Rotational Presidency And Power Shift As An Instrument Of National Integration In Nigeria.

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One of the biggest issues Nigeria is grappling with, apart from systemic corruption, is that of the perennial struggle among the various regions and ethnic groups that make up the country for power at the centre or federal level. If it is not elements in the North insisting power should return to them, it is elements from the south insisting they have not had enough of it yet to let go. This jostle since independence has led not only to the various regions and ethnic groups working against one another, but also stunting of the nations development, violence and crisis before, during, and after general elections. The cry of marginalization and threat of secession by southerners has been as a result of the “sit tight syndrome” and perpetual dominance and control of central power by Northerners. The fear of dominance by the north has threatened the corporate existence of Nigeria Severally, the rest of the ethnic groups that failed to find themselves in the mainstream of power at the centre resort to unpatriotic attitudes and pursue the interest of their region or ethnic group to the detriment of our national aspirations. The effect of this unequal sharing of central power is already devastating. The big question is “what is the best way to integrate the entire region or zones to guarantee stability and the much needed development?” To that extent, I chose to write on the topic “Rotational Presidency and Power Shift As An Instrument of National Integration in Nigeria”. The objective of this research work is to critically examine the principle of Rotational Presidency and Power shift as a recipe to political stability and the extent to which it can engender National Integration. The methodology adopted for this research is content analysis. During this research work, the injustice and marginalization that exist in power sharing and distribution at the central government of Nigeria was unraveled. It was also discovered that the principle of Rotational presidency is indigenous to Nigeria and thus will suit the ethnological peculiarities of Nigeria. Finally I recommended the strict adoption and sincere application of Rotational Presidency as an elixir for the many leadership and ethnic problems bedeviling Nigeria.




Title page-      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      i

Approval page-       -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      ii

Dedication-     -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      iii

Acknowledgment-   -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      iv

Abstract--      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      vii

Table of content-    -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      viii


1.1  Background of the study-      -      -      -      -      -      -      1    

1.2  Statement of the problem-    -      -      -      -      -      4

1.3  Objectives of the study--      -      -      -      -      -      7

1.4  Significance of the study-      -      -      -      -      -      -      9

1.5  Scope and limitations of the study-      -      -      -      -      10

1.6  Theoretical framework-  -      -      -      -      -      -      11

1.7  Hypothesis-    -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      13

1.8  Method of data collection and analysis--      -      -      14

1.9  Definition of terms--      -      -      -      -      -      -      14

       References-    -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      18


2.0 Literature Review     -      -      -      -      -      -      -      19

2.1  The philosophy of rotational presidency-      -      -      -      26

2.2  Features of rotational presidency-  -      -      -      -      31

2.3  Modalities for implementing rotational presidency-             37

2.4  Arguments against rotational presidency-     -      -      40

2.5  The relevance of rotational presidency--      -      -      44

       References-    -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      57


3.1  The federal character principles-    -      -      -      -      59

3.2  state creation--      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      64

3.3  Power shift: the national question-       -      -      -      -      66

3.4  Obstacles of the implementation rotational presidency in    Nigeria-   -       -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      72

       References-    -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      74


4.1  Heads of state 1963 to 2016  -      -      -      -      -      76

4.2  Vice presidency 1960-2016    -      -      -      -      -      79

4.3  Senate president    -      -      -      -      -      -      -      80

4.4  Speaker of federal house of representatives  -      -      81  

4.5 Chiefs of Nigerian army-         -      -      -      -      -      82

4.6 Inspectors-General of Police in Nigeria from 1964 to present

       -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      85  

4.7 Ministers of Defence since 1960- present-    -      -      86  

4.8 Ministers of internal affairs in Nigeria from1990 to present-  -      -      -       -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      88


       References-    -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      90


5.1  Summary-      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      91

5.2  Conclusion-     -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      95

5.3  Major findings-       -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      97

5.4  Recommendations-        -      -      -      -      -      -      100

       Bibliography    -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      104          





       Since the attainment of independence in 1960, Nigeria has been haunted by general political instability. Her political history has been punctuated by social upheavals, deepening ethnic cleavages, attempted secession, and threats of secession, military coups and corruption. The atmosphere of the Nigerian politics has been assailed by ethno-Political movements and incoherent struggle for central power. The tragedy of Nigeria is that after fifty-six (56) years of independence, succeeding government, whether military or civilian, has predominantly contrived to be a birth right of ethno-geographical entity, specifically the North, to the political annihilation of other sections of the country.

       The impression has been created that Northern Nigerian Oligarchy can only allow a Northerner to lead Nigeria be it in a military or civilian government. In these connections, the question of competence of leaders and the correspondent ability to offer positive leadership which can erect virile and stable nation has been made secondary to the primary decision to hoist Northern Nigerian leadership upon the rest of Nigeria in pursuit of hegemonic legacies. This unrestrained power nomination by the North had made other sections of the country unbridled and restive. However, the continued dominance of the North in the political affairs at the centre could be traced to colonial legacies of our British masters. The 1960 constitution, like its predecessors, provided for larger representation in parliament for the Northern region than Eastern and western regions put together. Also, the quota system which was effected during recruitment into the colonial army which gave the North 50%, the East 25% and the south 25%. The problem was not with the principle itself but its process, the quota system was not based on geographical distribution but on the system of elective representation that was introduced. Eme Awa having critically analyzed power sharing at the centre submitted that “the Northern claim of numerical superiority over the south, with the resulting concentration of political powers in the hands of Northerners constitutes today the greatest threat to the unity of the Nigerian federation.

       The perpetual dominance of the North at the centre has led to social unrest severally. The apex of this crises was some how reached when June 12 1993 election, which produced a southerner was annulled and an interim government instituted. The end result of June 12 annulments was the emergence of late General Sani Abacha as the Head of state. Many sections in the country are crying for being marginalized, to dispel the fear of continuous domination of political power by the North a viable political system must be adopted to ensure political integration and stability in Nigeria.

       It is by the foregoing that this research work seeks to take a voyage to examine and analyze Rotational presidency and power shift, Its adoption and implementation as an instrument of National integration which will engender peaceful co-existence, economic recovery, justice and equity, and of course, political stability.



       Every scientific research generally evolves from a problem or problems that are usually obvious. Nigeria, a heterogeneous society since independence has witnessed several threats to it’s corporate existence resulting mainly from the continuous domination of political power by a section of the country. It is this haphazard leadership arrangement that necessitate questions of National leadership as follows;


a.  What is national integration?

b.  What led to a particular section of the country dominating the rest in terms of political power?

c.   Why do the South and East shout foul at the concentration of power in the North?

d.  What are the consequences of depriving other sections of the country from power at the centre?

Other issues which constitute problem of this research study include that:

          I.        Injustice exists in power sharing between the component sections of the country. The North has been accused of monopolizing political power to the detriment of others.

       II.        Also identified as the greatest source and origin of Nigeria’s political problem is the colonial legacy of 1914 to 1946, namely, the arbitrary amalgamation of the diverse ethnic groups into a single entity called “Nigeria” and the principle of regionalism which divided the country into three unequal parts.

    III.        The fifty-six (56) years of Nigeria’s political independence, the central power has largely been dominated by the North ruling for thirty nine years (39) while the south has only got there by struggle and by compensation in 1999 for the June 12 1993 annulment, and 2010 when a Northern President died in office and his deputy, a Southerner constitutionally replaced him.

     IV.        Minorities accuse majority ethnic groups of sentencing them to a permanent second class status and would therefore want a new arrangement that guarantees them access to national power.

        V.        The problem of the value of power that is largely concentrated at the centre particularly the office of the President.


       It is the foregoing issues and questions that this study seeks to proffer solution and see the extent to which the option of rotational presidency can alleviate the problems of National integration to achieve unity, stability and prosperity.



       Efforts have been made by many Nigerian leaders and scholars to find lasting solution to the various problems bedeviling Nigerian politics. These efforts are yet to yield satisfactory results. This project is undertaken as a result of a patriotic concern for the ailing political stability in Nigeria. The aims of this research include the following:

a.  To examine how political power at the centre was concentrated on the North and how such monopolization of power has contributed to our political instability and disunity.

b.  To illuminate the wide agitation and adoption of rotational presidency in Nigeria. Its attempts to resolve the issue of power concentration on the North, with a view to providing logical analysis of the causes and effects of political instability.

c.   To critically and objectively examine the principle of rotational presidency as a recipe to political stability and the extent to which it can engender National integration.

d.  To prove that rotational presidency is the solution to the problem of domination of political leadership and the key to stable democracy in Nigeria.

e.  To examine the short coming in the principle of rotational presidency and the likely problems that will hinder its effectiveness in Nigeria.

f.    To let critics of this model understand that Nigeria can fashion a democratic framework that is peculiar and indigenous to the heterogeneous structure of the country.


       The clamour for peaceful co-existence rooted in justice in accordance with the general principle of equity has been very elusive in Nigeria. The essence of this research endeavor is to contribute its own quota to the solution of injustice and marginalization in the National leadership of the country by advocating and projecting the principle of Rotational Presidency in Nigeria. It is observed that much has been written on rotational presidency and power shafting. For that we cannot vaunt that this work may open up an entirely new ground that has not been heard of or written about.

       We do believe that this research is undertaken to help unravel how and where Nigeria got it wrong in its leadership which has stunted its National growth. It is a contribution to beef up the already existing literature in political science and on this contemporary issue of Nigeria’s integration. The recommendations of this work if prudently adopted and genuinely applied will help Nigeria overcome her leadership quagmire and imbibe the tenets of democracy that is anchored on fairness, equity and compromise to entrench the much needed integration in Nigerian federalism.



       The scope of this study is highly restricted to the Nigerian political leadership question. It is aimed at identifying the major problems confronting the Nigerian society, power distribution especially at the federal level from 1960 to the present day. The study like most other research has its peculiar limitations which include lack of official records and government documents. Another limiting factor apart from lack of material is the issue of finance; Due to financial constraint we could not go to all parts of the country to seek opinion and views of Nigerians on the problems of domination of leadership and the option of rotational presidency.

       However, a conscious effort has been made to cushion those limitations to ensure that this research is adequate in scope and quality.



       Theoretical framework refers to the ideas, conceptions and manners in which scholars understand and explain a given problem. The systems theory, which this research will largely base on, was propounded by David Easton (The political system, 1953). Easton spoke of a social system as containing four subsystems, devoted to adaptively, goal-seeking integration and latency which relate respectively to politics, economy and society. Easton was influenced by biologists’ model of ecological systems. Easton agrees that the society like an animal system comprises different sub-units standing in the same characteristic structural relationship to one another and interacting on the basis of certain processes.

       Therefore, the system analysis as a theoretical premise will help to conceptually explain or analyze the fact that the society called Nigeria constitutes subsets of larger/related component parts. When the system itself begins to malfunction, the problem could be traced to the breakdown of a unit or units or lack of co-operate and cogent interaction between and among the various units. Systems theory explains Nigeria as a system with the various sections that make up the country as the sub-units, and Northern monopoly of political power as a reason for the breakdown of the other sub-units and rotational presidency as a countervailing alternative.



       Hypothesis is a tentative statement explaining an observation or scientific problem that can be tested by further investigation or experimentation. In line with this, these useful guesses have been formulated as hypothesis for this research:

a.  The continuous control of political power by the North has led to unpatriotism, disunity and political instability in Nigeria.

b.  The lasting panacea to the endemic political instability in Nigeria is the permanent entrenchment of Rotational presidency in the political system.

c.   There is significant relationship between the practice of rotational presidency and national integration.

d. The adoption of the principle of rotational presidency in Nigeria will restore the spirit of Nationalism and patriotism in the Nigerian polity.


       The method adopted for this research is principally content analysis. A substantial portion of the data to be used in this research is going to be derived from textbooks, journals, magazines, newspapers and other materials like official documents in relation to rotational presidency and power sharing in Nigeria and beyond. The above is referred to as secondary data.


       The various concepts utilized in this study demand expression for a better understanding of this research report.

These concepts include:

   I.        Rotational presidency: This refers to the deliberate political strategy of ensuring that every section of Nigeria produces a president or has legitimate access to the highest office in the country. It could be seen as a political arrangement in which every section of the country produces a president in turns. Rotational presidency is believed to constitute a way of overcoming the cleavages of ethnicity, regionalism and hegemonies such that each Nigerian component unit is provided the opportunity at one time to produce the president of the nation.

 II.        National integration: This depicts a situation whereby the diverse ethnic/geopolitical zones are fused together as a single entity with common goal. it also refers to the coming together or desire and willingness of the different ethnic groups of the country to work together in peace and harmony for the common good of all which must be cemented with policies faithfully  formulated and executed for the benefit of the different entities that make up the country. According to Abernethy B, national integration means “a successful emphasis on the unity that transcends conflict without necessarily dominating it”.

a.  Asogwa, (2011) defined national integration as “the process by which local loyalties become weaker as the loyalty to the central government develops.” This definition implies a situation whereby the component units pledge absolute loyalty to the central government.

b.  National integration is the actual unification of different ethnic groups or sectional interests into an entity with common National goals and objectives. Thus, National integration is nothing but the existence of groups in a system (nation) in a peaceful harmony.

III.        Power shift: As used in this work, power shift refers to the process of sharing not only the presidency but other strategic legislative and executive positions both in the economic sector among the various ethnic groups in the country to ensure fairness.

IV.        Monopolization of power: This means the concentration of the political leadership of Nigeria in one section of the country to the detriment of other sections. This-breeds feuds in the country among the various ethnic groups. Monopolization of power by Northern Nigeria has severally threatened the corporate existence of the country; it has led to threats of secession by the affected sections. This is because they feel marginalized and schemed out of decision making process of the Nation.

  V.        Ethnic group: This refers to social group which is distinguished by basic cultural characteristics of language, custom and heritage.

Ethnicity: it is a feeling or consciousness or ethnic sentiments for the pursuit of parochial selfish interests


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