Federalism is the bedrock of democratic edifice for a country of Nigeria’s size and bewildering diversities. Like India, also a federal state which has been rightly described as a land of “million mutinies”, Nigeria is a deeply divided and plural society. The polity is known to have many ethnic groups, which scholars have put at different figures. Nigeria is, one of the most ethnically diverse
countries in the world with well over 250 ethno-linguistic groups, some of which are bigger than many independent states of contemporary Africa. It is not surprising therefore that these ethnic groups are always in conflict and competition for scarce Resources. Indeed, this is not unexpected especially between and among “ethnically defined constituencies”. The reason is that almost by definition, ethnic
groups are in keen competition for the strategic resources of their respective societies. This is the case in Nigeria and other plural and segmented polities. It was in an attempt to weld together her disparate ethno-religious and linguistic entities that Nigeria opted for federalism in 1954.
national integration is a plural society where component parts are reasonably contented in the polity vis-à-vis equity and justice in resource allocation cum access to equal opportunities. Federalism is an effective way of achieving and preserving both integration and stability in deeply divided societies. federalism is a magic formula that can channel irreconcilable inter ethnic hostility into conciliation and federal co-operations”
It is not only democratic, complete with the institutionalization of most essential ingredients, it is creative and flexible enough to incorporate several accommodation formulas’.In short, it is considered the most appropriate framework for governing multi-ethnic societies for, according to Marc and Heraud, “federalism and ethnicity form a solidarity couple” (Glazer, 1997:71).
In the same vein, Nathan Glazer, opines that, “to couple federalism and...