Academic journal article European Journal of Sustainable Development

Reconnecting Self-Organising Institutions to the Formal Government Structure for Real Governance Impact in Nigeria

Academic journal article European Journal of Sustainable Development

Reconnecting Self-Organising Institutions to the Formal Government Structure for Real Governance Impact in Nigeria

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

African states are more highly centralized than most of the other world's regions. This highly centralized African state has tended to become a part of the problem rather than be a part of the solution. It is inefficient, corrupt and ineffective in providing access to basic services. It has failed to mobilize the high levels of social capital for improved development or governance. It is poorly incapacitated and sluggish in providing the environment for economic growth and poverty reduction (Olowu, 2006:7). It has been observed that the most devastating cause of poverty is bad governance, which is also traced to the system of administration adopted during the colonial and post-colonial era. The system was(is) democratically centralized, too regimented for humans as it limits citizens' freedom in making contribution towards decision making in community affairs, human development and civilization. It is boss rule, command and control, and autocratic. It separates leaders from their people. Bad governance is rooted in culture as much as in structure. While poverty is often discussed from the point of view of economic disabilities, it is becoming clearer that Africa's poverty is rooted fundamentally in its culture of politics-the impoverishment and disempowerment of the people of Africa by African leaders and a structure of power which ensures that oppressors misrule with impunity, while those oppressed have limited or no opportunity to resist their oppressors.

As a matter of fact, no appreciable progress has been made in spite of all the efforts of some African leaders and international donors on African countries. This provides explanation for the failure of series of Declarations and Resolutions made by African leaders over the last four decades (from Algier's Summit, 1968; The Kinshasa Declarations, 1976; The Moronvia Strategy, 1979; Lagos Plan of Action, 1981 to NEPAD, 2001) to address persistent socio-economic and political crises in the continent. The state-dominated and state-driven economy has no mechanism and inspiration to rally the large percentage of African citizenry, who are in the informal sector around socio-economic and political projects. For example, over the past four decades, from 1975 to 2001 (a period of 26 years), a total of 28 different reforms and programmes with poverty alleviation thrust (NEEDS, March 2004 Edition, pp. 153-156) that cut across socio-political economy have been carried out by the Federal government of Nigeria, yet the economy has been stagnant, perpetuating inequality of social conditions among the people of Nigeria (Akinola, 2005, 2005b).

The state-dominated and state-driven economy has no mechanism and inspiration to rally the large percentage of the citizenry, who are in the informal sector around socio- economic and political projects. Consequently, most socio-economic and political decisions did not reflect the wishes and aspirations of the poor simply because of the persistent and widening gap between decision makers (the rich people) and the governed (the poor). Infrastructures that are incentives for entrepreneurial development and nerves of the economy are increasingly deteriorating. Consequently, three category of poverty emerged: poverty of money; poverty of access to services (water, electricity, waste disposal, roads, security etc); and poverty of power.

Over the years, Nigerian governments have implemented several programmes that could address poverty but such programmes were not people-oriented. The programmes are divided into two: (a) poverty reduction programmes in rural area to reduce rural-urban drift, and (b) poverty reduction programmes that cut across both rural and urban areas.

Due to the gap between Nigerian leaders and the people on the one hand, and the problem of corruption that had eaten deep into the leadership on the other hand, the programmes implemented by the Nigerian governments have ended in enriching the pockets of few people at the corridor of power. …

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