PROJECT TOPIC- PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH THE PRACTICE OF THE FEDERAL CHARACTER PRINCIPLE IN NIGERIA, USING THE UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA AS CASE STUDY
- BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Nigeria is a multiethnic and multi-religious society inhabited by about 470 ethnic groups. These groups are not only distinguished by languages, customs and myth of origins, but they also vary in size, political power and influence, making Nigeria a classic example of a country with unequal ethnic relations. The country is also marked by cultural, geographical and religious heterogeneity, and above all, by a long history of migrations which makes all Nigerians to be settlers.
It is in recognition of this that the Architects of modern Nigeria, especially the early nationalists settled for a federal system of government as a mechanism for coping with the problems associated with the deep ethnic and religious diversities among the people. Over the years, efforts aimed at resolving the problems associated with multi-ethnicity towards the accommodation of the differences in the true spirit of “unity in diversity” has led policy makers to adopt a number of measures.
Among these comes to the lime-light, becoming effectively enshrined in the 1979 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Conscientious measures of this type involves some elements of power sharing and a deliberate attempt to regulate competition and access to resources and opportunities as a means of protecting groups considered to be relatively disadvantaged. However, in the Nigerian context, this has had a boomerang effect in the sense that problems which it is meant to solve are reinforced.
According to Elaigwu (1984:2), federalism is a compromise solution in a multinational states between two type of self-determination, the determination to maintain a supranational frame-work of government which guarantees security for all in the self-determination of the component groups to retain their individual identities on the other”. A measure that emphasis “ethnic arithmetic” is meant to moderate the divisive nature of ethnic and regional competition for power and opportunities. Unfortunately, in the Nigerian situation, especially due to the manner in which it has been implemented, the result is the heightening of ethnic tension and ill feelings.
The provision in the constitution regarding the implementation of the federal character principle has created more problems than it was intended to solve. For instance, in university of Nigeria Nsukka, Enugu Campus, existing opportunities have been limited to those defined as “indigenes”. This is observed in the process of admission into the institution whereby an indigene of the state is given special consideration which might place an obstacle on the path of those defined as “non-indigenes” from the enjoyment of their full citizenship rights.
Moreover, in the process of employment of staffs into the institution, emphasis is laid on indigenes which might result to the placement of the wrong staff to the wrong position and that leads to inefficiency and ineffectiveness of staff. Further, it is observed that some courses have been exclusively made for the indigenes of the state and cases of discriminating fees being paid by the students.
A situation where students of the state origin pays less to the detriment of students from outside the state which might lead to less sense of belonging among the non-indigenes in University of Nigeria, as antithetical to development in Nigeria. As an effort to solve these problems with the practice of the federal character principles, the federal character commission was established.
This was established by an Act of 1996 to address the problems of Nigeria’s socio-economic and cultural diversity through the application of the principle of Federal Character that will create a sense of belonging among the citizenry, which the federal character principles was originally meant to address. Unfortunately, this effort has proved abortive. This forms the background of this research work which the researcher intends to investigate using the university of Nigeria, as a case study.
PROJECT TOPIC- PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH THE PRACTICE OF THE FEDERAL CHARACTER PRINCIPLE IN NIGERIA, USING THE UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA AS CASE STUDY
- STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The research problem here is on the monumental failure of the practice of the federal character principle in Nigeria, since it’s introduction as a checkmate on the crisis of in-balance in the development of the various multiplicity of ethnic nations that constitute the Nigerian federation. Efforts over the years at addressing issues of unity in diversity among the federating units in Nigeria, have been bedeviled by factors that hinder the achievement of desired goals of the proponents of federalism in Nigeria.
One of these factors is the problem of misapplication or wrong implementation of the federal character principles. There also exists the problem of merit displacement where mediocrity have been used in place of meritocracy in the admission of students into the institution and appointment of staffs into positions. It is evident that some courses have been made exclusively for indigenes in the Nigerian universities, including access to certain rights and privileges conferred by public institutions.
Using university of Nigeria as a case study, privileges and some access to political leadership among students, scholarship awards have some times been limited to indigenes of the state. Even, admission into the institution, whereby the indigenes of the state have always been given special consideration. Moreover, the word ‘merit’ has been gradually rendered unfashionable by the federal character principle in the Nigeria educational sector.
Those who have been in charge of admission encourage parents through he collection of bribe and other means to swear affidavits to falsify the age of their under aged children, pay as surrogate candidate to take the examination for their children, buy leaked examination-paper for their children etc. The educated elite parents with influence have taken advantage of opportunities offered by the nebulous federal character principle and quotas to totally corrupt the educational system.
We have been conditioned by years of federal character principle. And we have come to accept appointments in terms of quotas not ability. Based on the above views, there would be a resultant effect of inefficiency and inadequacy in the educational sector of our country resulting from merit displacement and wrong implementation of the federal character principles. In consideration of these issues at stake, the following research questions are being put forward. Are there significant difference between the theoritical objectives of the federal character principles and the practice in UNN? Are there possible outcome of those significant differences? If so, are they advantageous?
- OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
This research is designed to: Identify the problems associated with the practice of the federal character principle in Nigeria, using the university of Nigeria as case study. It seeks to identify the possible impact of these problems to the educational sector in the nation. It shall also, analyse the practice of federal character principle in Nigeria with specific attention to it’s impact on development efforts in Nigeria. It is also, designed to suggest possible ways of improving the system of it’s implementation in the educational sector.
- SIGNIFICANT OF THE STUDY
This research is significant to students who might wish to use it as a basis for further research. Also, the data already gathered and documented in this project shall serve as a source of information to students and the entire society. Finally, it would be useful to the government and to the management of university of Nigeria Nsukka, Enugu Campus,who would learn from the findings herein, concerning how to proffer solution to the problems and prospects of the practice of the federal character principles within the educational sector in Nigeria.
- RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
The Research Hypothesis for this work are:
Ho: There are no significant differences between the theoritical objectives of the Federal Character Principle and the practice in the University of Nigeria.
Hi: There are significant difference between the theoritical objectives of the federal character principle and the practice in UNN.
Ho: There are no possible impacts of the problems associated with the practice of Federal character principle to the educational sector in the nation.
Hi: There are possible impacts of the problems associated with the practice of Federal Character Principle to the educational sector in the nation.
Ho: Practice of federal character principle does not have possible impact on development efforts in Nigeria.
Hi: Practice of federal character principle have possible impact on development efforts in Nigeria.
Ho: There are no likely means of improving the system of it’s implementation in the educational sector.
Hi: There are likely means of improving the system of it’s implementation in the educational sector.
- SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This research work is going to concentrate on University of Nigeria, since it’s inception in 1955 to the year 2005.
Reference has also been restricted to the problems and prospects of the practice of federal character principles in Nigeria.
Students and lectures are included in this study as it’s population of study which specific attention is paid to educational sector of the economy.
Finally, the time frame for this research is so limited to cover various sectors of the economy.
1.7 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
For the purpose of this research, many factors such as time, finance, and availability of relevant data on the topic and others posed as a constraint to the study. The period within which the project should be completed and submitted for defence poses other constraints, since it would be too short a space of time for the researcher to gather all necessary information, data and assemble them to meet the deadline.
Moreover, insufficient availability of relevant data on the topic posed difficulties to the researcher, as some relevant data was not within the reach of the researcher. Financial constraints forms part of the limitations to the research as effort to finance all necessary aspect of the work which the researcher would have engaged into cover the whole federation of Nigeria becomes so difficult. Hence, the researcher has to limit the topic to university of Nigeria.
1.8 THEORETICAL FRAME-WORK
In carrying out this research work, the researcher intends to use the system Approach Theory of David Eastern in the year,1940. David Easten’s Systems Theory (1940s), attempts to view the organization as a unified, purposeful system composed of interrelated parts. Based on this theory, rather than dealing separately with the various parts of an organization, it gives managers a way of looking at the organization as a whole and as a part of the larger, external environment.
This theory tells us that the activity of any part of an organization affects the activity of any other part. To merge their departments with the whole enterprise or institution, managers must communicate with other employees and departments, and frequently with representatives of other organizations as well. According to David Easten (1940s), the external environment consist of those elements outside an organization, relevant to it is operations. Organizations are neither self-sufficient nor self-contained.
They exchange resources with the outside environment and depend on it for their survival. For example, raw materials, money, labour and energy are the external environment input that the organization acquires and transforms into products or service and provide as an output to the external environment. David Easten’s Systems Theory (1940s), attempts to view the organization as a unified, purposeful system composed of interrelated parts.
Based on this theory, rather than dealing separately with the various parts of an organization, it gives managers a way of looking at the organization as a whole and as a part of the larger, external environment. This theory tells us that the activity of any part of an organization affects the activity of any other part. To merge their departments with the whole enterprise or institution, managers must communicate with other employees and departments, and frequently with representatives of other organizations as well.
According to David Easten (1940s), the external environment consist of those elements outside an organization, relevant to it is operations. Organizations are neither self-sufficient nor self-contained. They exchange resources with the outside environment and depend on it for their survival. For example, raw materials, money, labour and emerge are the external environment input that the organization acquires and transforms into products or service and provide as a output the external environment.
According to Wikipedia (2005:3), systems theory is an interdisciplinary field which studies relationships of systems as a whole. Modern systems theory was founded by Ludwig Von Bertalanffy, William Ross Ashby, David Easten and others between the 1940s and the 1970s on principles from philosophy, physics, biology and engineering and later grew into numerous fields including philosophy, sociology, organizational theory, management, psychotherapy (within family systems therapy) and economics among others.
Systems theory focuses on complexity and interdependence of relationships. A system is composed of regularly interacting or interdependent groups of activities parts that form the emergent whole. Part of systems theory, system dynamics is a method for understanding the dynamic behaviour of complex systems. The basis of the method is the recognition that the structure of any system – the many circular, interlocking, sometimes time-delayed relationships among it’s components – is often just as important in determining it’s behaviour as the individual components themselves.
Examples are chaos theory and social dynamics. Systems theory has also been developed within sociology. The most notable Scientist in this area is Niklas Luhmann. The systems framework is also fundamental to organizational theory as organizations are dynamic living entities that are goal-oriented. The systems approach to organizations relies heavily upon achieving negative entropy through openness and feedback.
In recent years, the field of systems thinking has been developed to provide techniques for studying systems in holistic ways to supplement more traditional reductionistic methods. In this more recent tradition, systems theory is considered by some as a humanistic extension of the natural sciences. Systems theory views an organization as a unified and purposeful system, which is composed of various parts.
It also sees as organization as a whole and therefore, there should be interrelationship between the various parts of an organization. Therefore, in operationalizing the Systems Approach Theory in this study, the various groups or sections that make up Nigeria as a federation should be seen and treated as a whole thereby promoting equity and fairness among Nigerian people for which purpose, the principle of federal character was initially initiated.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS AND CONCEPTS
In order to fully understand and appreciate this work, the researcher have set-out to study, it is imperative that a definition of some of the terms used in this research work be defined in accordance to it’s application.
Some of these terms are as follows:
(i) UNN: University of Nigeria.
(ii) Practice: Action rather than ideas
(iii) Principle: A rule or theory that something is based on.
(v) Prospect: An idea of what might or will happen in the future.
(vi) Ethnicity: The fact of belonging to a particular race.
(vii) Ethnic: Belonging to a race or tribe that shares a cultural tradition
(viii) Educational: Connected with education
(ix) Equity: A situation in which every one is treated equally.
(x) Diversity: A rang of many people that are very different from each other.
(xi) Constitution: The system of laws and basic principles that a state, a country or an organization is governed by.
(xii) Group: A number of people or things that are together in the same place or that are connected in some way.
(xiii) Institution: A large important organization that has a particular purpose. For instance, a university.
(xiv) Implement: To make something that has been officially decided start to happen or be used.
(xv) Sector: A part of an area of activity, especially of a country’s economy.
(xvi) Impact: The powerful effect that something has on something.
(xvii) Organization: A group of people who form a business, club, and etc. together in order to achieve a particular aim.