A CRITICAL ANALYSIS FOR THE ESSENCE TO REVIEW SECTION 8 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA (1999) ON STATE CREATION PROCESSES IN NIGERIA

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A CRITICAL ANALYSIS FOR THE ESSENCE TO REVIEW SECTION 8 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA (1999) ON STATE CREATION PROCESSES IN NIGERIA

ABSTRACT

The existence of littoral units or governmental units with a larger sovereign State, is a common feature of most governmental structures. But the exact manner in which these administrative fragmentations should be done and when they should be done, remains a source of deepening controversy not just for the political scientist and economist, but also for the lawyer keen on the constitutional administration of any given case. The case is no different for Nigeria wherein the issue of state-creation has sometimes sown fruits of discord among the multifarious ethnic and political groupings of the country. This is of course, in part, due to the constitutional provisions relating to state-creation in the country. Against the backdrop of the aforesaid, this paper x-rays the constitutional provisions for state-creation in Nigeria, and advances arguments on the need to review the constitutional provisions bordering on state-creation in the country.

 

A CRITICAL ANALYSIS FOR THE ESSENCE TO REVIEW SECTION 8 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA (1999) ON STATE CREATION PROCESSES IN NIGERIA

 

CHAPTER ONE

GENERAL INTRODUCTION

1.1. Background of Study

The marginalisation of minority ethnic groups within the cauldron of Nigeria’s current federal structure has been an often-repeated concern since 1960. Yet, the concerns are as valid and strong today as they were six decades ago. It is for this reason that prior to independence, the

British government set up the famous Willinks Commission of Enquiry to ‘ascertain the facts about the fears of minorities in any part of Nigeria and to propose means of allaying those fears whether well or ill founded’.[1] Although this Commission rejected state creation as a permanent panacea to allay fears of domination instead of constitutional safeguards[2], the very fact that this Commission was set up to investigate perceived ethnic marginalisation, is evidence that fears of domination of minority ethnic groups by majority ethnic groupings are real. Therefore, despite early oppositions to state creation on the basis of ethnic groupings by the British imperialists, it did not take too long after independence for the Midwest state to be created in 1963 as an expression of the core yearnings of the people of that area.[3]

The now defunct Midwest state thus enjoys the status of being the only Nigerian state to be created under the Nigerian republican constitution of 1963, and not by military fiat.

Subsequently, endeavours to create states in the Nigerian federation have been carried on by successive military governments; beginning from the regime of Col. Yakubu Gowon. Now, it must be mentioned that the procedures for creation of states in the post-military era is statutorily documented under the provisions of Section 8 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (hereafter referred to as CFRN 1999). Yet, it is the opinion of some scholars that it is difficult to implement the provisions of this section because of the long and complex procedures adumbrated therein.

Some scholars have cited the problem associated with the creation of new local governments as not to bedevil state creation in Nigeria.[4] Moreso, because the provisions of Section 8 of CFRN 1999 is yet to be tested, coupled with the long and complex constitutional procedures, it is very glaring to see a necessity for a review of the provisions of Section 8 of CFRN 1999. This is especially necessary in the light of the continuous yearnings of Nigerians for separate states and the stalled processes which have trailed such yearnings.

Against the foregoing backdrop, this paper is a brave attempt to advance arguments in favour of the review of the provisions of Section 8 of the CFRN 1999 in relation to state creation in Nigeria.

 

1.2. Statement of Problem

The clamour for state creation in Nigeria has persisted for as long as the country has existed. And with the return of the country to democratic rule in 1999, many groups have continued to yearn for the creation of States of their own through constitutional means. Nevertheless, the fact that these yearnings have not translated to creation of states have not only indicated that there is a lack of political will to do so, but also that the complex and complicated process required to create a new state under the Nigerian constitution have made it difficult to achieve. Thus, some scholars have opined that the procedure for state creation under the provisions of Section 8 of the constitution is herculean in a manner that makes state creation possible only under a dictatorial or military administration.[5] This complex constitutional procedure has been adduced as the primary reason why no new state has been created since 1996 despite pressing necessities for such.6

 

1.3. Research question

In view of the above, the questions which this research seeks to investigate are

  • does the provision of Section 8 of the Nigerian 1999 constitution require a review to facilitate the process for creation of new states in Nigeria?
  • Is the complex constitutional procedure in section 8 of 1999 Constitution of Nigeria the primary reason why no new state has been created under democratic rule?

 

1.4. Aim & Objective of the Study

The aim of this research is To advance arguments in favour of constitutional review of Section 8 to ease the process of state creation as a means to assuage marginalisation agitations, and reduce the propensity for further growth of secessionist movements (which are sometimes violent) across the country.

At a time in Nigeria’s history when secessionist agitations have reached an all-time high due to perceived marginalisation, the specific objectives which this research hopes to achieve include the following:

  • To stimulate, sustain, and contribute to ongoing constitutional discourse on the review of constitutional provisions for state creation in Nigeria.
  • To identify the lacunas and deficiencies in Nigeria’s constitution which frustrates the state-creation process.
  • To present well-researched arguments that will influence legislators and relevant stakeholders to take steps to redress the extant constitutional problems that makes statecreation in Nigeria unduly cumbersome.
  • To provide a researched foundation for further investigative and scholarly research into the constitutional review of the provisions of Section 8 of the 1999 Constitution.

 

1.5. Scope & Limitations of Study

The principal scope of this study is the advancement of arguments in favour of the review of the provisions of Section 8 of the 1999 Constitution regarding state creation in Nigeria. To provide adequate background knowledge into this subject, this research historicizes the state creation process in Nigeria under the various military regimes and the botched constitutions. Further, this research considers the tripartite requirements for state creation in Nigeria, and go on to show why they are unworkable within the Nigerian politico-legal structure. This research shall also consider arguments which may be raised against the review of Section 8 of the 1999 constitution.

This paper shall not consider the politics of state creation in Nigeria. Discussions will be limited strictly to arguments and legal considerations for constitutional review of Section 8 of the 1999 constitution.

 

 

1.6. Significance of the Study

This study is important in view of the increase in the tempo of calls for creation of states across the country since her return to civil rule in 1999. In the South-East region of the country for instance, there have been calls for the creation of Adada State from the current Enugu State.[6] In the South-West, there are also demands from various socio-cultural groups for the creation of Oke-Ogun from the present Oyo State.In the North-Central region; there are similar calls for the creation of Okura state from Kogi State.[7] There are also identical calls from sociocultural groups in states like Adamawa, Taraba, Kano, Kaduna etc., for the creation of their own states. In the light of these events, this essay is timely research that hopes to proffer solutions towards easing the constitutional process regarding state creation in Nigeria. To this end, this research is significant for two reasons, viz.,

  1. It would serve as a prompt for the Nigerian government to respond to the yearnings of the people through the constitutional review of Section 8 of the 1999 constitution.
  2. It would furnish relevant stakeholders with the relevant knowledge needed to justify their submissions for constitutional review of Section 8 of the 1999 Constitution at the ongoing public hearing on constitutional review this year (2021).

 

1.7. Research Methodology: 

The research method employed in this research is doctrinal. A doctrinal approach to research is one of the commonest methods of conducting legal research, and it is heavily focused on case-laws, statutes, and other legal sources.[8]

For the purpose of achieving the aim of this study, the research will rely heavily on primary and secondary sources of law in form of statutes, regulations, judicial decisions (where available), law textbooks on the subject, articles of legal scholars in refereed journals, opinions of respected lawyers, views of experts, and conference papers. As regards the nature of the work/topic, much reliance will be placed on internet materials because of the difficulty in accessing adequate literature on the subject.

In this work, efforts have been made to reference every work used in this research, and this research does not infringe on the rights of any set of persons neither does it malign the beliefs of any group of persons or ethnic groupings.

 

1.8. Literature Review

 

‘When a writer offers a book to the public on a subject which they have knowledge of, he is bound by a kind of literary justice to inform his readers distinctly and specifically what he intends to supply and what he expects to improve.’[9]

The above words are a useful prelude to this section which examines the work of previous writers on the subject of state creation in Nigeria, and offers an insight into the unique contributions of this essay to extant literature which propose arguments on the need to review Section 8 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution.

Because state creation is such an important subject in an ethnically pluralistic State like Nigeria, it has attracted the attention of several scholars. According to Suberu (1995), the agitation for new states had transformed from a political mechanism for assuaging ethnic minority fears into a generalized strategy in the competitive struggles among diverse constituencies for federal resources.[10] According to Ota, Ecoma & Wambu (2011), the creation of States in Nigeria was anchored, ostensibly, on the need to extend governance closer to the people and to allay the agelong fears of some ethnic groups concerning the over-bearing influence of their ethnically more populous neighbours. [11] Adejuyigbe (1980) has observed that state creation will engender development and check regional economic disparities as well as ensure equality in both political participation and the sharing of federal government resources.13 In the opinion of Suberu (1998), the idea of State creation would constitute an unnecessary distraction from the task of government because of the unending competition for the resources of the Nigerian State which, more or less, has as its basis, ethnically-defined constituencies.[12]

Ajagun (2004) has argued that the demand for state creation increased during the second republic (1979 – 1983) due to lack of proper attention to all sections of such communities and such inequality could only be corrected if states are further divided.[13]

Yongo (2015) has noted that after Gowon’s creation of twelve states, the subsequent creation of states was also in response to the ‘national question’ as raised by various ethnic groups.[14] He further observed that there is no state created by any military regime that was not a response to demands by agitators who were usually former or would-be civilian politicians.[15]

For Ekekwe (1986), the hidden hand of class contradiction and the opposing class interest of the country’s dominant social forces lie behind virtually all the virulent and interminable communal agitation for the creation of more states and local government areas as well as for the establishment of an ethnic-based confederacy.15Ayoade (1999) sees state creation as a strategy of the northern oligarchy to ensure the perpetration of what he called ‘Northern ascendancy’ in the

Nigerian federation, on the one hand and to divide and rule the East and the West whereby ‘both of them would continue to be vassal states to the north”.[16]Sharing this sentiment, Adetoye & Omilusi (2016) have agreed that since the Nigerian federation was administered by the “Northern military”, the latter has used the balkanization of the south to help the North achieve its political ascendancy agenda in the country.[17]Thus, every military government in Nigeria headed by a northerner had always helped the “caliphate” actualize its agenda of northern hegemony.21Yongo (2015) has however disagreed with this view, arguing instead that; it is not true that the creation of more states by either General Gowon in 1967 or by subsequent military regimes was simply the arbitrary or self-serving act of soldiers from ‘Northern Nigeria’. [18] According to Yongo (2015), what is true is that there was an overwhelming and persistent demand for the creation of states for them in the areas inhabited by ethnic minorities.20

According to Adetoye & Omilusi (2016), the problem of state creation in Nigeria is a derivative of the ‘national question’.[19]These scholars note further that the use of ethnic, religious and other communal bases for political and economic competition and legitimization among status quo beneficiaries has become the strategy in the hands of the ethnic populations in Nigeria to etch themselves in critical positions in resource allocation process in the country. In this process, the elite manipulate regional, state and local government apparatus for class and communal competition and personal aggrandizement.

1.8. C: Criticisms of State-Creation:

Gana (1987) has affirmed that creation of state helps state capitals put on a facade of development in the springing up of a fresh crop of nouveaux riches around commercial activities.[20] To this end, Gana (1987) concludes that state creation has merely been used by and has indeed served the class interest of the Nigerian ruling class.[21]

Emphasizing the point that state creation is a tool used for the realization of the personal agenda of state creators, Suberu & Agbaje (1999) have contended that ambitious military heads of states and other military elites are known to create new states to fulfil personal ambition of civilianizing through creation of clientele states to secure support from such population and to create a sphere of influence for themselves.[22]

Adetoye & Omilusi (2016) have also argued that the proliferation of states also leads to their incapacitation and the emergence of a very powerful centre.[23]

Egosiuba has argued that the creation of more states does not make economic sense.[24] He has also cognized the constitutional hurdles to state creation under Section 8 of the 1999 constitution by noting that it will be unrealistic to expect lawmaker to endorse the request of a section of the country that will reduce his or her state’s federal allocation.[25]

Katung (2021) has also observed that the procedure for state creation in the Constitution (Section 8) is herculean and Section 9 tightens the bolt against an amendment of the utopian Section 8, making it possible only under a dictatorial (military) system.[26]

An analysis of the opinions of the scholars above would reveal a recurrent lapse in most of their literature; the failure to make recourse to legal considerations in their analyses of the trends in state creation in Nigeria. Save for Katung and Egosiuba, the most of extant literature on state creation in Nigeria, have focused on politico-economic considerations on state creation in Nigeria. It is this gap in literature that this research hopes to fill. Thus, this paper seeks to consider from a legal standpoint, the various arguments for the review of Section 8 of the 1999 constitution and the simplification of the state creation process in Nigeria.

1.9. Synopsis of the Chapters

Chapter 1 summarizes the background of this study, states the research problems and objectives of the study. It also identifies the scope of the research, the methodology for conducting research and x-rays the work of previous writers on the subject of state creation in Nigeria.

Chapter 2 historicizes state creation in Nigeria and examines state creation under the various military regimes and botched constitutions in Nigeria.

Chapter 3 will take a deep dive into the subject of this research by analysing the constitutional provisions and requirements for state creation under the 1999 constitution.

Chapter 4 considers arguments for and against review of Section 8 of the 1999 constitution.

Chapter 5 of this research summarizes the findings of the research and propose recommendations, if any, regarding the subject of this research.

[1] R.T. Akinyele, ‘States Creation in Nigeria: The Willink Report in Retrospect’ (1996) African Studies Review Vol. 39, No.2 <https://doi.org/10.2307/525436> accessed 28th June, 2021.

[2] Ibid, p. 9

[3] Igho Natufe, ‘Midwest State and the Future of Nigerian Federalism’ Dawodu (Edo, 1999) <Midwest and NigerianFederalism (dawodu.net)> accessed 28th June, 2021

[4] Henry Alapiki, ‘ State Creation in Nigeria: Failed Approaches to National Integration and Local Autonomy’ (2005),  African Studies Review, Vol.48, No. 3, pp. 49-65 <http://www.jstor.org/stable/20065139?origin=JSTORpdf> accessed 30th June 2021.

[5] Ibrahim HassanWuyo, ‘Constitutional Amendment: Katung wants creation of Gurara State out of Kaduna’ ( Vanguard, June 11, 2021) <Constitutional Amendment: Katung wants creation of Gurara State out of Kaduna (vanguardngr.com)> accessed 10th July 2021. 6Ibid.

[6] Daily Trust, ‘ Despite Secessionist Agitations, Demands For New States Flood Constitution Review Panels’ ( Daily Trust, June 5, 2021) <Despite secessionist agitations, demands for new states flood constitution reviewpanels | Dailytrust> Accessed July 10 2021.

[7] Ibid.

[8] University of the West of England, ‘Research Methods: Doctrinal Methodology’ (ASC LLM Support)

<ResearchMethods: Doctrinal Methodology ASC LLM Support UWE (wordpress.com)> Last accessed 25th of October, 2021.

[9] Williams Parley, The Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, 2014

[10] Suberu A.T., ‘The Politics of State Creation’ in Adejumobi, S. & Momoh, A. (eds), The political economy of Nigeria under military rule 1984-1993 ( Harare, Supes Books).

[11] Ejitu Ota, Chinyere Ecoma, & Chiemela Wambu, ‘Creation of States in Nigeria, 1967-1996: Deconstructing the History and Politics’ ( 2011), American Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, Volume 6, Issue 1, 1-8 Pages.  13 Adejuyibe, O. Creation of States in Nigeria. Lagos: Federal Government Press, 1980.

[12] Suberu A.T., ‘The Politics of State Creation’ in Adejumobi, S. & Momoh, A. (eds), The political economy of Nigeria under military rule 1984-1993 ( Harare, Supes Books).

[13] Ajagun, S.O. (2006), Federalism: Problems of Power Distribution in Nigeria Being a Seminar Paper Presented at the Department of Public Administration, Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma.

[14] David Yongo, ‘State Creation since 1967:  An imperative of the military contribution to nation-building in Nigeria’ (2015), African Journal of History and Culture, Vo.7(3), pp.71-78  15Ibid.

[15] Ekekwe E., (1986), Class and State in Nigeria. Lagos: Longman Nig Ltd.

[16] Ayoade, J. A. A. (1999). The federal character principle and the search for national integration Federalism and political restructuring in Nigeria. K. Amuwo et al. eds. Ibadan: Spectrum books and IFRA.

[17] Dele Adetoye & Mike Opeyemi Omilusi, (2016), ‘ Ethnicity, Federalism and State Creation in Nigeria: Exploring Political Economy as a Theoretical Framework’, European Journal of Research in Social Sciences, Vol. 4 No. 5, 2016. 21Ibid.

[18] David Yongo, ‘State Creation since 1967:  An imperative of the military contribution to nation-building in Nigeria’ (2015), African Journal of History and Culture, Vo.7(3), pp.71-78 20Ibid.

[19] Dele Adetoye & Mike Opeyemi Omilusi, (2016), ‘ Ethnicity, Federalism and State Creation in Nigeria: Exploring Political Economy as a Theoretical Framework’, European Journal of Research in Social Sciences, Vol. 4 No. 5, 2016.

[20] Gana, A. T. (1987). The politics and economics of state creation in Nigeria. Nigerian Journal of Politics and Strategy. Vol. 11 No. 1 Kuru: NIPSS.

[21] Ibid. 

[22] Suberu, R.T. (1999). States creation and the political economy of Nigeria. Federalism and Political restructuring in

Nigeria. K. Amuwo et al.eds. Ibadan: Spectrum Books

[23] Ibid., n.20

[24] Michael Egbosiuba, ‘Constitutional Amendment and Quest for More States in Nigeria’ (All things Nigeria) <Constitutional Amendment and Quest for More States in Nigeria » All Things Nigeria> Accessed July 10, 2021

[25] Ibid.

[26] Ibrahim HassanWuyo, ‘Constitutional Amendment: Katung wants creation of Gurara State out of Kaduna’ ( Vanguard, June 11, 2021) <Constitutional Amendment: Katung wants creation of Gurara State out of Kaduna (vanguardngr.com)> accessed 10th July 2021

A CRITICAL ANALYSIS FOR THE ESSENCE TO REVIEW SECTION 8 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA (1999) ON STATE CREATION PROCESSES IN NIGERIA

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