Academic journal article Ife Psychologia

Restructuring the Nigerian State for Sustainable Development: The Value Challenge

Academic journal article Ife Psychologia

Restructuring the Nigerian State for Sustainable Development: The Value Challenge

Article excerpt


This paper seek to argue that the underlie maxim behind any reform in any given social structure is to provide a sound collective framework that will lead to improvements in the social welfare of the aggregate people in the society. Thus, the role of the state as constituting the engine of growth and development of the country in this regard cannot be overemphasized. States like social system is an entity made up of interconnected and interrelated parts, be it political, economic, cultural, family, educational etc, in which each part affect the other in some way and the system as a whole. It therefore follows that if the state must survive and be an active catalyst in driving development, its various parts must have some degree of fit or compatibility on the basis of value consensus, where every members of society agree on certain definable ethos of individual liberty, freedom, discipline, probity, accountability etc enshrined in the various parts of the social structure of the society to shape and guide our collective behaviours, attitude and motivation. The paper further emphasizes that development that is sustainable can only arise when there is a revolutionary change in the institutions of society and economy that brings about change in attitudes and behaviours of the state in promoting and protecting the public good and not one bent on regulating the status-quo. The paper finally concludes on the premise that for development to thrive, a nation must be driven by a philosophy of internalized, pragmatic collective values that is highly supportive of hard-work and enterprise and a developmental state that is manned by a highly skilled technocratic bureaucracy and a close cooperation between major economic groupings such as agriculture, business and labour, and not values that reflect goals and aspirations formulated by the governing class for society at large.

Keywords: State, Social Structure, Values, Development.


To embark on a dialogue of the role of the Nigerian state and its capacity to provide the mechanism that can galvanize the process of ensuring sustainable development for the improvements of the overall social welfare of the people, we must begins with an investigation of the basis of its origin, structures and dynamics. It is significant to stress here that the Nigerian state like most other African states is a clone of its colonial progenitor which still retains many of its features having been established in the course of the expansion of western capitalism in order to facilitate their primary goal of exploiting the natives, their labour and natural resources. Given this state of occupation, its structure and operations has been absolutely arbitrary given its illegitimate domination on the people without their consent.

Thus it could be understood from this standpoint that the colonial state from its origin was an alien, dishonest and hostile creation which did not follow the due process of state formation as a derivation of "social contract" by the people, and which has not been subjected to any quantitative restructuring after independence. This is because the social structure of any society defines the web of patterned relationships that holds a community together. It refers to a collective reality (a social system) that exists apart from individuals but forms the context in which they interact (Beth, Markson and Stein 1996:73). Whilst those elites who inherited power during the post-colonial state have taken these patterns of interaction and relationships among the collectivities of the people that constitute the Nigerian nation-state for granted, wherein the fragility and strength of such foist ties have repeatedly come to the fore in times of conflict and crisis i.e., the 1967 civil war, 1993 June 12 presidential elections, and the 2005 national political reforms conference.

It thus become glaringly regrettable that the post colonial state of Nigeria has retained the major features of the colonial state and also acquired its own unique features on account of the specificities of its origin. …

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