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The conditions necessary for the adoption of a Federal system of Government

Administration Architecture Building Facad

A federal system of government is a system in which the powers of government are constitutionally shared between the central government and regional units in such a way that each level of government is independent and autonomous. Countries with a federal system of government include the United States of America, Nigeria, Canada, Malaysia, Australia, and Germany.

Geographical nearness
The various states which desire to form a federation must be close to one another. If they are not physically close to each other, it is not possible for the federation to work.

Need for defense and security
One of the ways in which a federation is formed is when previously independent states come together as one federating unit. One of the reasons why this happens is the threat of an external aggressor. For example, the thirteen American colonies joined together in a federation following the American War of independence for reason of collective security.

Preservation of local autonomy
The federal system is adopted to provide a considerable amount of decentralization in the administration. It brings the government closer to the door steps of the people, encouraging local participation in the political process.

Differences in level of economic development

Sharp differences in the level of economic development between different units of a country may lead to the adoption of a federation to enable each unit to have the freedom to develop at its own pace.

Berlin Reichstag Government Glass Dome Bui

The need to check dictatorship
Different groups within a country may adopt federalism as a means of preventing the over-concentration of power at the centre. This is one way in which they can prevent the country from drifting into dictatorship.

Common culture and historical background
States with a common historical background can come together to form a federation. For instance, the different parts of Nigeria adopted federalism at independence on account of the common historical background. They were all under the British colonial empire.

Resource Pooling 
Some states adopt federation because of the desire to pool resources together for the development of the country as a whole. For instance, the desire to promote trade through the removal of all internal trade barriers is a condition for successful federation. It was this desire which contributed to the success of the American federation.

1. Highlight six conditions that may lead to the adoption of a federation. [12 marks]

2. a. Define a federal system of government.  [2 marks]
    b. Explain five conditions that must be present for a federation to succeed. [10 marks]


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