Relationship between government and governance in nigeria

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relationship between government and governance in nigeria

Originally Answered: What is the difference between government and politics? Politics involves coercive power, along with the authority to exercise it. It includes . Foreign governments did not insist on good governance, either. . In discussing the relationship between participation and efficiency, the question of . entrusted to professional journalists who, in areas such as Nigeria and southern Africa. The Dynamics of the Nigerian Cost of Governance: An. Empirical . the current anti-corruption drive of the government by making the structures/institutions put in place to .. Lagos: American Studies Association of Nigeria. (A.S.A.N.). Aderemi .

I think there should be much more transparency in the policy-making process, especially during structural adjustment negotiations. That lack of transparency has satisfied only the donors and the governments, and it will be interesting to see, after the transition, whether newly democratic governments will open up this process to the press, and I think they should, because it will much improve the structural adjustment process.

In most African countries, corruption constitutes an important means by which individual wants and needs, especially in patronage-ridden personal regimes, can be satisfied. Although corruption is a general problem for all governments, governments of developing countries tend to exhibit the problem in a particularly noteworthy way.

In countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Zaire, and the Central African Republic, corruption is so extensive that it is viewed as a way of life.

Making or receiving bribes in most African countries is considered a practical tactic to look after one's needs and interests, achieving incomes and security far greater than provided by one's monthly salary. Because of an absence of effective structures with autonomy and strength to check corruption, the governing elites of most African countries have engaged in high and sometimes egregious levels of corruption, increasingly diverting state resources for personal gain.

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In Zaire, for example, one participant mentioned that corruption has been termed a structural fact, with as much as 60 percent of the annual budget misappropriated by the governing elite. Foreign aid, noted the participants, although designed to contribute to development, also has served as an alternative source of wealth for corrupt elites.

It was also pointed out that, to the extent that government has been immersed in patron-client relations and in cases in which state office is granted as a means to amass personal wealth, corruption has increased in scale and proportion. One significant suggestion advanced by participants in both the Benin and Namibia workshops was that public monies siphoned off by corrupt leaders and public officials and deposited in the West must be returned.

They made a plea for donors to suggest steps that African countries could take that might help retrieve the stolen money deposited in foreign accounts by these public officials. One participant stated, "Stolen monies do not belong to the few individuals who perpetrated the thefts. The people of African countries were robbed.

If donors were to try to help get this money back, it maybe would contribute to democracy and democratization. Although participants acknowledged that corruption in Africa emanated from the lack of democracy and accountability, they emphasized that corruption is not unique to Africa and also may be found in liberal democratic systems.

Consequently, they were of the opinion that the real issue is the absence of institutions capable of tackling corruption. As one participant argued, "With regard to corruption and stolen money, my own advice is to let sleeping dogs lie and engage ourselves more in how to create institutions that will help make a repeat performance impossible.

I also think we can suggest to donors that we want a change in the form in which aid comes. For example, donors no longer should give direct monetary aid, because this can be misutilized, but could provide assistance in other ways that would ensure it is effectively utilized.

For example, it was stated that almost everywhere in Africa "radio and television are under direct government control. Radio is often particularly important in rural areas, and among people not literate in European languages, whereas newspapers are expensive to run and can be subject to government censorship or indirect pressures over matters such as the supply of newsprint.

In countries like Mozambique, the media were assigned a political role as agents of mobilization. In South Africa, although restrictions have been eased, newspapers still retain a high degree of self-censorship. It was acknowledged, however, that professional training is needed for journalists, especially in countries whose press has been under state control. One participant called for African journalists to train younger colleagues, organize themselves into associations and trade unions, and to sponsor conferences around the issue of the press and democracy.

These steps, he offered, "could contribute to the emergence of a free and independent press in Africa, with persistent reporting in turn contributing to improved governance. It also was pointed out that reforms of press laws will be required in a number of countries. Some participants advocated that a code of ethics for the press be instituted simultaneously with such new laws.

relationship between government and governance in nigeria

As one participant illustrated, "ultimately, freedom of the press reflects the freedom of society itself. In countries such as Swaziland and Zambia, the refusal of the press to be coopted was a major factor contributing to an open society.

In Nigeria, there are over 50 newspapers and lots of magazines, with many of them in local languages and dialects. Generally, the more press there is, the greater the difficulty government has in suppressing it.

Participants indicated that regular indigenous institutions for monitoring should be established, although assistance from international civil society also could be very supportive, ideas that will be discussed further in the next chapter. The use of alternative media, such as drama, news murals, and posters to educate people about rights was also recommended. Participants noted that, in politically fragmented countries, decentralization might allow the various political, religious, ethnic, or tribal groups greater representation in development decision making, thereby increasing their stake in maintaining political stability.

One participant convincingly argued, "With reference to decentralization, I would simply like to say that we have to look at things from the point of view of democratic society. Are we going to tolerate diversity?

If it's a dialogue among peers, then we can't concentrate the political and economic power in the hands of just a few people. I think we have to tolerate this diversity, and political and economic decentralization should be admitted as having the right to exist. We do not have to try to achieve uniformity because it is perhaps not the best thing. I think that decentralization of power is not bad.

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It will, of course mean that there is a limitation on the centralization of power in both the political and economic fields. Political centralization has led to economic centralization, which has led to economic crisis. Institutionally, because most African countries are overly centralized, there needs to be both horizontal and vertical decentralization of power.

Participants further pointed out that the power and authority of most African heads of state blatantly override the powers of the legislature and the judiciary. In other words, because of the personalization of power by the rulers, an enormous gap exists between the rulers and the people. In some African countries, constitutions and other laws have been revised to give rulers the right to exercise exceptional powers. Most participants believed that, in the future, it would be necessary to limit the excessive concentration of power in the hands of the executive in order to ensure some level of accountability through the other branches of government.

There was a clear sense that the role of the centralized state must be limited. As one person suggested: The state's monopoly control must be broken down. The formal structures in the state are highly centralized, whatever way you look at it. This is the problem as far as the issue of centralization is concerned.

One participant advocated that the state communicate with societal elements, such as clans and tribes, and not just with one ethnic group in society: Decentralization will be territorial and ethnic based. Another participant, however, cautioned that decentralization should not be allowed to result in the replacement of authentic, grass roots leaders with party members.

In short, the participants agreed that decentralization could be useful in encouraging local autonomy, strengthening civil society at the grass roots level in both rural and urban areas, and providing ways for women to participate in issues of immediate local concern to them. The discussions on decentralization also focused on the devolution of power. One participant argued that "decentralization has been cloaked in rhetoric without devolution, resulting in the further illegitimacy of the state and the weakness of civil society.

As African states became increasingly incapable of delivering [on their economic and political promises], associational life emerged at the local level.

This often took the form of a shadow state, where people organized themselves to provide basic services that, in their communities, had been ignored by the state. In this bubbling up process, these groups would then try to extract necessities from the state in order to provide services.

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Civil society, therefore, emerges in this form to meet basic human needs at the local level, not resulting from macro-level concerns. If there is to be an efficient link between state and society, with effective articulation by associations, then local government, in the form of devolution, would be most appropriate.

In this way, devolution could provide the missing link between the center and periphery in rural areas. Yet autonomous local governments hold out important prospects, not only in rural areas, but also in urbanized areas, such as those in South Africa.

relationship between government and governance in nigeria

In such situations, there is an inordinate amount of stress on certain ethnic communities or characteristics. This may not always be optimal, as far as the Africa of tomorrow is concerned.

relationship between government and governance in nigeria

But, if we are aware of these dangers, I think we can overcome them. He maintained, "When we talk of decentralization, I can tell you that I participated in a number of discussions in my country in which the people of certain regions said they were opposed to decentralization because they were the rich sections of the community and they had the mineral resources. Therefore, they argued, they should have more money and their incomes should be bigger than the other areas, as they supply the resources.

Consequently, if centralization were developed in some areas, it was because it was the cheapest way out. Democracy, of course, calls for money and for financing. Many participants argued that federalism might be the best known mechanism, although not the only method, of giving autonomy to different societal groups, thereby accommodating what participants termed the "ethnic variable. Yet the difficulty in coming to any clear agreement concerning representation was illustrated by one participant, who asked, "On what does one base federalism?

If one resorts to ethnic groups, which primarily are territorially based, then people worry about ethnicity. They see that disputes can lead to intergroup conflicts when groups live in proximity, such as is the case in Lebanon.

If groups live in the periphery, it can lead to separatism. If groups are interspersed, then violent conflict can emerge, as it has in the Balkans and in Nagorno-Karabakh. There are no simple solutions. Can a country, like Ethiopia, staff about 15 different governments?

Moreover, I fear that tribal and ethnic problems could emerge, perhaps leading to disintegration, as in Yugoslavia.

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Therefore, maybe a regional state organized along economic units might make more sense. For us, the redistribution of power and resources is essential. Blacks have had to stand up as South Africans who have been victims of apartheid.

Is it necessary to recognize ethnicity in order to move to democracy, as in Ethiopia, or should we not keep our South African unity? Whereas the South African government is pushing for the constitutional entrenchment of ethnicity, the African National Congress believes that to be the Soviet model, which it cannot accept. I agree that regional concerns should exist, as should regional governments, but the state should be given central powers to allow it to function effectively and to redistribute resources where needed.

To this end, I doubt that the efforts under way in Nigeria would be an option for South Africa.

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Some argued that smaller units might be more manageable, as more people would be involved and ethnic divisions would be minimized, because, in the latter case, the larger ethnic groups would be broken down into smaller states. Others argued that regional representation with bigger followings offers enormous possibilities to help smaller states.

A few participants, however, advocated representation based on something more than territorial constituencies. This view was well argued by one participant: But, in Eastern Europe, as in Africa, it has been argued that territorial representation isn't enough. One also needs functional representation, perhaps through an electoral college, where individuals would represent functional groups. The fundamental obstacles to promoting inclusive economic growth are primarily political in nature and not due to a lack of technical expertise or knowledge about what needs to be done.

Dependence on primary commodities provides scope for elites to enrich themselves without needing to implement reforms that improve the long-term productive capacity of the economy. Patronage politics distorts the economy and diverts public investment away from more productive sectors.

Inertia is politically safer than reform. Politically-connected economic elites have increasingly established monopolies e. This involved going into the nitty gritty of particular sectors and constraints to find openings that build on things as they are, rather than how donors might like them to be. Donors sometimes imply that growth will automatically follow if poor countries develop a set package of institutions such as secure property rights, rule of law, anti-corruption measures, free media, democratic elections etc.

As Dani Rodrik argues: Few, if any countries have grown rapidly because of across-the-board institutional reforms… Rapid growth is feasible in institutional environments that look quite distorted, and policy remedies can look quite unorthodox by the standards of the conventional rulebook… The bottom line is that successful growth promoting reforms are pragmatic and opportunistic.

Donors need to reflect this in how we work. The programme brings together diverse players as and when they share incentives and appetite for reform — whether among government, the private sector or civil society.

For example, the programme took a calculated approach to who it could work with in the Nigerian Government, avoiding the notorious state oil corporation and finding pockets of reformers elsewhere.

More work is needed to secure the poverty reduction benefits. But getting this far is progress and could help attract further investment. How often do governance staff in-country talk to local firms, entrepreneurs or investors that have walked away?

We also need a better understanding of how to spur economic development in severely fragile states — not least to avoid worsening conflict dynamics.

Governance work remains important in its own right.