Intergovernmental Relations and Government Response to Covid-19 Pandemic in Nigeria
sapientia journal vol 18


Intergovernmental Relations


The COVID-19 pandemic worldwide put both government structures and healthcare systems to a stern test and also widened fault lines that already exist. Against this background, this study interrogates how the different tiers of government (National, State, and Local Governments) interacted during the pandemic period and how these relationships influenced the overall government response to the crisis in Nigeria. The study provides a historical framework for federalism and intergovernmental relations in Nigeria. It further examines the patterns of government responses in containing the pandemic. Relevant data were sourced from official government documents, regulations, policies, and advisories to showcase government responses' different preparation, emergence, and implementation phases. The study finds that although Nigeria's preexisting legal and political frameworks largely support a centralised approach to health emergency responses, state governors were saddled with the enormous responsibility of responding to the pandemic in their respective states. During this period, an intergovernmental tussle between the federal government and some states also ensued. However, the horizontal collaboration among states marked a new height in Nigeria's federalism. The pandemic has stressed the need for solidifying cooperative federalism since no single jurisdiction or level of government can deal with a ravaging pandemic on its own. More so, the realities of responding to Covid19 resonate with the need to expand the decision spaces of subnational government tiers and strengthen the health system across states.