Dept: POLITICAL SCIENCE File: Word(doc) Chapters: 1-5 Views: 16


The researcher conducts a comprehensive interrogation on resource control; its meaning, agitation, and political stability as well as its manifestation as one of the most highly contentious issues in Nigeria’s federalism. The reseracher adopts a historical/descriptive method of enquiry and generates data largely from books, journal articles, magazines/newspapers and the Internet. The researcher argues that the central control of oil resources and the utilization of the revenue derived therefrom to fast-track the development of the nation tends to favour the major ethnic groups rather than the minority from which the oil is exploited. The conflict over the distribution of State resources and its control within communal territories exacerbated the difficulties of political accommodation in Nigeria’s federation. Findings have revealed that there has been innovation in the agitation for resource control in Nigeria’s Niger Delta region, which ranges from regional cleavages, States, m


1.1 Background of the Study

Resource control is a germane issue in Nigerian government and politics. This is largely because of the value attached to resources by the government and the people whose land the resources are domiciled (Adedeji, 2009). The fact that huge benefits are reposed in resources is self-evident. There are two sides of debate over resource control in Nigeria. On one side is the government and the other is the people. The government argues that Nigerian state needs resources to sustain the daily administration of the government and by the exploration and sale of resources; the government acquires some income with which to run the state without loss and deficits. In line with the ‘democratic space’, as Watts, (2013) noted, government is expected to provide for its people and must utilize every income made from resource exploration to the best interest of the people.

The state is also expected to furnish an arena suitable enough to host its human society without glitches and catastrophe by allocating the right values and privileges to the people living in the various sections and regions of the state. This cannot be done if the state is in chaos and or is witnessing an unstable peace in its resources administration process (Akinwumi, 2014).

The other side of debate features the people whose land the resources belong. They lay claim to the fact that, since the resources are domiciled in their land, they own them and they have every right of decision regarding its exploration and usage. To express and achieve this, the people who claim to be in ownership of the resources form fraternities and groups to champion their agitation over the resource control system (Saylor, 2016).

For instance, in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, there are Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People, Ijaw Youth Council, Committee of Oil Producing Areas, The Ohoni Bill of Rights, The Ikwere Charter of Demands, The Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta etc. These groups and their activities are all connected to influencing resource control in that region. Most times, their agitations are reflected when they make strict demands from the government, by issuing threats and sanctions to the government (Akpata, 2010).

Politics and controversy on revenue allocation and resource control are not new in the political and economic history of Nigeria and such are more or less significant in every federal system. But the degree at which these issues steam differs from one federal state to another and are also dependent on the type and characters of the federalism in practice. From Nigeria’s independence in 1960 up till 1981, the country’s resource control and allocation system have neither been efficient nor popular with manifold vulnerabilities, which resulted in the establishment of several commissions, changes, increases and decreases and reviews of control and allocation principles and formulas as observed by (Suberu, 2013). At a time, Nigeria operated unitary arrangement with a central government that was constitutionally powerful in fiscal matters. However, with the constitutional creation of three regions in 1946, the fiscal responsibilities of the federal government were taken over by the regions. By 1947 as noted by Adedeji (2009), there were constitutionally two main sources of revenue for the regional governments as Declared and Non Declared Revenue generated from within the regions and grants from the central revenue.

Efficient and popular resource control and allocation are essential to unity and stability between and among component part of every federation. It has also been critical and contentious socio-economic and political issue, especially among developing federal states. While in the developed world the main attention is on how to ensure proper exploitation and harnessing of resources, in states like Nigeria, control and sharing of these limited and unevenly endowed resources among the component parts is the bone of contention. The discovery of oil in Nigeria opened a new chapter for a marked shift from agriculture and solid minerals sectors to the fast monoculturisation of Nigerian revenue base and economy with consistent and dislocated dependence on oil revenue (Watts, 2013). At the same time, the more Nigeria depended on oil, the more the conflict, controversy and politics over oil and resource control and allocation.

In Nigeria’s history of federalism about nine fiscal commissions had been established to study or review system of revenue allocation and among the units of the federation from pre-independence to date (Amuwo, Agbale & Herault, 2018). Many of the Commissions’ establishments were largely influenced by issues related to oil minority communities and oil resource control. Nigeria has therefore been on a long term search for popular and viable resource control and allocation formula for its federal structure. These searches have been highly politicized and controversial between federal (central) government and basically oil producing states and communities on one aspect, and the federal, states and local governments on the other (Ross, 2011). It is, however noteworthy that Nigeria is a heterogeneous state, but with a monoculturised economy substantially dependent on oil, which accounts for more than two-third of its total generated revenue and foreign exchange earnings. While at the same time substantial revenue and expenditure of the tiers of the federation are dependent on the statutory allocation which is also based on sale and the price of crude oil with over 50% of the revenue being allocated to the central (federal) government (Azaiki, 2017).

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