Federalism and Gender Politics in Nigeria
This chapter addresses how ethnicity and religion are regulated within Nigeria's federal structure, contending that Nigerian federalism has encouraged ethno-religious fundamentalism and chauvinistic tendencies that reinforced sexism. It has, therefore, undermined the prospects for equitable gender governance, and revealed great gaps between what democratic federalism promises and what it delivers, when there is insufficient political will. The chapter argues that instructive insights about how to enhance gender equity strategies within a federalist structure can be derived from understanding how gender interacts with ethno-religious claims. Nigeria was a colonial-era amalgamation of northern and southern protectorates. The British colonial administration adopted a policy of indirect rule, particularly in the north, entailing the strategic use of native administration. Ironically, many blame the current wave of ethno-religious conflict on the federal government's surreptitious enrolment of Nigeria in the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) when Babangida was dictator.