National Unity and the Federal Character Commission

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The Problem Statement

The Federal Character Commission which was established by the Constitution to promote national unity by implementing and enforcing compliance with the federal character principle appears to exist in name only as it is a paradox of national development.

As the cheerleader of disunity, it non-structured and over-dependence on the executive has led to abysmal failure and a call for restructuring would be effective. The prevalence of ethnic bigotry and prejudices among the populace especially the political class and capitalist has led to the fall of federal character principle.

From this forgoing, the principle of federal character is an empty rhetoric if it is not honestly implemented by those whose responsibility it is to do so.

The Policy Solution

Federal Character Commission (Establishment, Etc.) Decree 1996 (No. 34 of 1996) is an Act established with the responsibility to promote, monitor and enforce compliance with the principles of the proportional sharing of all bureaucratic, economic, media and political posts at all levels of government.

They are also subject to the approval of the President in working out an equitable formula for all governmental bodies and parastatals, determine eligibility and the procedure for employment in the public and private sectors of the economy, advise the Federal Government of Nigeria on the structure and rationalization of any Ministry, Extra‐ Ministerial Department or agency.

Hence, the Act also empowers the Commission to enforce compliance with its guidelines and formulae in areas of distribution of infrastructural facilities, socio-economic amenities amongst others.

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NIGAC Constructive Position/Take

The Federal Character Commission (FCC) is a Federal Executive body established by Act No 34 of 1996 to implement and enforce the Federal Character Principle of fairness and equity in the distribution of public posts and socio-economic infrastructures among the various federating units of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The provisions of the 1999 Constitution in Sections 14 and 153 consolidated the establishment of the FCC for operation in a democratic system of Government.

The abysmal failure and the subsequent disunity has resulted in the call of the restructuring of the commission much stronger.  In a diverse country like Nigeria, there is a need to represent every region and tribe in government to deter ethnic bigotry and prejudices among the populace.

The Commission and the Establishing Act has to be reviewed with a prospect of making it more effective.

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