Date of Award

7-1-2010

Degree Type

Dissertation

University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)

School

School of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Hashim Gibrill

Second Advisor

Dr. William Boone

Third Advisor

Dr. Robert B. Dejanes

Abstract

This dissertation addresses the issues of crafting a constitution for Nigeria that would meet the criteria of being visible, sustainable, and durable for national political unity, social and economic development. Specifically, it focuses on the years 1978 —

1995 during which several high profile systematic, constitution crafting exercises were undertaken. These included the establishment of a Constitution Drafting Committee to craft a constitution, and a Constituent Assembly. Ultimately, these exercises have proven to be only partially successful. The goal of producing an endurable constitutional framework for Nigerian politics remains elusive. The two core questions pursued in this dissertation focus on: Why did the military pursue these constitution crafting activities? What are the pressing political issues that the constitutional framework will have to manage? The dissertation pursued these issues through surveys, interviews, a review of government documents and reports, participant observation, and a review of existing literature regarding constitution development, federalism and Nigerian history and politics. Key research findings uncovered pressing political concerns ranging across ethnic fears, gender and youth concern, institutional restructuring and economic subordination. Our findings also related to the elite background of participants in these constitutional exercises, and the intrusion of religion, class, and geographical interests into the deliberations of the assemblies. The continued violation of constitutional provisions by the military was highlighted. The widespread call for a Sovereign National Constitutional Conference to shape a new popular constitution for the country was also a prominent concern.

Key recommendations focus on the need for a national constitutional conference free of political interference and constricting mandates.

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