitutional Conference containing the Draft Constitu (...)

44The question of oil revenue and its distribution is central to the problem of revenue allocation. The ethnic minorities in the oil-producing areas want most of the revenue derived from oil to be used for the development of their states and localities. Some, like the Ijaws, approached the issue indirectly; they demanded a confederal system that would ipso facto enhance their share of the revenue derived from their locality.66 The memorandum written by the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) recommended that the federal government should have only 12 per cent of oil revenue. It recommended that offshore oil revenue should belong to the nation, while on-shore oil revenue should go to the communities where the oil wells are located.

Conference decision

45The conference did not take a definitive decision on the revenue allocation formula because it could not reach a consensus. Instead, it decided that:

The President, upon the receipt of advice from the National Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission shall table before the National Assembly proposals for Revenue Allocation from the Federation Account. In determining the formula, the National Assembly shall take into account, allocation principles especially those of Population, Equality of States, Internal Revenue Generation, Land Mass, Terrain as well as Population Density provided that the principle of derivation shall be constantly reflected in any approved formula as being not less than 13 per cent of the revenue accruing to the Federation Account directly from any natural resources, so however, that the figure of the allocation for derivation shall be deemed to include any amount that may be set aside for funding any special authority or agency for the development of the State or States of derivation.

46The principles enunciated are nearly the same as contained in the extant revenue allocation formula. The only difference is the exclusion of the ‘social development factor’. This criterion required that the development of the States in education, health and water be taken into account so that they could maintain the existing levels of infrastructures. Its removal is, therefore, disadvantageous to the more developed States. It is also important to point out that under current revenue allocation formula, 3 per cent of the figure assigned to derivation goes to the Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission (OMPADEC), a body established by the Federal Government. Thus, effectively, the derivation principle has a weight of 10 per cent

47The oil-producing areas, naturally, think that the conference did not give sufficient consideration to their case. Consequently, their agitation for a better deal has not abated. However, on this matter, the demands for equity clash with the self-interest of those areas without oil. Thus, although the southern conferees formed an alliance once they realized the unanimity among their counterparts from the north, they could not adopt a common position on revenue allocation. The Eastern delegates accused their Western counterparts of betraying them. Isolated and dissatisfied, the minority oil-producing areas are still struggling for a better deal.

Options for a Stabilized Federal System

48The conference decisions as contained in the draft constitution and the government’s amendments restructure the political system considerably. The rotation of offices and the introduction of proportional representation should enhance the opportunities of minorities for participation in governance. However, the effectiveness of these measures will depend on the sincerity of the operators. Besides, these changes are inherently problematic. They raise many knotty political questions. For example, why limit the rotation of key offices to thirty years? What assurance is there that the military will allow each zone to take its turn at holding the key office of President before it seizes power again and makes fresh changes? What are the chances of NECON being able to formulate acceptable regulations that will ensure the smooth operation of the rotation? What implications will proportional representation in the cabinet have on its cohesion and the stability of the executive arm of government? What will be the relationship between the Prime and Deputy Prime Minister, on the one hand, and the President, on the other? These questions are raised here to show that at this stage there are too many imponderables.

49These problems are, however, not insurmountable. They simply require a national consensus that is currently lacking for obvious reasons. The necessary consensus is lacking because whatever the new constitution might contain, the original problem was political rather than constitutional. The primary issue was the annulment of the results of the June 12, 1993 presidential election. That issue has not been addressed to the satisfaction of the aggrieved parties. It is hue that the military has restored effective governmental authority, but this has been achieved at a heavy cost to its human rights record. Domestic opposition has been annihilated by sheer repression. This has driven some NADECO members into exile abroad, from where they continue their agitation for the restoration of Chief M. K. O. Abiola’s mandate. However, that is hardly the climate for democratization or the appropriate foundation for a durable and sustainable federal system.

  • 67 The North rises for June 12, The African Guardian (22 August 1994).

50Besides NADECO members, many prominent people from all parts of Nigeria have expressed the view that the national interest will be better served if the annulled election results were revisited.67 The government, on the other hand, is determined to go on with its transition programme leading to fresh presidential elections in 1998. While the government’s ability to see its transition programme through is undeniable, the resultant government will not enjoy the necessary legitimacy that will ensure its stability. The least that one can expect in the circumstances is that the government would release Chief M.K.O. Abiola from detention and negotiate a truce that will enhance the legitimacy of the transition programme. Similarly, other political detainees should also be released to create a political environment that is conducive to genuine national reconciliation. This will not be a sign of weakness on the part of the government, but an indication of its commitment to a transition that commands the support of as many Nigerians as possible.

51Besides, the government should take advantage of the provisions in the draft constitution for proportional representation in the executive arm of government to negotiate such transitional arrangements that will accommodate the opposition. The need for a national government for a transitional period of a term or two was first suggested in December 1991 by Alhaji Lateef Jakande, Chief Bola Ige, Alhaji Abubakar Rimi, Chief Jim Nwobodo, Chief C. C. Ono, Alhaji Lawal Kaita, Chief Solomon Lar, Major-General Musa Yar’Adua, Dr. Olusola Saraki, Alhaji Bello Maitama Yusuff, Mr. Paul Unongo and Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu. The suggestion is even more valid today because it will enable the albatross of June 12 to be appropriately removed.

52The situation in the oil producing communities also calls for urgent attention. The military operations in these areas are capable of leading to continued hostility from the citizens as well as deepened alienation. As Prof Claude Ake, once a mediator in the Ogoni crisis, has commented:

  • 68 Nightmare of state violence, Tell (25 July 1994): 31.

If our humanity cannot move us, our self-interest should compel us, for if present policies continue, the oil-producing areas already in turmoil will be ungovernable and our mineral resources will be indefensible, for the Ogoni struggle is only part of an elemental force for change which is gathering momentum with each passing day in the mineral producing areas and beyond.68

53The environmental degradation in the oil-producing areas is undoubtedly a source of great concern to the government. Government however, needs to match that concern with a willingness to seek acceptable solutions in partnership with the affected communities. Such a solution might entail increased revenue allocation and direct remittance of the revenue allocated for derivation to the concerned communities.

Conclusion

54The Nigerian crisis is multi-dimensional because much of it has festered for a very long time. It is, therefore, difficult to say with certainty what will work and what will not. Perhaps, the only certainty is that genuine dialogue, coupled with a willingness by all sides to compromise in the national interest, will go a long way in restoring a sense of belonging to all Nigerians. Hopefully, the government and the opposition will meet this challenge.

Notes

1 For a report on the judgement, see, The African Guardian, Lagos (22 November 1993): 16-21.

2 For the full text of their resolution, see, The Guardian, Lagos (13 October 1993): 1-2.

3 West Africa, London (14-20 February 1994): 250-252.

4 The Democrat, Kaduna (11 February 1990).

5 For a discussion of the differences between the two groups see the cover story, Talks about talks, Newswatch, Lagos (9 July 1990): 15-19.

6 See, Patriots in disarray, The African Guardian, Lagos (16 July 1990): 22-27.

7 Newswatch, Lagos (9 July 1990): 17.

8 The African Guardian, Lagos (16 July 1990): 25-26.

9 African Concord, Lagos (17 September 1990): 25-27.

10 African Concord, Lagos (10 January 1994): 35.

11 African Concord, Lagos (27 December 1993): 16.

12 African Concord, Lagos (6 December 1993): 27.

13 Communique on the National Workshop on the State of the Nation: Which Way Forward, issued by Professor Abdullahi Mahdi, Director, Arewa House, The Guardian, Lagos (17 February 1994): 11.

14 African Concord, Lagos (14 March 1994): 18.

15 For details of the terms of reference of the Commission, see, National Concord, Lagos (19 January 1994): 2.

16 For criticisms of the Commission, see, Tell, Lagos (31 January 1994): 27-28.

17 The Guardian,Lagos(13 Decemberl993): 1-2; and Tell, Lagos(14 March 1994): 10-19.

18 African Concord, Lagos (6 December 1993): 27.

19 Tell, Lagos (3 January 1994): 21.

20 Excerpts of the communique issued by NADECO were published in the African Concord (30 May 1994): 14.

21 For a report on NADECO’s call for boycott of the conference polls and reactions of various groups, see, The Guardian, Lagos (23 May 1994): 1-2.

22 Address by General Sani Abacha, GCON, fss., DSS., Mni., Head of State, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the Inauguration of the National Constitutional Conference on Monday 27th June, 1994. In: Federal Republic of Nigeria, Report of the Constitutional Conference containing the Resolutions and Recommendations, Volume II. (Abuja: National Assembly Press, 1995): par. 5 and 7.

23 See, Federal Republic of Nigeria Report of the Constitutional Conference containing the Resolutions and Recommendations, Volume II. (Abuja: National Assembly Press, 1995): 55-56.

24 See, Address by General Sani Abacha, GCON, fss., DSS., Mni., Head of State, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the Inauguration of the National Constitutional Conference on Monday 27th June, 1994. In: Federal Republic of Nigeria, Report of the Constitutional Conference containing the Resolutions and Recommendations, Volume II. (Abuja: National Assembly Press, 1995): par. 39 and 40.

25 See, Tell, Lagos (19 December 1994): 11.

26 Comments reported in Tell, Lagos (19 December 1994): 8.

27 Comments reported in Tell, Lagos (19 December 1994): 11.

28 See, Federal Republic of Nigeria Report of the Constitutional Conference containing the Resolutions and Recommendations, Volume II. (Abuja: National Assembly Press, 1995): 198-256.

29 See, interview in Tell, Lagos (13 December 1993): 20.

30 General Abacha’s speech to the nation on the occasion of the 35th anniversary of Nigeria’s independence on 1 October 1995. See Nigerian Tribune, Ibadan (2 October 1995): F1.

31 These changes were published in many newspapers. See, for example, Nigerian Tribune, Ibadan (2 October 1995): Fl, F4 and 7.

32 Federal Republic of Nigeria, Report of the Constitutional Conference containing the Resolutions and Recommendations, Volume I. (Abuja: National Assembly Press, 1995): xvii.

33 See interview in The News, Lagos (15 February 1993): 20.

34 Federal Republic of Nigeria, Constitutional Conference Commission, Memoranda Synopsis, Vol. 1, 1994 for a summary of the MNR's memo to the National Constitutional Conference Commission.

35 Contained in a press statement issued at Benin City to announce the formation of the MNR on December 5, 1992. Reproduced in Movement for National Reformation, A General Brief. (Saros International for MNR): 10.

36 See, the Memorandum by the Obas, Chiefs, Leaders of thought and entire people of Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun and Oyo States of the Federal Republic of Nigeria submitted to the National Constitutional Conference Commission, 11 May 1994 (mimeo): 10.

37 See, Memorandum submitted to the National Constitutional Conference Commission (NCCC) by the Council of Obas of Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun and Ondo States of Nigeria, 7 February 1994 (mimeo): 7.

38 See, Memorandum submitted by the Benin people to the Nigerian Constitutional Conference 1994, published in The Guardian (5 Jury 1995): 37.

39 See, A memorandum submitted on behalf of the Igbo speaking people of Nigeria by Chief (Dr.) Alex Ekwueme et al., in Federal Republic of Nigeria Constitutional Conference Commission, Memoranda Synopsis (vol. 3, 1994): 192.

40 See, Memorandum on the National Constitution submitted by Chief (Dr.) H.I. Uzoewulu on behalf of Mkpoko Igbo in Federal Republic of Nigeria, Constitutional Conference Commission, Memoranda Synopsis (vol. 3, 1994): 270.

41 See, Memorandum to the National Constitutional Conference Commission submitted by Emirs and Chiefs of the Northern States of Nigeria in Federal Republic of Nigeria, Constitutional Conference Commission, Memoranda Synopsis (vol. 3, 1994): 228.

42 See, Memorandum submitted by Kebbi State Elders on behalf of Kebbi State in Federal Republic of Nigeria, Constitutional Conference Commission, Memoranda Synopsis (vol. 1, 1994): 82.

43 Section 2(2) and 2(3), and Section 3 of the draft constitution.

44 See, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Report of the Constitutional Conference containing the Resolutions and Recommendations, Volume II. (Abuja: National Assembly Press, 1995): 61.

45 These conference recommendations are reported in: Federal Republic of Nigeria Report of the Constitutional Conference containing the Draft Constitution,Volume 1. (Abuja: National Assembly Press, 1995): xvii.

46 See, Memorandum submitted on behalf of the Igbo speaking people of Nigeria by Chief (Dr.) Alex Ekwuemeet al. In: Federal Republic of Nigeria Constitutional Conference Commission, Memoranda Synopsis (vol. 3,1994): 192.

47 Federal Republic of Nigeria, Report of the Constitutional Conference containing the Resolutions and Recommendations, Volume II. (Abuja: National Assembly Press, Abuja, 1995): 144.

48 Section 229 of the draft constitution.

49 See, the Daily Champion, Lagos (5 April 1995): 1 & 3.

50 General Abacha’s Speech to the Nation on the occasion of the 35th Anniversary of Nigeria’s Independence on October 1,1995 in the Nigerian Tribune, Ibadan (2 October 1995): 7.

51 ibid.

52 Section 14(3).

53 Section 135 (3).

54 Alex Gboyega, The federal character or the attempt to create representative bureaucracies in Nigeria. International Political Science Review (vol. 1, nos 1 & 2, 1984): 236-248.

55 Federal Republic of Nigeria, Report of the Constitutional Conference containing the Resolutions and Recommendations, Volume II. (Abuja: National Assembly Press, 1995): 145.

56 Draft Constitution, Third Schedule, item G. Section 19 (1).

57 Section 148 (7).

58 Federal Republic of Nigeria, Report of the Constitutional Conference containing the Resolutions and Recommendations, Volume II. (Abuja: National Assembly Press, 1995): 192.

59 General Abacha's speech to the nation on the occasion of the 35th anniversary of Nigeria's independence on October 1, 1995 in Nigerian Tribune, Ibadan (2 October 1995): F1.

60 Rotimi Timothy Suberu, Federalism and Nigeria’s political future: A comment. African Affairs (87(348), July 1988]: 431-439.

61 Sam Egite Oyovbaire, The politics of revenue allocation. In: Soldiers and Oil: The political transformation of Nigeria, Keith Panter-Brick, ed. (London: Frank Cass, 1978): 224-249.

62 Federal Republico(Nigeria,ReportofthePoliticalBureau. (Lagos: Federal Government Printer, 1987): 168.

63 Federal Republic of Nigeria, Report of the Constitutional Conference containing the Resolutions and Recommendations, Volume II. (Abuja: National Assembly Press, 1995): 140.

64 ibid., 165.

65 See the Allocation of Revenue (Federal Account, etc.), Amendment Decree of 1992 in, Supplement to the Official Gazette Extraordinary (no. 75, vol. 79, 31 December 1992).

66 Federal Republic of Nigeria, Report of the Constitutional Conference containing the Draft Constitution, Volume 1. (Abuja: National Assembly Press, 1995): 64.

67 The North rises for June 12, The African Guardian (22 August 1994).

68 Nightmare of state violence, Tell (25 July 1994): 31.

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