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Democracy and good governance

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1     Background to the Study

Democracy and good governance are the most successful political ideas of the 21st century. Democracy lets people speak their minds and shape their own and their children’s future. Many people in different parts of the world are prepared to risk so much for these ideas, which is a testimony to their enduring global appeal. The idea of democracy became popular in Nigeria following the rise of nationalist movements to demand for the country’s independence from British colonial rule. This paved way for the introduction of political parties to enable Nigerians contest for elective positions. For instance, in 1922 Governor Clifford introduced elective principle in respect of the three legislative seats in Lagos and one in Calabar. This was followed by the formation of the Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP) by Herbert Macaulay in 1923. The development continued with more political parties coming on board and in 1960, Nigeria gained independence under a democratically elected government, Chafe, (1994: 90).

Democracy in Nigeria has come a long way in the past two and half decades with four transitional elections and as many as over 10 million registered voters (Aremu, 2014). On May, 29th 1999 the country restored civil democratic rule after a protracted military rule that lasted for more than three decades. Since then, the democratic system including the structures meant to consolidate it have experienced some stress mainly due to the hang-over effect of the prolonged military rule whose common denominator was the lack of democracy, accountability and good governance. The abuse of these time-honoured principles of governance was legendary and its negative impact on Nigerian’s politics is better imagined than stated. Thus, after two and half decades of a return to democratic rule in Nigeria, the country is not anywhere near the realization of the ideals of good governance, which is the natural accomplishment of democratic rule Bayoko, . (2004:56)

One may think the biggest challenge to African development is corruption but according to Omilusi (2016:38) “A thorough examination of the Nigerian democracy and governance since 1999 has been characterized by in efficient yet authoritarian centralization. This reveals that virtually all the political parties in Nigerian find it difficult to adopt an open system that will not only allow in decision making process. The combination of aggrieved injustice and the social misery of the majority, in turn, risks producing disillusionment with democracy, create conditions igniting social conflicts and most importantly threaten the stability of Nigeria’s political order”. Omilusi (2016: 38) With a population of over 200 million people, any major conflict is a disaster to the (Nigeria) is also point of concern is one of the potential areas of instability. Its future can either be a shining example for the continent or cautionary tone of what happens when great potentials is so batage by poor governance, lack of leadership and pervasive corruption. Nigeria got independence in 1960 from British; the military has ruled for approximately 30 years, out of her 56 years of existence, the military experience in politics militarized the Nigerian society, six years after independence. Since then the country had successive military intervention before the return of the second republic in 1976; it collapsed in 1983 by another military intrusion in her political history due to the judgment on incompetence and corruption on politicians. As the nation enthusiastically embraced this long awaited change in governance, President Olusegun Obasanjo former military leader returned power to the civilian in 1979. It was believed that the new administration would usher in democratic dividends that will guarantee peace, human security, human right and development, good governance, absence of corruption centered on the people. However, the country remains trapped by politics mal-practice, deep economic contradiction, social inequality, conflicts, insecurity, human right  violation e.t.c.

In Nigeria, the exhilaration generated by widespread dehumanizing poverty and under development; insecurity; corruption; mass illiteracy; unemployment; amongst others has created mixed feelings about the desirability or otherwise of democracy.  Bayoko,  (2004: 23) Democracy in Nigeria is going through difficult times as viable democratic institutions such as credible electoral system; independent judiciary, rule of law, etc are yet to take root in the country in the face of such flaws like massive corruption in every facet of the nation’s public life. These flaws in the system have become worryingly visible giving rise to disillusion with politics. The ability of the democratic system to transform the lives of the people is dependent on its provision of adequate mechanisms for the smooth conduct of elections that culminate in the transfer of power from one regime to another. This is an area, which Nigeria is still not performing to expectations. The lack of credible election has resulted in the erosion of political legitimacy on the part of public office holders. For instance, the 2003 and 2007 elections in the country were marred by brazen electoral frauds. Where democracy is devoid of credible elections, good governance is negated and the sovereignty of the people is relegated to the background if not completely denied. The result is that majority of the people would become subservient to the whims and caprices of the political actors who are shielded from any legal action by the immunity clause; hence they conduct themselves based on their proclivities. Even with the noticeable improvement in the freedom of speech and respect for the rule of law, the effort of the government in establishing a peaceful democratic society has been bedeviled with problems.

Some of these problems are systemic and therefore, have much to do with the way the institutions of democracy are used for expediency. Others are attitudinal and hence, the result of the failure of the Nigerian state and the political elite to change their attitude of “business-as-usual” with zero impact; and cultivate a new mindset that conforms with democratic principles. Thus, Nigerians are not only disenchanted and disillusioned with the way and manner the government is toying with the public affairs but also lost hope in the leadership of the country at all levels of government. As Achebe (2004:17) descried the situation, “I am disappointed with Nigeria… Nigeria is a country that doesn’t work”.

In a true democracy, the will of the people is the basis of the authority of government. Nigeria operates a nominal democracy in which it maintained the outward appearance of democracy through elections but without the rights and institutions that are equally important aspects of a functioning democratic system. Indeed, democracy and good governance are the bases for legitimacy, social mobilization and development because of their responsiveness to the yearnings and aspirations of the poor majority of the population. Good governance translates into the provision of basic infrastructures, access to medical and health-care services, educational, industrial, and agricultural development of the society, and above all, the institutionalization of the rule of law.

According to Elaigwu, (2011: 24), in his opinion stated that more than any other form of government, democracy recognizes diversity and plurality within society as well as equality of citizens and seeks to build consensus through debates, persuasion and compromise. It guarantees basic individual and group liberties and ensures governance according to the law. In the main, democracy should be practice alongside with transparency and accountability which help in enhancing good governance which also help eliciting confidence in government by the people. According to Patic (2011:56) “corruption is the enemy of development and good governance, therefore it must be get rid of. While both the government and the people at large must come together to achieve this natural objective of good governance”.

 

 

 

 

1.2     Statement of the Problem

The quest for democracy and good governance has been a major pre-occupation of the Nigerian state since her independence in 1960. This aspiration has remained elusive due to many problems, which have continued to undermine the democratization process in the country. These problems include failure of leadership; corruption; Boko Haram insurgency; insincerity of purpose; lack of political will; lack of proper vision by the political leadership; lack of accountability in governance; amongst others.

These problems are antithetical to the achievement of democratic culture and good governance. They are no doubt, immense and daunting but not insurmountable, once there is the political will to resolve and overcome them for the enthronement of democracy and good governance in the country.

Jonathan Administration was faced with numerous problems such as Insecurity, corruption, unemployment. The security situation has degenerated. The basic responsibility of government is the protection of life and property. But during Jonathan Administration everywhere you turn to in Nigeria, life has become generally nasty, brutish and short in the Hobbesian tradition. People are killed by bombs, bullets and all kinds of weapons and the government appears helpless. Terrorism and crime have taken over the land. Unfortunately, this should have provided a national momentum for unity of purpose to stamp out threats to our individual lives and collective existence. However, it appears that instead of uniting the nation, the menace of terrorism has further torn us apart. After every terrorist strike, the President and the security agencies look pathetic as they labour to reassure Nigerians that they are on top of the situation and that we should go about our lawful duties. Soon after such reassurances, the conveyors of mass murder strike within days or weeks and on their own terms. The irony of all this is that the administration is in a position to put a stop to all this madness through the convocation of a national dialogue to address the fundamental structure of Nigeria and the real and imagined grievances of groups and component parts of the country. Our leading lights such as Profs. Ben Nwabueze, Chinua Achebe, and Wole Soyinka; Chief Tunji Braithwaite and Emeka Anyaoku are leading the call for a national dialogue which the administration rejects. Curiously, it has offered to hold talks with terrorists, an offer the terrorists have turned down.

Starting with corruption, events unfolding in the last two years indicate that corruption has increased and now walks writ large on four legs. The now infamous fuel subsidy scam, the pension scam, ghost workers in their thousands, etc have been pushed to the national consciousness. The upsetting part of the challenge is the impunity with which the perpetrators go about their business and the certainty that nothing will happen to them despite the provisions of the criminal law. Where are the perpetrators of the Halliburton and Siemens scams? Free men and women enjoying their loot without sanctions even when other countries have punished those found guilty in their jurisdictions. Corruption cases in courts have stalled and even some notable accused persons have been left off the hook. For Nigeria, no month passes without the revelation of a major scam. As we are coming to terms with the above scams, the new one is that over 180,000 barrels of crude oil is stolen daily and the country is losing billions of dollars every year. It even reached a crisis point of our having a shortfall in distributable revenue for the month of April 2012 thereby delaying the sharing of the proceeds of the Federation Account until augmentation came from the Excess Crude Account. This is happening at a time the Presidential Amnesty Programme has calmed down the Niger Delta crisis. Essentially, the political will to tackle corruption is lacking. It is for the President to find and locate that will if he chooses to be remembered on the right side of history.

There are many polity are astronomical. Corruption is one of the most widespread social evils in Nigeria; it is seen as a main threat in the public and private sphere. Corruption undermines fragile democratic systems by fuelling popular disillusionment with politics and politicians; it also undermines trust and confidence, which are necessary for upholding and development of sustainable economic and social order unresolved problems in Nigeria, but the issue of the upsurge of corruption is troubling. And the damages it has done to the

The growing rate of crimes in Nigeria, ranging from ritual killings to armed robbery, fraud and looting to terrorist activities, has been attributed to the nation’s high unemployment rate, which has continued to grow at an alarming proportion.

The NBS data also show that over 22 million of the active population are either unwilling or unable to work or are working for less than 40 hours per week on the average. This is to say the least, disturbing for a country that has multiple resources to be counted among the world economic powers.

President Goodluck Jonathan seems to have a grasp of the enormity of the unemployment burden that currently threatens the nation’s economic growth. However, the Nigerian people have come of age and are now enlightened enough to understand that what a leader knows is no longer as important to the citizenry as what is eventually done with what the leader knows or claims to know. Although the President says his government has set aside billions of naira for job creation, it is important to note that his predecessors had said similar things to tackle unemployment but eventually appeared to have misinterpreted the meaning of job creation. As a matter of fact, job creation by government should not be perceived as a mere inclusion of jobless people in the payroll of government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, to enable them to collect monthly salaries without doing any productive jobs or making any contributions to national development.

 

 

 

 

 

1.3     Research Questions

  1. What are the Challenges of democracy and good governance under Jonathan administration?
  2. To what extent has the type of political system practice in Nigeria had been a threat to democracy and good governance under Jonathan administration?
  3. What are the reasons for Jonathan failure during his tenure?
  4. What are the problems of leadership in the present Nigeria dispensation?

1.4     Objectives of the Study

The following are the objectives to achieve in this study;

  1. To examine the Challenges of democracy and good governance under Jonathan administration?
  2. To investigate the extent at which the type of political system practice in Nigeria had been threat to democracy and good governance under Jonathan administration?
  3. To examine the reasons for Jonathan failure during his tenure?
  4. To investigate the problems of leadership in the present Nigeria dispensation?

 

1.5      Basic Assumptions

           The study is based on the following assumptions;

  1. that Jonathan administration  was faced with a lot of Challenges which leads to his failure
  2. that the type of political system practice in Nigeria was a threat to democracy and good governance under Jonathan administration?
  3. that the reasons for Jonathan failure during his tenure was bad leadership and poor political ideology.
  4. that lack of good governance and democracy are the major problems in the present Nigeria dispensation

1.6     Justification of the Study

The study is to justify that democracy and good governance in Nigeria have been hindered by many challenges and have great undetermined development.

The study is justify as follows;

  1. that Jonathan administration  failed due to the Challenges faced
  2. Jonathan administration was threatened by the type of political system practice in Nigeria, democracy and good governance
  3. Jonathan failure was as a result of bad leadership, godfatherism and poor political ideology.
  4. good governance and democracy are the major problems in the present Nigeria dispensation

1.7     Definition of Terms

Democracy: literarily, democracy means “rule of the commoners”. In modern usage, is a system of government in which the citizen exerciser power directly or elect representative from among themselves to form a governing body, such as parliament. Democracy is sometimes referred to as “rule of the majority”. Democracy was originally conceived in classical Greece, where political representative were chosen by a jury from amongst the male citizen: rich and poor.

 

Good governance: is an intermediate term used in the international development literature to describe how public institution conduct public affairs and manage public resources. Governance is “is the process of decision making and the processes by which decision are implemented”. The term, Governance can apply to cooperate, international, national, local governance or to the interactions between other sectors of society.(Agagu, 2007:9)

The concepts of new governance often emerge as a model to compare in effective economist and political body. The concept centers on the responsibility of government on governing bodies to meet the needs of the masses are supposed to select groups in the society. (Omilusi 2016:22)

Administration: this is the activity of governing a country or a region. It is also a department of the government. It is also a management of the government where the executions of public affairs are distinguished from policy making. (Omilusi 2016:22)

Corruption: it is a form of dishonesty of unethical conduct by a person entrusted with a position of authority, often to acquire personal benefit. Corruption may include many activities including bribing and embezzlement, though it may also involve practices that are legal in many countries. Government or political; corruption occurs when an office holder or other governmental employees acts in an official capacity for personal gain. Stephen (2004: 35)

1.8     Theoretical Framework /conceptual framework

Theoretical framework will be discussed under the  systems theory

System Theory

David Easton (June 24, 1917 – July 19, 2014) was a Canadian-born American political scientist. Easton, who was born in Toronto, Ontario, came to the United States in 1943. From 1947-1997, he served as a professor of political science at the University of Chicago.

At the forefront of both the behavioralist and post-behavioralist revolutions in the discipline of political science during the 1950s and 1970s, Easton provided the discipline’s most widely used definition of politics as the authoritative allocation of values for the society. He is renowned for his application of systems theory to the study of political science. Policy analysts have utilized his five-fold scheme for studying the policy-making process: input, conversion, output, feedback and environment. Gunnell argues that since the 1950s the concept of “system” was the most important theoretical concept used by American political scientists. The idea appeared in sociology and other social sciences but it was Easton who specified how it could be best applied to behavioral research on politics John (2013)

David Easton’s ‘systems theory’, though developed for ‘constructivist’ purposes and is a conceptual framework for analysing politics, yet it is useful for constructing an empirical theory of Political Science as well as using it in understanding actual forces operating in a political system. The political actors and citizens can know ‘what’, ‘where’ and ‘how’ of political operations, and take remedial actions. Third world countries can gain a lot from its study and actual use, avoiding many risks, crises, and difficulties. Advanced countries already make use of it in one form or other (Easton,  1965)

Easton presented his conceptual framework in his The Political System (1953). He elaborated it further, in 1965, in his two books, A Framework for Political Analysis, and A Systems Analysis of Political Life. In the first, he has presented an outline of the conceptual framework of systems analysis. In the next, he has further developed it in detail, but its title is misleading as he has not done therein any actual empirical analysis. (Easton,  1965)

Besides, he has written a large number of articles, and edited many books. He is a proclaimed spokesman of two academic revolutions – behavioural and post-behavioural. The centre of his attention is in bringing about disci­plinary integration in Political Science through the evaluation of a general theory. He believes that systems framework can serve his purpose. Later on, it has come out in form of input-output analysis which has proved useful for empirical and practical purposes.

Easton’s input-output analysis is also known as the ‘flow model’. It can be regarded as a form of functionalist analysis. Young finds his framework as ‘the most inclusive systemic approach so far constructed specifically for political analysis by a political scientist’. It is a product of an original insight of a political scientist. It is neither borrowed nor smuggled from other disciplines.

Systems theory is about broadly applicable concepts and principles, as opposed to concepts and principles applicable to one domain of knowledge. It distinguished dynamic or active systems and static or passive systems. Active systems are activity structures or components that interact in behaviours and processes. Passive systems are structures and components that are being processed. E.g. A program is passive when it is a disc file and active when it runs in the ram memory. The field is related to systems thinking and systems engineering.

Four premises of System Theory

There are four major premises or broader concepts of his flow-model or input-output analysis:

  • System
  • Environment
  • Response; and

Weakness of System Theory

The weaknesses are that assessing outcomes is difficult, decision making process is not rational and difficulty when small tasks need to be identified. The strengths are that the group can accomplish the final goal and focuses on group identity.

There are weaknesses associated with systems theory.

  1. Systems theory tends to favor stability over change, so innovation is often characterized as a system anomaly rather than a normal part of group work.
  2. The emphasis on harmony in systems theory means that conflict must be presented as abnormal and destructive.
  3. Systems theory generally ignores issues of power and status that influence small group decision making, particularly when groups are embedded in larger organizations.
  4. So, while systems theory encourages us to examine the ways in which group members and groups are interrelated, it ignores other aspects of small group communication that are equally as important

Strengths of systems theory

The strengths of the systems theory are that it enables the study of interrelations among themselves. Another important strength of the systems theory is that it defines the system in relationship with the environment. In this way the organization is compelled to explore its relationship with the environment. Another advantage of the systems theory is that it focuses the attention of the organization on its goals and the manner in which these goals will be achieved. Also, the systems theory has the advantage of clarifying the inputs and outputs into the organization(2). The systems theory compels the organization to think of itself as an open system. Further, the transformation of the inputs into the outputs is obtained. An important strength of the systems theory is that it focuses on .

System theory is prefer because according Easton, system theory was aspired to make politics a science, that is, working with highly abstract models that described the regularities of patterns and processes in political life in general. In his view, the highest level of abstraction could make scientific generalizations about politics possible. In summary, politics should be seen as a whole, not as a collection of different problems to be solved. (Easton, 1953).

His main model was driven by an organic view of politics, as if it were a living object. His theory is a statement of what makes political systems adapt and survive. He describes politics in a constant flux, thereby rejecting the idea of “equilibrium”, so prevalent in some other political theories. Moreover, he rejects the idea that politics could be examined by looking at different levels of analysis. His abstractions could account for any group and demand at any given time. That is, interest group theory and elite theory can be subsumed in political systems analysis. Easton,. (1965)

 

1.9     Research Methodology

This research methodology present the research design, population, sample and sampling techniques, research instrument, validity of the instrument, reliability of instrument, administration of the instrument and data analysis.

1.9.1  Research Design

     The research design of the survey type was used for the study. In a survey study, the researcher select the sample from the segment of population, for an exploratory study to enable have a representative opinion of the characteristics of the subjects. It is the most widely used type of descriptive research. Survey design, is very useful because it has a wide range of scope and coverage; hence generalization is possible

1.9.2  Population

The population of this research work comprise of people leaving in Ado Ekiti.

1.9.3  Sample and Sampling Techniques

The sample for this study comprises of one hundred (200) participant. The sampling techniques that is used for this study is simple random sampling techniques .

1.9.4  Research Instrument

          The instrument that was used for this research work was  questionnaire. It was designed by the researcher along with the variables under study and the questions it contains  is draw from the research question.

The structured questions is an instrument designed to democracy of  and good governance in Nigeria. Section A  contains the bio-data of the respondents which include name of school, sex, age. Section B  elicit information on the democracy of  and good governance in Nigeria

 

 

 

1.9.5  Validity of the Instrument

    The face and content validity of the instrument will be done by the researcher’s supervisor and two other experts in the field of academics. The corrections pointed out will made in the final draft of the questionnaire.

Abiri (2006) maintained that validity is the extent at which the contents of a test corresponds to these of the subject matters and their associated behavioral outcomes.

1.9.6  Administration of the Instrument

The administration of the questionnaire was done by the researcher. The researcher distributed the questionnaire to the respondents. Adequate time was given to the respondents to respond to the questionnaire. Completed questionnaires were  collected on the spot for analysis.

1.9.7  Data Analysis

          The data collected from the study was subjected to statistical analysis, simple percentage method is used to analyze  the questionnaire for the study.

1.10   Limitation of the Study

The researcher equally encountered financial limitation as lack of sponsorship from corporate bodies thus; the researcher’s little resources could not cover more areas. The unwillingness of most people to supply the needed data was another major problem. Problems was also encountered from Google due to poor network.

However, in order to overcome this challenges the researcher promise the respondent 100% confidentiality and that the information given was only for academic purpose. Regarding the financial aspect the research try to raise money from family and friends.

1.11   Research Ethics

Research ethics involves the application of fundamental ethical principles to a variety of topics involving research, including scientific research. These include the design and implementation of research involving human experimentation, animal experimentation, various aspects of academic scandal, including scientific misconduct (such as fraud, fabrication of data and plagiarism), whistleblowing; regulation of research, etc. Research ethics is most developed as a concept in medical research.

The academic research enterprise is built on a foundation of trust. Researchers trust that the results reported by others are sound. Society trusts that the results of research reflect an honest attempt by scientists and other researchers to describe the world accurately and without bias. But this trust will endure only if the scientific community devotes itself to exemplifying and transmitting the values associated with ethical research conduct.

They should not misuse any of the information discovered, and there should be a certain moral responsibility maintained towards the participants. There is a duty to protect the rights of people in the study as well as their privacy and sensitivity. The confidentiality of those involved in the observation must be carried out, keeping their anonymity and privacy secure. All of these ethics must be honoured unless there are other overriding reasons to do so – for example, any illegal or terrorist activity. Research ethics is different throughout different types of educational communities. Every community has its own set of morals. In Anthropology [3] research ethics were formed to protect those who are being researched and to protect the researcher from topics or events that may be unsafe or may make either party feel uncomfortable. It is a widely observed guideline that anthropologists use especially when doing ethnographic fieldwork.

Research informants participating in individual or group interviews as well as ethnographic fieldwork are often required to sign an informed consent form which outlines the nature of the project. Informants are typically assured anonymity and will be referred to using pseudonyms. There is however growing recognition that these formal measures are insufficient and do not necessarily warrant a research project ‘ethical’. Research with people should therefore not be based solely on dominant and de-contextualised understandings of ethics, but should be negotiated reflexively and through dialogue with participants as a way to bridge global and local understandings of research ethics

1.12   Scope of the Study

The study examine democracy and good governance in Nigeria: A critique of the Jonathan Administration. The study cover the concept of democracy and good governance in Nigeria under, Reflections on Democracy and Good Governance in Nigeria and Challenges and Prospects of Democracy and Good Governance in Nigeria.

1.13   Organization of  the Chapters

Chapter one focuses on background of the study, statement of the problem, research question, and objective of the study, basic assumptions, and justification of the study, scope, limitation, methodology, and definition of term.

Chapter two focuses on theoretical frame work, chapter three will examine critically on the critique of Jonathan administration in Nigeria.

Chapter four will examine democracy and good governance in Nigeria while chapter five will focus on the conclusion, recommendation and reference

 

 

REFERENCES

Abiri J. L.  (2006) Research Methodology, Durojaye Publishers, Abeokuta, Oyo State.

 

Agagu, A.A. (2007). Element of government, Nigeria: Graams Prints, Lokoja.

 

Agree, S. (2000) Promoting  Good  Governance: Common Wealth Secretariat. Bami jaye Nig. Ltd. Lagos.

 

Aremu, I. (2014), “Presidential Candidates: What constitution says” Daily Trust, November 3rd.

 

Bayoko, O. O. (2004), Universal Democracy (Holocracy): The Rule by All Parties, Ibadan,

 

Chafe, K. S. (1994), “The Problematic of African Democracy: Experiences from the Political

 

Elaigwu, J. I. (2011), Topical Issues in Nigeria’s Political Development, Jos, AHA Publishing House.

 

Mike Omilusi. (2016). Politics, power and political parties in Nigeria: Olugbenga press publisher, Lagos  New Series, No. 2 July

 

Ojigbo O. (1980) Nigeria return of civil deile, Lagos Tokion. Spectrum Books Ltd.

 

Transition in Nigeria” in AfrikZamani Special Issue on Historical Heritage and Democratization in Africa,

 

Wilson, N.G (2006). Encyclopedia of ancient Greece. Newyork: routledge.p.511

 

John G. Gunnell, “The Reconstitution of Political Theory: David Easton, Behavioralism, and the Long Road to System,” Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences (2013) 49#2 pp 190-210

 

Easton, David. (1965). A Systems Analysis of Political Life. New York: Wiley.

 

Easton, David. (1953). The Political System: An Inquiry into the State of Political Science. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Easton, David. (1965). A Framework for Political Analysis. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

 

Patic, J. N. (2011). Governance without government – order and change in world politics. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press

 

 

CHAPTER TWO

The history of Nigeria’s democratization began at independence  with  the adoption  of democratic institutions modeled on the British Westminster parliamentary system. Under this system, the prime minister who was the leader of the party with majority seats in the parliament was the substantive Head of government at the centre (federal) while the President was a mere ceremonial Head. From independence on-wards, Nigeria has been grappling with the task of entrenching the culture of democracy in governance through its provisions in the independence constitution of 1960; and the Republican constitution of 1963. These constitutions  have  prescribed  the  British-modeled Westminster parliamentary system for the country.

After independence, the new political elite had the duty of not only institutionalizing the democratic process but for developing a political culture, which would buttress the inherited institutions from the British colonial authority. There were therefore, high hopes at independence of Nigeria emerging as a fertile and large field for the growth of democracy and good governance in Africa. However, by the end of 1965, it became obvious that the future of democracy and good governance in the country had become bleak. In January, 1966, the military aborted the new democratic experiment in a bloody coup d’état. The military, subsequently, held on to power for almost 33 years after the 1966 coup except for some flashes of civil rule between 1979 and 1983; and 1987-1989. In 1979, Nigeria adopted the Presidential system of government modeled after the American system in preference to the British parliamentary system.

Nigerians short-lived democratic experiment after independence could be attributed to the following factors among others:

  • Breakdown of the rules of the game of politics, which profusely polluted the political stadium and made politics as dangerous for players as well as spectators;
  • Gross misuse of political power;
  • among public officers including impudent political and economic decisions in allocation of scarce but a locatable resources;
  • Erosion of the rights of individuals;
  • Disenfranchisement of the Nigerian populace through blatant rigging of elections;
  • Conspicuous consumption of politicians amidst the abject poverty of the masses; and
  • Excessively powerful regional governments, which threatened the relatively weak federal centre with wanton abandon (Elaigwu, 2011).

These challenges made it difficult for the first democratic government in Nigeria under the prime minister ship of Abubakar Tafawa Balewa to build a solid democratic culture and good governance. Indeed, for a country that was granted independence without a strong economic base as well as porous democratic culture it was expected that the military and the political elite would have been more cautious because it was a period of learning the state of the art of democracy. This was the period when democratic institutions were expected to be established and democratic culture accepted and imbibed by the state actors and civil society at large. As Mohammed (2008) cited in Yio (2011) observed, in this phase, success and goal attainment depend on how quick the leaders and the society learn to work on the basis of democratic principles and practices. Unfortunately, in Nigeria, politics were not driven by nationalistic and class consciousness but by primordial sentiments of ethnicity, religion, regionalism, etc with the consequent deepening of poverty and under development in the country.

Democratic politics and good governance did not fare better in the Second Republic as well as the Third Republic. But since 29 May, 1999, when the Fourth Republic was ushered in, politicians in government have continued to use the phrase “dividends of democracy” which refer to the provisions of material welfare to the people, such as roads, rural electrification, potable water, improved educational and health facilities, housing, amongst others. However, It is pertinent to note that democracy and good governance in Nigeria and elsewhere in the world cannot be achieved through the mere provisions of material welfare such as roads, jobs, food, electricity, education, health care services and others since they are even easier to provide under authoritarian rule. As Elaigwu (2011) observed:

Democracy provides rights to groups and individuals. It presupposes the right or freedom of expression by the individual. When this is allowed under democracy, the government will be more accountable to the people as of right. In addition, people can insist on transparency in government business and with this, leaders in government can no longer violate citizen’s fundamental rights with impunity. Indeed, successive governments in Nigeria since independence have failed to expand the frontiers of freedom or liberty and respect for human and individual rights, which are the core values of democracy and clear indices of good governance. In the country’s 55 years of political independence, none of the two experimented models of democracy i.e. the Parliamentary system, and the Presidential system, have been able to internalize democratic culture and good governance. There are critical challenges militating against the enthronement of democracy and good governance in Nigeria, which demand attention. This, then, underscores the concern of this paper. In simple terms, the objective of the paper is to identify and discuss the challenges to democracy and good governance in the country and proffer suggestions for a better democratic Nigeria.

 

 

CONCEPTUAL CLARIFICATIONS

Democracy and good governance are the key terms used in the research, which require clarification.

Democracy: The term democracy like most concepts in social sciences lacks a precise single definition rather; it is generally a matter of intellectual supposition. There are various meanings, opinions, perceptions and definitions of the term by scholars and philosophers like Rousseau, Locke, Jefferson, Lincoln and Mills (Akindele, 1987). According to Elaigwu cited in Yio (2012), the concept of democracy is alien to Africa and needs to be domesticated to Nigeria (Africa)’s local conditions and targeted to her peculiar problems. He went further to define democracy as:

A system of government based on the acquisition of authority from the people; the institutionalization of the rule of law; the emphasis on the legitimacy of rules; the availability of choices and cherished values (including freedom); and accountability in governance.

This definition brings out the principles of democracy and the core one being the residence of sovereignty with the people. As Yio (2012) had argued, from its Athenian origin, democracy is viewed as “Government by the people with full and direct participation of the people”. But democracy in practice even in Athens was not inclusive in the absolute sense as it excluded women and slaves who were integral components of the Greek city states.

Huntington (1996) argued that a political system is democratic; if it’s most powerful collective decision makers are chosen through fair, honest and periodic elections in which candidates freely compete for votes and in which virtually all the adult population is eligible to vote. It also implies the existence of all those civil and political freedoms to speak, publish, assemble and organize that are necessary for political debate and the conduct of electoral campaign. Also, Cohen (1971) noted that democracy is a system of community government in which by and large the members of the community participate or may participate directly or indirectly in making decisions, which affect them. This means that democracy could be seen as any system of government that is rooted in the notion that ultimate authority in the governance of the people rightly belongs to the people; that everyone is entitled to an equitable participation and share in the equal rights; and where equitable social and economic justice are the inalienable rights of individual citizens in the society.

Chafe (1994) on the other hand, opined that democracy means the involvement of the people in the running of the political, socio-economic and cultural affairs of their polity. Schumpeter cited in Ukase (2014) sees democracy as a method by which decision-making is transferred to individuals who have gained power in a competitive struggle for the votes of citizens. It is a situation in which people have the opportunity of accepting or rejecting the men who are to rule them. Also, Sand brooks cited in Ukase (2014), captures the concept thus:

Democracy is a political system characterized by regular and free elections in which politicians organized into political parties; compete for power by right of the virtue of all adults to vote and by the guarantee of a range of political and civil rights.

Abraham Lincoln offered one of the simplest definitions of democracy as “government of the people by the people and for the people”. In this wise, democracy is first and foremost people-centered. It also involves mass participation and basic individual freedom as its hallmark. Ukase (2014) stressed that democracy demands that people should be governed on the basis of their consent and mandate; freely given to establish a government which is elected, responsive and accountable to the people.

In spite of the differences in conceptualization and practice, all the versions of defining democracy share one fundamental objective, which is how to govern society in such a way that power, actually belongs to the people.

Concept of Good Governance

The concept of good governance defies a precise single definition that commands universal acceptability. This has given rise to different meanings of the concept. The World Bank (2003) provided a simple definition of good governance and an extensive detailed analysis of its major components. Here the Bank contends that governance consists in the exercise of authority in the name of the people while good governance is doing so in ways that respect the integrity and needs of everyone within the state. Good governance, according to this conception, is said to rest on two important core values, namely: inclusiveness and accountability.

Madhav (2007) contends that good governance is tied to the ethical grounding of governance and must be evaluated with reference to specific norms and objectives as may be laid down. Ozigbo (2000) cited in Okpaga (2007) opined that before one discusses good governance, it is first necessary to examine the context of the term governance. According to him, governance denotes how people are ruled and how the affairs of the state are administered and regulated. Governance refers therefore, to how the politics of a nation is carried out. Public authority is expected to play an important role in creating conducive environment to enhance development. On this premise, Ansah (2007) viewed governance as encompassing a state’s institutional and structural arrangements, decision-making process and implementation capacity and the relationship between government officials and the public.

Governance can therefore, be good or bad depending on whether or not it has the basic ingredients of what makes a system acceptable to the generality of the people. The ingredients of good governance include freedom, accountability, and participation (Sen, 1990). The basic features of good governance include the conduct of an inclusive management wherein all the critical stakeholders are allowed to have a say in the decision-making process. Accordingly, good governance is the process through which a state’s affairs are managed effectively in the areas of public accountability, financial accountability, administrative and political accountability, responsiveness and transparency, all of which must show in the interest of the governed and the leaders.

It, thus, means that good governance thrives in a democratic setting; hence to achieve good governance, there must be a democratic system in place. By this, it means where there is no democracy there cannot be good governance, which explains why democracy as a system of government commands such popular appeal among the countries of the world today.Although, the concept of good governance lacks any precise single definition that commands universal acceptability, there is little disagreement over its defining elements, which include accountability, transparency, predictability, the rule of law, and participation.

 

 

Reflections On Democracy And Good Governance In Nigeria

Democracy and good governance are the most successful political ideas of the 21st century. Democracy lets people speak their minds and shape their own and their children’s future. Many people in different parts of the world are prepared to risk so much for these ideas, which is a testimony to their enduring global appeal. The idea of democracy became popular in Nigeria following the rise of nationalist movements to demand for the country’s independence from British colonial rule. This paved way for the introduction of political parties to enable Nigerians contest for elective positions. For instance, in 1922 Governor Clifford introduced elective principle in respect of the three legislative seats in Lagos and one in Calabar. This was followed by the formation of the Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP) by Herbert Macaulay in 1923. The development continued with more political parties coming on board and in 1960, Nigeria gained independence under a democratically elected government.

Democracy in Nigeria has come a long way in the past two and half decades with four transitional elections and as many as over 10 million registered voters (Aremu, 2014). On May, 29th 1999 the country restored civil democratic rule after a protracted military rule that lasted for more than three decades. Since then, the democratic system including the structures meant to consolidate it have experienced some stress mainly due to the hang-over effect of the prolonged military rule whose common denominator was the lack of democracy, accountability and good governance. The abuse of these time-honoured principles of governance was legendary and its negative impact on Nigerian’s politics is better imagined than stated. Thus, after two and half decades of a return to democratic rule in Nigeria, the country is not anywhere near the realization of the ideals of good governance, which is the natural accomplishment of democratic rule.

In Nigeria, the exhilaration generated by widespread dehumanizing poverty and under development; insecurity; corruption; mass illiteracy; unemployment; amongst others has created mixed feelings about the desirability or otherwise of democracy. Democracy in Nigeria is going through difficult times as viable democratic institutions such as credible electoral system; independent judiciary, rule of law, etc are yet to take root in the country in the face of such flaws like massive corruption in every facet of the nation’s public life. These flaws in the system have become worryingly visible giving rise to disillusion with politics. The ability of the democratic system to transform the lives of the people is dependent on its provision of adequate mechanisms for the smooth conduct of elections that culminate in the transfer of power from one regime to another.

This is an area, which Nigeria is still not performing to expectations. The lack of credible election has resulted in the erosion of political legitimacy on the part of public office holders. For instance, the 2003and 2007 elections in the country were marred by brazen electoral frauds. Where democracy is devoid of credible elections, good governance is negated and the sovereignty of the people is relegated to the background if not completely denied. The result is that majority of the people would become subservient to the whims and caprices of the political actors who are shielded from any legal action by the immunity clause; hence they conduct themselves based on their proclivities. Even with the noticeable improvement in the freedom of speech and respect for the rule of law, the effort of the government in establishing a peaceful democratic society has been bedeviled with problems. Some of these problems are systemic and therefore, have much to do with the way the institutions of democracy are used for expediency.

Others are attitudinal and hence, the result of the failure of the Nigerian state and the political elite to change their attitude of “business-as-usual” with zero impact; and cultivate a new mindset that conforms with democratic principles. Thus, Nigerians are not only disenchanted and disillusioned with the way and manner the government is toying with the public affairs but also lost hope in the leadership of the country at all levels of government. As Achebe (2004) decried the situation, “I am disappointed with Nigeria… Nigeria is a country that doesn’t work”.

In a true democracy, the will of the people is the basis of the authority of government. Nigeria operates a nominal democracy in which it maintained the outward appearance of democracy through elections but without the rights and institutions that are equally important aspects of a functioning democratic system. Indeed, democracy and good governance are the bases for legitimacy, social mobilization and development because of their responsiveness to the yearnings and aspirations of the poor majority of the population. Good governance translates into the provision of basic infrastructures, access to medical and health-care services, educational, industrial, and agricultural development of the society, and above all, the institutionalization of the rule of law.

 

 

CHAPTER THREE

CHALLENGES AND PROSPECTS OF  DEMOCRACY AND GOOD GOVERNANCE IN  NIGERIA

 

The quest for democracy and good governance has been a major pre-occupation of the Nigerian state since her independence in 1960. This aspiration has remained elusive due to many challenges, which have continued to undermine the democratization process in the country. These challenges include failure of leadership; corruption; Boko Haram insurgency; insincerity of purpose; lack of political will; lack of proper vision by the political leadership; lack of accountability in governance; amongst others.

 

Failure of Leadership: Since Nigeria’s political independence in 1960, the country has not had the opportunity of being governed by a willing and ready leader but those that can at best be described as “accidental leaders”. These are leaders whom the mantle of leadership fell on them by default not minding their capacity, experience and in most cases, they were neither prepared nor expectant of such huge responsibility. This has been one of the reasons for the country’s failures resulting from visionless policies. Thus, the 2015 election offers Nigerians a good opportunity to vote wisely for a leader who out of personal conviction and preparedness is offering his or herself to serve rather than someone who will get there before beginning to plan. This underscores the fact that most of our developmental challenges are rooted in lack of sound, visionary and result-oriented leadership.

 

The issue of leadership accounts for the problem of Nigeria since independence more than all other speculative and assumed problems often adduced by scholars. Most Nigerian leaders have shown lack of commitment for true nationhood and allowed personal ambitions and ethnic, regional as well as religious persuasions to override national considerations. As Chimee (2009) noted, the three major strands that account for leadership failure in Nigeria are lack of ideology; ethnicity; and corruption. In all the activities of the country’s political elites in leadership positions, the three variables played considerable role.

 

Nigeria, today, runs a democratic system of government that is expected to promote democratic values of public accountability; transparency; good conscience; fiscal discipline; due process; amongst others. However, there is lack of credible leadership to enforce these characteristics of democracy and good governance. This is the tragedy of the Nigerian nation, which explains its crawling posture at 55 years of political independence.

Corruption: Another serious challenge to democracy and good governance in Nigeria is the entrenched corruption in all facets of national life. According to Joseph (2001) cited in Osimiri (2009), corruption has resulted in catastrophic governance in Nigeria. In view of the deleterious effect of endemic corruption on governance, various governments in the country have embarked on anti-corruption campaigns. For instance, the Obasanjo administration established the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFFC) to champion the war against corruption. As Osimiri(2009) noted, the Commission gained such level of notoriety in the country that it is often said that the fear of EFFC is the beginning of wisdom.

Thus, an over view of democracy and good governance in Nigeria with regards to transparency, inclusiveness, and the fight against corruption tend to paint a faint picture of some improvement but the records have much to be desired. While the EFCC, especially, under the Obasanjo administration received much commendation from within and outside Nigeria, it has been selective in focus and alleged to have been occasionally used as an instrument of silencing political opponents.

 

Electoral system: It has been pointed out that in the political arena, even though elections are gradually becoming part of the political culture in Nigeria, they are typically manipulated and hijacked by “money bags” and incumbents, who deploy all state’s apparatus of power and resources to ensure their re-election. Thus, elections in Nigeria are largely nothing but a charade to perpetuate the reign of the perfidious. Free and fair elections confer legitimacy on the electoral process. The wide spread electoral malpractices, which often characterize elections in Nigeria are inimical to the consolidation of democracy and good governance. In 2011, the outcome of the general elections in Nigeria was followed by the eruption of violence and wanton destruction of lives and property for alleged election fraud. If people are to have faith in democracy, the most cardinal point is that they must be assured that their  votes count in determining who will govern; and in getting rid of a government that has failed them.

Rise of Insurgency: Boko Haram has become a disaster of un-imaginable proportion. The terrorist activities of the group has retarded socio-economic and political development of the country, especially in the north eastern region, hence it poses a major challenge to democracy and good governance. Since insurgency is inimical to democracy and good governance, the only way to remedy the situation is to fight it to a stand-still. Thus, mustering the political will to pursue a full frontal attack on Boko Haram is no longer an option, it is the most desirable course of action. Many Nigerians are unable to come to terms with, why a so-called Africa’s best army has been unable to bring to an end this horrendous situation. However, the military approach must be backed by a political solution, which will address the challenges of poverty and underdevelopment of northern Nigeria.

Impunity: This is a threat to democracy, which is not measured by the existence of democratic structures but by the promotion of rule of law. Thus, in Nigeria’s quest for democracy and good governance, the impunity clause must be expunged from the constitution, in order to domesticate the equality of every Nigerian before the law.

These challenges are antithetical to the achievement of democratic culture and good governance. They are no doubt, immense and daunting but not insurmountable, once there is the political will to resolve and overcome them for the enthronement of democracy and good governance in the country.

Theoretical Framework/Conceptual Framework

A theory is an objective proposition consisting of a logically coherent statement(s) that serves as a guide for understanding of a phenomenon. According to Kerlinger (1973) a theory is a set of interrelated constructs (concepts), definitions, and propositions that present a systematic view of phenomena by specifying relations among variables, with the purpose of explaining and predicting the phenomena. Viewing the system’s theory from these perspectives one could say that attempt was made by Dunlop to provide a coherent body of statements that aims not only at explaining certain crucial variables in industrial relations and also predicting them.

The Proponent system theory of good governance are Karl Ludwig von Bertalanffy, Kenneth E. Boulding, William Ross Ashby and Anatol Rapoport which are the cofounder of system theory of good governance.

Systems theory or systems science is the interdisciplinary study of systems. A system is an entity with interrelated and interdependent parts; it is defined by its boundaries and it is more than the sum of its parts (subsystem). Change in one part of the system affects other parts and the whole system, with predictable patterns of behavior. Positive growth and adaptation of a system depend upon how well the system is adjusted with its environment, and systems often exist to accomplish a common purpose. The goal of systems science is systematically discovering a system’s dynamics, constraints, conditions and elucidating principles (purpose, measure, methods, tools, etc.) that can be discerned and applied to systems at every level of nesting, and in every field for achieving optimized equifinality.[citation needed]

Systems theory is about broadly applicable concepts and principles, as opposed to concepts and principles applicable to one domain of knowledge. It distinguished dynamic or active systems and static or passive systems. Active systems are activity structures or components that interact in behaviours and processes. Passive systems are structures and components that are being processed. E.g. A program is passive when it is a disc file and active when it runs in the ram memory. The field is related to systems thinking and systems engineering.

The weaknesses are that assessing outcomes is difficult, decision making process is not rational and difficulty when small tasks need to be identified. The strengths are that the group can accomplish the final goal and focuses on group identity.

There are weaknesses associated with systems theory.

  1. Systems theory tends to favor stability over change, so innovation is often characterized as a system anomaly rather than a normal part of group work.
  2. The emphasis on harmony in systems theory means that conflict must be presented as abnormal and destructive.
  3. Systems theory generally ignores issues of power and status that influence small group decision making, particularly when groups are embedded in larger organizations.
  4. So, while systems theory encourages us to examine the ways in which group members and groups are interrelated, it ignores other aspects of small group communication that are equally as important

Strengths of system theory

The strengths of the systems theory are that it enables the study of interrelations among themselves. Another important strength of the systems theory is that it defines the system in relationship with the environment. In this way the organization is compelled to explore its relationship with the environment. Another advantage of the systems theory is that it focuses the attention of the organization on its goals and the manner in which these goals will be achieved. Also, the systems theory has the advantage of clarifying the inputs and outputs into the organization(2). The systems theory compels the organization to think of itself as an open system. Further, the transformation of the inputs into the outputs is obtained. An important strength of the systems theory is that it focuses on .

 

A systems theory of Good Governance

The advent of network society – or control society (Deleuze 1995) – poses a challenge to critical theory and practice insofar as it suggests an appropriation of democratic vocabulary and the critical imaginary by a new managerial paradigm of ‘good governance’, hailing empowerment, individual freedom, creativity and self-governance framed by the democratic vocabulary of participation, transparency and accountability. Good governance relies instruments of governance that nurtures and strategically utilizes the self-governing potential of civil society under the strategic supervision of public authorities, seen in such diverse areas as employment policy, police power and crime prevention, health policy and biopolitics, employment policy, educational policy, accounting practices etc. (Bang and Esmark, 2009).

The theory first maps out this strategy of good governance the main implications for public governance policy and organization. Secondly, the paper discusses the main tenets of governance research, in particular the critical responses to good governance based on deliberative and radical democracy. Based on this reading, the paper suggests two theoretical adjustments to the analysis of governance. First, we suggest a reintroduction of macro-sociology and a revised analysis of the political system and current modes of governance. Secondly, we suggest an alternative analysis of the relation between power and freedom involved in good governance.

The strategy of good governance

To avoid initial confusion: the notion of good governance does not refer to a scientific theory of governance or governance as a research program. Good governance refers to an  empirically observable politico-administrative way of making public policy-making, reforming and organizing. There are countless applications of the concept of governance, as has been noted by several observers (Rhodes, Jessop), leading others to question the theoretical value of the concept (Sabatier xxx,). Moreover, the many applications of the governance concept oscillate between scientific and practical applications, between research programs and policies, between observation and the object of observation itself (Jessop 2012, Meuleman 2008). Indeed, governance theory is often part and parcel of the strategy of good governance rather than an external observation.

Against this background, our starting point is a firm commitment to the study of good governance as an empirical phenomenon rather than to governance studies as a research tradition. Indeed, it is one of the central claims of the book that the empirical implications of good governance cannot be fully grasped by remaining with the meso-level type of theory to which most governance research belongs. Clearly governance research provides an important source of debate, to which we shall return, but our application of the governance concept involves no initial concern for governance as a research program, be it in terms of the theoretical ‘coherence’ of the concept of governance itself (Hughes 2012) or the development of a conventional ‘parsimonious’ research program around this concept (Frederickson et al. 2012).

Providing some empirical parameters to good governance may still prove enough of a challenge, given that we are dealing with a complex or even heterogeneous phenomenon, which can be observed in and across a variety of different dimensions, levels, territories, institutions and policies. Setting aside for now its many local variations, however, the overall strategy of good governance can be seen as a set of guidelines for politico-administrative practice in three relatively distinct ways. First and foremost, it is a particular thinking about how to govern, or simply how to conduct public governance. But it also a political agenda, i.e. a particular set or even hierarchy of policy issues as well as a way of framing these issues. Finally, good governance involves particular stances and notions about the organizational reform of the public sector. As such, good governance covers three basic politico-administrative domains: public governance, policy and organization.

Good governance as self-governance

The preoccupation with ‘governance’ indicates a particular concern with the problem of steering. In theory as well as practice, the underlying point of the governance perspective is to relocate politics and administration from the problem of the state to the problem of steering, or, put differently, to reframe the state as one particular construct that can be utilized within the more general ‘problematics of government’ (Rose & Miller, 1992). This general problematic of government is essentially instrumental and practical; it is concerned with how to govern, or, if we are to do away with the remaining state connotations of government: how to steer. Correspondingly, good governance is technical (or technocratic, in the proper sense of the word) before anything else: it is concerned with the ‘humble and mundane mechanisms by which authorities seek to instantiate government’ (Rose & Miller, 1992: 183). The end result of good governance is specific techniques of government, and its main ambition is continuous innovation and refinement of these techniques.

Correspondingly, one very basic way to circumscribe good governance is in terms of the techniques that it deploys. These techniques include, for example Total Quality Management (TQM) such as the ‘Common Assessment Framework’ (CAF) developed specifically for the administrations of EU member states (REF), taximeter management or other forms of funding by units of production, self-development plans for job-seekers, public campaigns, competitive bidding, benchmarking, peer-review, management by contracts, inspection etc. We do not purport to present a full list of the techniques relevant to good governance at this point, but merely to provide an indication of what we are looking for at this level of analysis. Techniques can be more or less complex and more or less specific in terms of policy focus, ranging for example from simple guidelines for risk assessment in relation to alcohol consumption to budgetary mechanism covering the entire administration of a given political system. The techniques of good governance all aim, however, to establish a framework for self-governance. The techniques of good governance are deeply ambiguous: on the one hand, they presuppose and in moist cases also aim to strengthen the self-governening capacity of organizations and/or individuals, but on they other hand they approach this self-governing capacity as a resource of government; as something that will increase the effectiveness of government if provided with proper guidance and direction.

The heterogeneous array of good governance techniques does not form a consistent field of intervention in itself, but rather a domain of circulating instruments and mechanisms that can be deployed in relation to specific problems and imagined solutions. This takes place through what has been called ‘translation’ between techniques and programs (Rose & Miller, 1992, Power XXXX). Programs are identification of particular problems in the conventional sense of a reality failing to live up to a desired state of affairs. We can also talk of strategies: identification of problems and possible solutions leads to specification of means and ends; of certain goals and ways to achieve these. Although programs and strategies can sometimes be fairly abstract and inter-textual, they are often also very straightforward to locate: we find them laid out rather clearly in the reports, white papers, proposals and position papers of ministries, agencies and organizations, as well as in certain types of legislative acts. Good governance strategies are diverse, but they share a common language of problematization, including possible solutions. On this level then, good governance amounts to a strategy of mobilization. This strategy involves, on the one hand, a call for flexible integration of various forms of knowledge, expertise and resources to tackle complex or ‘wicked’ problems and provide sufficient innovation and ownership of solutions, and, on the other hand, an appropriation of democratic vocabulary in terms of inclusion, accountability and participation.

Techniques and programs do not exist in a vacuum. They are constituted in relation to specific rationalities. In most formulations, rationalities are treated as being largely akin to discourses or paradigms (Rose & Miller, 1992..). Taking this approach in a slightly more functionalist direction, we can distinguish between two aspects of the issue of rationality. At the most basic level, the rationalities are determined by particular symbolically generalized mediums of communication such as political power, money, law, love, truth, news value etc. (REF). Such mediums define a specific rationality in the very simplest sense: through binary oppositions such government/opposition, employer/worker, true/false etc. Mediums and their codes ‘isolate’ certain communicative domains, also known as function systems – the political, economy, science, family etc. – within which a number of preconditions and motives can be taken as given. In this respect, the question of rationality is a question of orientation towards mediums and their respective systems. But the question of rationality also refers to the more specific semantic configurations that have developed in relation to the symbolically generalized mediums and their codes. It is on this level that we can talk of various ‘political rationalities’ in terms of semantics of welfare, justice, freedom etc.

It is of course tempting to think of good governance as a particular kind of political rationality in this sense. This would finally provide some coherence to a phenomenon that has so far appeared as rather heterogeneous on the levels of techniques and strategies. But the empirical reality of good governance, unfortunately, is not coherent on the level of rationality either. For one, good governance is not restricted to the political domain in the narrow sense. Although we focus good governance as politico-administrative strategy, i.e. as a question of public governance, the majority of its instruments and techniques are an emulation of business, science, family etc. and their various rationalities. Second, although there are clearly semantics of good governance centered around concepts such as ‘competition’, ‘performance’, ‘quality’ and ‘innovation’, this semantic complex is neither coherent in itself, nor is it necessarily comprehensive in relation to good governance on the levels of strategy and techniques. Attractive as the idea may seem, strategies and techniques do not converge towards a common reference point on the level of rationalities. And vice versa: we cannot think of the strategies as being simply derived from rationalities and of techniques as the implementation of strategies. Rather, good governance emerges only as the partial coupling of certain techniques, strategies and rationalities.

The political agenda of good governance

Good governance also involves a political agenda. Traditionally, a political agenda denotes a set of policies (labor market, immigration, environment etc) and political issues (unemployment, pollution, traffic etc.) presented as a rather straightforward list so as to communicate a clear hierarchy of priorities and interventions. The archetypical examples of such agendas are party programs and election campaigns. Although party programs and campaigns can certainly express ideas related to good governance, the framework of national elections and party systems has never been the most important institutional framework for good governance. By the same token, good governance does not involve a specific ideological attachment. The argument has been made that good governance is simply a form of neo-liberalism or a form of ‘advanced liberalism’. However, good governance conforms neither to the ideology of wider ‘rationality’ of liberalism in terms its agenda. The political agenda of good governance has been developed and maintained primarily by national and international technocrats, administrations and ‘knowledge’ institutions.

Before turning to the substance of the policy issues on the agenda of good governance, a remark on the form of these problems is needed. An absolutely crucial part of good governance is its interpretation of policy problems as wicked problems. The term wicked is widely applied, but clearly not in a consistent manner. It does, however, involve one or more of the following properties. For one, wickedness refers to the transgressing nature of most current policy problems. Policy problems are typically not limited to a specific functional domain and its corresponding policy area (education, health etc.) and neither is it limited to a particular level of governance (global, regional, national or local). Policy problems – and any attempt to solve them – have effects across a number of dimensions and levels. Secondly, wickedness refers to the complexity of policy problems. The full set of causes of a problem is hard to come by and the computational power needed to sort out their dependencies far from given. Third, wickedness refers to the mounting risks involved in policy making. Policy decisions are increasingly made in a horizon of ‘global risks’ where unintended and potentially irreversible consequences are always lurking, placing policy making in a perpetual state of risk management. Consequently and finally, solutions to wicked problems are necessary responses to actual or potential crises and dangers. The challenge is not to reach political compromises between interests and identities, but to conduct prudent risk management. The list of wicked problems is open-ended and changing, but we can none the less point to three areas of particular importance to good governance: the development of a public administration policy, strengthening competition and maintenance of security.

Public administration policy is the simple act of making the entire administration of a political system the object of policy formulation. Simple as this is, it clearly involves a particular kind of policy that is ‘internal’ compared to the various objects of regulation outside of the political system. For the same reason, public administration policy is by definition cross-sectoral or even ‘reflexive’ in relation to conventional regulatory or distributive policies, pertaining to the premises of the latter regardless of their functional specification. As such, public administration policy is clearly not a policy in the conventional sense of an institutionalized sector largely corresponding to a specified area or sub-area in the portfolio of particular ministries, departments and directorates of a political system. Although specific agencies or institutions charged with strengthening and developing the public administration can be found everywhere, public administration policy is institutionalized much less consistently than the standardized list of ‘ministerial policies’ found in most political systems.

Of course, no political system has ever come into existence without constitutional discussions, more or less openly, about basic polity design and the role of the public administration within this framework. Turning public administration into policy, however, departs decisively from this constitutional approach. The purpose of public administration policy is not constitutional reform or rethinking basic polity principles. Neither does it have much to do with the conventional discussions about the degree of compliance with Weberian ideal types. In general, public administration takes over where constitutional issues stop. Public administration policy takes the constitutional framework as given and works at the level of budgeting techniques, management philosophy, training and education, wage negotiations and salaries, citizen involvement, project organization etc.

As such, public administration policy is a rather recent invention. Historically, the different objects of public administration policy have not emerged and developed as the result of a common strategic policy framework. For the better part of their life, budgeting techniques have been the result of a mix between technological innovation, political needs and institutional path-dependency. The preoccupation with continuous training and qualification of public servants is a much later addition, prompted by the inclusion of education as key aspect of labor market negotiations in the public and private sector etc. But irrespective of their diverse histories, these different domains become increasingly linked during the 1980’s and coalesce into a common policy framework concerned with their mutual interdependence as dimensions of a common strategy for the development of the public sector. The is of course dependent on regional, national and local circumstances, but none the less the timing is remarkably alike between a significant number of countries, settings and organizations.

An important part of this development is New Public Management (NPM). In many ways, NPM has been conducive for the formation of public administration policy. However, public administration policy cannot be reduced to NPM as the emergence of public administration policy was well under way before NPM, and public administration policy will clearly also outlive NPM. As established by the various landmark definitions, NPM remains a specific market-based approach to public administration, setting aside for now the issue of how to disaggregate this approach into various components (Pollit, Hood, Dunleavy). The degree to which NPM constitutes a coherent paradigm and whether it has been more or less consistently implemented in various countries, which has been the main themes of the NPM debate, are of course valuable questions, but from our perspective the importance of NPM lies first and foremost in the way it has contributed to the routinization of reflection about otherwise disparate elements of public administration within a common policy framework. Put differently, NPM has provided a reference point that has helped bring about a fully fledged public administration policy.

In contrast to the internal focus of public administration policy, structural competition policy is directed towards objects of regulation outside the political system in a more conventional fashion, but it also lacks the contours of a distinct sector or ministerial policy. Structural competition policy is decidedly cross-sectoral, tying together established policies – or rather certain areas of these policies – the most important of which are enterprise, labor market, education, science, innovation and to some extent macro-economics and tax policy. Structural competition policy functions as a meta-policy that establish interdependencies between certain policy areas according to a common framework of interpretation. What is particular about structural competition policy is not that it establishes a new object of

 

 

 

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Aremu, I. (2014), “Presidential Candidates: What constitution says” Daily Trust, November 3rd.

 

Bayoko, O. O. (2004), Universal Democracy (Holocracy): The Rule by All Parties, Ibadan, Spectrum Books Ltd.

Brautingam, S. P. (1991), Governance and Economy: Review of Concepts and Perspectives on Nigeria’s Political Economy, Ibadan, University Press.

Chafe, K. S. (1994), “The Problematic of African Democracy: Experiences from the Political Transition in Nigeria” in AfrikZamani Special Issue on Historical Heritage and Democratization in Africa, New Series, No. 2 July.

 

Chimee, I. N. (2009), “Ideological Flux, Ethnicity and Corruption: Correlates in Explaining Leadership Failure of Nigeria’s Founding Fathers” in Edoh, T. etal (eds.) Opcit.

Cohen, C. (1971), Democracy Athens, University of Gorgia Press Democracy Report 2001, Publication of Civil Society Pro-Democracy Network.

Elaigwu, J. I. (2011), Topical Issues in Nigeria’s Political Development, Jos, AHA Publishing House

 

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