Pan-Africanism: Problems and ProspectsAuthor(s): Edgar S. EfratSource: Bulletin of African Studies in Canada / Bulletin des Études Africaines au Canada, Vol.2, No. 1 (Nov., 1964), pp. 11-24Published by: Canadian Association of African StudiesStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/483499Accessed: 02/11/2010 22:07Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTORs Terms and Conditions of Use, available athttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp. JSTORs Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unlessyou have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and youmay use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use.Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Publisher contact information may be obtained athttp://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=caas.Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printedpage of such transmission.JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range ofcontent in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.Canadian Association of African Studies is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access toBulletin of African Studies in Canada / Bulletin des Études Africaines au Canada.http://www.jstor.org
Pan-Africanism: Problems and Prospects *by Edgar S. EfratAny examination of the very complex problem of thefeasibility of union among the several African states mustbegin by asking a basic question: What type of union can becontemplated? The answers to this question may range from atight federal union to a loose organization of African statessimilar in purpose and structure to the Organization ofAmerican States. Either possibility contains elementarycharacteristics of federalism.Other practical avenues of approach to federalismin Sub-Saharan Africa (and the term "practical" is emphasizedhere) may also be considered. Foremost among these is theproposal to realize in Africa an economic federal organiza-tion modelled after the European Common Market, and establishedwithin the now existing frame of the Organization of AfricanUnity (OAU) which may gradually expand from economic federalismto include, eventually, political federalism, as well. Atthe same time, it must be remembered that regardless of howsuccessfully political and economic notions and systems havebeen implemented elsewhere, Africans reserve the right toachieve for themselves, by trial and error, what they considerto be the best arrangement. The then Prime Minister, nowPresident, of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah, in his opening address atthe All-African Peoples Conference in 1958, stated the casequite unequivocally:Some of us, I think, need reminding that Africa isa continent on its own. It is not anextension ofEurope or of any other continent. We want, there-fore, to develop our own community and an Africanpersonality. Others may feel that they have evolvedthe very best way of life, but we are not bound, likeslavish imitators, to accept it as our mold. If wefind the methods used by others are suitable to oursocial environments, we shall adopt or adapt themiif we find them unsuitable, we shall reject them.lAll-African Peoples Conference News Bulletin, Vol.1, No. 1, p. 6.*Paper given at the annual meeting of the Committee on AfricanStudies in Canada at Charlottetown, June 14, 1964. The authoris indebted to Prof. L. Gray Cowan of Columbia University forhis constructive comments, some of which have been incorporatedhere.
- 12 -Nkrumah and other leaders in Africa and elsewhere, however,may remember the old maxim that experience is a cheap commodityif one can buy it secondhand. Federalism has been tried andfound successful under condidtions similar to those existing,in many instances, in Africa. It has also been tried more orless successfully in West Africa, in Nigeria. In otherinstances, federalism was attempted, but not really given achance, as in the defunct Mali Federation, the Central AfricanFederation, or in the Ghana-Guinea Union. However, regionalarrangements which contain variable federative factors, suchas customs-unions, monetary blocs and a common services organiza-tion are very much in evidence.The authors of an important and recent study ofAfrican problems, prepared for the U.S. Senates Committee onForeign Relations, concluded that Africans have shown concernabout the problem of "balkanization" of the continent as wellas about stronger states preying upon weak ones. They areinsistent that independent African states be free to asserttheir own personalities while benefiting from wider affiliationswithin the continent. The recommendation following upon thestudys conclusion was that the United States should view withsympathy efforts to create wider associations of African statesto the end that political and economic stability will be thuspromoted, and that the extension of economic and technicalaid will be facilitated.This is as far as the United States is willing toimpress upon Africa the need for federation. The study herecited recognizes in principle various situations which invitea federal system, such as the existence of competitive multi-racial societies and complementary resources and facilitiesexisting in separate sovereignties; but it recommends only(and meekly) that "The United States should exert its influenceto assure peaceful resolution of conflict in the multi-racialstates of Africa" and that "The United States must demonstratethat in Africa it supplies its domestic policies aimed atachieving interracial good will and equality." Nowhere in2U.S. Congress, Senate, Committee on Foreign Relations,United States Foreiqn Policy, Compilation of Studies, preparedunder the direction of the Committee on Foreiqn Relations,Washington, Govt. Printing Office, Washington. Study No. 4;Africa. 1961. P. 320. Document No. 24.
- 13 -the report of this study is there even a faint suggestionthat the application of federalism may perhaps have an all-round salutary effect upon the emergent states of Africa.It is difficult to believe that the present frontierscan be permanent. Some process of ragional combination appearsto belong to the logic of geography. Yet quite early, a Frenchwriter, Andr6 Blanchet, in the newspaper Le Monde, in 1949 hasventured to give us a very optimistic glimpse of the future.He foresaw Nigeria, with its rapidly increasing population, asa black state with 40- or 50-million inhabitants in an Africaof which it will have perhaps a fifth, if not a quarter, ofthe total population. If Nigeria, in the next half-century,becomes the India of Africa, Blanchet continued, to which itsown vitality and British policy point the way, the rest ofWest Africa will have good reason to note the repercussionand will then, without doubt, imitate the Nigerian example.The joint declaration of Ghana and Guinea in 1958,presaging the formation of a United States of West Africa,the acceptance by all parties and regions of Nigeria of theprinciple of federation, and the vote of seven former Frenchterritories in favor of a link with the French Community allsuggest that West Africans recognize the danger and fiscalluxury of independence in small units.3Ibid. On pp. 333-335 the study takes note of"Movements for a United Africa, which is limited to theconstitutional implications of potential two-party unions,like the Ghana-Guinea Federation, posing the question whethersuch a union would enable ex-French Guinea to enter theCommonwealth through the back door." It also takes cognizance,in passing, of the Pan-African Movement, dismissed as "Thebond which at the present time unites the states of the Africancontinent is clearly one of anticolonialist sentiment."To the present writer it seems that Guinea isattempting to break the isolation created by its 1958 "non"vote, by joining the proposed "Free Trade Area" with Liberia,Sierra Leone and the Ivory Coast, although its currency alone,among the few nations, is now convertible. The preliminarytalks took place, in the presence of three heads of state andthe prime-minister of Sierra Leone, in Monrovia, Aug. 20-22, 1964.4Ibid., p. 331.5Andre Blanchet in Le Monde, Dec. 30, 1949, Jan. 2, 1950.
- 14 -Looking at sub-Saharan Africa today, particularlyat the recently-created states or those in the process of beingcreated, one is likely to forget that here is a society whichwas, until very recently, basically tribal in its character,and that its civilization was a bush-culture. This is not toimply a nation of "barbarism and savagery," for many Africantribes had highly developed cultures centuries ago, but thesecultures were not Western, and it is difficult for manyWesterners to envision any sort of civilization other thantheir own. Western society emerged long ago from tribalismto nationalism, from pantheism and animism to some form oftranscendentalist monotheism and regards itself as somewhatsuperior to a society which is just now taking these steps.In the field of government, Western civilization has createdseveral systems of government, including a federal form; andwhile there may have been federations of African tribes, theassociation of sovereign states into a larger organization isfundamentally a Western development. Also, the "reality" ofgovernment and independence barely penetrates beyond the smallliterate segment of the population.On the other hand, the new African states haveresulted from Western influence, whether colonial, tutorial,or only economic. Their new governments were modelled uponthe Western pattern, undergoing, sometimes, local modification.In analyzing these forms of government, one must resort primarilyto their Western origins.Among the territories that were launched into in-dependence by Great Britain, three are in West Africa. Nigeria,under the same aegis as Ghana and Sierra Leone, inheritedBritish institutions and procedures, but unlike the others,it was given a federal system. Federalism was the solutionto the problem posed by a framework of Moslem emirates in theNorth, which had remained stable under the umbrella of indirectrule, and the tribal-non-Moslem societies east and west ofthe Niger-Benin. It was his encounter with these firmly-established political systems that led Sir Frederick Lugardto formulate the theory of indirect rule in the first place.The emirates had been remnants of an empire founded in aMoslem holy war at the beginning of the nineteenth century.One feature especially distinguished the emirates: theirregular system of taxation. This enabled the British colonialadministration to use them as administrative arms, while permitt-ing them to retain their traditional customs, laws and rulers,6Herbert J. Spiro, Politics in Africa, ProspectsSouth of the Sahara, Englewood Cliffs, N.J., 1962, p. 156.
- 15 -always subject to British interference. This political ingenuityand adaptation to local conditions is particularly British.Therefore, if we wish to examine a case-study of African federa-tion, Nigeria may well serve as an illustration. Here, in thelargest of her erstwhile colonies in Africa, Britain solvedthe problem of diversity among the inhabitants by introducinga federal system and supervising it, prior to independence,until it was found to function smoothly. Yet, in its fourthyear of independent existence, it is becoming more evidentthat the inherited form will have to undergo modification ifit is to survive at all. Among change mentioned is a furthersubdivision of the four regions, election law changes, or,drastically, secession of the northern region to unite with(ex-French) Niger.Britain, by and large, set a good example. As sherelinquished her authority, a well trained civil servant wasready to take over whenever a white official vacated his post.(Efficiency may suffer in the exchange, but this will beremedied with time.) Parliamentary government, on the Britishmodel, functions, on the whole, quite smoothly, and sometimesimitates Britain to the point of absurdity, as the head of everyAfrican Speaker of the House, burdened with a heavy, powderedwig, under the tropical sun will perspiringly testify; yetthe centuries-old tradition of Great Britain instilled a senseof responsibility into most of the officials of the new nationswho came under her influence. And, so far, none of them hascut the ties which bind it to the Commonwealth.However, the British were not the only colonialpower to experiment with federation. In 1904, the Governmentof French West Africa was reorganized as a federation - butin the administrative sense only.7 The governor-general hadwide powers which, largely as a result of their legal vagueness,were steadily increased at the expense of the Minister ofColonies and of the local governors. Theoretically, the colonialgovernors had a status analogous to that of the governor-general,but in practice they had considerably less freedom of action.The central government, armed with its own revenues and corpsof officials, frequently intervened in the administrative actionsof the local governors, and permitted them to make independentdecisions on only a few specified subjects.V. Thompson and R. Adloff, French West Africa,Stanford, 1957, p. 22.QLEvolution de lAdministration Centrale en A.O.F.",LAfrique Francaise, January, 1927; January, 1938.
- 16 -Throughout the Federation there existed administrativecouncils ranging from those of the governors to those of certaintownships and administrative subdivisions (cercles). Most ofthem were composed of higher officials, plus an equal numberof non-official French citizens, African and European and somenative subjects. The African electorate for these councilscomprised functionaries, men with certain educational andproperty qualifications, and individuals who had shown conspicuousloyalty to France. The power of most of these councils wasadvisory only.9Yet, the French left a semblance of order on departureeverywhere but in Guinea. Small as the class of the evolueswas, they were at least trained to occupy the higher positionsof their newly independent nation. They were also able to traintheir countrymen in the intricacies of administration, laboriousas such a process may be. France, also, did not sever her tieswith the new nations, again with the exception of Guinea, andcontinues to be a source of material assistance and administrativeadvice whenever these are requested.The important question which we must pose to ourselvesat this juncture is: Will federation movements reunite anarea which is fragmented not only by the original structureof tribalism but also by the artificial frontiers set up bythe European colonizing powers during the nineteenth century?l0Two experts, Tom Mboya, the Kenyan leader, and anAmerican authority on African affairs, Vera Dean, in discussingthe prospects for democracy, suggest that an attempt must bemade to restate these problems so that attention is concentratednot on the form of government, but on its content.11Thompson and Adloff, op. cit., p. 23.10R. Theobald (ed.). The New Nations of West Africa.New York, 1960, p. 117.11Tom Mboya, "Key Questions for Awakening Africa,"New York Times Maqazine, June 28, 1959, 8f.; Vera M. Dean,"Is Democracy Possible in Africa?" Foreiqn Policy Bulletin,October 15, 1959, 22-24.
- 17An attempt to analyze the implications and backgroundof this problem has been mad by the Northwestern UniversityProgram of African Studies, which points out that it is notby chance that the phrase "the Balkanization of Africa" wasfirst used by Africans in French territory. The same central-ization of authority that marked Frances colonial control,and which has tended to reduce the force of tribalism in herformer territories, accustomed the African peoples there tothink in terms of larger independent political units.Among English-speaking Africans, the impulse for a"United Africa" came from various sources, including the UnitedStates, where several leading African nationalists studied.Thinking along these lines is also a response to the doctrineof some economists that a small state is less viable than alarge one, prominent examples to the contrary notwithstanding.The idea of ultimately achieving a large federationhas been constantly and prominently in the minds of Africanleaders. In 1958, Felix Houphouet-Boigny, then Minister ofState of the French Republic and the President of theRassemblement Democratique Africain, asserted, "Bientot, 1institution dune Communaute franco-africaine a base federalepermettra lepanouissemant le plus complet des territoiresdOutre Mer." 3 Kwame Nkrumah, at a meeting of the leadersof the now "deactivated" Ghana-Guinea Federation in May, 1959,said, "We have thought first of a United States of West Africa,but events have gone so fast that we are now thinking aboutthe unity of all Africa."1l4 At a meeting in July of the sameyear, the Presidents of Liberia and Guinea, and the PrimeMinister of Ghana, approached the question of African unityin a somewhat different manner. President Tubman was able to1212United States, Congress, Senate, Committee onForeign Relations, United States Foreiqn Policy: Africa; AStudy, prepared at the request of the U.S. Senate Committeeon Foreiqn Relations, by Northwestern University Proqram ofAfrican Studies, Washington, Government Printing Office, 1959.131Jean-Marc Leger, Afrique Francaise, Afrique Nouvelle.Ottawa, 1958, p. 8 (The Preface is by Felix Houphouet-Boigny.)14Northwestern Study, op. cit., pp. 27-29. It isnoteworthy that while Nkrumah is a staunch advocate of Pan-Africanism, he is just as staunchly opposed to federalism inGhana, as his strongly unitarian constitution for Ghana proves.
- 18 -bring his colleagues to his position that while some form ofassociation between African states is desirable, it should,for the time being, remain looser than the concept of "union"implies. These three leaders, deferring action because ofthe impending independence of other African territories,called for the creation of a community of independent Africanstates.More than 300 delegates, representing 200 millionAfricans in 28 countries, met in Accra, Ghana, December 5-13,1958, at a non-governmental conference. The group set up apermanent All African Peoples Conference, with a secretariatin Accra, and also passed resolutions on racialism anddiscrimination, imperialism and colonialism, on tribalism,religious separatism and traditional institutions, and onfrontiers, boundaries and federations.15One of the characteristics of modern Africa is thecelerity with which developments take place. The era whichbegan in Accra in 1958, when emerging states were "feelingout" the ways in which they might achieve both greater unityand the liberation of the whole continent, came to an end withthe Addis Ababa summit conference of African heads of stateor government, held on May 22 to 25, 1963.16 Experimentswhich took place in the interim included the various blocgroupings, such as the Casablanca group of seven states--Morocco, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Egypt, Libya and Algeria--which drifted apart after the issues which brought them togetherdissipated or actually turned into causes of disagreement.Another bloc, the Monrovia group, also called the Inter-African and Malagasy States Organization, had at its peaknineteen members. Not much was accomplished by these groups.The former never really "got off the ground," and the latter,which spoke of "unity of aspirations and of actions" ratherthan of political integration, became more and more vacuous.Other groupings, such as the Union Africaine et Malagacheand the Pan-African Freedom Movement for East and CentralAfrica, are regional in character, and lately of short durationand frequent mutation.1Current History, July, 1959, 41-46.16C. Sanger: Foreiqn Affairs, Vol. 42,January 1964, p. 269.
- 19 -For example: The Afro-Malagasy Union (UAM) of 14francophone African states is now to be dissolved. This wasdecided at a meeting of UAM heads of state or their representativesat Dakar from March 7 to 10, 1964. In its place is to be anew organisation, the Afro-Malagasy Union of Economic Co-operation(UAMCE). This will pursue those objectives of the old UAMwhich are not incompatible with and do not duplicate those ofthe Organisation of African Unity (OAU). The new organisationwill be based on Yaounde in Cameroon, where the OAMCE, one ofthe specialised secretariats of the UAM, is already situated.The OAMCE will continue, as will the posts and telegraphsoutfit (UAMPT), Air Afrique and any other operations in thetechnical, cultural and economic fields. What the new organisa-tion will lose is the political function. The defence organisation(UAMD) is to be adapted. The charter of the new union, ofwhich only the broad outlines have been defined, was to bedrawn up and signed at the meeting of Foreign Ministers ofthe 14 countries which met at Nouakchott in Mauritania onApril 15. Heads of state will meet at Tananarive next December.The conference was opened by the outgoing president,Maurice Yameogo, President of the Upper Volta, who blamedAfricas present instability on foreign interference, whichfound favourable ground in the internal division of AfricanStates. Africa continued to constitute a ground for ideologicalaction and a field for subversion, he said, and the dangersinherent could only be prevented "in so far as we succeed inconstituting a zone of effective solidarity." On the relationsbetween UAM and OAU, the president called for the strengtheningof links within the UAM the pre-eminent condition for thesuccess of what should be our motto: by way of a technical,cultural and economic UAM towards a political OAU.At the Addis Ababa meeting the model of the Organiza-tion of American States was emulated in the creation of theOrganization of African Unity to the extent that the formersecretary-general of the OAS, the Chilean Manuel Trucco, wasinvited as an administrative adviser. The charter of the OAU,as adopted, is a compromise between the Utopian ideal representedby Nkrumah, and by Emperor Haile Selassies pragmatic approach.The former holds unity as a goal which is to be achieved atonce through the partial surrender of sovereignty by all AfyIcanstates to an all-African federal executive and legislature.To him, everything falling short of this means handing Africaover to "neo-colonialism", titularly free but economically17"UAM: Decision at Dakar", West Africa No. 2441,14th March 1964) p. 291.181The Africa Institute: International Bulletin,Vol. I, (July, 1963), p. 153.
- 20 -enslaved. The other ideal is the progressive development ofunity through co-operation between sovereign states. Althougha headquarters is in operation, and a secretary-general, DialloTelli, has been appointed, not much has been done in the yearpast to bring Pan-Africanism closer to reality, but for onenegative factor: a joining of Black Africa and Arab Africain a virtual declaration of war on the remaining parts of white-governed Africa, the only concrete result of the 1964 Cairomeeting, which was by no means unanimous.The Organization of African Unity accords equalityto all members, regardless of size, agrees to respect sovereigntyand outlaws interference in internal affairs. (Two exceptionsto the non-interference rule were, first the refusal ofassembled African heads of state at Organization of AfricanUnity meetings to seat Nicolas Grunitzky who claimed the placeof Togos assassinated president Sylvanus Olympio; at theAddis Ababa session; and at the recent Cairo session, a seatwas refused to Moise Tshombe, Congo-Leopoldvilles prime minister.)There are to be periodic meetings of the Assembly of Heads ofState and Government and of the Council of Foreign Ministers.The ancillary organizations include a vague "Defense Commission"and a "Commission of Conciliation, Arbitration and Mediation"-to which were referred Somalias border claims on Ethiopia,Kenya and French Somali Coast, and the problem of how to restorerepresentative government in Togo. Inspired by the assassinationof President Olympio of Togo, there is a clause outlawingsubversion and the change of governments by force. Asked whatthe other states would do if Ghana did not close down itsBureau of African Affairs, with its subversion school formembers of opposition parties from neighbor states, the Nigerianforeign minister said: "We should have to take diplomaticaction. "19What then are the prospects for an implementationof the Pan-African ideal, and what are the federative factorswhich may impel these Central African States to unite? Someof these factors are:1. A uniform colonial heritage, (with notableexceptions, such as Arab North Africa, Liberia and Ethiopia)and, as a result, a common neo-culture. States which have19"Pan-Africanism Comes of Age", The New Republic,Vol. 148, (June 15, 1963), pp. 16-17.
- 21 -until recently been under French tutelage share French astheir common language. Their leaders were educated in Frenchschools,and their political philosophy is basically French.Others have a British background. The leaders of the Congo,parcelled at present into several not-quite-confederated states,have a Belgian background.2. Complementary economic interests exist. Thesemay take many varied forms. Some of the new states, forexample, are landlocked: Mali, Niger, Upper Volta, Chad,and the Central African Republic. Their basic economicinterest is to be connected by treaty or by other means withan adjacent state having adequate maritime facilities. Thisis important, since all African states are dependent uponforeign commerce, primarily imports, and their commerce is ofsuch a nature as to make only cheap transportation economicallyfeasible.3. Ethnic interests are important. The old colonialboundaries were arbitrarily drawn. Occasionally, a majorriver, such as the Congo or the Senegal, was pressed intoservice as an international boundary, but more often the linewas just a geographical latitude or longitude (such as theboundary between Cameroun and Gabon, or Mauritania and SpanishMorocco), or just a mark at the extreme reaches of the effectivepower of the colonial force. In almost all instances, exist-ing boundaries intersected tribal units, language entities,religious affiliations, and other ethnic affinities. Examplesare too numerous to mention, but major instances include thefrontier of Nigeria, which embraces the Moslem Hausa in astate with the Christian Ibo and the Pagan Yoruba, rather thanwith other Hausa tribes in the French Niger.These common factors, when taken together, presenta community of interest of sorts, which at least makes negotia-tions feasible.The basic requisites for a closer union among theAfrican states are present, and partially fulfilled. Thesestates are essentially homogeneous in their immediate pastgovernmental history and in their ideological approach togovernmental problems. As separate states they are weak andlargely ineffectual. Federalism is the essential compromisewhich would enable them to form large, influential states,and to obtain the advantages of union without wholly sacrific-ing those of a separate existence within the local, frequentlytribal, traditions such an existence entails. The advantageof combining national unity with local autonomy would enablethese states to maintain a balance between the centrifugaland centripetal forces in areas where localism may be widely
- 22 -divergent, but not of sufficient divergence to affect thenational commonweal. More specifically, a federal union,by its uniformity of legislation, policy, and administrationwhere such uniformity is essential to the national interest,would convert them into African, and perhaps global, entitiesto be reckoned with; yet it could leave wide diversity inmatters of primarily local concern. On the other hand,because of the tribal tradition, experiments in local governmentmay be tried in autonomous districts that could not be attemptedin a unitary state on a nationwide basis. Further, the tribalchiefs and other local rulers--such as petty officialsvestigially left behind by the outgoing colonial administration--would become a genuine and responsible part of the administration,free to determine and execute local policy. This would alsogive the local inhabitants the opportunity to observe closelyand be part of the governmental process. The local rulersmay, in many instances, be more familiar with local needs andconditions; this familiarity would relieve the centrallegislature and the central administrative authorities ofconcern with numerous local problems, giving them freedom todirect affairs of national and international concern.In the emotional upsurge following release fromearlier colonial ties, the new rulers of emergent African nationsdesired to have sovereignty as close as possible to absolute,with all the trappings accompanying it--that is, independentarmed forces, diplomatic missions abroad, and so on. Theycraved the patronage power offered by many available positionsas high government officers. This may have weighed moreheavily than having only the international status of a componentunit of a federation.What, then, is the future of federalism in sub-Saharan Africa? For the present, Nigeria stands alone, acategory in itself. Other federations in Africa, enumeratedearlier, have already disappeared if, indeed, they ever amountedto anything beyond a brief life-span or utterances by visionarypoliticians, and for the being at least Senegambia and "Kenugatan"(one name for Kenya-Uganda-Tanganyika) are in that category.The Tanzanian union, on the other hand, has become a reality.Three sorts of obstacles present themselves tofederalism or real Pan-Africanism: First, leadership. Theindependence movement of the emerging states brought to thefore a cadre of leaders, usually ambitious politicians, whoelbowed their way to the top and frequently, as they did so,endured years of great personal hazards and sacrifices. Theydid not reach the top by parliamentary means. They reject ademocratic form of government when it affects their own positions,which is usually the case. These leaders will not voluntarily
- 23 -relinquish their hard-won positions of power to a co-national;still less will they step aside for a "foreigner." A federationhas only one position at the top; other positions are, in oneform or another, subordinate, and the surrender of power,personal and national, by component units and their leadersis an essential requirement of a workable federal union.Secondly, at the moment, the flush of independencemay well dictate periods of full, and frequently autocratic,self-rule by the countries achieving independence before theycan be expected to consider seriously the possibility oflarger unions.20 The fledgling nations are at present engagedin fully savoring the sweet fruits of independence after whatthey consider to have been the bitter years of subjugationand colonialist exploitation. As an experience in nationallife, independence is new and exciting. The new nations andtheir leaders are, as it were, dazzled and captivated by theperquisites and symbols of their new positions of power:representation at the United Nations, embassies, diplomaticimmunity, international means of transportation (regardlessof how wasteful in an economic sense), and an opportunity todemonstrate national force which previously belonged to their"masters". Obviously, a federation would so broaden the baseas to make these privileges and perquisites less meaningfulto the smaller entities composing it.Third, at close range the new leaders find itdifficult to "see the forest for the trees." They are deeplyand constantly preoccupied with each local problem, such astribalism, the urgency to combat rampant diseases, povertyof abject proportions, low productivity and such catastrophesas floods, drought, soil erosion, etc., and do not perceivethe over-all picture. As a result, they relegate thoughts offederation, even while admitting its potential benefits, tothe distant future. This postponement occurs not only becausethe young nations are taxed to the limits of their statesman-ship by the close-range local problems, but also because theirleaders believe that future improvement of their nationswill afford them a better bargaining position in any supra-national arrangement.Among other obstacles which may complicate thecreation of federal systems in Africa are the traditionalseparations between social classes, differences between tribes,20G.M. Carter, Independence for Africa, New York,1960, p. 162.
- 24 -education and occasionally even economic conflicts. Theseare serious, but all these obstacles are to be found in Nigeria:the gulf between social classes, even within one region, suchas the difference between Emirs and the talakawa (peasantry)in the North is immense. Tribal differences between theChristian Ibo and the animist Yoruba and a host of othertribes are equally vast, and the economies of the coastalsector in the two maritime regions are competitive. TheNigerian experiment in federalism has shown conclusively thatthese obstacles are not insurmountable. Yet the threeconsiderations enumerated first prevent immediate coagulationof federal unions among the emergent states and are almostuniversal in the area. The advantages of federalism overnarrow nationalism will have to be demonstrated to the newstates or, perhaps, even forced upon them--not so much byphysical as by economic pressure. The change will ultimatelyprove to be of the greatest benefit to the underdevelopednations. As Professor Boutros-Ghali summarized it: "TheAfrica of many nations is a reality. It was with this inmind that the Addis Ababa Charter was drawn up. When theAfrican states themselves recognize that in the second-halfof the twentieth century no development is possible outsidethe framework of large federal groupings, they will movefrom the stage of little states to that of large ones--frommicro-nationalism to macro-nationalism. Federalist movementsare germinating and the problems of regrouping can be 2xpectedto dominate the African scene in the coming decades."University of Victoria (B.C.)2Boutros-Ghali, B.: "The Addis Ababa Charter."International Conciliation. #546, Jan. 1964, p. 52.