This essay investigates the literature available on Federalist systems of governance like that of the United States. It takes a look at the benefits of transferring power to the decentralized governance structures in relation to keeping them with the centralized government. In addition, it specifies the political powers that should be decentralized and why they should be decentralized. According to literature, an imbalance of power between the two levels of governance could be a recipe for chaos.
According to literature, decentralization of power is the best remedy for ensuring social and economic equity in the entire nation. This is true of the United States as much as it is true of Nigeria. For instance, the United States of America has achieved most of its growth after it adopted a decentralized structure of governance in 1800s. It is due to this that originally poor states have risen up to be a real economic challenges. Essentially, decentralization of power wakes up the local political leadership to the fact that they have to exploit their natural resources in a responsible manner if they wish to effectively compete with other regional governments. Historically, the political class, that happens to be in control of natural resource exploitation or the policies controlling this exploitation, prefers to maintain their comfort zone. They hardly feel the urge to do something extraordinary even if they can, so long as they have the basic means to survival. In most cases, they leave vast lands untilled or other resources unexploited because they know that the central government will eventually disburse funds. However, if the central government stopped sending funds and gives them the responsibility to generate these funds by exploiting the locally existing natural resource, they would have no option, but to work harder (Friedman, 2005).
It is generally understood that decentralization of political power helps to preserve certain aspects of cultural heritage that would otherwise be discarded. This is so in the sense that it is only the local governments that would know exactly what should be done in as far as preserving cultural heritage is concerned. For instance, the Native American culture would be completely eroded if it were not for the devolved system of government in the United States. In most instances where court cases arise about the cultural ownership of various historical sites, justice is never found in the federal courts, but in the state or county courts. Sociologists have attributed this fact to the idea that the state and county governments are closer to the people and are, therefore, in a better position to understand their aspirations and desires. In Kenya, where decentralization of power is just taking root, a lot historical tribal animosities have been solved since the inception of decentralization. The idea behind this success is the fact that the local communities feel a responsibility to ensure that their people should live peacefully. In light of this, they often take the initiative to bring together the warring communities to an understanding that they are all brothers in the wider nation of Kenya and that they have more to lose by engaging in unnecessary fights. It is quite different from the initial system where the government intervention to quell tribal violence would have the reverse effect. People would feel more determined to fight, not just to defeat their neighbors, but also to demonstrate to the government that they should seek a solution to the underlying reasons for the animosity. This has since changed because they local communities have been given the responsibility to resolve these problems.
Power should be vested in the decentralized governments so that there is no marginalization of the minority groups. Understandably, the federal government of the United States would not have properly developed certain states that are mostly inhabited by the African Americans, especially before the 1950s. This is due to the feeling that existed then that blacks were not supposed to enjoy the privileges that the mainstream Americans enjoyed. As such, their disbursement of national resources from the central government would be skewed in such a way that the black dominated states remain underdeveloped. However, the fact that decentralization of power took effect early enough before these demographic patterns arose has enabled a more equitable national development. Nonetheless, some disparity can be noted even in the current system. For instance, South and North Carolina are obviously less developed that the white dominated states like California. Although this is contributed to by several factors, some historical, the racial aspect cannot be ignored. This is quite similar to the situation in Nigeria where intra-religious rivalries have considerably reduced. Although religious animosity still remains rife, the sporadic emergence of conflicts between people of the same of the same religion has almost ceased. According to the government of Nigeria, this has been due to the fact that grumbles over sharing the natural resources have become things of the past. Basically, it’s only deep rooted religious rivalries between the Christian and Islam populations that still cause conflicts in the country of Nigeria. In this respect, it’s quite appropriate to state that decentralization of power in Nigeria has helped the country find a partial solution to their problems.