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In Nigeria, a Familiar Debate Resurfaces

Sep 9, 2016 | 09:00 GMT
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari (L) talks with rival politician Atiku Abubakar in Lagos.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari (L) talks with rival politician Atiku Abubakar in Lagos.
(PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images)

The decadeslong debate over Nigeria's political structure has been reignited once again. On Aug. 21, Ekiti state Gov. Ayodele Fayose announced his support for the idea of moving toward "true federalism," in essence calling for the further devolution of power and revenue to Nigerian states. That the ruling All Progressives Congress has turned away from the same notion is odd, Fayose added, considering that the party ran on a federalist platform in elections last year. But amending the Nigerian Constitution to allow for greater federalism would require President Muhammadu Buhari to have -- and be willing to burn through -- substantial political capital. It would also risk intensifying Nigeria's disputes about what kind of country it wants to be and how best it can reconcile its often competing goals of national unity and local autonomy. ...

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