|dc.description.abstract||This thesis focuses on lingering conflict over natural resource revenues which has ravaged many countries. The problem has no doubt attracted the attention of researchers who have approached it, mostly, from the angle of how natural resources lead to violent and armed conflict; impact of natural resource conflict on economic growth; causes and the factors that increase the intensity of the conflict. Regrettably, the preoccupation of researches on those other aspects of resource conflict as mentioned, results in the unfortunate dearth of research that focus on charting out the means to bring about solutions to the problem. This study therefore argues that genuine solution to resource conflict can come from a specific design of the political institution of government—precisely, the institutionalization of federalism in the given country.
However, the case of the Nigerian federation suggests the contrary, with conflict over resource revenues getting increasingly strident. It was therefore deemed vital to undertake a comparative case study of the problem in Nigeria and another federal country – Canada, in order to ascertain the extent to which federalism can contribute to resolve resource conflict. In-depth interviews were conducted with selected respondents in Nigeria and Canada to complement the secondary data from extant literature. The ‘method of difference’ was employed in the analysis of data which aided the identification of significant differences that account for variations in the manifestation of conflict over resource revenues across the countries.
After the analysis, this study makes two major discoveries that contribute to the existing scholarship on the subject as follows. Firstly, findings from the case of Nigeria reveal that factors inhibiting federalism in mitigating resource conflict are linked primarily to a huge influence of oil and gas on the economy, or over dependence on the resource to drive the economy. The research illustrates clearly how this factor leads to excessive fiscal centralization, which undermines subnational fiscal autonomy, heightens poverty, enables ambiguous design of the fiscal constitution, and facilitates widespread corruption and non-adherence to the rule of law; all of which enhances the severity of resource conflict. Secondly, findings from the Canadian case illustrate how the reinforcement of sub-national fiscal autonomy, which is the hallmark of federalism, counteracts the above mentioned effects of over dependence on petroleum resources. This consequently reduces the violent manifestation of resource conflict.
With some illustrative diagrams built to support arguments, the study concludes that the institution of federalism provides an effective means through which resource conflict can be addressed. This study provides lessons that would no doubt be useful to, not only Nigeria and Canada but also, many other natural resource endowed countries that are still battling problems of resource revenue dispositions. More so, the analysis in this thesis should be of interest to scholars of conflict and resource governance in deeply divided societies, students of federalism and multilevel governance, as well as policy makers and analysts interested in the facilitation of unity through diversity in their respective countries of focus.||