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Issue 2018, 2

Globalization and Federation in Peril: Renewed Agitations for Statehood and the Future of Nigerian State

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Abstract: The paper examines how globalization induces tensions and prejudices in the federal state of Nigeria, which lead to separatist and secessionist movements. The methodological issues are based on documentary and content analyses and adopt a sociological approach as the framework of analysis. The approach argues that a federal structure permeated by forces of globalization, primordial sentiments and pretensions, agitations for self-determination are presented as separatist or secessionist movements. Research finding argues that the onset of globalization in Third World nations was perpetuated through colonial domination which created a divide and rule policy in the federal state of Nigeria. The policy of domination and marginalization by European colonialist and continued by the first republic politicians and military dictators have triggered agitations and counter agitations for secessionism in Nigeria. It is also argued from the research finding that deregulation of the downstream sector of the Nigerian oil industries in the Niger Delta region, one of the forces of globalization creates and intensifies unemployment, brings abject poverty and hunger, looses soil fertility, creates environmental pollution and degradation, destroys aquatic animals and prevalence of oil spillage. The outcome was the intensification of militancy operations in the region-fuelled secessionist movement by the inhabitants of oil producing communities. Furthermore, it is indicated by the finding of the research that trade liberalization – a rule of the game of globalization – allows the intrusion of small arms and light weapons into Nigeria by the secessionist movements and Boko Haram insurgents who want to establish an Islamic state based on theocracy. Possession of logistics and their applications for secessionism, therefore, pose a serious challenge to the corporate existence federalism in Nigeria. Moreover, the contagious theory effect of globalized media that provides chances of spreading the philosophy and successes of other secessionist movements elsewhere into the federal structure of the country has aided the process of agitations for separatism. The paper concludes that despite the demands for secessionism, the process left much to be desired as the Nigerian state continues to exist under a unified and indivisible country. 


Keywords: globalization, federalism, deregulation, trade liberalization, statehood.


Federations are facing difficult challenges in the era of globalization because it has generated pressures for reform in economic and political organizations as well as in inter-governmental relations of both developed and developing countries. There are forces in inter-governmental relations pulling in opposite directions, some tend to centralize functions of second-tier governments, such as the states in India, while others move to decentralize tiers downward thus creates and generates “subsidiarity” in institutions. Although, globalization at one level has given functional autonomy for efficiency and competition and attracted private capital, on the other however restricted the scope of independent sub-state level of fiscal policy (Bagchi 2008: 1). 

The biggest challenge facing federations in the contemporary democratic epoch is linked to the phenomenon of respect to the plurality of identity of human beings. The threats to federations are not only attributed and superimposed from the underdeveloped former European colonies of Africa and Asia but also from developed countries in Europe. Separatist movements are also prominent within the European Union, which presently has over 40 separatist parties (EFA 2014). The most notable of the movements include Scotland in the United Kingdom, Catalonia and the Basque Country in Spain, and Flanders in Belgium (Bieri 2014: 1). Separatism in the European Union seems paradoxical at first; because it is often regarded as a “post-sovereign” system and possibly a model for globalization (Mathews 1997: 61). The European Union was formed from the economic and institutional integration of European states in the decades after the World War II (Jones 2012: 11). While it is not a state itself, the European Union is capable of overriding the national laws and executive decisions of its member states (Krasner 2009: 28). Under the Union, Europe’s economy has been integrated into a single market under one currency, the Euro (Jones 2012: 14). Despite being highly integrated, separatist movements are not only emerging but also have the potentials to destabilize the Union. Separatism in the European Union challenges many assumptions about globalization and the international system. On the one hand, it poses threat to sovereignty and territorial integrity in the current Westphalian state system (Connoly 2013: 67). On the other, it challenges the notion that globalization brings the demise of the state; thus, the demand for new states increases, not decreases (Dayton 2015: 3). 

In Nigeria, a country that declared independence from Britain in 1960, but the military coup in 1966 stoked underlying ethnic tensions. In 1967, a southern group led by the Igbo people, one of Nigeria’s three major ethnic groups declared the independent Republic of Biafra. The tendency for secession was created by divide and rule policy of the colonial government a façade of colonial interest and globalization. Nigeria refused to recognize the breakaway state, and a three-year civil war ensued. Everything told, more than one million people lost their lives, many due to starvation. Biafra surrendered in 1970. But defeating a secession movement on the battlefield is a far cry from defeating its spirit and nearly half a century later, the dream of Biafra remains alive. These and other nationalist currents continue to make Nigerian politics choppy, as does a president (Muhammadu Buhari) whose frail health has the country continues on edge. Southern leaders have rejected secession calls as impractical. But the movement for Biafran statehood is still considered enough of a threat that the Nigerian military declared the Biafra separatist movement a terrorist group, harkening back to a simpler time when just wanting a homeland of one’s own was enough to be labeled a terrorist (Time 2017: 1).

Therefore, the objective of this study is to identify and examine the factors triggering the renewed agitation for self-determination and secession in some parts of the world especially Nigeria. This is because the agitations threaten the corporate existence of some federal states in the world especially in the developing countries that are mostly inhabited by multi-ethnic population and followers of religious groups. To achieve the objective, the paper consulted secondary data and analyzed the phenomenon of the decline of federations in the globalized world with reference to Africa and Nigeria in particular.



The concept of the federation was developed by Stepan. It is almost synonymous with notions of federal integration and unions (Stepan 1999: 23). He shows differences that prevail among federations established through devolution. Accordingly, holding together federations refer to those multi-ethnic federations established through a process of democratic bargaining (Stepan 1999: 22). In contrast, putting together federations like the former Soviet Union established through a heavily coercive effort by a non-democratic centralizing power to form a multinational state (Stepan 1999: 23) thus such federations lack democratic content. However, some of the countries in Africa that are beleaguered by demands for separation have accepted the gospel of democracy for more than a decade preached by the western political powers. Therefore, the system of government in operation is not the only causal factor that propels citizens to seek for a breakaway from an independent country. Relatively successful synthesis of republican and liberal-democratic ideals or of public and private autonomy is contemporary in crisis (Benhabib 2005: 673). The crisis is not democracy in nature in the first place but territorially circumscribed nation-state formation (Benhabib 2005: 673). Thus, the crisis has now become a commonplace in normative political thought as well as in the social sciences to foretell “the end of the nation-state” and “the demise of the Westphalian conception of sovereignty” (Benhabib 2005: 673). Colonial configuration of countries in their former colonies was one of the major factors that ignite separatist uprisings in developing nations that are facing internal strife for secession. The European colonialists integrated a diverse group of people that were hitherto separated with no any interaction and relationship to live together under a single entity despite their apparent incompatible cultural differences. This utters disregard to the diversity of the population in the former colonies planted the seed of discord and animosity especially in Africa, which led to civil wars and cross-border conflicts in most of the former European colonies.

In this respect, it is possible to divide federations broadly into two categories. In the first category, there are those federations that ensure territorial power-sharing and do not recognize ethnic and linguistic cleavages (József 2005: 246). Many of the older western federations such as the US, Australia and Germany fall under the categorization. Typically, they are termed, national or mono-national federations (Burgess 2006: 104; O’Leary 2001: 279). Most of these federations resulted from the coming together of their units, which previously existed independently. Their main purpose was “to unite people living in different political units, who nevertheless shared a common language and culture” (Forsyth, cited in O’Leary 2001: 279). 

Federations in the second category not only recognize ethnic and linguistic diversity but also reflect them in their ideology and structures. Such federations are called multinational and ethnic federations. There is no clear distinction between ethnic federalism rarely used in the Western context from that of multinational federalism. On the one hand, scholars identify all those countries “in which internal boundaries have been drawn and powers distributed in such a way to ensure that each national group is able to maintain itself as a distinct and self-governing society and culture” as multinational federations (Kymlicka, 2006: 64-5). On the other hand, the ethnic-federal state has been conceived as one in which “component territorial governance units are intentionally associated with specific ethnic categories” (Kymlicka 2004: 165). 

One could then argue ethnic, as opposed to multinational federalism, is more appropriate in the Ethiopian federation context. It is conceivable to view this from the ideological rigor of ethnic regionalism in that country (Kymlicka 2006: 56). In Ethiopia, unlike Western multinational federations (e.g. Spain) that addressed and mediated issues of ethnic autonomy through a protracted bargaining between the State and mobilized minority groups, federalism entails a top-down reconstitution of the country based on ethnicity (Kymlicka 2006: 56). As a result, many ethnic groups, which were not mobilized before 1991 based on ethnic nationalism, were required to organize themselves according to their ethnicity to fit into the new ethnic-federalsystem. Thus, ethnic regionalism led to the overallethnification of politics in the country as the State promotes ethnicity as the key instrument of political mobilization and state organization. Indeed, Ethiopia in contemporary federal experiment exhibits some of the characters of ethnicized polities. Thus: 


Territorial boundaries are drawn in a way that maximizes ethnic homogeneity. Policies are pursued which differentiate the status rights of citizens according to ethnic affiliation. Policies are proposed, advocated and resisted, and associations as well as political parties are formed, in the name of fostering the well-being of an ethnic community at the expense of excluding those internal and external groups who are considered not belonging to it (Fleiner 2001: 5). 


From the above therefore it is more appropriate to use ethnic federalism in the Ethiopian context than multinational federalism. In contrast to Ethiopia, the western federations (e.g. Canada and Switzerland) usually categorized as multinational do not promote ethnicity as the chief instrument of state organization and mobilization nor seek congruence between ethnic and intra-federal boundaries. Following from the above discourse, the federal republic of Nigeria falls among the federations that could be categorized as multinational which overtly does not promote ethnicity however beneath the surface breeds’ ethnoreligious hatred capable of leading the country to breakaway like the former Yugoslavia.


Problem of the Study

At decolonization, African states had pledged their commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity inherited from colonial masters. In doing so, they were reaffirming the prevailing interpretation of national self-determination that had granted them their independence and understood to apply only to overseas possessions. In accordance with the interpretation, and as tragically illustrated by the failed attempts of Katanga and Biafra, secessionist movements were forcefully quelled. With the exception of Bangladesh in 1971, no clear-cut example of state creation by secession occurred during the Cold War period (James 1990: 61). The intransigence stems from the fear that granting recognition to secessionist movementsprompts similar demands elsewhere thus eventually lead to the disintegration of states. The fear surfaces after the separation of South Sudan from Sudan. It has become a reference point and inspiration to separatists and secessionists across the continent to press their demands for a new country. The event of South Sudan’s independence gave increased impetus to agitations for a reconsideration of the Nigerian union. The clamor for a “Sovereign National Conference”, where the peoples of Nigeria would decide the political future of the state, has since increased and gave rise to yet another era of inter-group suspicion and general political unease (Human Rights Watch 2012: 10).

Similarly, secessionist movements directly imperil the integrity if not the existence of the state from which they seek to break away and are viewed with hostility. Since a successful secession could set a precedence that inspires similar secessionist movements elsewhere, even the most isolated case risks pose threat not only to the existing territorial status quo but also to international order. Given that the fears are founded on the assumption that claims for national self-determination and secessions are ultimately made by ethnic groups albeit the multi-ethnic composition of most states, fulfilling the demands indeed seem suicidal. Hence, the reluctance of established states to support secessionist claims (Jacquin n.d.: 10).

Ethnicity, religious intolerance and colonial heritage of divide and rule are some the factors identified which combined to trigger the rising discontents that threaten the corporate existence of some federal states in developing countries however such primordial characteristics are less pronounced in developed countries: Canada, Switzerland, Spain,Germany and Belgium. Thus, these signify danger for the corporate existence of countries bedeviled with agitations for self-determination as it has taken a new dimension different from the nationalist movements of the late 1950s and early 1960s against the departed European colonialists. In different nations, it has been observed that skewed sharing and allocation of national resources along religious and ethnic divides have exacerbated the nagging demands for breakaway or dissolution of federal states. Based on this, therefore, demands for self-government, secession and self-determination become a common phenomenon in the world since the end of the World War II. However, renewed irksome complaints and independence uprising in different regions of the world for self-determination has attracted the attention of the social thinkers to study the situation and provide logical explanations which link globalization with the threats of separation, secession or breakaway federations. Former colonial colonists are preoccupied with different internal agitations for separations after the independence struggles in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

In a nutshell, in Africa alone in the wake of independence, a federal structure was established in Nigeria, Mali, East Africa, Ethiopia-Eritrea, Congo Republic and Central Africa. With the exception of Nigeria, all of these federations collapsed and the concerned states adopted a more centralized state structure (Rothchild 1966: 275). However, Rothchild’s submission was before the Nigerian civil war in 1967 which tested the strength of the federal system by Igbo people who demanded a sovereign state of Biafra. 

Therefore, the colonial arrangement has placed some ethnic and religious at the advantage positions, especially in the area of western education Northern Nigeria is backward in terms of literacy rate compared to southern part who had earlier contact with the Europeans due to their geographical location at the coast of Atlantic Ocean. This implies that the southerners dominate the civil service by virtue of their educational background. However, religious belief in Northern Nigeria allows polygamy and has paved way for the population boom in the region. Similarly, the Northern region has a vast landmass more than the other parts of the country. Based on these analyses, the north dominates other regions in terms of the population while the southerners dominate the civil service.

Dissatisfied with the introduction of recruitment into public service, resource allocation and distribution based on population, the southerners felt marginalized. Even when Nigeria was divided into six geopolitical zones, five geopolitical zones have six States each while the Southeast geopolitical of Igbo people have five states. The numerical superiority has put the northerners as a determiner or deciding factor during the Presidential election in Nigeria in all democratic experiments since 1963. Fifty-eight years after independence from Britain in 1960, the Igbo region has not produced a Nigerian president which it is viewed as an inability of the North and West to integrate and accept the Igbo people as compatriot after the 1967 Nigerian civil war. As a result of the above factors, north wants to stay in power due to their numerical superiority to remedy the educational backwardness and less number of personnel in civil service. Whereas the Igbo people of the Southeast observed that under such arrangement, it is practically impossible for an Igboman to become a president of Nigeria or get impartial treatment in the current federalism. However, some Yoruba people demand the establishment of Oduduwa Republic but their agitations have not taken a violent pattern. In this connection, the Igbo people are of the view that they do not share any common demographic and geographical characteristics with the Northerners and Western Yoruba. At the best, they share similar religious belief (Christianity) and geographical neighborhood with the Niger Delta region and at worst they want Niger Delta to be part of Biafra due to the crude oil deposit and Port-Harcourt for its seaport because the entire Igbo states in Nigeria are landlocked.


An Overview of Problems in some Federal/Multiethnic States 

The researchers selected the countries reviewed below based on the prevalence of demands for the dissolution of the federal state. The focus is on multi-ethnic, religious and racial countries whose citizens are in constant struggle for secession, separation and self-determination. Therefore, in this regard, colonialism, region, the system of government, and economic development are not the major factors that determined the selection.


Globalization and the States

Globalization signifies free trade in goods and services, free flow and transfer of capital, investment and establishment of industries without regard to national boundaries i.e., internationalization of production, curtailment and elimination of tariff and other barriers to trade, and the rules of the game being laid down by the World Trade Organization. WTO negotiations ensure that developed countries are the key actors because they could provide and demand advantages. Therefore, WTO negotiations are mostly initiated by the developed countries and gradually involved developing countries in the discussions (Winham 1986: 376). Normally, WTO makes decisions by consensus rather than voting. In relation to this, developing countries argue that consensus decision making decreases their sovereign power in many ways. First, consensus decision requires that no member present at a meeting formally objects to the proposed decision (WTO 1995). Indeed, weaker and smaller developing countries do not have permanent representatives in Geneva or have few representatives that could attend the numerous meetings of WTO. Second, consensus decision making occurs in an open discussion and developing countries fear the outcome of expressing their viewpoint that could contradict the demands of the developed countries. Third, the developing countries exploit the opportunity of consensus decision making to hold small group meetings outside the premise of WTO that exclude the participation of the developing countries. Therefore, in the smaller group meetings, the developed countries arrived at a united front and pressure for consensus decision making during the WTO General Council (Narlikar 2002: 171-185). In short, the developing countries have limited sovereign power to express their interest on various issues i.e. trade liberalization, the balance of payment, prices of commodities, capital movement and external debt. In essence, consensus decision-making has sovereignty deficit that affects developing countries.

The International Monetary Fund, World Bank, OECD and G-7 summits a process that is both the cause and consequence of the information revolution that contributes to the disintegration of the Soviet Union. In the contemporary epoch, no state controls globalization or isolates itself from the rest of the world. Globalization affects the internal balance of power in federal states (Reddy 1999: 13).Therefore, the demands for statehood from an independent state predate the current tide of globalization in the twenty-first century however it has been greatly influenced by the factors associated with globalization, which have endangered most of the federal states in the world. Since 1945, the tendency toward fragmentation has gained more and more momentum. There are numerous examples of countries, which have broken into several parts. The breakdowns of the U.S.S.R. (1991) and Yugoslavia (December 1991) are among the most spectacular but there have been many others thus the secession of Iceland from Denmark (1944), Singapore from Malaysia (1965), Bangladesh from Pakistan (1971), Somaliland from Somalia (1991), Eritrea from Ethiopia (1992), and Slovakia from Czechoslovakia (1993). Within the countries with substantial linguistic diversities, there has been a constant tendency toward the multiplication of autonomous regions. In India, there were 13 states and 6 territories in 1957, while in 1995 there were 25 states and 7 territories; Nigeria went from 4 states in 1960 to 36 in 1996; even an ancient Switzerland saw the creation of a new canton in 1976. The same tendency could be observed where the Constitution of federating states did not work except for a few exceptions (Roehner and Rahilly 2016: 10-11).

In Pakistan, Baluchistan earlier attempts for the independent state were tactfully thwarted by the political leadership of Pakistan. They accepted the amalgamation with the state of Pakistan but got apprehension that Baloch population was only a small fraction of the total population of Pakistan hence in a serious danger of loss of identity when not duly protected. The later events like the establishment of the One Unit further fortified the apprehensions. Later on, the political arrangements under long military rule further added to the seriousness of the challenge as Balochi who had a scant representation in military and civil service of Pakistan developed a serious sense of alienation and deprivation. The phenomenon forced them to rally under the banner of nationalism. The Baloch had voiced strong grievances about their lack of proportional representation in the Pakistani bureaucracy and armed forces or in the provincial administration of Baluchistan (Breseeg 2004: 103).

The grievances of the Baloch were due to the dominance of Punjabis in administration. Baluchistan remains the poorest province, with lowest per capita income, as compared to other provinces in Pakistan and acts as the main factor for the resentment of the people’ (Haq 2006: 64). The Baloch leadership is also unhappy over the planned construction of new cantonments: “A rocket attack on General Musharraf during his visit to Kohlu town in December 2005 elicited a severe response from the military government. A full-fledged military operation, which is still going on, was launched in Dera Bugti and Kohlu” (PIPS 2009: 132). The armed tribal resistance in Baluchistan continues and Nawab Bugti was killed in 2006 but his legacy remains. He is even considered today as the popular leader amongst the masses. The killing of Bugti has led to great resentment in Baluchistan towards security forces. A number of military operations in Baluchistan have further aggravated the problem of nationalistic tendencies. Having lost faith in the political system and power-sharing, the Balochis show strong resentments towards the Punjabis and the military: “The Baloch nationalism has steadily developed. Every time, after being crushed, the national movement arose more forcefully than before” (Haq 2006: 99-100). 

Multi-ethnic federations like Ethiopia and Nigeria that do not have a Staatsvolk could be susceptible to instability or perhaps fragmentation when they adopt a majoritarian electoral system (O’Leary 2001: 287). A majoritarian system of election inhibits some of the competing ethnic groups from sharing power. Staatsvolkrefers to an ethnic group whose population size is above 50 per cent of the overall population of a given multi-ethnic federation and controls the state through democratic elections (O’Leary 2001: 285).

The latest country which splits into two in the world in Sudan. In 2011, the perennial violent for self-government by the people of South Sudan was realized after more than five decades of incessant fighting. The conflict between the central government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) re-emerged in 1983 and lasted till 2005 when the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was negotiated and signed. SPLM/A did not develop any real state institutions in southern Sudan during the conflicts. Under the CPA South Sudan was given six years’ interim period before conducting referendum on independence. The initial support for federation was championed by John Garang. However, his death in 2005 begun a shift to a more pro-independence position as propagated by new SPLM/A leader Salva Kiir (Idris 2013: 116-7). South Sudanese overwhelmingly voted in favor of independence in January 2011 and South Sudan was declared a sovereign state on 9 July 2011 and recognized by the international community. Years of marginalization, neglect and subjugation by the central government in Khartoum ignited an uprising for self-determination from the Arabs Muslims by the blacks and predominantly Christians from the South. Despite being the source of oil, the Southern remains the most backward and underdeveloped part of the Sudan in terms of human development indicators and social infrastructure. The relegation of the Southern Sudanese to second class citizens in the political and social arrangements pressures the demand for separation. A study conducted in Sudan found that its political and economic developments were deteriorated by its de jure connection to Sudan. Arab elites appropriated most of the revenues from oil fields located in the southern part of the country and prevented from any gains from the political cooperation of Sudan as limited as they might have been (Dobos 2014: 185).

However, apart from the failure of leadership and the tendency to rule on primordial sentiments and distribute societal wealth on demographic characteristics, colonialists balkanized their former colonies without due regard to cultural, historical and linguistic divisions. The divide and rule policy of colonial master an attribute of ancient globalization was a potent factor that destabilizes federal State inindependent countries of Africa and Asia. Though Latin America has former colonies, the phenomenon of self-determinationor demand for a sovereign State and secession was not as widespread as in Africa and Asia. The haphazard manner in which European powers spliced the continent into colonies made most of the African countries vulnerable to potentially split up for a myriad of reasons including a simple disagreement between a region and the central government (Bamfo 2012: 2).

Furthermore, in the Horn of Africa, Eritrea and Ethiopia where tensions were caused by different globalized colonial histories as well as cultural and linguistic differences. The Seare, the Casamance and Senegal, Cabinda and Angola, the Volta Region of Ghana and Togo, and Anglophone Cameroon and Francophone Cameroon are typical examples. Since the mid-1980s, Northern Uganda, populated dominantly by the Acholi, has suffered from civil unrest perpetrated by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) led by Joseph Kony, an Acholi and a smaller organization, the Allied Democratic Forces. Kony intends to rule Uganda according to “Ten Commandment Principles” and has abducted several thousand children and pillaged several villages in the northern region, leaving nearly half a million people homeless (Bowyer 1975: 105). 

Similarly, in Mali, the government was faced with the gravest threat from the Tuareg rebels. On April 6, 2012, rebels from the northern half of the country, the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), declared the northern half of Mali an independent state under the name Azawad. The new state covers more than half of Mali and includes Kidal, Gao, and Timbuktu. The rebellion which kicked off in January 2011 owes its success in large part to Gaddafi. The Casamance, a region in southern Senegal, has become the most restless region since early 1980 when the Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (MDFC) began a violent confrontation with the Senegalese government for self-rule. Casamance was a Portuguese region before France and Portugal negotiated a settlement which handed over the territory to France (Burgess 2012: 10). The region’s history, location, and poor economic conditions have provided the impetus for separatism. The Niger Republic was plunged into civil war from 1990 to 1995 when independent-minded Nigeriens and ethnic Tuaregs opposed to the central government and wanted autonomy for northern Niger. Rebels seeking autonomy attacked the capital, Niamey, followed by reprisal attacks from government forces arresting Tuaregs en masse. In 1995, the largest Tuareg coalition, the Coordination of Armed Resistance, agreed to a limited autonomy and signed a peace accord with the Nigerien government (Bamfo 2012: 6). 

However, in the case of Malaysia, the early departure of Singapore from the federation in August 1965 did not bring about its complete collapse. Indeed, it led to the immediate constitutional readjustment and adaptation of the remaining constituent units in the federal state, a process that indicated a desire for federation for its own sake. Today the Federation of Malaysia is the only one of Franck’s four case studies that have endured intact since the rupture of its early years. Together with the 11 constituent units of Peninsular Malaysia and the two states Sabah and Sarawak of North Borneo across the South China Sea comprise of 13-unit multiethnic, multicultural and multinational federation that most commentators would probably describe as a success (Franck 1968: 5).

In Europe, Spain, for example, the Basque country and Catalonia were the two Spanish regions most active in demanding autonomy. In spite of a longstanding tradition of self-government, it was mainly after 1960 that separatist claims developed in the Spanish Basque Country. In 1969, among the 14 Spanish regions, the Basque Country had the largest income per capita. Among the four provinces that make up the Basque Country, the two provinces at the forefront of the autonomist movements, Guipuzcoa and Vizcaya, also had the largest per-capita income of the 50 Spanish provinces. On the other hand, Navarra, where there had never been strong sentiments for autonomy, came in seventh position (Roehner and Rahilly 2016: 17). In this case, there is a complete opposition between separatism and economic underdevelopment (Clark 1981: 85). The reasons adduced for the resurgence of independence could be viewed from the economic dissatisfaction by the Catalans in the present arrangement under Spain. Spanish economic policy generally does not favor Catalan companies, rather creates difficulties. The situation has been in existence since the Industrial Revolution began in Catalonia in the first half of the nineteenth century and was responsible for the non-existence of large companies. Although the size of the companies is important in the global market because of potential economies of scale, Catalan companies are smart enough to export much of their production (Miret 2016: 1). It is clear that increasing the size of Catalan companies would facilitate their development but would be much easier with the Catalan state working in their favor. The Catalan Republic puts in place an economic policy suitable for Catalan economy that could greatly facilitate the promotion of its own economy. At the same time, the new Catalan state boosts exports of multinational companies established in Catalonia with the completion of necessary infrastructure such as the pending Mediterranean rail corridor (Miret 2016: 1).


Results of the Systematic Reviewed Literature

Literature from Baluchistan region of Pakistan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, the Casamance of Senegal, Cabinda and Angola, the Volta Region of Ghana, and Anglophone Cameroon and Francophone Cameroon have been explored to show how the former European colonists, multi-ethnic and religious countries were plunged into problem of breakaway as a result of ethnic and differences in Sudan that led to separation of the country in 2011. Border disputes have divided Ethiopia and the violence continues after the creation of Eritrea. Like the 1914 amalgamation of Southern and Northern protectorates in Nigeria, the Baluchistan region was unified with Pakistan as a result of amalgamation but after the amalgamation, the Baluchistan expressed fear of dominance from the Punjabis. The colonial balkanization and merging of people without recourse to historical, ethnic and religious factors have led Portugal to handed over the Casamance region to France who in turn merged the region with Senegal. The same problem is found in Ghana, Angola, Mali, Chad and Niger Republic. Similarly, former British colonists also suffered separation, Pakistan separated from India, Bangladesh breakaway from Pakistan. Ethnic and religious discontents led to the separation between Malaysia and Pakistan in 1965. Therefore, based on what is obtainable in these former European colonists, developing, and multi-ethnic and religious countries the insurrection for the separation of Nigeria could be traced to colonial injustice. However, the scenario is different in Canada and Switzerland, religious and colonial factors were not the factors that separatists advanced as reasons for self-determination. But in former USSR, Spain, Iceland and Demark, it was the combination of the political and ethnic alienation that ignited the separation or demands for self-determination. In sum, federations in developed and developing were threatened or are under threat for a breakaway, however, the factors that trigger or drives the separatist movement are different as identified above.


Theoretical Framework: Sociological Approach 

The main thrust of a sociological approach in the study of globalization and federalism is the analysis of relationships between societal diversities and federalism. According to William S. Livingston, “the essential nature of federalism could be identified not in legal and constitutional terminology, but in the forces of economic, social, political and culture that have made the outward forms of federalism necessary” (Livingston 1952: 83-4). He further developed the concept of a federal society that implies the presence of geographically concentrated economic, social, religious and historical cleavages (Livingston 1952: 85). Later, it was suggested that Livingston’s concept of federal society could be more useful “if it is confined to a society that is both poly-ethnic and multi-lingual in makeup” (Stein, 1968: 729). Accordingly, federalism emerged in Switzerland and Canada partly as a response to their ethnic diversities and the desire to create a governmental structure that mediates between the needs for autonomy and union (Stein 1968: 59). This equates with the amalgamation of Nigeria in 1914 by the British colonialists for administrative convenience and cohesion of the various ethnic nationalities.

Therefore, it could be deduced that the sociological approach explains that a country like Nigeria, which is a fusion of protectorates in 1914 of more than 350 ethnic nationalities, federalism in its ideal sense would douse tension arisen from the quest for self-determination by ethnic group and religious fundamentalists fighting for the establishment of an Islamic state in the country. The involvement of Islamic insurgency in the fray for those seeking to establish a new state in Nigeria has complicated the security dilemma that threatens its corporate existence. Therefore, with the exception of Mali that is fighting the threats of Al-Qaeda in Maghreb and Lord Resistance Army in Uganda, most of the secession movements have no religious demands.


Globalisation and the Threats to Federations: Analytical Linkage

Globalization is both an integrative and deconstructive process. It integrates states and non-state actors into transnational and global networks (Keohane and Nye 2000: 105). The networks are based on multiple channels of interdependence that include trade, politics, security, environment, and socio-cultural ties (Keohane and Nye 2000: 106-107). Due to advances in telecommunication technology, the expansion of globalization “shrinks” the distance between peoples (Keohane and Nye 2000: 105). On the other hand, globalization breaks up the existing political and social order (Mathews 1997: 50). Globalization disperses power and information flows, thus enables local and transnational identity movements to challenge states (Mathews 1997: 51-52). The process exemplifies separatist movements that seek to break away from central authorities. However, globalization defines the understanding of the world and increases the perception of the world as a whole (Robertson 1992).

In the same vein, the onset of globalization has enhanced interconnection of communications, markets, and consumer networks. This has led to increased communication at the international level and expansion of self-affirmation at the local level. Thus, it is a forum through which the information across the globe could be shared. Subsequently, leads to a comparison between and greater awareness about the standards of human rights protection in the various Nation States. Furthermore, globalization causes identity question to emerge among the minority communities. As the local cultures get publicized, the impetus and need to protect the identity becomes enhanced.Therefore, globalization of communication creates increased consciousness about one’s cultural identity (Loukacheva 2008: 271). The marginalized minorities seize the opportunity to make their voices heard. This position by Castells reinforces the potency of communication in shaping the thoughts of people seeking self-determination, breakaway, separation or independence in the era of globalization. Social movements are formed by communicating messages of rage and hope. The specific structure of communication of a given society largely shapes social movements. In other words, social movements, politics, or insurgency springs up and lives in thepublic space. Public space is the space of societal and meaningful interaction where ideas and values are formed, conveyed, supported, and resisted. Thus, space ultimately becomes a training ground for action and reaction (Castells 2009: 301). Even though the work of Castells was centered on social movement, it is relevant to this study because like a social movement, secession, self-determination,and breakaway also require communication to mobilize followers and keep them abreast with the latest development and unfolding events regarding their agenda. 

It is being further viewed that only the oppressive marginalization could lead to the assertion of rights by the people. Globalization, therefore, leads to further marginalization of minority cultures, enhances communication and provides for the dispersal of information on local cultures and in net effect increases the chances of self-determination by marginalized communities henceforth, it is put forth that minorities are more likely to demand self-determination in the globalized world (Chawla and Goyal n.d.: 8). The role of media has been emphasized, which enables the locals to converge and draw support from people in distant places to support their course.Thousands of local struggles on a wide range of issues become connected to the internet and broadcast over the media. This involves both mainstream media and the alternative media networks that had sprung up around the planet (Melucci 1989; Keck and Sikkink 1998; Waterman 1998; Ayres 1999; Ray 1999; Riera 2001; Appadurai 2002; Klein 2002; Calderon 2003; Hardt and Negri 2004; Della Porta 2006).

In this connection, globalization induces changes that produce economic frustrations among people and easily exploited into demands for smaller states by the political class (Arora 2004: 13). In other words, globalization influences the entire socio-economic and political structure of the country and induces pressures for new states (Arora 2004: 173). The process of globalization encourages questioning and ultimately broadens the claims for collective autonomy hence challenges the state’s monopoly (Coleman et al. 2008: 16). The influence of globalization further reflects the dominance of a given nation-state society or community in the lives of many and diminishes relative membership in other communities (Coleman et al. 2008: 2). The result is the rise of separatist sentiments. Therefore, states under globalization are less autonomous and have less exclusive control over the economic and social processes within their territories, and less able to maintain national distinctiveness and cultural homogeneity (Loukacheva 2008: 271). It has been submitted that the state’s capacities to control its people and domestic social processes have declined as a consequence of globalization (Hirst and Thompson, 1996: 178). And, they agree that “the decline in the centrality of national-level politics” means “sub-nationalities and regions can assert their autonomy with less fear” (Hirst and Thompson 1996: 178).


Causes of Self-Determination Agitation in Nigeria

Nigeria is the creation of British colonial administrators during the 1914 amalgamation of the Southern and Northern Protectorates, a philosophy of extending the frontiers of territorial globalization as a source of raw materials for industries in developed countries. The protectorates enveloped multitudes of ethnic groups and divergent religious faiths, Muslims, animists, Christians, and traditionalists. The marriage of convenience presided by Lord Lugard was reluctantly accepted by the nationalist leaders in order to pave way for the independence to end the British colonialism. In 1966, six years after independence in 1960, the first military coup was launched and the first Prime Minister of Nigeria Sir. Abubakar Tafawa Balewa was killed together with the Premier of Northern Nigeria on 15thJanuary 1966. The coup was led by a military officer from the southern Nigeria Major Chukwuma Kaduna. After the coup, the first and only Igbo man became the Head of State of the military government, Major General Johnson Thomas Aguiyi Ironsi. A counter-coup was planned and executed by military officers from the North who overthrew Ironsi and replaced him with General Yakubu Gowon. The first coup and countercoup did not go down well with the Igbo people hence led to the civil war in 1967 when the southeast attempted to break from Nigeria to establish a sovereign state of Biafra.

The above post-independence events set the beginning of ethnic consideration in the military, governmental institutions and political landscape of Nigeria. It has planted the seed of discord and mutual distrust among the citizens that is the North, West and East divides. Other factors that challenge the survival of Nigeria as a federal republic is the insecurity characterized by Islamists insurgency, communal violence between ethnic groups in rural areas over land for farming and livestock grazing. The identified elements of the political economy undermine state capability and legitimacy and aggravate contentious politics, political violence, social fragmentation and the struggle to capture various groups including criminal networks (Alemika 2013: 18).

Similarly, adoption and implementation of the globalizationagenda of trade liberalization and deregulation of the downstream sector of the oil industries have reawakened numerous armed bandits demanding control over their resources while others demand secession. The armed organizations attack oil installations, vandalize pipelines and abduct oil expatriates for ransom. Additionally, oil bunkering (theft of crude oil) in Nigeria has been predominantly carried out in the Niger Delta region where crude oil is produced (Ikoh 2013: 27). Oil and gas operation is currently going on in more than 50 per cent of the 3,000 communities in the Niger Delta region. According to an ex-militant who volunteered information during this study, finding a pipeline to tap illegally is not difficult if you have the equipment. But contrary to available literature it is not all bunkered oil that is sold to foreigners. Some of the stolen oil is transferred into drums and taken to local refineries located in the creeks. After refining, the products are taken to roadside markets for sale to motorists. Bunkering syndicates are highly armed and linked with foreigners including Moroccans, Venezuelans, Lebanese, Chinese and Russians who own ships that would load crude oil and deliver them for refining in Ghana, Cameroun, and Côte d’Ivoire. In its recent publication on trans-border trafficking, the Federal government estimated that over 300,000 barrels of crudeoil are being bunkered daily in the country. At the height of the Niger Delta crisis, bunkered crude was exchanged for arms, drugs, and cash. As the leader of the Niger Delta People Volunteer Force (NDPVF), Muhajeed Asari Dokubo, once admitted, bunkered oil was sold to raise funds for the struggle (Sebastian 2008).

Furthermore, the failures of successive Nigerian governments to encourage genuine power-sharing formula have sparked dangerous rivalries between the center and the thirty-six states over revenue accrued from the country’s oil. The oil resource problem is most acute in the oil-rich, but desperately poor Niger Delta, where between 2006 and 2010, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger-Delta (MEND) and other armed militias waged a violent campaign against the federal government and foreign oil companies (ICG 2006: 11). Although agitations in the Niger-Delta are less violent today, the demands by the peoples of the region for local control of the Niger-Delta’s oil wealth remains. It is significant that the burgeoning campaigns for the reconsideration of the Nigerian political union coincide with the location of the oilfields in the country. 

In line with the above, it has been observed that campaigns for independent states from Nigeria have emanated from the southern groups in Nigeria. However, the northern groups remain adamant to the idea of reconsidering the Nigerian political union. There is a deep sense of alienation and dissatisfaction felt by the groups in the South, especially of the littoral Niger-Delta region. The feeling is that the environment has been degraded and the wealth generated from the region explored to support the federal government and the northern states (ICG 2006: 15). The arbitrary execution of the activist, Ken Saro Wiwa and nine others from the Ogoni area of the Niger-Delta in 1995, who demanded a greater share in oil revenues and environmental protection during the military regime of Sani Abacha, triggered and engineered and became responsible for Nigeria’s suspension from the Commonwealth of Nations. The scenario continues to be a source of bitterness among the groups in the Niger-Delta (Okojie 2013: 9). 

Unlike other countries where the reasons for the demand for sovereignty are not based on linguistic, ethnic and political considerations, in Nigeria, there is also a religious dimension that is involved in the demand for the sovereign state to establish an independent state based on Islamic theocracy. In North-eastern Nigeria, there exist Muslim fundamentalists who aimed at fighting for the establishment of an Islamic State in the country. From 2009 to 2018, the group widely known as Boko Haram has been carrying out deadly attacks against civilians, government establishments and military formations. Between 2014 and 2015, the Islamic insurgent group annexed more than 14 Local Government Areas in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States and declared them as their dynasties. This further aggravates the hatred between the north whose inhabitants are predominantly Muslims with South-east and South-South as Christians. Even with the military success in reclaiming the areas of Nigeria annexed by the insurgents, there is still fear and mutual distrusts among citizens especially after the 2015 General Elections where an opposition candidate from the North president Muhammadu Buhari defeated the then-incumbent president Goodluck Jonathan, which the southerners perceived as part of the continuation of the domination of the North in political scene of Nigeria since independence in 1960.

On the influence international politics on separatist movement in Nigeria, the June 2016 referendum that determined the UK-EU relationship has given the separatist movement in Nigeria more impetus and hope that they would achieve goals sooner or later. In this connection, a United Kingdom-based Nigerian secessionist leader Nnamdi Kanu was stimulated by the success of those who want the United Kingdom to leave European Union and fashions his movement slogan Braxit like the Brexit campaign in the UK. The Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) under the leadership is a splinter group of MASSOB (Movement for Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra), seeking for the establishment of Biafra, independent country from Nigeria. The areas marked as Biafra consists of all the Igbo speaking states of Abia, Anambra, Enugu, Imo, Ebonyi and Non-Igbo State of Rivers from the South-South. The IPOB included Rivers State because eventually when the movement becomes successful Biafra would be a landlocked country. Therefore, Rivers would be significant for its strategic location at the coast of the Atlantic Ocean where there is Port city of Port-Harcourt. Therefore, seaport would serve as a channel for import and exports of goods to Biafra.

Similarly, Rivers State is among the leading oil producing states in Nigeria and serves as one of the sources of energy and revenue. Elsewhere in Sudan, similar factor served as the basis for the independence of South Sudan from Sudan. The denial of Southern Sudanese access to their resources and the mass displacement of the Southern Sudanese citizens to settle around the oilfields by General Omar al Bashir in order to allow oil exploration has increased bitterness among the southern groups (ICG 2006: 28). The feeling of oppression and alienation of South Sudan is associated with oil exploration, which propelled Sudanese civil war and ultimately southern independence. On the other hand, the proceeds from oil exploration motivated Khartoum to continue its resistance to the southern secessionist movement (ICG 2006: 12).Thus, the scenario explains the extent to which economic agitations trigger demands for freedom that threaten the corporate existence of a hitherto unified state akin to what is obtainable in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. However, for the Igbo people, they sought for sovereign before the oil becomes the mainstay of the Nigerian economy. They believed that their region would be better developed as a sovereign nation than in Nigeria because apart from being the most industrious people, the Igbo have a lot of markets and manufacturing industries. Their thinking is based on the notion that through trade liberalization, there would be an opportunity for them to enter into bilateral and multilateral agreements with outside world to boost their economies, trade and investments as an independent country. This correlates with the submission of Miret (2016), in the twenty-first century, under the new wave of globalization that facilitates the development of small countries that opens an economy to foreign trade (Miret 2016: 1).

Furthermore, unlike the quest for self-determination and political independence, secession in Pakistan, Scotland, Somaliland, Catalonia, Azawad and other places were not motivated by violence between the nomadic herdsmen and sedentary farmers albeit a growing desertification, low rainfall and growing constricting of fertile land farming and feeding animals in Northern Nigeria as a result of the global warming and climate change. The herdsmen who are mostly from Fulani ethnic group are forced to migrate to Central and Eastern parts of Nigeria where there is relatively high rainfall, many streams, and pasture for livestock. The increasing demands for the scarce land have become a very combative issue in Nigeria that resulted in the loss of lives and properties due to the violent conflict between the nomadic Fulani and the sedentary farmers.

In the same vein, another issue that exacerbates the violence is that majority of the herdsmen are Muslims while a significant proportion of the population in States beleaguered by the clashes are Christians like Benue, Plateau, Southern Kaduna while States like Nasarawa and Taraba have a sizeable population of Muslim. Thus, the violence vindicates the assertion or widely held belief that the attacks by the alleged Fulani herdsmen are covert plans to Islamize the country under a different pretext other than the Boko Haram insurgency. In this connection, most of the small ethnic groups in North-central region of Nigeria are demanding for the end of the marriage of disharmony which the ethnic groups are classified them as Northerners while they are strikingly divided by religious, ethnic and linguistic characteristics but only that the accident of geography brought them together in the same region.

However, apart from the effects of global warming, globalization facilitates the movement of small arms and light weapons into most of the fragile states in developing countries that are faced with internal violence and quest for secession. In July 2010, Nigerian security men seized 13 containers at the Apapa Wharf in Lagos containing assorted arms including mortars, grenades and light ammunition. The small arms and light weapons were disguised as glass, wood, and palates of stone en-route to the Gaza Strip. An ex-militant who volunteered information during the survey indicated how arms were acquired through trade by barter during the height of the Niger Delta crisis: “The ships that came for oil bunkering usually brought arms and ammunition. Part of the bunkered crude oil was exchanged for arms while others go for cash”. In many other instances, traffickers who brought arms in small boats through the creeks would pack them in waterproof sacks and attach them to the bottom of the boat (Ikoh 2013: 25). Firearms smugglers have flooded the Gulf of Guinea with dangerous weapons. In Nigeria and Benin Republic, porous borders facilitate the trade transactions. Civil wars in several countries in the region have also created markets for illicit firearms (Ikoh 2013: 28).

The effects of the proliferation of firearms, small arms and light weapons are evident in the casualties, a number of deaths and the level wanton destruction of crops and livestock in armed conflict that pitted two occupations via farming and herding against each other in Nigeria. Between 2017 and 2018, the intensity and magnitude of the violence have an alarming proportion which ignited the call from various ethnic, religious and political groups for the restructuring of the current federal system that is operating in Nigeria. This happens because some of the minority ethnic groups in the affected states view it as a grand plan by the Fulani to wipe out other ethnic groups in the North who occupy fertile and arable; to enable the Fulani to expand their political and religious influence towards the southern part of Nigeria. 


Discussion of Major Findings 

Demands for freedom, independence, separation, secession and self-determination predate the emergence of the concept of globalization. However, globalization reawakens and ignites new agitators, fighters and leaders whose earliest agitators were either dead old or tired. The paper found out that each country has its own unique factors or problems that serve as an excuse or reason that separatists or independence fighters advanced as a rationale behind their actions. Economic marginalization, perceived political exclusion by the federal government and manipulation of distribution of societal wealth along religious and ethnic divides were found to be unique problems that push people to demand to breakaway in developing countries mostly in Africa and Asia. This correlates with the findings of a research conducted on the implication of the South Sudanese independence on other areas where there are similar quests for secession. Put differently, the South Sudanese independence serves as a model or contagious theory effect impulse that motivates some separatist movement. Thus, driving the secessionist approach are ideologies, the greed of elites and peoples in power, religious differences and the unequal distribution of wealth and resources that exacerbate tensions between the fortunate peoples enjoying opportunities to develop and the excluded, utterly poor people’s just surviving (Nicholson 2013: 4). 

The success of the pro-Brexit during the June 2016 referendum in Britain and the recognition of the newly independent state in Africa in 2011, South Sudan have developed a renewed hope for the secessionist movements in Africa and other continents. This implies that, with the spread of information aided by Information Communication Technology in the era of globalization, the independence of South Sudan serves as a reference point for the independence or separatists agitators or fighters around the world. Thus, in the days before the emergence of modern electronic media, an element of information and communication globalization, military conflicts were covered by press correspondents, whose dispatches sent from the front lines and inevitably lagged behind events by weeks and even months. By the time the public got to hear about a battle being fought in its name in a foreign country, it was in all probability over. Nevertheless, the exposure given to war by newspapers, limited as it was, meant that governments had to formulate strategies for managing domestic opinion. Thus, during the First World War, governments engaged in intensive propaganda campaigns to convince their populations of the inhumanity and immorality of the other side’s soldiers (Knightley 1975). This is in line with the conclusion a study carried out in Sudan where South Sudan’s secession encouraged other oppressed and excluded African ethnic groups and nations to pursue self-determination. Secession is but one of the methods that could be employed and, in this way, poses a threat to continental stability and unity, such as the Biafra effort that resulted into the Nigerian civil war during 1967-1970 (Nicholson 2013: 11). Therefore, the emergence of the internet provides new opportunities for public participation in political debate, such as blogging and “citizen journalism”. Websites such as YouTube permits marginal political groups to make statements with global reach (McNair 2011: 13). That is through the connection separatists learn new strategies and establish a relationship with other independence fighters in a different part of the world. The link between the Boko Haram and the ISIS is a recent example of how development in communication technology poses threats to the continued existence of Nigeria as a federal state.

The paper further established that the supply of weapons to Nigeria’s violent prone areas in the North and oil-producing region of Niger-Delta has been undermining and overstretching the military capability of Nigeria and its future as a federal republic. The trade liberalization and free market have enhanced the movements of sophisticated weapons to insurgents, separatists, cattle rustlers and ethnic warlords. It has enabled them to engage the Nigerian security operatives in a gun duel. This finding is substantiated by a study conducted in India. The study concluded that the rise and dominance of market forces and the corresponding decline of State power also contributed to a weakening of the federal authority and providing a much larger freedom of action to the constituent States/provinces. Some of them are now seeking direct representation in international decision-making fora. Until about 1990, the trend was towards strengthening of federal governmental authority at the expense of the constituent states (Reddy 1999: 14). This informs the thought of Cassese to state that legal globalization is a consequence of the emergence of problems that no national legal order could solve. The expansion of trade and the need for a “corpus” of rules to accompany it; the need to exercise control over some of the sources of environmental pollution and regulate phenomena that escape the control of individual States, from air traffic to the use of the seas, postal transport, financial crises; and establish international criminal tribunals to compensate for the inertia of local judges in pursuing crimes that the whole international community regards as deserving punishment (Cassese 2005: 19).

Furthermore, the paper established that in spite of the series of attempts to split Nigeria like the former USSR, India, Pakistan, Sudan, Ethiopia, Malaysia, by different groups, the federal system has withstood the test of time; from 1914-2018 the country is still united. The situation could be attributed to the formation and naming of the country and states based on geographical nomenclature unlike the experience of the former USSR republics which led to the split of the Eastern European countries. This is line with the findings of a study conducted in Nigeria, which found out that a great advantage springing from the structure and nomenclature of the Nigerian federal system has been the absence of the direct tribal reference. A federal system that calls its constituent parts by ethnic names is a direct invitation for trouble. Yugoslavia before the Second World War had attempted to create a number of units of a regional kind, in place of the three largest units, Serbia, Croatia, and Slovenia; Tito reverted to these three ethnic names in addition to the other three republics of Bosnia, Montenegro and Macedonia. The assumption created by the ethnic nomenclature was that all groups of Croats should be in Croatia, Serbs in Serbia and that Kosovo should have no place in the Republic of Serbia, in which their province was incorporated. Therefore, Nigeria avoided this danger by using the geographical areas as surrogates for ethnic identities, although no one doubts that the inhabitants of six States in the former West are overwhelmingly Yoruba, those of five in the former East, Igbo, and while those of nine in the former North, Hausa/Fulani while some other states have a large Hausa share in their population (Dent n.d.: 164).

Moreover, the study indicated that the colonial amalgamation of three protectorates into a single entity, unequal landmass, lack of political space for minority ethnic groups especially for becoming the president of Nigeria and politicization of the military and civil service laid the foundation for the demand for the breakaway of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The upsurge of violent clashes between farmers and herdsmen in 2018 as well as the Boko Haram insurgency has fuelled the unquenched flame for secession by different ethnic groups who are contented with the Nigerian federalism. Ethnicity, unequal colonial arrangements in sharing of geographical locations which merged people who historically lived separately on one hand and the insecurity challenges which are rooted in the North and spreads down to South on the other hand. These have received different religious interpretations and ethnic coloration which the separatists as a genuine reason for seeking self-determination because incompatible people could not live together. The most cited reason by the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) is the gruesome attacks by alleged cattle herders on farmers and the rampaging killings by the Boko insurgents. It is the viewed as a systematic design to annihilate and exterminate ethnic groups that are predominantly Christians whose land is good for grazing animals and fertile for farming.

More so, based on the identified the challenges which federal states like Nigeria faced and the problems peculiar to Federal Republic of Nigeria in the past and present, it has shown that historical factors and associated with present political quest for power between the North and the South, insurgency, ethnic and communal violence formed the basis for the demands to end and dissolve the present federal structure in Nigeria by the people of Niger Delta, South-east and northern politicians from the opposition party seeking to capture power from the governing party in the 2019 General Elections. The simmering discontents from the colonial injustice have been exacerbated by trade liberalization in a globalized world, which provided the militants in the Niger Delta illegal market to sell the stolen crude oil. The money realized from stolen crude has used to purchase weapons to fight for separation from Nigeria. 

Therefore, separatists in Nigeria have been complaining that they are marginalized by the past military regimes, which persist in a current democratic dispensation in resource allocations and State creations. Under this necessity, some of the people in the regions seeking for separation to access weapons, financial assistance from foreigners and Nigerians abroad, have contributed and assisted the militants and separatists to express or ventilate their economic, political and religious grievances in a violent pattern. Therefore, the past and the present challenges are interwoven and interrelated which resulted in a complex of problems that portend danger for the continued existence of Nigeria as a united federal state. Another driver of the separation movement is the sharing of oil revenue by the Federal of Government to all the 36 States and Federal Capital Abuja. This is one of the major complaints of the Niger Delta People Volunteer Force and Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND). That is the oil money has been used to build the northern Nigeria, which contributes virtually nothing to the federation account and yet has the largest number of States, Local Government Areas and members of parliament. The problem comes from the overreliance of Nigerian government on one source of revenue oil and the oil-producing region of Niger Delta are left underdeveloped with destroyed ecosystem: unable to fish because of contaminated water and oil spillage, industrial waste and gas flaring from oil companies. In this regard, economic factors i.e. resource control, environmental and air pollution in the Niger Delta and political and ethnic grievances are intertwined and triggered the aggrieved people to seek for an independent country out of Nigeria.



The architect of globalization domain in a federating states attempts to induce divisibility of diverse elements and groups that promote irksome attitudes for separatism. The phenomenon was earlier institutionalized under the ambit of colonial domination, which was an element of ancient globalization. The desire that captures the philosophy of colonization was to maximize profit margin of the codifiers through intensification of raw materials production, expansion of markets and conquest and annexation to expand their sphere of influence. The new wave of globalization, an international economic interchange permeates the globalizedenvironment through the forces of trade liberalization, deregulation and information and communication technology. Thus, the forces are entrenched in virtually most of the spectrum and tentacles of developed and developing states. The outcome becomes manifest when primordial sentiments are imbibed in contextualizing the efficacy of deregulation. Desire outcome of trade liberalization opens chances for the intrusion of goods and services but relatively negative small arms and light weapons are imported by insurgents to facilitate agitations for secessionist movements. The spread of information and communication technology has become veritable for messages transfer across the global village gave impetus to attitudinal demands of some classics to actualize their dream for agitations to secede. Relevant here is that some groups of agitators in federating states succeeded in breaking away but others like Nigeria although the demands echoes and re-echoes in the memories of insurgents the dream seems to be a fallacy. This is motivated by the ability of the state to develop tangible mechanisms of integrating the diverse elements into a united front. 

Drawing from the findings and conclusion, the paper recommends that federal states that are facing threats of breakaway should address the inherited colonial problems of land disputes and amalgamation of incompatible people into a federated entity. A fair and acceptable method of sharing societal wealth accrue for natural resources should be initiated and implemented with all sense of sincerity. Similarly, ethnic, religious and regional considerations should be not the criteria for job recruitment, political appointment and winning an election. A proportional democracy should be adopted to give minority ethnic groups a sense of belonging in the governmental affairs of Nigeria. This would go a long way to assuage the feeling of marginalization and exclusion in the scheme of things by the central government. Government at all levels should be sincere and decisive handling security challenges through remodelling the entire security architecture in line with the international standards to enable the security operatives to handle insurgency and terrorism which is a new phenomenon in Nigeria. The government should explore dialogue and mediation as tools to address the perennial conflict between farmers and herdsmen, as the conflict has started taking ethnic and religious dimensions in North Central Nigeria in order to forestall spillover to other unaffected parts of the country.


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