Following the provisions of section 2(1), (3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Nigeria is made up of a collection of thirty-seven autonomous governments- a central government with certain authority and powers throughout the country and other thirty-six governments scattered around different geographical areas regarded as states.
The states exert powers and authority with jurisdiction in areas not assigned exclusively to the central government. This implies that powers are shared between the central (federal) and the state governments to foster cooperation and promote separation of power.
Hence, the primary goal of federalism, as adopted in Nigeria, is to accommodate the political autonomy of the different sections of the country and achieve national unity. However, Nigerian federalism has since inception failed to accomplish this goal, as many states are still not capable of being financially autonomous.
The disintegration of several parts of the country with hostility and lack of cooperation has resulted in perpetual dependence on the federal government for allocation and loans, which contradicts the tenets of federalism.
While establishing more states could serve as a means of securing the wellbeing and development of the minority ethnic groups in Nigeria, however, the majority have continued to benefit much more from state creation to the disadvantage of the minority ethnic groups.
As a result, there has been increasing agitations for establishing new states among different ethnic groups. Meanwhile, rather than solving the problems of Nigerian federalism, the creation of more states has added to the problems due to scarcity of economic resources and imbalance of power among the government.
For Nigerian federalism to bring desired results, there is a need to restructure the government structure, particularly the constitution, to cover the basic tenets of democracy.
Also, there should be a proper way to strike the imbalances in the sharing of powers, as well as adequate allocation of resources between the central government and other units of government for them to be autonomous as required by the principle of federalism.
Also, there should be a balance to the imbalance in the power-sharing formula, as well as proper allocation of resources between the central government and other units of government for them to be autonomous as required by the principle of federalism.