Author:Yemi Adewoyin (University of Nigeria)
Paper short abstract:
The cries of unequal development through the political process in Nigeria, which led to the abolition of regional governance for a unitary system of government and a return to federalism, albeit with expanded numbers of sub-national units, are yet to abate prompting fresh debates for a panacea.
Paper long abstract:
Sixty-three months after independence from Britain, Nigerians woke up to a bloody military coup led by five Army Majors. In the national broadcast by the coup plotters to announce the change of government, the exercise was described as a revolution to address the several ills of the ousted administration including corruption, tribal sentiments, and nepotism in governance and its attendant spatial expression in different parts of the country. The emerging military government which abolished the prevailing confederal system of government for a unitary system was toppled seven months later by another set of coup plotters from Northern Nigeria who felt the region suffered the most casualties in the first coup. The new government devolved powers to the regions and created states to balance the spread of development across the country. With perceived increase in nepotism and territorial injustice, the Eastern Region declared itself a Republic and a thirty-month civil war followed. Since the end of the war in 1970 and the fragmentation of Nigeria into 36 federating units afterwards, spatial inequality in levels of development among the constituencies has remained a constant topic in the country prompting fresh debates over whether to restructure the country along regional lines as obtained at independence. The contributions of subnational jurisdictions, the politics of their emergence, and how well they have addressed development inequality in Nigeria are examined in this work using both primary and secondary data. Analysis of data shows that Nigeria fared better with regionalism while intra-regional inequality was less pronounced.
Critical junctures of change: comparative subnational politics, spatial inequalities and development (Paper)