Federal Character principle is
one of the policies adopted by the Federal Government to accommodate the
various federating units in the country. The idea was to foster peace,
inclusiveness and to promote national unity among the diverse groups that make
up the country. The policy was also
meant to ensure integration of the diverse ethnic groups and at the same time
maintain unity in diversity. This inspired this study to investigate the impact
of Federal Character Principle on Civil Service in Nigeria using the National
Planning Commission between (2004-2009) as its focal point of study. The broad objective of the study is to
evaluate how federal character principle has impacted on civil service in
Nigeria between the periods under review. The data for the study were collected
using primary and secondary sources of data. The data collected were analyzed
with content analysis, correlation coefficient and z-test statistical
analyses. David Easton’s system theory was
adopted as theoretical framework. The theory postulates that there is a
structural interdependence in all systems and a dysfunction in one part of the
system affects other parts respectively. The study found out that federal
character principle occasioned the recruitment of unqualified personnel in the
Nigerian civil service and therefore promoted mediocrity in the service. This
is contrary to the primary aim of fostering national integration. We however
recommended that the federal character principle should be restructured in a
way to ensure that the best candidates are chosen for jobs while adhering
strictly to the dictates of the federal
character commission to ensure equity and merit.
Title Page i
SECTION ONE: INTRODUCTION
the Study 1
the Study 6
the Study 6
Scope of the
the Study 7
SECTION TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW
Character and the Problem Inequalities in the Civil Service 10
2.1.1 Federal Character and Educational/
Recruitment Process in the Civil Service 13
2.1.1 Application of the Federal Character
Principle and its Impact on Policy
2.2 Conceptual Review 16
2.2.1 The Concept of Federal Character Principle 16
2.3 Review of Empirical Literature 19
2.4 Gap in Literature 22
2.5 Theoretical Framework 23
2.6 Justification of the Theory to the Study 24
2.7 Research Hypotheses 25
SECTION THREE: METHODOLOGY
3.1 Research Design 26
3.2 Sources of Data 26
3.3 Methods of Data Collection 26
3.4 Population of Study 26
3.5 Sample Size and sampling Technique 27
3.6 Validity of Research Instrument 28
3.7 Reliability of Research Instrument 28
3.8 Method of Data Presentation and Analysis 28
SECTION FOUR: DATA PRESENTATION AND
4.1 Questionnaire Distribution and their
Responses Returned 30
4.2 Data Presentation 31
4.3 Data Analysis and test of hypotheses 41
SECTION FIVE: SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
5.1 Summary of findings 48
5.12 Conclusion 49
5.3 Recommendations 49
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
is a heterogeneous state, like many sub-Saharan African states. In the Northern
part of the country, there are the Hausas, the Fulanis, the Kanuris, Igalas and
many others. In the Southern part of the country are the Yorubas, the Edos, the
Urhobos, the Ibos, the Ibibios, the Ijaws and other minority ethnic
groups. The religion of the people of
the north is dominated by Islam, while the South is dominated by Christianity
and a host of other indigenous religions.
spite of all these differences, the Colonial Government under Lord Fredrick
Lugard unified the various people under a common administration in 1914. This
union has been described by Ayoade (1998) as a forced brotherhood and
sisterhood. Ever since, the country has been confronted with the challenges of
accommodating diversity, fostering inclusiveness and promoting national unity
among these diverse groups that make up the country.
to the attainment of independence in 1960, the desire of many citizens of
Nigeria (irrespective of their origin, class, religion, cultural affiliation or
gender) was to enjoy the rights, privileges and opportunities that the country
offers. However, as the clamor for
independence deepened, the expectation of an egalitarian Nigeria was far from
being realized. For example, in 1954
when Nigeria opted for a federal system of government, it was observed that
within the Nigerian nation, there were differences in culture, varying stages
of social, economic and educational development of different sections of the
country having recognizable advantage in the employment of their indigenes in
the public service. Mustapha, ( 2007).
Efforts by the Federal Government to surmount these
unpleasant challenges led to the introduction of the concept of Quota system as
a policy in the recruitment of persons into the Armed forces, police force,
immigration as well as admission into educational institutions. With the
attainment of independence, the need to define criteria for the equitable
spread of development, appointments and admission into federal owned institutions
became even more pertinent.
the leadership and citizens of Nigeria acknowledged the need for equity and
fairness, there were no specific guidelines for its realization. According to Adamu (2003), sharing and
allocation of resources as well as the distribution of infrastructural
amenities were done voluntarily, arbitrarily and not mandatory. In addition, there were no defined procedure
of sharing resources and manpower of the federal government. Overtime, many
citizens and various sections of the country began to feel excluded,
marginalized and ignored in the scheme of things in the nation. This necessitated the review and adoption of
the Quota system in 1967 for filling vacancies into federal owned schools,
establishments and ministries. Ironically, the policy was carried out without
having in place a body that is constitutionally charged with the responsibility
of implementing it.
the disruption of democratic process of the Second Republic upon which the 1979
constitution was based, the federal character principle was affected as various
military governments clearly ignored the principle both in appointment and
allocation of resources. Ayoade (1998) contends that imbalances still exist
with deep feelings of real and imagined deprivation and marginalization
expressed by many Nigerians. Crisis from aggrieved and marginalized sections of
the nation were known to disrupt the peaceful co-existence of Nigerians for
was against this background that the Gen. Sanni Abacha’s regime sought among
other things to redress most of the issues that had generated conflicts in the
country. Consequently, the Federal
Character Commission was established in 1996 after the constitutional
conference of 1995.
problem with federal character seems to be the means or methods of implementing
the principles and achieving the objectives.
Since the objective of the Federal Character is to secure national unity
and loyalty, then efficient governance seems suitable as a method of achieving
that goal. Furthermore, the implementation of the Federal Character Principle,
recruitment of qualified personnel which will guarantee good service delivery
seems to be dominated by favoritism and ethnicity instead of meritocracy.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Nigeria is a multi-ethnic society with over
250 ethnic groups. For a long time in Nigeria, distribution of resources and
employment opportunities had remained on the principle of arbitrariness. This
has resulted in ethnic bickering and cry for marginalization and domination. It
was in a bid to address the cry of the minority groups that the Federal
Government introduced the Federal Character Principle which was enshrined in
Nigerian constitution in 1979 and 1999 respectively. The fundamental aim of the Federal Character
was to ensure that appointments in public service institutions fairly reflect
the linguistic, ethnic, religious and geographical diversity of the country as
well as maintain peace and unity in diversity. This diversity was the major
reason that necessitated the introduction of the Federal Character Principle in
the application of Federal Character Principle has not been intending with the
provisions of the constitution or the emphasis on achieving unity, fairness,
justice, equity and peaceful co-existence. The political class whose duty it is
to implement these policies have continued to abuse it by promoting
marginalization, inequity and injustice in representation.
does appear that the law itself has not got fair interpretation because if
those whose mandate it is to implement these policies derail from their
mandate, the law suppose to define terms of engaging them or punishing them for
violating the provisions of the constitution.
For instance in 2017, President Muhammadu Buhari was
accused of appointing only Hausa/Fulanis in his cabinet which was against the
provision of the constitution. There was
no stipulated penalty in the constitution to punish high ranking personality
like the president who violates such laws.
has also been gross misconduct in the area of employment due to sectional
consciousness and nepotism from those in authority in the ministries and
parastatals. Federal institutions while
trying to obey the principle of Federal Character, seem to recruit unqualified
persons in the ministries without minding the effect of such actions to the
efficiency and quality of output to the nation.
However, successive governments after the civil war have tried to resolve
these problems through policies such as the creation of states and local
governments, establishment of unity schools, revenue allocation, rotational
power sharing and federal character principle, yet these problems persist.
the ethnic, regional and religious cleavages in Nigerian society are made more
problematic by systematic and overlapping patterns of inequalities that
correspond to the cleavages. These
inequalities are caused by complex range of factors including history, cultural
orientation, national resource endowments, geography, religious affiliation,
current government policies and past colonial policies Soludo (2007).
is pertinent to say that the introduction of federal character principle has
not solved the problem of injustice, marginalization and inequality in the
Nigerian civil service. In fact the major issue that is currently destabilizing
the survival of Nigerian civil service is the federal character. This is
because people take up positions that they do not merit but has to occupy them
because they are either appointed to occupy such positions or because it is
their quota to provide personnel for such positions.
is also worthy of note that the federal character principle was well
intentioned, but were hijacked by the politicians and used as tool of formation
as the whole idea of setting up of these programmes were politicized, thereby
undermining the objectives of setting up the policy. For instance,
beneficiaries of these programmes are usually party faithfuls, loyalists,
family members and friends instead of members of the society, that is those who
are qualified for the posts.
Consequently, some qualified job seekers are denied
employment and they get frustrated because they are asked to pay either in
cash, in kind or both to gain employment for a job they know that they are
qualified for. Some of these
discriminated job seekers end up unemployed and vent their frustration on the
society in forms of prostitution, armed robbery, kidnapping, terrorism, human
trafficking, internet fraud and other social vices or even leave for greener
pastures abroad. The category of job
seekers who paid their ways into employment end up engaging in various corrupt
practices in order to recoup their “investments”. The fact remains that the majority who paid
their ways were hardly taken on merit, their productivity is always short of
expected standards. They go on promoting unhealthy competition and tribal
dominance in public service.
the foregoing therefore, it appears that the objectives of the federal
character principles are not achieved the way it is being applied in Nigeria.
It seems that the federal character
principle does not stipulate stringent penalties that are commensurate to the
gains therein for defaulters. Arbitrary application of the principles seems to
be brewing acrimony and rivalry among the contending groups. The Federal Character Principle according to
Ibike (2012) appears to be responsible for the brain-drain of our nation’s best
brains. It could be argued that the
Federal Character Principle’s application is responsible for the low output of
the nation at large with regards to national integration, harmonious
co-existence, political activities, economic development and fight against
corruption because people take up positions that they do not merit but has to
occupy them because it is their quota to provide personnel for such positions’.
above arguments, accusations and counter accusations are what this study is set
out to investigate and find answers
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
following research questions were posed to guide the study:
To what extent
has the application of Federal Character Principle fostered inclusiveness and
promoted unity in diversity in Nigeria?
To what extent
has the practice of Federal Character Principle solved the problem of personnel
imbalance in the civil service?
How does the
application of the Federal Character Principle promote mediocrity in the civil
1.4 OBJECTIVES OF STUDY
broad objective of this study is to examine the extent to which Federal
Character Principle has favored national integration in Nigeria civil service,
with particular focus on National Planning Commission, Abuja.
The specific objectives are:
whether the application of federal character principle has been able to foster inclusiveness and promote unity in
diversity in the country.
To examine the
relationship between Federal Character Principle and personnel imbalance in the
To ascertain the
extent to which the Federal Character Principle has promoted mediocrity in the
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
work is significant in more ways than one, and to that extent its significance
would be shown in two levels: theoretical and empirical.
this study will contribute in theory-building to assist student researchers and
scholars in finding solution to the role of Federal Character Principle and its
impact on the Nigeria civil service. It will also serve as a reference point
for further studies.
this study will be of immense importance to the Government and the
representatives of the people by equipping them with the knowledge of the
impact of federal character principle on civil service in Nigeria and the best
way to apply the principle to yield better result.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
scope of this research is limited to a critical examination of the impact of
Federal Character Principle on civil service in Nigeria with special focus on
the National Planning Commission.
1.7 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
The researcher encountered some difficulties in the
course of doing this work. The attitudes of some respondents were nothing to
write home about. The reactions of some of the respondents posed a lot of
problems. Some were reluctant to air their views, some did not return their
questionnaire, some returned unfilled questionnaire. Some of the problems were
however, surmounted by revisiting the respondents and convincing them on the
need to assist the researcher in completing the questionnaire.
Character Principle – A principle
of representatives in which recruitment, promotion, and distribution of
resources are aimed at establishing a fair balance of ethnic and regional
representation in all federal government agencies and parastatals.
Merit System: Is a personnel system in which comparative merits
or achievement governs each individual selection and progress in the service
and in which the conditions and regard of performance contributed to the
competency and continuity of the service.
Management: Is the activities of recruitment, employment,
manpower planning, employee training, management development wage, salary
administration, health and safety (at work, benefits and services, union-management
relations and personnel research.
Public Service: It is viewed as the comprising members of all public
institution financed and maintained by the tax payer, and the emoluments of
whose member, regularly authorized by the legislature acting in concert with
Manpower: This refers to individual’s ability or capability
available for labor to be employed into any organization.
This refers to affective utilization of manpower capability available through
the process of motivation, training, rewarding, evacuating etc, in the
Meritocracy: Rule by merit and talent. By extension, now often
used to describe a type of society where wealth, income and social status are
assigned through competition
Mediocrity: Not having quality skill or ability. Short of
standard ability of achievement
Integration: National integration
is the togetherness and oneness felt by the citizens (even after having
differences in cast, creed, religion, culture, language. Region etc) of any
country to maintain the national unity and integrity as well build a strong
diversity: Unity in diversity is a
concept of “unity without uniformity and diversity is a concept of “unity
without uniformity and diversity without fragmentation” that shifts that shifts
focus from unity based on a mere tolerance of physical, cultural, linguistic,
social, religious, political, ideological and/or psychological differences
towards a more complex unity based on an understanding that difference enriches
Imbalance: Refers to inequality
in the appointment or recruitment of
personnel to accommodate the federating units in equal proportion.
Planning: This is a development
plan that will analyze the country’s objectives and priorities in relation to
various sectors of the economy, education, health, sport, culture and tourism
etc in response to well-identified national needs.
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