Government, State and Local Governments
traditional authorities, deputy governor, Federal Capital Territory, state assembly, elected governor
Nigeria is divided into 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. State governments consist of an elected governor, a deputy governor chosen by the governor, and a directly elected state assembly. The governor also nominates commissioners, who are confirmed by the assembly. The Federal Capital Territory is headed by a minister, who is appointed by the president.
The creation of new states has been a periodic feature of Nigerian life since 1967, when 12 states replaced the previous 4 regions. The creation of new states was immensely popular in previously neglected areas, which were given a greater share of oil wealth and other development. As a result, Nigerians routinely call for more states, using arguments about the ethnic and population balance to bolster their economic motivations. The federal government has responded by creating seven new states plus the Federal Capital Territory in 1976, two more in 1987, nine in 1991, and six in 1996. As the states have become smaller, they have become less viable and more dependent on federal government transfers.
As in the case of the states, there has been continuous lobbying for new local governments, which in 1997 numbered more than 700. Until 1976, traditional authorities controlled local governments, but reforms have since relegated traditional rulers to a mostly ceremonial role. In their place are democratically elected government councils with responsibility for things such as primary health care and primary education.
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