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THE MINORITIES AND POWER SHARING IN NIGERIA by Solomon Akhere Benjamin,Ph.D Associate Research Professor SGPRD, NISER, Ibadan 1.

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Presentation on theme: "THE MINORITIES AND POWER SHARING IN NIGERIA by Solomon Akhere Benjamin,Ph.D Associate Research Professor SGPRD, NISER, Ibadan 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 THE MINORITIES AND POWER SHARING IN NIGERIA by Solomon Akhere Benjamin,Ph.D Associate Research Professor SGPRD, NISER, Ibadan 1

2 Introduction Politics as a struggle over scarce resources among competing individuals and groups in society. The struggle among contending forces in a political community can be Hobbesian. Politics of accommodation provides the machinery and mechanism for redressing this challenge. 2

3 Introduction (contd.) Nigeria is the mother home of federalism since post-colonial Africa and most recently followed by Ethiopia. Nigeria's politics is being played within the framework of federalism. It started since Nigeria practices "feeding bottle federalism" 3

4 Feeding Bottle Federalism 4

5 Intoduction Cont’d Before the arrival of the European- no political entity known as Nigeria. Pre-colonial Nigeria-bewildering variety of communities and entities of varying sizes, levels of pol. & social devt, and degrees of independence & autonomy. Contemporary Nigeria- heterogeneous - comprises between 250 and 400 ethnic groupings. 374-Otite(1990) 5

6 Introduction Contd. Lugard & the amalgamation Not a federation. His 1919 Report and other documents pointed to 5 main factors Finance, communications and trade, administration & military. Lugard easily grasped the military importance of Nigeria,- governed under one Admtive umbrella. 1946, 1951, historical events- 3regs&Federalism. 6

7 Why Federalism? Federalism- accommodates diversities while pursuing unity. As Duchacek (1977:13) the aim of a federal constitution “is an institutionalised balance between national unity and sub-national diversity”. K.C.Wheare (1964) “federalism is an appropriate form of government to offer to communities or states of distinct, differing nationalities that wish to form a common government and to behave as one people for some purposes, but wish to remain independent and, in particular, to retain their nationality in all other aspects”. 7

8 Nigeria’s Unequal 3 Regions 8

9 Why Federalism Contd. Nigeria's main reasons for a federal arrangement - Sociological complexity of the society - Ethnic and Geographical Diversity. - North & South differences - Majority and Minority ethnic groups' differences - Spur to Economic Development. The choice of federalism arose from domestic circumstances of differences in the histories of pre- colonial and colonial times. to meet economic interest of the erstwhile colonial master - the British. 9

10 Views of our frontline Nationalists Chief Awolowo, anything other than a federal constitution, “will be unsuitable and generate ever-recurring instability which may eventually lead to the complete disappearance of the Nigeria composite state”. Dr. Azikiwe – "Nigerian’s prosperity lay in the heterogeneity of both the composition and endowments of a federal structure for the unleashing of the energies of the federating units for national development". Sir Ahmadu Bello - “only guarantee that the country will grow evenly all over; we can spend the money we receive, the money we raise, in the direction best suited to us”. 10

11 Nigeria's Federal Structure 1954 –retained by subsequent constitution since then till date 1946/51- 3regions; regions; states; states; 1987=21; 1991=30; 1996=36 & 774LGAs Nigeria is 6geo-political zones, 2 are mainly minorities=south/south & north central (see Table1) Note: No federal arrangement=successful in demarcating into separate ethnically pure territorial units (including Ethiopia) It is within this socio-cultural and political power quagmire that we want to locate the place of the minorities in Nigeria 11

12 Table 1: The Six Geopolitical Zones and their LGAs South-East Zone South-South Zone South-West Zone 1. Abia Anambra Ebonyi Enugu Imo Akwa-Ibom Bayelsa 8 8. Cross River Delta Edo Rivers Ekiti Lagos Ogun Ondo Osun Oyo North-Central Zone North-East Zone North-West Zone 18. Benue Kogi Kwara Nassarawa Niger Plateau FCT Adamawa Bauchi Borno Taraba Gombe Yobe Jigawa Kano Katsina Kebbi Sokoto Zamfara Kaduna

13 Minorities (features) In many societies, certain key features of ethnic minority have been identified as follows: It is a social category, a collectivity, a social class, large or small which exists within a socio-cultural milieu. Its members are distinguished from the majority or dominant ethnic group in power, on the basis of inherent or contrived homogeneous physical/biological, national, racial, cultural and social characteristics. They are therefore, hated and deliberately excluded -socially, physically and, sometimes, legally- from participating in the social, economic, political economy or some sections of the larger society. 13

14 Minorities Contd. The term ‘minority’ (minority group), is both conceptually and ideologically cloudy has quantitative, economic, social and cultural dimensions. A number of scholars (Nnoli 1978; Ekekwe 1986; Otite 1990; and Osaghae 1994) agreed that minorities are culturally specific and relatively cohesive groups which occupy a status of numerical inferiority and or socio-political subordination in relation to other cultural sections in the society. Minorities often assume a subordinate status as the exploited, expropriated, disempowered, isolated, marginalised and then targeted. United Nations, "numerically inferior to the rest of the population of a state, in a non-dominant position, whose members possess ethnic, religious or linguistic characteristics differing from those of the rest of the population, and show, if only implicitly, a sense of solidarity directed towards preserving their culture, traditions, religions or language" (cited in Suberu 1996:5). Conversely, majority group, according to John Farley (1995), "is any group that is dominant in the society, that is, any group that enjoys more than a proportionate share of the wealth, power, and/or social status in that society". 14

15 Minorities: Challenges In Nigeria, the age-long standing minority challenges: Nigerian state structure Role of the state as the absolute controller of resources; Absence of constitutional protection of minority rights. The ill-conceived colonial policy North- Hausa/Fulani as the regional identity and coercively integrated the minority groups South - Yoruba and Ibo regularly dominate, suppress and exploit the numerous minorities Niger Delta minorities- continuation of injustice, deprivation & oppression they were already subjected to by the ruling majority ethnic groups. The refusal to adhere to the derivation principle 15

16 Minorities Challenges Contd. Derivation principle dropped from 50% derivation at independence to the end of First Republic. 45% between1969 and The downward trend continued thereafter: 45% (excluding offshore proceeds) from 1971 to 1975; 20% (excluding offshore proceeds) from 1975 to 1979; 0% (yes, Zero %) from 1979 to 1981; 1.5% from 1982 to 1992; 3% from 1992 to 1999; And 13% from 1999 till date. It has been a culture of creating more shareable/free monies for all, irrespective of their inputs into the federal purse. Offshore-Onshore Debate: FG's exclusive rights to offshore sources of revenue targeted at the minorities, yet it closes its eyes to the problem of Oil pollution, degradation & destruction of ecological systems. 16

17 Minorities Challenges Contd. Importantly, from the 2 nd Republic till now, no Govt Came to being without the major support of the Minorities. Without Minorities –Govt will amount to having a King without a Kingdom Under Military- most military Govs/Admtors to minorities states were from major ethnic groups to maximise their dominant/exploitation/oppressive game In view of the above- minorities mostly perceive themselves to be minnows in the country's political affairs. Also minorities- suffer a lot of deprivations, injustice, & underdevelopment in the hands of national or regional majority ethnic groups who control political power & use it to their own sectional and selfish advantage. 17

18 Minorities Challenges Contd. Clamour for true federalism in Nigeria continues Increasing concentration of powers at the centre by successive constitutions since independence; Question of equity and fairness in the allocation of resources by the federal government. Nigerian federalism impinges on pluralistic autonomy, resource generation & value distribution- contradicts the fundamental principles of federalism. Value distribution injustice promotes and escalates competitive politics and conflicts among elites, particularly between a parasitic federal state and the marginalised minorities as the case of Nigeria. 18

19 Minorities Challenges Contd. In the case of the Niger Delta, beside value distribution injustice and marginalisation, it suffers a collaboratively engineered environmental violence by the state & foreign corporate oil investors (Kunle Ajayi, 2013 in Ibaba & Etekpe, Trapped in Violence). Roberts (2013) also blame Niger Delta conflicts on lack of "federal fairness" & "federal justice" Unending crises & mindless bloodbath in the North- due to dichotomy between indigenous/settler populations & intolerance of the dominant Hausa/Fulani over the minority ethnic groups in this region. 19

20 Government’s Measures Henry Willink Commission September1957 NDDC Creation of more States Institution of Federal Character Principles Devolution of Powers Financial transfers from the Federation Account Creation of OMPADEC Creation of a Federal Ministry of Niger Delta & Amnesty Programme 20

21 Power Sharing Minorities of the oil producing areas--- meaningful power-sharing and guarantee of self autonomy through acceptable political restructuring. Contemporary political systems involve aspects of power sharing. Because self-determination has become the rallying point of many aggrieved ethnic groups in every major region of the globe. Power sharing is not an end in itself but a means to an end No single universally-acceptable model of power sharing, but there is a broad menu of conflict-regulating practices, institutions, and mechanisms (Sisk, 1996:116). Lijphart (1969; 1985) defines power sharing as a set of principles which, when carried out through practices and institutions, provide every relevant group in a society representation and decision-making abilities on common issues and a degree of autonomy over issues of importance to the group 21

22 Power sharing Contd. Conditions under which power-sharing arrangements work out in achieving success towards resolving ethnic conflict within a diverse polity: i) Involves accommodating a core group of moderate political leaders in ethnic conflicts who are genuinely representative of the groups they purport to lead; ii) The practices must be flexible to allow for equitable distribution of resources; iii) They should be home-based conditions which should not be too externally-motivated; iv) Parties can gradually eschew the extraordinary measures that some power-sharing practices entail and allow a more integrative and liberal form of democracy to evolve. 22

23 Power Sharing Contd. Studies have shown two basic methods-namely the consociational method held by Lijphart (1968, 1969, 1985) –minority protection, where coalitions are formed after an election The integrative method mostly authored by Horowitz (1985, 1991, 1993)- encourages inter-ethnic cooperation, where coalitions - prior to an election. 23

24 Nigerian Minorities & Power Sharing From 1960 Till date, Nigeria has had 2minorities as C-in-C; Yakubu Gowon (Military) & Goodluck Jonathan (Civilian) See Table 2 24

25 Date Name (Ethnic Origin)State October January 1966 Sir Abubakar T. Balewa (Hausa/Fulani)Bauchi (majority) January July 1966Gen. J.T.U. Ironsi (Igbo)Abia (majority) July July 1975Gen. Yakubu Gowon (Ngas - Minority)Plateau (minority) a.July February 1976Gen. Murtala Mohammed (Hausa/Fulani)Kano (majority) February October 1979Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo (Yoruba)Ogun (majority) October December 1983Alhaji Shehu Shagari (Hausa/Fulani)Sokoto (majority) December August 1985Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (Hausa/Fulani)Katsina (majority) August August 1993Gen. Ibrahim B. Babangida (Hausa/Fulani)Niger (majority) August November 1993Chief Ernest Shonekan (Yoruba)Ogun (majority) November June 1998Gen. Sani Abacha (Kanuri) Borno but lived in Kano in his life time. June May 1999Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (Hausa/Fulani)Niger (majority) May May 2007Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo (Yoruba)Ogun (majority) May 2007-May 5, 2010 Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua (Hausa/Fulani) Katsina (majority) May 6, 2010 Till DateDr. Goodluck Ebere Jonathan (Ijaw-minority from south-south) Bayelsa (minority) Table 2: Distribution of Political Leadership at the Presidency by States and Ethnic Origin ( ) 25

26 Minorities & National Assembly Majority groups dominated a greater part in both chambers (see Table 3) Clerks of the National Assembly (Exclusive Preserve of Hausa/Fulani) Alhaji Gidado Idris Dr. Adamu Mohammed Fika Alhaji Ibrahim Salim Alhaji Nasiru Ibrahim Arab 2010 (3months)Prince Oluyemi Ogunyomi 2010 Till DateAlhaji Salisu Abubakar Maikasuwa D/Heads –minorities currently lead- 8 out of

27 Periods Senate House of Representative PresidentDeputy PresidentSpeakerDeputy Speaker First Republic Dr. Nnamidi Azikwe (Igbo Chief Dennis Osadebay (Igbo) Nwafor Orizu (Igbo) Oba Adeniji Adele II (Yoruba) Alhaji Ibrahim Jalo (Hausa- Fulani) Dr. B.U. Nzeribe (Igbo) Second RepublicDr. Joseph Wayas (Southern minority) John Wash Pam (Middle belt minority) Hon. Edwin Ume Ezeoke (Igbo) Hon. Benjamin Chaha,[Middle Belt Minority] Oct1983- Dec.1983 Alhaji Idris Ibrahim (Hausa- Fulani) Hon. Olusola Afolabi, [Yoruba] (Oct Dec.1983) Third Republic Prof Iyorchia Ayu (Middle Belt minority) Sen. Ameh Ebute 1993 (Middle Belt) Albert O.Legogie (Edo- minority) Albert O.Legogie Mr. Agunwa Anaekwe (Igbo) Hon. Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano- Hausa-Fulani) Fourth Republic i.i.Chief Evan Enwerem, ii.ii.Dr. Chuba Okadigbo, iii.iii. Anyim Pius Anyim, iv. iv.Adophus Wabara, v.v. Ken Nnamani (i-v all Igbo); vi. vi. David Mark (middle Belt minority) i.Alhaji Haruna Abubakar, (Hausa-Fulani) ii Senator, Ibrahim Mantu (Middle Belt minority); iii. Ike Ekweremadu (Igbo) i.Alhaji Ibrahim Salisu Buhari, ii. Ghali Na’Abba, iii.Bello Masari (Hausa/Fulani), iv.Dimeji Bankole (Yoruba), v.Aminu Waziri Tambuwal (Hausa/Fulani) i.Mr. Chibudom Nwuche; (southern minority-Rivers) ii.Austin Okpara Southern minority-Rivers); iii. Usman Bayero Nafada (Hausa-Gombe), iv. Nkem Ihedioha(Igbo) 27

28 Clerks of the National Assembly (Exclusive Preserve of Hausa/Fulani) Alhaji Gidado Idris Dr. Adamu Mohammed Fika Alhaji Ibrahim Salim Alhaji Nasiru Ibrahim Arab 2010 (3months) Prince Oluyemi Ogunyomi 2010 Till dateAlhaji Salisu Abubakar Maikasuwa 28

29 Conclusion From the colonial era, some constitutional & administrative efforts have been made, to reconcile the multi-ethnic -unusual composition- majority group = two-thirds and minority groups one-third” Paradoxically, minorities are still faced with several challenges. State creation was originally meant to savage the minorities overbearing pains and neglect= turned to be instrument of further exploitation and repression of the minorities Elites to recognise power sharing practice as an important stepping stone towards more fully competitive and participating democracy. Recent developments in our democratic system in addressing some of the challenges in the minorities' zones deserve some commendations. 29

30 Policy Recommendations As a framework for true federalism, six-geo- political zones should be formalised, constitutionalised & strengthened 2 tiers= FG & Zonal GOVT discrimination, ethnicity, statism, divide and rule politics and promotion of selfish interests, to be replaced. Residence rights for all citizens. 30

31 Policy Recommendations Retain bicameral legislature; Reduce cost by reduction of membership Senate 12/zone & FCT 1 (12x6+1 = 73Senators) HP 36/Zone + FCT3 (36x6+3 = 219 Members) Unicameral for Zonal Houses & Members between each/ethnic diversity Power sharing/defeated parties to have representation; SA/Ethiopia Lessons Power shift/power sharing/rotation of Presidency 31

32 Policy Recommendations Contd. Encourage & strengthen IGR Deliberate efforts to create minority influence; accommodate minorities in distribution of offices/power sharing scheme Federal cabinet/equal number/zone; also supreme court Evolve institutionalised system of decision-making that would involve minorities at all stages/minimise crisis due to ethnic differences/to avoid regular pol. Dissatisfaction Maximum of 10 years for residency rights/privileges/elective posts 32


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