CHAPTER THREE NIGERIA’S DISTORTED ECONOMY AND PATRONAGE STATE: A HISTORICAL ENQUIRY
The previous chapter provided an Afrocentric critique of the discourse of development and the good governance, as well as, the limitation of the World Bank’s good governance agenda as a means of addressing poverty and underdevelopment in poor African countries. However, this chapter specifically contextualizes the issue in Nigeria, which is the first objective of this study. This chapter also address the third objective of this study, which is to identify key issues at the local level which are important for better performance of governance and achievement of development in Nigeria. The chapter is divided into six sections. The first section gives the background to the chapter, the second section examines the impact of good governance reforms on Nigeria’s socio-economic and political environment, the third section traces the roots of bad governance to history, the fourth section gives a brief overview of the political philosophy of Nigerian nationalists. The fifth section discusses the identified underlying causes of poor governance in Nigeria; based on history and culture while the sixth section gives some recommended solutions.
Nigeria is currently the most populous country in Africa with an estimated population of 173.6 million (World Bank 2014). Geographically, the country lies between latitudes 4oN and 14oN. It is bound in the North by the Niger Republic, in the East by Cameroon, in the West by the Benin Republic, and in the South by the Gulf of Guinea. Nigeria spans a geographical area of 923,768 square kilometres. Nigeria is a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic nation having over 200 ethnic groups and more than 500 indigenous languages and dialects. Nigeria is an underdeveloped country with 63 per cent of the population living below the poverty line of $1 a day (National Bureau Statistics 2010, World Bank 2011).
Poverty in Nigeria is a paradox, given that the country is the leading producer of crude oil in Africa and the sixth largest oil exporter in the world (Obi 2010:449). Nigeria is persistently plagued with many socio-economic problems such as poverty, inequality, malnutrition, unemployment, low life expectancy, illiteracy, insecurity, conflicts, and lack of social infrastructures (NBS 2010: 18). Scholars such as Ucha (2010), Aidelunuoghene (2014) and Awojobi (2014) have attributed Nigeria’s poverty and underdevelopment to poor governance, especially corruption. Since 1999, the country has embarked on the good governance reform recommendations of the World Bank. This chapter shows that these good governance reforms neither improve governance nor reduce poverty in Nigeria.
Indisputably, every society has bad and good elements. However, arguably what determines those elements that get to positions of leadership is the political structure existing in that country, as well as, external influence. According to Heslop (2017), a political structure includes the Constitution, the political culture, and how government functions. As this chapter shows that for Nigeria, the political structure left and maintained by colonial interests is characterized by tribalism, political godfathers, patronage, corruption and external alliance. Impositions of some good governance templates on a faulty political structure may only create further distortions. Meanwhile in the face of the failure of colonial/modern government to improve the lives of citizens, indigenous and traditional institutions in Nigeria continue to guarantee the welfare of the people, especially those in the rural areas (Olowu and Erero 1995:1, Okunmadewa et al 2005:4). This study argues that solving Nigeria’s governance challenges requires dealing with the underlying causes. Integrating the good qualities of indigenous governance institutions into Nigeria’s modern political structure also holds a lot of benefits in improving governance and development.
The next section examines the impact of good governance reforms on the Nigerian socio-economic and political environment.
Nigeria in the Era of Good Governance (1999 -2016)
Nigeria has had long years of military (mis)rule, characterized by flagrant abuse of office, massive looting of state assets, weakened judiciary, and disrespect for human rights, with no accountability and probity (Ejovi 2013:21). Thus, Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999 brought high hopes for achieving better governance in the country. Following the international community’s demand for good governance as a precondition for development assistance coupled with citizens’ cry for government’s responsiveness, the new administration embarked on various governance reforms as recommended by the World Bank, IMF and other donors. In 2004 Nigeria adopted the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) introduced by the IMF/World Bank as a good governance template, which countries must adopt to become eligible for debt relief and loans (IMF 2012:1). Nigeria’s PRSP was branded as National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS). It has been shown in the previous chapter how the PRSPs are donor-imposed neo-liberal policies that complicate government democracies at the expense of citizens’ welfare.
Other good governance efforts in Nigeria include the enactment of various anti-corruption laws and establishment of agencies such as the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) Act (2000), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Act (2002), the Fiscal Responsibility Law (2007) and the Procurement Reform Law (2008). The ICPC Act established the ICPC which has the mandate to prohibit and prescribe punishments for corrupt practices and other related offences in Nigeria. The EFCC Act established the EFCC as the legal institution to investigate economic and financial crimes like Advance Fee Fraud
(419) and money laundering in Nigeria. The Fiscal Responsibility Act establishes that Nigeria strictly follows the World Bank Medium-Term Fiscal Policy Framework in national planning, budgeting, and economic management.
The MTEF is a document showing how the government will spend and generate money for a period of 3years. It also sets a limit on government spending and borrowing. The Fiscal Responsibility Act aims to achieve greater accountability, transparency, prudence and financial discipline in Nigeria’s Fiscal operations. The Procurement Law of 2008 was the ratification into law of the “Due Process procurement system” introduced in 2001, following the World Bank “Country Procurement Assessment Report” of Nigeria which recommended that Nigeria should have a procurement law based on the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) (Bayero 2016:123). The aim is that government purchases are transparent and deliver value for money in public finance.
The government also embarked on civil service reforms, which aim at improving the competency of the public sector workforce and tax reforms aimed at increasing non-oil revenue and improving the efficiency of tax administration (Omesi and Nzor 2015:279). Pension reform establishes a contributory pension scheme in a bid to curb sharp practices and improve pension funds management (ibid). It can be observed that none of these governance reforms directly target welfare and poverty reduction. Rather, they are targeted at changing government bureaucracies and it is presumed that these restructurings will automatically create a better and corruption-free government, which will also translate to improved welfare (Adejumobi 2006:7). Nigeria is nearing two decades of return to democratic governance and implementation of donor’s good governance reforms. This section examines the impact of these reforms on Nigeria’s economic and political performance.
Reforms and Nigeria Socio- Economic Performance (1999-2016)
Despite reforms, inequality remains very high causing differing and unequal access of the population to job opportunities, security, social infrastructures, as well as, control over public resources (Okunmadewa 2005:4, Ucha 2010:53; Aidelunuoghene 2014:120). At an estimated GDP of $US 568.5 billion in 2014, Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa and has experienced an average growth rate of about 7 per cent since the early 2000s (World Bank 2015). This growth is largely driven by soaring oil and gas prices in the international market and has nothing to do with reforms (Bertelsmann Stiftung, BTI 2016 2016:2). However, due to inequality, a few privileged Nigerians are stupendously rich, while the majority live in abject poverty. Thus, by not paying attention to the distributional effect of economic growth, the good governance strategy fails in addressing the problem of poverty rooted in inequality in Nigeria.
Regardless of economic growth and implementation of reforms, the standard of living remains low while unemployment is very high. Nigeria’s per capita GDP, which stood at US$2,970 in 2014 is one of the lowest in the world (World Bank 2015); while the unemployment rate is as high as 40 per cent (UNDP 2015). Nigeria’s economic growth is thus a non-inclusive growth not reducing poverty, welfare and unemployment. The incidence of poverty is higher in rural areas where the population depends on subsistence, rain-fed agriculture, and infrastructure such as health care, education facilities, good roads and water supply are limited (Iwala 2014:14, NBS 2010). The rural population in Nigeria is also vulnerable to sicknesses such as malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, which hinder productivity and worsen poverty (Aidelunuoghene 2014:116).
Improving livelihood through self-help, self-employment, and entrepreneurship is difficult in Nigeria due to the bad state of infrastructure despite reforms. According to a study by Foster and Pushak, (2011) power supply remains unreliable, coverage of pipe-borne water is low and declining; irrigation development is also low and Nigeria has an undeveloped transport system (Ibid: 14). The rail network is practically neglected, and the air transport classified unsafe (Ibid). Similarly, over 70 per cent of Nigeria’s road networks are in poor condition; even though road transport accounts for about 90 percent of all freight and passenger movements in the country (NPC 2015). From personal experience, this researcher can tell that road accidents are a major contributor to high mortality in Nigeria. The poor state of roads contributes to road accidents in Nigeria. Nigeria is ranked second-highest in the rate of road accidents among 193 countries of the world while one out of four accident deaths in Africa occurs in Nigeria (Agbonkhese et al 2013, WHO 2013). High mortality caused by the poor state of infrastructure definitely worsens poverty. In addition, private provisioning of power, water, and sanitation also increases the cost of production and makes Nigerian entrepreneurs uncompetitive, forcing many to shut down.
Even where public institutions have been established to address poverty, the impact has been minimal. An example is the National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP), which was established in 2001 to address youth unemployment through training and micro credit schemes. An assessment of the programme shows that the beneficiaries are not the unemployed and the poor (Aidelunuoghene 2014:119). NAPEP is thus diverted to serve some private interests rather than the poor. Unemployment particularly makes available an army of youths for potential recruitment into the armed militia and religious terrorist groups rising in different parts of the country. Examples include Boko Haram, O’dua People’s Congress (OPC), and the Bakassi Boys (Osaghae et al. 2007:2, IRIN 2008). According Salawu (2010:345) over 40 per cent of ethnic conflicts and violence caused by militant groups in Nigeria occurred during the democratic or good governance era. As at 2014, about 650,000 people have been displaced and hundreds killed by Boko Haram (Guardian 2014).
Salawu (2010:348) concludes that poverty and unemployment in Nigeria are caused by the failure of the Nigerian leaders to establish good governments, promote national integration and implement good policies. Put differently, Salawu (2010) like other scholars, is still requesting for good governance after several years of good governance reforms. This shows that the good governance frameworks and reforms have failed to lead to a feasible good government that Nigerians yearn for, even though it might have been fulfilling the World Bank requirements. It does seem that almost two decades of pursuing good governance in Nigeria has been a journey on the wrong route. Having shown that reforms have not improved Nigeria’s socio-economic situation, the next subsection examines the impact of the good governance reforms on political governance in Nigeria.
Democratic Reforms and Nigerian Political Governance Since 1999
Nigeria’s democracy has been patterned after the United States by adopting political structures such as federalism, constitutional checks and balances, a multiparty political system and elections. Moreover, these also form the superstructures on which other numerous good governance reforms are based. The implications of these borrowed western political frameworks are examined below.
(a) Federalism and Good Governance in Nigeria
Nigeria is a federal system of government where power is devolved among three levels of government namely: the federal, state and local government. Chijioke et al. (2012:58) define federalism by the historical experience of United States in which many different regions voluntarily transfer part of their power to a central government. Arguably, in the US case, federalism is an evolution and the structure adopted was designed by a consensus of all the components in a way that the interest and welfare of their populations would be better protected (Petersson 2004; Tocqueville 1997). However, in the case of Nigeria, the current form of federalism practised did not evolve through people’s consultation. As shown by Utuk (1975:28), the processes which led to federalism in Nigeria were initiatives of the colonial government starting from Benard Bourdillon’s deliberate action to divide Southern Nigeria into Eastern and Western provinces for better and effective administration. Similarly, the current federal system adopted since 1999 was inherited from the military (Musa and Hassan 2014:316)
Federalism in Nigeria has taken different structures. Towards independence, most of the nationalists supported federalism but advocated for a confederal arrangement due to divergence in levels of development of the regions (Musa and Hassan 2014:321). Consequently, at independence, each of the three federating unit was largely autonomous and self-sufficient while the federal government was comparatively weaker. However, during the long years of military rule, this arrangement was largely altered with many more states and local government councils created while power largely resides in the federal government. Although there is a good argument for adopting federalism, given the country’s multi-ethnicities and large population and geographical size, nevertheless, Nigeria’s federalism faces many challenges as this study shows.
At the return to democracy in 1999, the country maintained a three-tier federal system of government comprising the federal government at the centre, a federal capital territory administration, 36 state governments and 774 local government councils (LGCs). The 1999 Constitution which was drafted by the outgoing military government guides the Nigerian federation (Okeke and Ugwu (2013: 99, 106). The Constitution assigns powers, resources, and responsibilities to each of the government tier spelt out in part 1, section 4 of the Second Schedule of the 1999 Constitution. However, more power resides with the federal government, even though the Constitution assigns to state and local governments, the provision of several social services that impact on poverty directly such as primary and secondary education, health care services, community services, rural roads, and infrastructure. The federal government collects the most important taxes and oil revenues, which are shared periodically under a revenue sharing formula that allocates 54.68 per cent, 24.72 per cent and 20.60 per cent to the federal, state and local governments respectively. This constitutional arrangement has implications on development; especially the fact that the central government controls the largest resources while the local government, which is the closest to the people shares the least.
The concentration of revenue and power led to problems such as aggressive desire to control the federal power by various ethnic groups, as well as, contentions over the arrangement for revenue allocation among the tiers of government (Elaigwu 2007:14). Thus, federalism under the new democratic era has not been able to unify Nigeria’s diversity. Rather, it has increased agitations by minority and majority groups alike, especially for fear of marginalization by other powerful groups (Okpalike 2015:148, Elaigwu 2007:14). Many even demand rotation of the position of the presidency among the various ethnicities and regions of the country (Elaigwu 2007:14). In the history of Nigeria, the fear of domination by dominant ethnic groups has caused several bloody coups, cessation threats, civil war (Biafra war), sectional political parties and continuous demand for creation of more states and local government councils. Arguably, with the current federal arrangement not being able to adequately take care of the ethnic divide in the country and its subsequent problems, the new democratic era is built on a foundation too vague to address the country’s political challenges, especially those fuelled by the ethnic divide.
The problem of ethnic divide and the fear of domination led to the establishment of the “federal character” principle in 1979. The principle upholds that appointments to any position in government institutions in Nigeria should reflect the religion, ethnic and language diversity of the country (Adamolekun et al 1991:75). The aim is to achieve national integration by granting every ethnic group access to the ‘national cake’. However, the application of the federal character principle, especially in public sector recruitment and appointments, has actually amounted to the relegation of merit for this quota system and ethnic representation principle. Adamolekun et al. (1991:75) and Aondoakaa and Orluchukwu (2015:54) argue that the pervasiveness of incompetence, laziness, and mediocrity in Nigeria’s public service and among political leaders can be attributed to this principle. This is because it often hedges out morally upright and visionary candidates while candidates that are less intelligent and without requisite qualifications can be given positions of power on the claim that his or her tribe is underrepresented.
With this situation in which ethnicity seems stronger than competence in public sector recruitment, initiating and implementing sound development policies will remain impossible in Nigeria’s public service regardless of new claims of good governance. This researcher argues that if ethnic sentiment is more important than factors such as experience, character and competence, when choosing public office-holders and political leaders in Nigeria, it then means that the foundations of good or bad governance and poverty reduction, are also rooted in historical factors that make Nigeria an ethnic-biased country. These are part of the specific local problems that a universalized western liberal democracy and neo-liberal good governance agenda overlook. This also forms a stronger argument for a context-specific good governance model which is the objective of this study.
(b) Checks and Balances and Good Governance in Nigeria
Like the United States, the Nigerian political structure follows a presidential system of government having three arms namely the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary. This tripartite governance arrangement is also replicated at the regional or state levels. The 1999 Constitution thus follows the doctrine of separation of powers of the three organs of the state which allows for institutional checks and balances. The Constitution also provides for accountability to the citizens through a multiparty, free and fair election system. These institutional provisions, however, did not stop the abuse of power for personal gain in the executive, legislative and judicial arms of government in Nigeria. There is evidence of cases of the Executive bribing members of the National Assembly so that the budget submitted to the legislature will not be reduced but even increased without justification. The studies of Orbunde and Ogoh (2016:40) as well as Iheanacho (2015:4) report cases of bribery, inflation of the budget and other corrupt practices among the executives and the Nigerian legislative arm.
The budget process particularly remains problematic and an avenue for corruption, despite various reforms. There are no processes for adequate participation to understand citizens’ need and priorities (Ndan 2013:84). A study by Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC) (2016:29) also shows that the Executive arm usually delays in presenting the Appropriation Bill to the National Assembly while the Legislature also delays in their consideration and passage of the Appropriation Bill. Even after the budget is approved, the Executive arm often delays the disbursement of funds to ministries and agencies implementing the approved development projects (ibid). The poor masses suffer from these delays because any postponement in the implementation of proposed development projects also means the postponement of the alleviation of the sufferings of the poor. Moreover, the legislature in collaboration with the executive has created corruption opportunities in the annual budget through unconstitutional provisions such as budget padding and constituency projects (Gaskiya 2016). Budget padding involves intentional inflation of the project estimates in the Appropriation Bill so that after its approval, projects receive funding higher than the actual cost, which then goes to private pockets (Theophilus and Perpetu 2016:42).
Similarly, the country is also littered with many abandoned projects, largely signifying wastage and diversion of public funds from their proposed uses. An investigation by the Senate in 2012 indicated that between 1999 and 2012, there were up to 8000 infrastructure projects abandoned by the Federal Government of which over 2.2 trillion Naira mobilization deposits paid to the contractors had been lost (Gaskiya 2016). Amidst this waste of resources, which contributes to poverty and underdevelopment, the legislatures in Nigeria are outrageously remunerated, earning as much as 166 times of the GDP per capita (Odemwingie 2015) and a comparison of lawmakers’ pay around the world by the Economist (2013) shows that Nigeria has the highest paid lawmakers in the world. Democratic governance in Nigeria is thus unreasonably expensive. The high cost of maintaining the American-style good governance in Nigeria contradicts the country’s lack of resources to promote development and poverty reduction. Despite receiving large remuneration, legislatures are regularly led to the removal of several principal officers in the legislative houses (Ojo and Adebayo 2009:12, Yagboyaju 2011:100).
Although the Nigerian judicial arm of government is supposed to be autonomous, so that they will be fair, this arm is dependent on the Executive, both for the appointment of judges and the financing of the judicial system (Ojo and Adebayo 2009:20). The consequence of this is divided loyalty of the judges and their submission and support of the corrupt practices of the executives. For example in Oyo State, as soon as Chief Alao Akala became the Governor in 2007, he used his power to change the state’s Acting Chief Judge, who earlier was investigating several corruption allegations against him (Anaba et al 2008, Human Right Watch 2007). This replacement, of course, put an end to the investigation (ibid). Governor Akala’s action is also an example of the Executive’s intimidation of the Judiciary, which perverts the rule of law in Nigeria. In 2006, 31 of the 36 state governors were accused of grand scale corruption by the EFCC (Obuah 2010:43; HRW 2011). Unfortunately, due to the compromise of the rule of law, these corruption allegations were repressed and the corrupt governors were never brought to justice (ibid). Arrangements for checks and balances for good governance only exist theoretically in Nigeria but are non-operational and ineffective to make the government transparent or accountable. The next subsection examines the impact of a multiparty system and elections.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1.0 RESEARCH OVERVIEW
1.3 Problem Statement
1.4 Research Objectives
1.5 Theoretical framework
1.6 Ratiomnale for the Study
1.7 Research Design
1.8 Limitations of the Study
1.9 Research Context
1.10 Organization of the Dissertation/ Summary of Chapters
2.0 DEVELOPMENT AND GOOD GOVERNANCE: A HISTORICAL AND AFROCENTRIC PERSPECTIVE
2.2 Development Perspectives
2.3 Good Governance as a Discourse
2.4 Defining Development, Governance and Democracy
2.5 African Development and Governance history
2.6. Africa’s Development and Governance in the Pre-colonial era
2.7 Impact of the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade on Africa’s Development and Governance
2.8 Impact of Colonization on Africa’s Development and Governance
2.9 Africa’s Post-Independent Development Theories
2.10 Emergence of Good Governance, A Post-Washington Consensus
2.11 Analysing Donor’s Good Governance as a Development Strategy – Is this the Governance Improvement Africans Yearn For?
2.12 People’s Perspective of Development and Good Governance- Lessons from other studies
2.13 How Africa Has Responded to Development and Good Governance
3. NIGERIA’S DISTORTED ECONOMY AND PATRONAGE STATE: A HISTORICAL ENQUIRY
3.2 Nigeria in the Era of Good Governance (1999 -2016)
3. 3 Tracing the Root of the Problem of Poor Governance
3.4 Political Ideologies of the Nigerian Nationalists
3.5. The Real Issues: Ethnicity, Oil Rent seeking and Western dependence
3.6 Indigenous Approach to Solving the Problem of Bad Governance
4.0 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK: AFROCENTRICITY
In the previous chapters, this study has shown that
4.2 History and Definition of Afrocentricity
4.3 Afrocentricity as a Paradigm based on Kuhnian Principles
4.4 Characteristics/Assumptions of Afrocentricity
4.5 African Culture, Tradition, Norms and Values
4.6 Relevance of African Traditions to the Development of Modern African Societies
4.7 Some Afrocentric Principles of Governance
4.8. Argument for the Inclusion of Cultural Principles of Governance in Modern Governance
4.9Criticisms of Afrocentricity
5.0 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
5.2 Research Paradigms
5.3 Research Design
5.4 Rationale for Adopting Mixed Methods
5.7 Literature review
5.8 Qualitative Data
5.9 Quantitative Data
5.10 Data Analysis
5.11 Reliability and Validity
5.12 Ethical Consideration
6.0 PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS OF FINDINGS
6.2 Presentation of the Qualitative findings
6. 3. Analysis of Quantitative findings
7.0 Presentation of the Context-Specific Good Governance Model
7.2 A Context-Specific Good Governance Recommendation
7.3 Limitation of the Model
8.0 SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
8.2 Comments on the Achievement of the Objectives of the Study
8.3. Concluding Summary
GET THE COMPLETE PROJECT