The broad objective of this study is to examine the problems of imbalance in our national life between states and ethnic groups in relation to the educational section appointment and output-efficiency; to investigate whether certain standard are maintained in the course of recruitment on quota basis in the country; and to ascertain how nepotism impact on federal character principle. Due to the nature of this research, descriptive research method was used in order to get the solution for the problem posed by the study. Sources of data were the primary and secondary sources. The primary source consist of questionnaire and interview, while secondary source were gathered from pamphlets, journals and published books related to the field of study. Since the population size is small, the researcher used the entire population of the institution of study.

Also, hypothesis were tested with simple statistical tools. The findings of the study revealed that the imbalance between states and ethnic group in Nigeria has no relationship with the establishment of the federal character principle in the federal public service. Also, the research reviewed that federal character principle and quota system encourage the recruitment of unqualified personnel, which in turn led to inefficiency in the federal civil service. Finally, the research findings maintained that nepotism impact negatively on the federal public service. The research recommended that appointment of qualified candidate for a particular job irrespective of region or group the person(s) comes from should be upheld. According to this research, it will help to promote efficiency in the service delivery in the federal public service.



The Federal character principle (FCP) is a Federal Executive body established by act No. 34 of 1996 to implement and enforce the Federal Character Principle of fairness and equity in the distribution of public post, socio-economic amenities and infrastructural facilities among the federating units of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The provision of 1999 constitution section 14 and 153 further empowers the commission to operate in a democratic setting. The main focus of this research project is the Public service. The public Service is a body without which the business of government would be impossible to operate. The role of the civil servant is so vital that such personnel is expected to be productive, progressive and enterprising; hence the need to employ well educated, skilled and experienced people. But for political reasons, the Federal Public Service now combines the administrative ethics of merit and political doctrine of federal character as a recruitment policy because of the need for a representative bureaucracy. The federal character principle was incorporated as an employment policy having taken into cognizance the impervious and insistence demand by each ethnic group, no matter how small numerically, or how poor materially, or how backward educationally for a fair and dignified place in the Nigeria sum.

For sometime now, the Federal Public service has come under criticism because its performance left much to be desired. Many attribute its inefficiency to the adoption of the Federal Character Principle which they believe negates the administrative ethics of merit system –skill, qualification, experience through training which are the basic criteria for efficiency.


The perennial problem of imbalance in our national life had revolved around other sectors of the economy, the immediate problem which prompted the research to investigate on is the issues relating to the allocation of educationally based institutions among the federating units and problems of students enrollment in the federal schools as it relates to federal character principle which means that all the geo-political zones will be given equal chance for the appointment and output-efficiency as it relates to observation of federal character principle.

In the related development, there have been discriminatory attitudes on many federal institutions in terms of students enrollment, appointment of academic and non-academic staff; do such institutions resort to federal character principle in the course of their appointment? The issue of quota system is not left out in our national life, there has been many policies to that effect and institution set up to correct the perceived anomalies regarding formulae for sharing of resources, hence the establishment of Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission and the lingering derivation fund being championed by the Niger-Delta region which there has been out-cry for the derivation formulae in the National Assembly. There is also problems of quota system in the area of employment into the federal public service, which has introduced mediocrity in the service.

Consequently, there has been gross misconduct in the area of employment due to sectional consciences and nepotism from those in authority in the Ministries and Parastatals. Federal institutions seems to recruit on nepotism and favoritism without minding the effect of such practices to the efficiency of service delivery and quality of output to the nation. Even when the federal character principle is observed, the institution will not consider efficiency of the candidate hence they are relatives and will not follow the due process thereby cutting corners in the recruitment exercise. All these problems have been a hydra-headed challenge to the Federal Character Commission.


The following are the objectives of this research work:

I. To examine the problems of imbalance in our national life between states and ethnic groups in relation to the educational section appointment and output-efficiency.

II. To investigate whether certain standard are maintained in the course of recruitment on quota basis in the country.

III. To ascertain how nepotism impact on Federal Character Principle.


The study of implications of application of Federal Character Principle for efficiency in the public service is of immense benefit to different institutions, especially those institutions that needed employment related data for their routine activities. From such research, Federal Public service Commission can tell if the character principle is observed in every batch of recruitments conducted by different Federal Agencies and whether such recruitment is orderly conducted through the help of Federal Commission.

Again, by observing the character principle, the federal Bureau of Statistics can collate and manage data on employment-unemployment situation and through that ascertain the living conditions of different age brackets in liaison with National Population Commission that would give out the population of such age brackets. All these groups will benefit from a research of this nature because if well managed, because the result would have relationship with sustainable development with the help of efficient manpower development.


A theoretical foundation is of great importance in the analysis and explanation of a given socio-political phenomenon as well as making prediction about same. It not only provide the researcher with fundamental guidelines for analysis and interpretation of data, it also offers tentative solution of any research inquiry.

It is in recognition of this that I adopted the Theory of Representative Bureaucracy propounded by Bole Dauda (1990) as the framework of this research project. This theory was propounded to solve crisis in the public service recruitment in order to ensure administrative and political harmony especially for the third world countries.

The Theory of Representative Bureaucracy simply means restructuring or reconstituting the public bureaucracy such that its staff are drawn from all the groups that make up the society. This theory resulted in administrative accountability as well as political harmony which may be interrupted as difficult objectives of political and administrative stability and change of government. This theory tries to explicate the operations of federal public service on recruitment issues especially in most developing democracies. Also, there has been a growing concern about the powers of bureaucrats and their use and misuse of discretion. Consequently, in the last forty to fifty years, a number of organizational, legislative and judicial measures and reforms have been developed for orderliness in the control of bureaucracy for efficiency.

The main premise of this theory based on British experiences is that civil servants will be responsible if they share the same social background as the politicians – a situation which will lead to political harmony as well as the civil servant act as interested agents of the politicians.

The application of the Representative Bureaucracy becomes appropriate in this research project in that the federal public service has to do with leadership, role arrangement or articulation, and interest aggregation and adjudication which in turn involves Representative Bureaucratic arrangement to ensure efficiency in the federal civil service. This is because bureaucrats have certain expected standard to achieve for national growth, invariably, it is only those who meet the requirement specified by these expectations will fill the role. To this end, the application of Representative Bureaucratic Theory to this research project is based on their assumption that human action are found in various public service positions and that they are associated with this positions on the basis of experience and equal representation.


For the purpose of this research, the following interrelated propositions will be used and empirically tested, having identified the theoretical frame of analysis; they are as follows:

Hypothesis I

H1: The present imbalance between state and ethnic groups in Nigeria has significant relationship with the establishment of Federal Character Principle.

H0: The present imbalance between states and ethnic groups in Nigeria has no significant relationship with the establishment of Federal Character Principle.

Hypothesis II

H1: The Federal Character Principle and quota system encourage the recruitment of unqualified personnel, which in turn led to inefficiency if the federal public service.

H0: The Federal Character principles and quota system does not encourage the recruitment of unqualified personnel, which in turn led to inefficiency in the Federal Public service.

Hypothesis III

H1: Nepotism impacts negatively on the Federal Character Principle in the Federal Public service.

H0: Nepotism does not impact negatively on the Federal Character Principle in the Federal Public service.


One of the major defects of the social sciences is the impression in conceptual references and definitions. With this in mind, I have set out to define certain key concepts/phrases as it applies to its usage and contextual meaning in this research project for easier understanding and consumption by my audience.

Federal Character: The system of distributing positions/resources to reflect the ethnic, regional or sectional differences in Nigeria, irrespective of whether the person concerned is the most qualified or not.

Public service: Refers to the organization, personnel, practices and procedures essential to effective performance of the civilian functions entrusted to the executive branch of government comprising those public servants appointed on merit on a permanent, contract or temporary basis without any inferences of political considerations for the purpose of executing public policy. Thus, the public service whenever referred to in this work means federal government employee, organization practices and procedures directly involved in public administration.

Representation/Representative: A condition which exists when the characteristics and acts of one vested with public functions are accordance with the desires of one or more persons to whom the functions have objective and subjective importance. It therefore carries with it authority and legitimacy as such person performs has duty on behalf of others.

Efficiency: Refers to an input-output relationship, that is, maximum work achieved for a minimum input of energy or resources. By and large, efficiency in the public service emphasizes getting the most out of the worker, even to the extent of requiring him to subordinate his interest and needs to those of the organization. It is therefore taskoriented and as such demands that the worker be well trained and qualified in the field for which has is being employed.

Quota: A quota is inflexible number that be reached within a given period of time, regardless of the methods used or the availability of candidates. Here, there is the possibility or every tendency that whoever presents himself will be accepted to fill the gap: thus, the acceptable standard might be lowered to achieve this aim. That seems to be the fate of the federal character principle as it is now being applied especially in the federal public service, considering the grave imbalance between the regions or ethnic groups in Nigeria.

National Ideology: A set of concepts, doctrine, beliefs to which the members of a society are committed and which identified the national character of the country; ideology therefore functions to influence and justify certain kinds of behaviours and claims.

Function: Connotes mission, job, task, duty, position or office. Thus, I will use it here to refer to the ‘social roles’ occupied by unit of individuals in the places of interaction and achievement of a given objective.

System: An entity made up of interconnected and interrelated parts. From this viewpoint, it follows that each part will in same way affect other part and the system as a whole. Therefore, if the system must survive, its various parts most have the same degree of fit or compatibility. Like many approaches in social sciences, system theory has a commonsensical appeal. It is natural to think of phenomena as part of wholes. That is why for many people, it is hard for them to think or conceive of an entity that does not fit somewhere. Thus, the federal public service is here conceived as a system and as part of a system (sub-system) being one of the major organs of governmental administration, holding or connecting other organized and departments within its area of jurisdiction all working towards achieving the overall objectives of the state.

Organization: Organization is used to mean a system of well-identified jobs, each bearing a measure of authority, responsibility and accountability; it is established for the explicit purpose of achieving certain goals, and posses both rules (designed to anticipate, and shape of behaviour in the direction of these goals) and a formal status structure with clearly marked lines of communications. In a general perspective, the definition given by Simon (1950) maintained that “….a planned system of co-operative effort in which each participation has a recognized role to play and duties or task to perform.