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An assessment of rotational presidency as a mechanism for political stability in Nigeria's Fourth Republic.

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The study examined the rationale for the introduction of power rotation principle in Nigeria’s Fourth Republic and its operational modalities within the ambit of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution. It also examined the relationship between power rotation and the stability of Nigeria’s political system, the challenges militating against the use of power rotation in Nigeria’s Fourth Republic as well as the relationship between power rotation and democratic consolidation in Nigeria’s Fourth Republic. These were to contribute to the discourse on power rotation and its effect on political stability and democratic consolidation in Nigeria. The study adopted both descriptive and exploratory methods. Descriptive method, which is a form of qualitative research, was used to describe the phenomenon that leads to the agitation for power rotation formula. The exploratory method was used as a historical method in tracing the genesis of ethnic rivalries and domination of the presidential position that culminates in the agitation for power rotation formula in Nigeria. The study also used secondary sources that relied extensively on the use of relevant textbooks, scholarly peer-reviewed journal articles, and internet materials. The data retrieved in this study were analysed using a content analysis of the secondary data. The study found that power rotation was introduced to address the problems of hegemonies, marginalisation, and domination of one region over others to reduce instability in the Nigerian polity. The study also revealed that the operational modalities of presidential power rotation became pronounced during the 1994/95 National Constitutional Conference (NCC) established by Decree No. (3) 1994. Despite this, the study found that power rotation was never incorporated in the present 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The study shows that the idea of power rotation is a winner takes all system because it gives power in totality to a group for a particular or planned period. The Winner takes all system involves entire control of power by a group and these limits electoral choice which is detrimental to democracy and harmful to a developing nation like Nigeria. While the researcher is not outrightly rejecting the idea of power rotation, the study is sceptical about the intention behind the strategy because the political elites in the country see it as a mechanism to hijack political power and hold tenaciously to it. For this reason, the demand for power rotation tends to breed more conflict than resolve it. The study concluded that though the idea of power rotation formula serves as a suitable mechanism for accommodating diverse ethnic groups in presidential office and has the potential for stabilising the polity; it is also dangerous for developing democracy in Nigeria because of the greed and immaturity of the political elites.


Master of Social Science in Political Science. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg 2018.