Case for political decentralisation in Nigeria

Umaroho, B 2006, Case for political decentralisation in Nigeria, Masters by Research, Global Studies, Social Science and Planning, RMIT University.


Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Case for political decentralisation in Nigeria
Author(s) Umaroho, B
Year 2006
Abstract This thesis examines the process of gradual political centralisation in Nigeria from the colonial period until today. It argues that since the formation of Nigeria in 1914, there has not been an effective state administrative structure in the governing of the nation. Pre-independence Nigeria (1888-1960) was characterised by a flawed structure put in place by the British colonial administration and the changes implemented by the successive military regimes and associated constitutional developments that followed independence have not changed the underlying problems established during this period. Traditional approaches to political decentralisation in developing countries generally involve delegation, devolution and deconcentration. However, the role of traditional institutions in a decentralised governance structure is not always made explicit. Rather the potential roles of trad itional institutions are assumed to be part of the local administrative system (e.g. local governments). As a result, they are defined as part of the governance process. This limits applicability of these models to a country as ethnically diverse as Nigeria. The central argument put forward in this thesis is that an ideal decentralised administrative system is practicable in Nigeria only if the traditional institutions actively participate in the governance of the country. However, a review of the administrative system for the period 1914-2005 shows that the powers of the traditional institutions have been eroded over time. The thesis concludes by proposing a model for decentralising the complex administrative structure of Nigeria through 'institutional reconciliation'. The model follows previous approaches, but proposes a separation of the traditional institutions from both the administrative and governmental units (federal, state and local government). The thesis argues that the legitimacy of policies unde rtaken by any of the government units rests on these policies being consistent with ethnic, religious and cultural beliefs. It proposes one means of putting in place such a form of 'institutional reconciliation' while highlighting the potential problems that may also result.
Degree Masters by Research
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Global Studies, Social Science and Planning
Keyword(s) Nigeria
Federalism
Governance
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