The Impact of Nation Building under the Third Republic in Nigeria

The Impact of Nation Building under the Third Republic in Nigeria

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Nigeria became an independent state in 1960. At independence, the country contained about 250 ethnic groups with over 350 spoken languages (Almond, et al., 2004). This ethno-cultural heterogeneity has made the task of building a viable, functional and cohesive polity an uphill task for the different administrations that has ruled the country since 1960. From 1960 to 2007, a period of some forty-seven years, the different Nigerian administrations had been confronted with the following nation-building challenges: federalism, corruption, autarky, democracy, governance, aggressive ethno-regionalism and religion. The inability of the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) to effectively resolve these challenges has impacted negatively on the nation-building process in the country

Nation-building is a search for nationhood. It is a process of developing national consciousness among individuals and groups to cultivate a sense of love for their nation and to accept their commitment to a nation-state. This concept helped many nations and regions to become economically, socially and culturally united. While other countries have used nation building and national integration mechanisms to improve their social cohesion and deepen development, Nigeria lags behind.

Since 1960 to date, Nigeria has lived in a state of doubt and uncertainty. Within these years, all kinds of analysis and conclusions according to Obiozor (2015) have been assembled on critical issues as responsible for what has become a Nigerian dilemma over nation-building and national development. This is because all countries compared to Nigeria in 1960 have made astronomical progress, developed relatively stable political, economic and durable national identity.

 While other nations and their leaders knew that nation-building is a long and challenging political process, which involve leaders, together with the citizenry, Nigerian leaders saw nation-building as an elite project. Most developed nations and some African countries achieved nation-building and national integration by inculcating three core values. The first of these core values has always been the conscious cultivation of a national identity, the sense of belonging, based on shared values, tradition, history and aspirations. The second is the establishment of institutions and laws of governance which formalize the relationship between the leaders and citizens, and their expectation of service delivery.

So many variables have been identified as being responsible for Nigeria’s inability to build a durable national identity and social cohesion that is truly Nigerian and all-encompassing. Such variables include: ethnicity, religion, region, insecurity, separatist agitations, constitutional problem, political restructuring of the system, corruption and leadership challenge. In all these variables identified, poor political leadership and corruption were identified as the major reasons why nation-building and national integration are difficult to achieve in Nigeria. Thus, this study will discuss the problems of nation-building in Nigeria with strong focus on political leadership challenge and corruption, because of the belief that strong and well-focused leadership that is free of corruption is capable of achieving Nigerian identity with national outlook void of tribalism, religion or region.

The Impact of Nation Building under the Third Republic in Nigeria

The Concept of Nation-building

For a thorough understanding of the term nation building, there is the need to first look at the root word of the term: nation. A nation is a group of people that shares certain similarities, such as language, culture, religion, a common origin and subsequently seeing themselves as one. The term nation-building is often used simultaneously with state-building, democratization, modernization, political development, post-conflict reconstruction, and peace-building. Nation Building therefore, in the post-independence African setting is the deliberate attempt by the African states through national policies to create oneness amongst the peoples within their territories. These efforts by post-independence African states had been met with several challenges. Nations are an important part of modern society.

Building a nation is a normative concept that signifies various things to various people. The process of creating or establishing a national identity through the use of state power is generally understood to be what it is. Therefore, nation-building must include procedures designed to bring the people of the state together in order for it to stay politically stable and enduring over the long term. According to Rokkan (1978), the idea of nation-building originated in Europe, where the traditional, pre-modern state was composed of remote communities with parochial cultures at the “bottom” of the society and a distant, aloof state structure at the “top,” mostly satisfied with collecting taxes and maintaining order. These two domains were drawn nearer to one another through nation-building mechanisms.

Elaiwu and Okorie (2009) see nation-building as the process of creating unity and sense of belonging among heterogeneous groups in the state; while Nwabughuogu (2004) looks at the concept as involving the creation of a favourable environment that will sustain the sense of love developed by the individuals and groups for the nation-state. Thus, nation-building would normally involve the creation of impressive elements of organization (political, social, and economic) that characterize a modern state: good roads, water supply, facilities for education and health, efficient communication, opportunities for employment and so on that would make the citizens develop love for their country.

 Viewing the concept from the political perspective, Ahmed-Gamgum (2014) sees nation-building as developing and instituting a democratic policy, thus, entailing the ability of the nation to sustain itself as a sovereign by giving freedom and liberty to its people to use as well as laid mechanism or system of leadership recruitment and leaving a legacy or culture of smooth succession of power to future generation. From the economics context, nation-building is seen as the greatness of individuals through the success which a nation makes in industrial development for improved production of goods and services. It improves the standard of living of the people and builds the mind of people together to want to continue in existence as one nation.


The Third Republic was the planned republican government of Nigeria in 1992 which was to be governed by the Third Republican constitution. In the Third Republic, there were democratically elected state governors and state assemblies and a democratically elected federal legislature (National Assembly). The republic was however not fully democratic as there was no democratically elected civilian president.

The then military president Ibrahim Babangida’s supposed transition eventually turned out to be a ploy to keep executive powers and grant the National Assembly limited legislative powers. Hence all laws passed by the Senate and House of Representatives will have to pass the National Defence and Security Council of Nigeria and finally approved by the President. So while Babangida changed the usual style adopted by preceding military leaders from Head of State to President, he will continue to postpone presidential elections and eventually annul the ultimate one held on 12 June 1993. The Third Republic can thus be described as half military and half civilian.

Within the Nigerian context, it is the progressive acceptance by members of the polity of the legitimacy and the necessity for a central government, and the identification with the central government as the symbol of the nation (Elaigwu, 1985). This is the vertical dimension to nation-building. The horizontal dimension involves the acceptance of the other members of the civic body as equal members of a corporate nation. In Nigeria, during the Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration, the vertical dimension held true. There are three elements of nation-building: ideology, integration of society and functional state apparatus (Hippler, 2005).

As regard ideology, nation-building will only be successful if it stems from an integrative ideology. Fundamental restructuring of politics and society requires special legitimation with regard to justification of policy, as well as, social mobilization for its ends. This is the important purpose that ideology serves in the process of nation-building. The second crucial element in the nation-building process is what has been termed societal integration. This simply means the integration of a society from the loosely associated groups that existed previously. For instance, Hausas, Yorubas and Ibos must be convinced that they belong to a common nation and this notion must also be founded in the social reality. And below are the various means of nation building in the third republic Nigeria:

  1. Institutional Mechanism Used By the Obasanjo Administration in the Nation-Building Process

The following institutions were set up by the Obasanjo’s administration to tackle some of the nation-building challenges that faced Nigeria between 1999 and 2007.

  • The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC)
  • (ii) Niger Delta development Commission (NDDC)
  • (iii) National Political Reform Conference (NPRC)

In tackling the challenge of corruption in Nigeria during the Fourth republic, the Obasanjo administration established the EFFC and ICPC between 2000 and 2004 (Okoosi-Simbine, 2011). Corruption is an important bane of the various nation building efforts in Nigeria since 1967. The need to eradicate corruption, for instance, featured prominently as a reason for General Murtala Mohammed’s coup in 1975 (Okoosi-Simbine, 1993); it pervaded and consequently led to the destruction of the Second Republic; and ran unchecked and unhindered during General Sanni Abacha’s regime between 1993 and 1998. At the inception of the democratic administration, President Obasanjo declared


In furtherance of this drive, the state enacted the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act in 2000 under the umbrella of the ICPC; and the EFCC Act 2002 (Owolabi, 2007). These Acts served as the tools for identifying, investigating and convicting offenders. These Acts also empowered the two agencies to seize assets, freeze accounts and set-up specialized autonomous anticorruption agencies apart from the federal police (Bola, 2006).

The particular facets of corruption that the two agencies were designed to tackle include advance free fraud also known as ‘419’; embezzlement of public funds, economic frauds, misappropriation of public funds, and political corruption (Sardan, 1999). Political corruption was highly prevalent during Obasanjo’s administration. It relates, among others, to the misuse of authority, the use of governmental powers for illegitimate private gain and conflict of interest (Zero Tolerance, 2006).

The Obasanjo administration effectively used the two agencies, especially the EFCC, to bring the issues of corruption to the public sphere. The activities of the EFCC demonstrated the efforts of the state toward building a functional and viable polity through the impactful activities of the Institution. For example, the efforts of the EFCC had resulted in the return of over five billion naira in stolen funds back to the Nigerian state and the prosecution of over eighty individuals for corruption charges by 2006 (Falola and Heaton, 2008).

Over the course of 2006, four state governors, Rashidi Ladoja of Oyo state, Ayo Fayose of Ekiti state, Joshua Dariye of Plateau state and Peter Obi of Anambra were impeached by their state legislatures over allegations of corruption by the EFCC (Economist, 2007; Zero Tolerance, 2006). The former Inspector General of Police, Tafa Balogun, was dismissed from office, prosecuted, tried and jailed for corruption in 2005 through the efforts of the EFCC (Vanguard, 2005). And in May 2007, the United States removed Nigeria from its money laundering watch list (Alli, 2010).

The NDDC was particularly established to tackle the challenge of aggressive ethno-regionalism in the south-eastern region during the Fourth Republic. It was created by the Obasanjo administration in June 2000 to review and prescribe ways in which the federal government could economically develop the Niger Delta (Falola and Geneva, 2009).

The state built infrastructures and encouraged investments in the region through various schemes located within the NDDC. NDDC was also established to tackle the problem of youth restiveness in the region. Youth restiveness in the region had not only threatened the corporate existence of Nigeria, but it further impacted negatively on the oil-extracting and exporting activities of the multi-national corporations in the region between 1999 and 2007.

This assumed a dangerous dimension with the formation of ethnic militias that threatened the very existence of the Nigerian state. Such ethnic militias include Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) and the Niger Delta Volunteer Force (NDVF). This then was the backdrop to the establishment of the NDDC.

In order to effectively tackle the challenges of federalism and aggressive ethnoregionalism that threatened the corporate existence of the country, the Obasanjo’s administration set up the NPRC in 2005. The NPRC was created to reach a consensus on aspects of the federal structure, resource control, devolution of power to federating units and explicit recognition of ethnic nationalities as a means of finding a lasting solutions to perennial unrests in various parts of the federation between 1999 and 2007 (Inuwa, 2010).

Memberships of the NPRC cuts across the federation. It was done in such a way as to reflect the federal political arrangement in Nigeria. For example, fifty of its members were nominated by the president, two hundred and eighteen by state governors and eighty-six selected from different groups from across the federation.

The NPRC submitted its report to the presidency by July 2005. However, the NPRC failed to significantly resolve the challenges of federalism, distribution and aggressive ethno-regionalism due to two important reasons. The first was the administration’s over-responsiveness to partisan demands from pressure groups that transformed the conference from a national dialogue into a sectional debate (Aluko, 2005). And secondly, the intransigence of some ethnic groups, like the Niger Delta delegates, that felt the NPRC could not adequately cater for their socio-economic aspirations (Inuwa, 2010).


Three important challenges that confronted the civilian administration in its nation-building drives were those of federalism, democracy and aggressive ethno-regionalism. In trying to tackle these, the state resorted to the use of the following concepts:

  1. Power-Sharing

The concept of power sharing implies a consensual arrangement in which candidates for political offices are chosen by the community without much regard for experience, competence and continuity in office (Inuwa, 2010). It means a geographical location of political leadership in such a way that enhances the possibility of different geo-political entities that made up the country the chance of occupying a political office (Jacob, 2006). The concept has within it such other concepts as rotational presidency, rotational governor, rotational ministers and rotational commissioners.

Power-sharing is not only an ethnic balancing formula, but also a region-equilibrating medium. Although, the idea of power sharing predates the Fourth Republic, it was a political arrangement the Obasanjo administration used extensively to tackle the challenges of democracy and federalism. With the distribution of the federation into geo-political zones during the Fourth Republic, the administration ensured that access to political offices, especially at the central or federal level was based on the principles of power-sharing.

For example, toward the tail end of his second-term presidency, president Obasanjo ensured, based on the principle of power-sharing, that the presidential political office was given to the north-west, that of the vicepresidency to the south-south and the presidency of the senate to the north-central (middle-belt). This was what led to the emergence of the presidency of Umaru Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan in 2007.

  1. Zoning

Zoning, which is an element of power-sharing, is an informal arrangement in which the states in Nigeria are aggregated into zones or regions for the purpose of allocating office (Jacob, 2006). The process also corresponds to consociationalism, elite coalition and proportional representation (Orji, 2008).The goal of all these measures is to ensure that persons from a few states orethno-regional group do not dominate the government and that the presidentenjoy broad support.

In the case of Nigeria, it connotes the division of politicaloffices to the six geographical zones (Tamuno, 2003). The main purpose of zoning is to make sure that the different offices are rotated amongst the regions.And, also that power would shift from one region to another thereby hinderingone region from dominating in terms of power (Rustad, 2008). This was the ideathat informed the official recognition ofthe six geo-political zones by the Obasanjo’s administration. The zones aresouth-west, south-east, south-south, north-central, north-east and north-west.

  1. National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS)

NEEDS that was launched at the beginning of the second-term of the Obasanjo’s administration in 2003, was an important plank of the administration’s reform programmemes (Rustad, 2008). NEEDS was multifaceted. It was designed to tackle the challenges of autarky, distribution and that of corruption (Adejumobi, 2011). NEEDS was conceived by the administration as Nigeria’s home grown poverty reduction strategy (Ifamose, 2010). The four key areas that the programme focused on included value re-orientation, poverty reduction, employment generation and wealth creation (NPC, 2004).

NEEDS had four subgroups. They are public service reforms; economic reforms through macroeconomics stability and accelerated privatization of the economy; institutional reforms and strengthening and social reforms through transparency, accountability and anti-corruption (Alli, 2010). The impact of NEEDS on the Nigerian economy and by extension, socio-economic lives of the country was overwhelming. For example, under its economic and empowerment agenda, NEEDS increased the number of telephones in the country from below 1 million in 1999 to over thirty-eight million by April 2007 (Ifamose, 2010).

Moreover, the banking sector was another area touched by NEEDS’ reform. In 2005, a consolidation exercise, instigated by NEEDS in the banking sector, led to the merger of Nigeria’s 89 banks into 25, each with a minimum capital base of 25 billion naira (Alli, 2010). And more importantly, NEEDS spearheaded the establishment of such agencies as Budget Monitoring and Price Intelligence Unit (BMPIU), the due process office in the presidency, the EFCC and ICPC (Adejumobi, 2011).

Challenges of Nation Building in Africa

  1. Poor Leadership

Many scholars had commented on the need for African leaders to be more responsible to the people who they govern. In Nigeria, Achebe outlined leadership as the most important challenge in the state’s pursuit of nation building. African leaders at independence had perpetually placed themselves above the people and the state and the lack of political will to transform the continent’s abundant resources to the betterment of the people. The leadership factor cuts across Africa.

In Democratic Republic of Congo (former Republic of Zaire), a multi-ethnic society, which gained her independence on June 30th 1960. At independence, she had a thriving economy which was initiated and sustained by the increase in the price of copper. The years that followed Mobutu Sese Seko’s rise to power, the country became one of the first African countries to seek fund from the external capital market with debt rising from two billion dollars in 1970 to six billion dollars in 1988.

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While debt servicing rose from sixty one million dollars in 1972 to eighty nine million dollars in a span of two years. In 1977, it leaped to three hundred and eighty six million dollars and to an astronomical height of nine hundred and fifty two million dollars in 1987.5 In Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo had been in office since 1979 and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe since 1980. These are few examples of African leaders who had taking the Louis XIV posture of “L’Etat, c’est moi” (I am the state).

  1. The Challenge of Socio-Economic Inequalities

An important aspect of nation-building is the building of a common citizenship. In Nigeria, however, not only are many of our citizens denied basic rights such as the right to education and health, there is also serious variation in the enjoyment of these rights across the country.  As a consequence, the citizen is not motivated to support the state and society, because he or she does not feel that the society is adequately concerned about their welfare.  Secondly socio-economic inequalities across the country fuels fears and suspicious which keep our people divided.

Let me draw your attention to some of these socio-economic inequalities.  If we take the level of immunization of children against dangerous childhood diseases, we note that while the South-East has 44.6% immunization coverage, the North-West has 3.7% and North-East 3.6%.  If you take the education of the girl-child as indicator, you see a similar pattern of inequality with the South-East having an enrolment rate of 85%, South-West 89%, South-South 75%, North-East 20%, and North-West 25%.2

Only 25% of pregnant women in the North-West use maternity clinics, while 85% of the women in the South-East do.3  It is not surprising that 939% more women die in child-birth in the North-East, compared to the South-West.4  Education and poverty levels are also important dimensions of inequalities across Nigeria.  If we take admissions into Nigerian universities in the academic year 2000/1, we see that the North-West had only 5% of the admissions, while the South-East had 39%.5 As for poverty, the Governor of the Central Bank, Charles Soludo, recently pointed out that while 95% of the population of Jigawa State is classified as poor, only 20% of Bayelsa State is so classified.  While 85% of Kwara State is classified as poor, only 32% of Osun is in the same boat.6

These inequalities pose two related challenges to nation-building.  Firstly, high levels of socio-economic inequalities mean that different Nigerians live different lives in different parts of the country.  Your chances of surviving child-birth, of surviving childhood, of receiving education and skills, all vary across the country.  If different parts of Nigeria were separate countries, some parts will be middle income countries, while others will be poorer than the poorest countries in the world!

A common nationhood cannot be achieved while citizens are living such parallel lives.  Inequalities are a threat to a common citizenship.  Secondly, even in those parts of the country that are relatively better off, the level of social provision and protection is still low by world standards.  The 20% that are poor and unemployed in Bayelsa State are still excluded from common citizenship benefits.  We therefore need a Social Contract between the people on the one hand, and the state and nation on the other.  The state and nation must put meeting the needs of the disadvantaged as a key objective of public policy.

Such an approach can make possible a common experience of life by Nigerians living in different parts of the country and elicit their commitment to the nation.  Instead of resorting to the divisive politics of indigene against settler as a means of accessing resources, a generalized commitment to social citizenship will create a civic structure of rights that will unite people around shared rights and goals.

Poverty and nation-building are strange bedfellows, whether the poor are 20% or 85% of the population.  A largely marginalized citizenry, increasingly crippled by poverty and the lack of basic needs, can hardly be expected to play its proper role in the development of the nation.  Nations are built by healthy and skilled citizens.  On grounds of both equity and efficiency, we need to promote the access of the bulk of the Nigerian population to basic education, health, and housing.  Nigeria needs a social contract with its citizens as a basis for demanding their loyalty and support.

  1. The Constitutional Challenge

Since its independence, the country has been facing the challenge of crafting a constitutional arrangement that has the backing of an overwhelming majority of Nigerians.  In the 1940s and 1950s, our founding fathers battled with this problem.  In the end, they arrived at the principle of federalism as a foundation for our nation.

  But federalism has faced stiff challenges over the years from those wanting a unitary form of government on the one hand, and from those wanting a confederal arrangement, on the other.  To my mind, the worst enemies of Nigerian federalism are those who speak of federalism, but act in a unitary fashion by brushing aside all the divisions of powers between different levels of our federation.  Related to the problem of federalism is the question of fiscal federalism.

What is the appropriate and just basis for sharing revenue?  Should the federal government have the right to deduct monies due to states without their permission?  Should state governments continue to control local government allocations? These are all fundamental principles on which we have no clear consensus.

While we all agree that Nigeria must be a federation, we have no clear consensus on the nature of that federation, on whether we should have territorially defined states or ethnically defined states as some are demanding.  We also do not have a consensus on the number of states or federating units we should have.  While some are satisfied with the current 36 states, others are calling for more states for their own groups.  On the other hand, yet others are arguing that the number of states should be reduced to 6.  Here again, there is little by way of consensus.

  1.  Institutions for fostering public integrity    

When we refer to the courts or the ICPC or Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) as institutions that fight corruption; we imply that these organisations not operate and apply enforce a set of rules but also aim to create a system of values that rejects the abusive of public position for private gain.

Today, there are three institutions that are dedicated to fostering integrity in the public sector:  the Code of Conduct Bureau [CCB], the ICPC and EFCC.  Together the ICPC’s mandate include reviewing public sector systems and procedures with a view to eliminating pitfalls for corruption, public enlightenment and mobilization against corruption and enforcing the law in these areas.  By contrast, EFCC has mandate to combat 419 crimes, money laundering, and terrorist financing and fraud in the financial sector.

Yet, there is also growing sense among the public that there is an overlap in functions between the ICPC and EFCC.  However, those knowledgeable with the statues creating the ICPC and EFCC argue that the main area of overlap is in the definition of economic crime as including corruption.  The anti-corruption bodies have met the criteria of inspiring public confidence in their work.  That public confidence will be raised much higher if the functions are delineated in a way that are can easily be grasped by the public.

  1.  Institutions for public service delivery

The civil service is the main instrument and institution of public service delivery.  Traditionally, the civil service performs three functions: supporting the policy making function of government at the federal, state and local government; facilitating or regulating the private sector; and providing managerial leadership for operating public sector enterprises.

The capacity of the Nigerian civil service to perform its statutory functions is critically dependent on its ability to attract and retain competent and highly skilled persons in the professional category; the willing to offer attractive pay and benefits package; and the modernisation of the office infrastructure.  The reforms of the federal civil service has rightly focused on improving the pay package, increasing the number of  staff in the professional category and  improving service to the public through the Service Compact with Nigerians (Servcom).

Nonetheless, much remains to be done both in improving the office infrastructure in the civil service and in bringing public servants attitude to the standards of many emerging economies.  Moreover, it is doubtful whether the new pay scale has done much to improve overall conditions of the civil servants.  While high pay may not offer a guarantee against fraud and corruption, it is a major incentive to work harder and show commitment to public service.

  1. The Judicial Institutions
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The Judiciary is an important institution is any democracy but they are essential to the functioning of a market economy.  The judiciary not only arbitrates disputes between the various levels of government, between government and citizens, and among citizens but also among private sector agents.  Given its pivotal role in national stability and economic prosperity, some of the major features of good institutions noted earlier are particular relevant.  These are that institutions should have persons with the technical expertise and moral competence to interpret the rules or implement the goals of the organisations; and ensure that the institutions inspire public confidence.

In recent times, the Supreme Court, the apex court in the country, has inspired much public confidence and respect because of the quality of its judgment, especially in some politically sensitive cases.  In some ways, the gradual maturity of the democratic process in Nigeria, where politicians now prefer legal recourse rather to local rampage with their supporters and loyalists, is directly linked to the growing public confidence in the courts.  Election related disputes should be addressed in the courts –be they electoral courts or ultimately in judicial courts –and not through violence.

There are multiplying instances of election-related violence tearing apart the social fabric in several African countries.  Nigerians have also needlessly shared much blood in the past.  If Nigerians are beginning to realise the futility of shedding blood in elections disputes, this owes much to our judiciary, which has provided reasoned judgment on several cases.  Nonetheless, the responsibility for conducting free and fair elections and accepting results should not be left to the judiciary alone. Democracy cannot be built solely on court orders or judgment of electoral tribunals.

The Processes of Human Right Education in Nigeria

Human rights education is one of the new courses introduced into the school curriculum. It improves the quality of learning achievement by promoting pupil-centered and participatory teaching and learning practices and processes, as well as new function for our noble profession. It helps in no small measure towards the contribution of social cohesion and conflict prevention by enhancing the social and emotional development of the child and by introducing democratic values.

It helps learners to develop attitudes of solidarity across issues and nations. Human rights education promotes understanding and friendship among people and nations of the world. It is very essential because, it is used to affirm that all individuals, irrespective of status, have moral rights which a society should not deny. This work therefore attempts to explore strategies for implementing human rights education in our schools which include training of teachers and other education personnel, dissemination of information, curriculum development among others.

Whether private or public schools, primary or secondary, the government is the only authorized agent that produces the curriculum for these schools through the ministry of education. Thus the implementation strategy addresses primarily the ministries of education, which is vested with the responsibility for primary and secondary education at national level in Nigeria. Ministries of education are thus the principal actors. The implementation strategy of human rights education in the school system in Nigeria aside the institutions/agencies deal with such concern as:

(i) Educational policy

(ii) Programme planning

(iii) Curriculum development

(iv) Teaching and learning material development

(v) The in-service training of teachers and other education personnel.

(vi) Teaching and learning methodologies

(vii) Inclusive education

(ix) Regional/ provincial/local administration

(x) Research

(xi) Dissemination of information

For the above strategies for implementing human rights education to be successful, there is need for close collaboration with other institutions such as:

(i) Teachers’ colleges and faculties of education of universities.

(ii) Teachers’ unions, professional organizations and accreditation institutions.

(iii) National, federal, local and state legislative bodies, including education, development and human rights parliamentary committees.

(iv) National human rights institutions such as ombudsman and human rights commission.

(v) National commission for UNESCO

(vi) National/local organizations, including for instance, National Committee for the United Nation Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and other community – based organizations.

(i) National branches of international nongovernmental organizations.

(ii) Parents associations

(iii) Students’ associations.

(iv) Education research institutes

(V) National and local human rights resources and training centres.

Stages of Human Right Education in Nigeria

  1. Stage One: This stage is concerned with the provision of guidelines to assist member states in implementing the plan of action. This they do by addressing the question: where are we? They also help to provide guidelines and how to collect information on and analyze the following:
  2. Current situation of the primary and secondary system including the situation of human in schools.
  3. Historical and cultural backgrounds that may influence right education in the school system.
  4. Human rights education initiatives.
  5. Achievements and shortcomings of the obstacles to initiatives undertaken within United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education, 1995-2004.
  6. Involvement of various actions such as governmental institutions, national human rights institutions, universities, research institutions and nongovernmental organizations, in human rights education in the school system.
  7. Good human rights practice existing at national and regional levels.
  8. Role of similar types of education (education for sustainable development, peace education, global education, multicultural education, citizenship and values education) that may exist in the country.
  9. Determine which measures and components of human right education exist already.
  10. Stage two is the setting of priorities and developing of national implementation strategy. With regards to this section, the plan of action for the second phase (2005-2007) addresses the question; where do we want to go and how? It helps by:
  11. Defining a mission statement which in this sense is the main goal for implementing human rights education in the school system.
  12. Fixing objectives of human right education.

The priorities set here will help to focus on issues potentially necessary for the achievement of the strategies for implementing human rights education and will lead to impact in the society generally. Impact as used here refers to what can be actually achieved. Direction of the national implementation strategies is set in such a way that it links objectives with available resources by identifying inputs which are allocation of available resources such as human, finance and time. It also has to do with identifying activities such as tasks, responsibilities, time frame and milestones as well as outputs. Outputs here refer to concrete products such as new legislation, studies, capacity-building, seminars, educational materials, revision of textbooks among others.

  1. The third stage is implementing human right education. According to world programme for Human Rights Education (plan of Action 2005-2007) this is the implementing and monitoring stage. This simply involves the dissemination of the national implementation strategy as well as monitoring the implementation using fixed milestones. The final stage is the evaluation. Evaluation addresses the questions: Did we get there? Here the plane of Action advises that we adopt evaluation as a method of accountability and a means to learn to improve a possible next phase of activities. This of course may involve the use of self-evaluation as well as independent external evaluation to review implementation. It also involves the checking of the fulfillment of the set objectives and also examining the implementation process. It finally involves the acknowledgement, dissemination and celebration of achievement of results.


Going by the elements of nation-building earlier highlighted, a successful nation building exercise requires three prerequisites. They are ideology, integration of society and a functional state apparatus. From the analysis, one can see that the Obasanjo’s administration only succeeded in injecting one of these, a functional state apparatus, into the nation-building process.

The failure of the Obasanjo’s administration to create a sound ideology for its nation-building programmes impacted negatively on its overall efforts to create a functional Nigeria. Likewise, Obasanjo’s inability to create an integrated Nigerian society somewhat diluted the effectiveness of the administration’s nation-building programmes.


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Kagame, P. (2010) “The Challenges of Nation-Building in Africa”. Oppenheimer Lecture, Arundel House, London. Thursday 16th September.

Mr. Harrison

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