The Nigerian federation has been enmeshed in contradictions, paradoxes, controversies and crises. These are subsumed in the national question, and social groups of varying ideological learning’s cohere on the central issues. These are linked to national unity, local autonomy and self-determination, equitable distribution of revenue, rewards, opportunities and power. They also include the observation and implementation of fundamental human rights, among which are the rights of franchise and empowerment, and socio-economic right to basic needs satisfaction, sustainable environment and life quotation above, the Nigerian federal principle has been struggling against the forces of social cohesion. The exponential growth of this phenomenon is not only common in Africa where Nigeria is geo-politically located but also in the new federations of Asia and the Caribbean Islands 9Ray, 2006: 171). The cardinal goal of federalism is the promotion of unity in diversity. Therefore, federalism as a system is not only about uniformities. In a young federation like Nigeria, with diverse ethnic nationalities, there are social and economic factors which contribute to integration and also impede integration in a variety of situations.
Scholars have noted that the dynamics of federalism requires the identification of these forces. Perhaps, this will give impetus to national cohesion and put divisive tendencies at bay. The assumption is that, given the plural and polyglot nature of the Nigerian society, the marginalization of some sections, especially the minority group such as the case of the Niger Delta region and Biafra, becomes a likelihood. There will definitely be claims and counter (Segun, 2011). It is this development according to Segun (2011) that makes integration a difficult task. However, it should be noted that there are usually basis for these claims as amplified by South-south (Ifeka, 2014: 100). The intriguing force behind the south-south episode is evidently the politics of oil but that of the south-east is quite different, it is the struggle for separation and autonomy; but this has not been easy for then (Omoruyi, 2015). Ifeka (2014:99) however notes that the basis for the struggle is the enormous deprivation been experienced by the host communities. Moreover, the inequalities in the distribution and oppression by bigger groups and their collaborators within the smaller groups have frustrated the minority people of the south-south south –east (Angaye, 2013). Their doggedness to resolve this anomaly has set the country on a key of gunpowder. This is a very good example of the governmental offices Onitsha all in the name of Biafa demonstration for liberty and autonomy (Ray, 2006).
1.2 Statement of Problem
In his expository analysis on ethnic politics in Nigeria, Agbu (2015:31) states that ethnic minority politics has basically relegated the minorities to dominated or subordinated groups who often times take solace in engaging in ‘spoilers are in the forefront of the calls for a restructuring of the Nigerian federation. The revelation given above explains the role played by ethnicity or ethnic politics in encouraging marginalizing in Nigeria. The position maintained by Angaye (2013) is that conflict occurs when deprive groups or individuals attempts to increase their share of power and wealth or to increase their hare of power ad wealth to modify the dominant values, norms, beliefs or ideology. Emphatically, when a group begins to nurse the feelings of strangulation, emasculation and discrimination, conflict may ensure. The instrumentality of politics and theoretical issues from the view of Akindele, Obiyan and Owoeye (1998: 1), politics can be understood as an act or practiced that involves the skills, insight and astuteness of a leader or other officials involved in politics as a struggle of contending ideological viewpoint as a struggle of contending ideological news points on the allocation and distribution of resources, if the resources are not evenly distributed crisis may anound. He went further to say that politics determines who gets what, when an why’. The oppression of the disadvantaged groups such as Biafra and the desire consolidate power will give birth to the twin concepts of ‘resistance politics’ and ‘resistance to change’. (Natufe, 2014). Astuteness of a leader or other official involved politics a struggle of contending ideological view points on the allocation and distribution of resources, if these resources are not evenly distributed crisis may be abound. He went further to say that politics determines ‘who gets what, when and why’. The oppression of the disadvantaged groups such as Biafra and the desire consolidate power will give birth to the twin concepts of ‘resistance politics’ and ‘resistance to change’ (Natufe, 2014). The oppressed and marginalized elements argued for systematic changes that will eliminate the cause of their oppression. They demand for equity and fairness. This condition is termed ‘resistance politics’. On the other hand, ‘resistance to change’ is championed by the elements of the ruling class, which include representative of the military and civilians in politics (Natufe, 2014). This context (resistance to change), is a major obstacle to social progress as pointed out by the scholar. The above juxta position captures the relationships between the south-south, south-east and the federal government of Nigeria. The south-south and south-east is notorious for resistance politics while the federal government is rigidly resistant to change. Ideologically, Marxists argues that the ruling class determines the form and content of the means of production as well as the distribution and consumption of national wealth (Murkherjee and Ramaswamy, 2007: 348-387). Consequently the demand for the independent state by the Biafra and resource control by states of the south-south and the unwillingness of the federal government to address these vital issues has precipitated violence and want on destruction in the region. The institutionalization of large-scale corruption has become identified with the Nigeria politics.
The federal government became an over-bloated bureaucratic system due to the concentration of too much resources to the center (Adeola, 2008:8). Under various regimes, there was profligate spending of natural resources. This has in reality, been the cause of the struggle in the south-south, south-east in which the premise was based on historical dialectics, which implies that the struggle actually predates the political independence of Nigeria and the struggle between Ojukwu, leader of the then Biafra and Gowon, the then head of state in 1967 – 1970 (Aghalino, 2006:301). As noted by Lea and Young (cited in Jike, 2005:153), the struggle stems from widespread social deprivations, developments disjointedness and inequities including the allocation of government revenue, ancillary infrastructure or appointment to choose public positions. With this situation, the Biafran people began to perceive a profound sense of marginalization and alienation from the realities of a prosperous nation whose wealth is derived from the bowel of the Niger Delta and Eastern region. This has entrenched poverty and dualized the economic classes in these regions for some time now.
Another major problem and factor which hinder the development of the Biafran states is corruption. The high level of corruption among government officials in Nigeria can also be linked to high prevalence of agency activities that are associated with the large proportion of the resources controlled by the government (Akpan, 2005:41). According to Adeola (2008:8), corruption has not only become institutionalized but also glamourized in Nigeria as a result of overconcentration of resources to the center. The peculiarity of the south-east and south-south as region that deserves attention for development has for long been recognized but not actualized. It should be stated that efforts at ameliorating the plight of the region started in the pre-independence Nigeria. This study therefore seeks to address the problems identified above.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
This study is carried out to look at intensively into marginalization: A manace to federalism with special emphasis on the case study of Biafra in the fourth republic. The following are therefore the specific objectives of the study; to:
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following research questions will be answered –in this study;
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
The following hypothesis will be tested by the researcher in the course of this study;
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The relevance of this study or work is not only to review the marginalization of Biafra in the fourth republic which has become a menace to federalism in Nigeria, but to ascertain whether the principles of federalism are followed in the real practical sense in Nigeria, since the system has brought more harm than good to the Nigerian society as a whole.
This study is basically produced to fulfill an academic requirement. Nevertheless, it is hoped that it would go a long way to encourage more meaningful development efforts on the issue of marginalization which is now a menace to federalism in Nigeria, especially that of the Biafra in the fourth republic.
This study is not intended to break an entire new ground, rather, it’s undertaken in the premise that it will add to the existing literature in the area of political science. In addition this study is very necessary especially at this point where Nigeria is practicing federalism and where every geopolitical zone and ethnic group claims that they are been marginalized either in one way or the other especially the Biafra group of the Eastern Nigeria. This may hinder Nigeria economic development.
This study is expected to guide political sciences, economist, administrators, management various government parastatals, state and federal government officials and all those who are highly marginalized to gain understanding of how proper implementation of the federalism principle can help avert the enormous problems of federalism practice in the fourth republic. However, the findings will also provide useful background information to future research in the contribution of political science towards nation’s building and national integration.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This work focused on the recurring issues and problems of federalism in Nigeria which have led to the marginalization of the Biafra people in the fourth republic. It will also cover the problems associated with federalism, the causes of marginalization, the level at which the Biafra people have been marginalized, the shortcoming of federalism practice in the fourth republic, and highlight means in which the government have attempted to resolve this problems in the fourth republic.
1.8 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
In the course of this research work, the researcher encountered some problems most difficulty was that of finance in view of the present economic hardship in Nigeria. The researcher had to go traveling in search for sufficient materials in publishing firms (newspaper houses) and visit to National Institute of International Affairs (N.I.I.A) and other institution, since the research work entail mostly the use of newspapers, magazines and articles, but some of the attitude of the officials were not encouraging in letting out the materials.
There was also the problem of the time to travel in pursuit of materials, coupled with the fact that lectures were going on and there were assignment that has to be done, all this was not easy to put together. Even with this entire shortcoming the values of the research work could not be robbed off.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
The following key terms were defined for the purpose of clarity;