The Emperor’s New Clothes? Federalism, the Decline of Old Loyalties and the Rise of New Jealousies

  • J. N. C. Hill


Federalism is contributing to Nigeria’s failure in four main ways. First, it is fuelling the ethnic tensions and religious hatreds that are undermining the quality of life of tens of thousands of Nigerians. The cities of Kano, Kaduna, Maiduguri and Jos are regularly plunged into sectarian violence resulting in considerable loss of life and damage to property. At least some of this death and destruction is caused by the federal and state authorities who permit and instruct the police and army to respond with extreme force. The widespread anger and resentment this causes continue to drive some Nigerians into the arms of insurgent groups and others to support secession. By fuelling these tensions the Federal Government is not only failing to promote the flourishing of all its citizens, but it is also assisting groups and organisations which are either preventing it from exercising total control over its territory or seeking to break Nigeria up.


Niger Delta Religious Community Ethnic Enclave Main Ethnic Group Ethnic Tension 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Eghosa E. Osaghae, Nigeria since Independence: Crippled Giant (London: Hurst, 1998), p. 34.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    C.M. Ngou, ‘The 1959 Elections and Formation of the Independence Government’, in Peter Ekeh (ed.), Nigeria since Independence: The First 25 Years (Ibadan: Heinemann, 1989), p. 100.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    William D. Graf, The Nigerian State (London: James Currey, 1988), p. 36.Google Scholar
  4. 6.
  5. 7.
  6. 11.
    Walter Schwarz, Nigeria (New York: Praeger, 1968), p. 178.Google Scholar
  7. 15.
    Kalu N. Kalu, State Power, Autarchy, and Political Conquest in Nigerian Federalism (New York: Lexington books, 2008), p. 189.Google Scholar
  8. 18.
    Human Rights Watch, Arbitrary Killings by Security Forces: Submission to the Investigative Bodies on the November 28–29, 2008, July 2009, available at (accessed 2 April 2012), p. 3, and John Boye Ejobowah, Recognition in the Nigerian Public Sphere: A Liberal Argument about Justice in Plural Societies (Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2001), p. 140.Google Scholar
  9. 31.
    Cited in Matthew Parris and Andrew Bryson, Parting Shots (London: Viking, 2010), pp. 282–283.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© J.N.C. Hill 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. N. C. Hill
    • 1
  1. 1.King’s College LondonUK

Personalised recommendations