Atando D. Agbu,

Department of History & Diplomatic Studies

Taraba State University, Jalingo.



Shishi Zhema,

Department of History & Diplomatic Studies

Federal University, Wukari



Nigeria is a country made up of diverse ethno-religious groups that existed independent of each other harmoniously before colonialism merged them together under one political entity through the amalgamation of 1914. In the course of their interaction with each other since the amalgamation, several divisive factors, such as regionalism, sectionalism, religious differences and ethnicity, among others, set into their history of political development, causing sour relationship among the groups at independence. Thus, it became imperative for the early leaders of the country to adopt some mechanisms for a united Nigeria. One of such mechanisms was the establishment of Federal Government Colleges, also called Federal Unity Colleges, to pull together children of diverse socio-cultural backgrounds from all states of the Federation for the purpose of national integration and unity. The Unity Colleges set out to become centers of excellence, moulding characters of Nigerian children to become future leaders in all sectors of the country, thus contributing to nation building. Despite their achievements in contributing to national integration and unity of the country, the Colleges are faced with several challenges, threatening the main aim of their establishment. It is based on the foregoing that this paper attempts to assess the contribution of the Federal Government College, Wukari, to nation building from 1978, when it was established, to 2018, when it celebrated its 40th anniversary. Adopting a multi-disciplinary approach, the paper utilizes primarily and secondary sources for data collection and analysis. The paper concludes by proposing some recommendations on how to improve or maximize the attainment of the goals for the establishment of the Unity Colleges in Nigeria.

Keywords: Challenges, Children, Federal Government, Leaders, Nation-Building, Unity Colleges.  


The importance of Education in any human society cannot be overemphasised, as it constitutes a crucial sector in the development process. Studies and experiences have clearly demonstrated that at all levels, and in any form, it constitutes a vital tool for addressing virtually all global issues. It plays a crucial role in long-term productivity and growth at both micro and macro levels. Thus, Rajaj and Chiv states that, it is a key instrument for bringing about changes in knowledge, values and behaviour and lifestyles required to achieve sustainability and stability within and among countries.[i] It is seen as the greatest force that can be used to bring about changes meant to guarantee and sustain nation building efforts. In

Agbu’s view, the greatest investment any nation can make for its national development is the commitment it puts to the training of its citizens in terms of educational development.[ii] Education provides the people with necessary knowledge and skills to solve the problems confronting them and contribute to the development of their nation and society. In this regard, Agbu further notes that the place of education in the development of a nation or state is not only important, but fundamental.[iii] This is why governments of both the developed and developing countries pay special attention to their educational sector. The centrality of the role of education in national development world over, explains why the state of education in Nigeria has continued to be an item of national discourse, and also explains the nature of Nigerian Government’s policy towards national development. Thus, according to Nigeria National Policy on Education of 2004:

Education shall continue to be highly rated in the national development plans because education is the most important instrument for change; any fundamental change in the intellectual and social outlook of any society has to be preceded by an educational revolution.[iv]

Taking cognizance of the above, the Federal Government of Nigeria, among many policies and programmes in the educational sector, established Federal Government Colleges (also known as Federal Unity Colleges) to guarantee national integration, unity and nation building. Similarly, the Colleges provide opportunity to the Nigerian children, at a very tender age, to live, learn and socialise together in an ideal educational environment.

To what extent has these seemingly laudable policies of the federal Government regarding the Federal Unity Colleges have really contributed to national integration, unity and nation building in Nigeria. In effort to interrogate this central research question, this paper provides an assessment of the role of Federal Government College, Wukari, in national integration, unity and nation building, from 1978, when the College was established, to 2018, when it celebrated its 40th anniversary. The paper also discusses some of the challenges being faced by Federal Government College, Wukari, and, by extension, all Federal Unity Colleges in Nigeria, thereby limiting them from achieving the main aims for their establishment, as well as from being the models they were established to be in other states of the nation. Finally, the paper suggests possible ways towards reforming the Federal Unity Colleges in Nigeria in order for them to continue to maximize the achievements of the aims for their establishment.

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