FEDERALISM AND THE PROBLEM OF MINORITY QUESTION IN NIGERIA
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The Nigerian federalism is a creation of the British. Before the arrival of British colonialists, the area now known as Nigeria was inhabited by peoples who belonged to different empires, kingdoms and societies, which were traditionally administered.
The relationship between these various entities was characterized by much conflict and little co-operation. Furthermore, such vices as cannibalism, ritual murder and the killing of twins were rampant among some of the peoples (Adigwe, 1974).
The arrival of British and other European explorers, merchants and religious missionaries tempered and eventually reduced these vices to the barest minimum. After a series of efforts at pacification and conquest, effective British occupation of the area took place from the Royal Niger Company, whose charter was revoked in that year. Consequent upon this, three separate territories emerged. These are Lagos, the Protectorate of Southern Nigeria and the Protectorate of Northern Nigeria (Wikipedia, 2015).
Federalism is a system of government in which governmental parts that exists in a country are shared between central government and component region. It is also defined as the system of government in which governmental parts are shared between the central government, i.e. the federal government and its components (state and local government) (Akpoto, 1995).
Generally, federalism connotes the existences of two levels of government, each constitutionally or jurisdictionally empowered to make decision independent of each other within the legislature sphere assigned to it. The classic definition of a Federal Government, as provided by Sir Kenneth Wheare, is a system of government in which sovereignty is divided between the central and state governments. He then concluded that in this system of government, each level of government should be limited to its own sphere and, within that sphere, should be independent of the other.