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Background of the Study

The problem of political instability on implementation of Nigeria policy on secondary education cannot be fully comprehended without briefly highlighting the circumstances and environment within which education system functions.

Education cannot be divorced from politics because, one of the crucial issues characterized in the relationship between education and politic, is the likelihood for the political powers to use the educational system as the main instrument for promoting the political interest, the values and beliefs of the government in power.  This is why any political group that comes into power quickly punches on the educational system by way of promising great expansion and support for education, dictates what the schools should be and not.  It is possible that in some cases, the goals and interests which the political powers may want to provide may or may not be ideal for the society.  But the educational system by virtue of its political context must follow itself to the new demands of the government in power.

Be that as it may, Nigeria as an environment within which our educational system functions today was founded by Mrs. Flora Shaw, a wife of Frederick Lugard.  This entity described as Nigeria today begins with the amalgamation at Lagos by John De Craft in 1951.  Nigeria has been regarded as the early twentieth century colony that gained her independent in 1960 and became a republic nation in 1963.  That is a nation without a monarch as the head.

Moreover, Nigeria is popularly known as multi-ethnic society due to various groups with different speaking languages that live within its borders such as ethnic, religious and linguistics groups.  Among these groups there are dominants ones; Hausa in the Northern region, Yoruba in the Western region and Igbo in the Eastern region.  Among the minor ones are Ijaw, Ibibio.

According to Ikelegbe (2004) the Nigeria-colonial state that the British set up emerged from conquest, force subjugation and domination.  It did not flow from the people that were compelled to be Nigeria and they did not have any role to play in it for a long time.  It was therefore an alien contraption.

In 1914, the Northern and Southern protectorates by Sir Frederick Lugard who was noted as the first Governor of Nigeria as a nation was forcefully  amalgamated.  This forceful amalgamation had created a lot of problems in the political and educational system, as people having different beliefs and values were forcefully emerged together as one nation state.

Historically, no attempt was made at amalgamation in 1914 to create a Nigeria state that is cohesive and ready to carry everybody along.  This will now make us to have a system that it’s education is different from government.  It was obvious that schools established during this period were to provide clerks and cheap labour for colonial administration.

Obviously, Nigeria has a viable and diversified economies with great potentialities for development given the seize of it’s markets and substantial resources.

Furthermore, in 1991, December to be precise, there was movement of Federal capital from Lagos to Abuja as a desire to locate its capital at the central area that lacked association with particular ethnic groups.

 In the same year, Babaginda was made the president of OAU thereby enhancing his mediator role.  He met with the Prime Ministers of Chad and Niger and president of Cameroon in respect of borders problems between Nigeria and these countries.

Soon after, Nigeria adopted several constitution for achievements of national aspiration and values, such as transition to democratic government and some issues on education.  Some of the constitutions are as follows:

  1. 1999 constitution which stipulates that Federal government should place education under the concernment list because of dwindling resources; it’s also states the full responsibility in the Federal, state and local governments.  This constitution also empowered Federal Ministry of Education to control and monitor education.  Similarly, the education acts of 1983 cited as Education Decree No. 16 of 1999.  A committee was also appointed to advice the government on process of funding education by the various tiers of government.
  2. The decree  endorsed the establishment of four management levels; Federal, States, district and villages.  The decree also spelt out the statutory allocation by the three terms; Federal 65%, states 20% and local government 15% all the states of the federal enacted relevant edicts to reflect the current trend.  Each state has its own state primary education board.
  3. There was also adoption of 1989 constitution.  Constitution was borrowed from United States, federal system as a process for its transition to democratic government while 1979 constitution popularly known as Second Republic Constitution was also observed.  It was as a result of this constitution that education ordinance became possible in this country.

In 1946, Nigeria was divided into three regions in respect of Auther Richard Constitution by British colonial government.  The  regions were Northern, Eastern and Western regions.  Each region had its own legislative at the centre. The regions were granted internal self government, whereas in 1963 remarkably, there was addition of one region, that is mid western region to the former exiting three regions at independence making it four regions with creation of more states in 1967 by Gowon Yakubu.

The three leading political parties in the regions then were; the Northern People's Congress (NPC), the National Council of Nigeria Citizen (NCNC) and the Action Group in the Wet (AG).  All inherited and adopted the western style of parliamentary democracy and educational system unlike most African states.  In its first year of sovereignty, she was plunged into a thirty-month civil war.  Sadly enough, forty-seven long years after her independence Nigeria had not been able to fashion out the best way to change its leadership.

        Over the years, election results in the country attracts cancellations because of rigging and other electioneering vices.  And also, politicians who were defeated in the elections, instead of seeking redress through the appropriate quarters often carry their hangovers to the corridors of power and governance.  Some times, unconstructive criticism of government in power tends to bring downward trend into our educational policies.

There is no doubt that frequent change in leadership and government policies coupled with incessant military coup de tat in Nigeria have affected the educational system adversely.

Now, having delineates the above circumstances and environments within which educational system functions, lets critically examine statement of problem, research question, purpose of the study, significance of the study, delimitation and definition of terms.

Statement of Problem

Political instability has hindered the effective implementation of the Nigeria policy on secondary education by inadequate provision of resources.

A problem emanating from the above may be that many pupils or students whose parents are not financially alright may have been attending schools because it was free but now may have to drop because of reintroduction of fees by another regime.

The staffing and financing of schools is political in nature, this is due to fact that people who served made it difficult to realized  the aims and objectives for which it was set up.  Some schools may be adequately finance in terms of facilities, regular payment of teachers etc due to the fact that they belong to the government in power.

A party that support free education programme will establish schools and run them accordingly, but if another party that does not believe in free education comes into power, then the former free education programme will face problems in terms of some schools being scraped or many who attend school free may be required by the new government to pay fees.  These sometimes lead to educational crises.

The three major languages; Yoruba, Ibo and Hausa have been included on the curriculum on the basis of political balance. Students are forced to learn language in secondary schools.  This is likely to pose a problem because Nigeria has been regionalized by colonial masters.  As a result of this, for a Yoruba man to learn Hausa or Hausa man to learn Yoruba is difficult.  How do we convince students and parents to agree.  If their interests are not there or readiness to do so, Nigeria politics is that of regionalism, therefore, regionalism is a problem militating against the objective of understanding the three major languages, which in the first place were included in the curriculum for political reasons.

Research Questions

In order to elicit the necessary information for the study, the following questions arose:

  1. Does political instability affect the educational policy of Nigeria?
  2. Does political instability cause teachers’ disruption in academic calendar?
  3. Does political instability leads to students demonstration and riots?
  4. Does political instability affects teachers productivity in Nigeria?
  5. Does  political instability leads to indiscipline and examination malpractise among students?

Purpose of the Study

This study was embarked upon to briefly look at the effect of political instability on the implementation of the Nigeria policy on secondary education.  The study also find out how political instability has retarded the educational development of Nigeria.  Finally, the study puts up suggestions on how to put our educational system on course and also rescue it from the grip of politics and politicians.

Significance of the Study

Education is our future and also seen as a wheel base, which can carry any nation to her development centre.  So countries around the world has education as a tool for national development.  Therefore, the need for it cannot be over-emphasized.

The result of this research if properly implemented is expected to immense value to the educational practitioners because it is poised to help identify some of the problems that stand as impediment to the successful implementation of the educational policy.


This study focuses attention on students in secondary school to see how political instability affect the implementation of the Nigeria policy on secondary school. 

The study was delimited to five secondary schools in Akoko-Edo Local Government of Edo State, namely; Eweka Grammar School, Immaculate Conception College, Community Secondary School, Eweka, Queens Ede Secondary School and Technical College.  These schools were selected from five wards in the Local Government.

Definition of Terms

Some terms were used in carrying out this research and they are defined as follows:

Coup d etat:    A sudden, illegal and often violent change in government by the military.

Amalgamation:  Joined together to form a large entity for easy administration.

Electioneering Vices:     An immoral activity of making speeches and visiting people to persuade them to vote for a particular politician or political party in an election.

Adversely:       A negative effect of impact not likely to produce a good or pleasant result.

Subjugation:   The ability of gaining control over everything.

Enshrined:      An important written document respected and officially stated.

Promulgated:  To announce a new law or decree openly.

Hang-over:      Laws from previous regime considered unsuitable.

Dwindling:       A situation where there is gradual decline of support given to a particular party.

Alien Contraption: A strange way of looking at a particular circumstances or situation.

Turbulent:       A situation where there is a lot of confusion, disagreement and sometimes violence in politics.

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