The Extent Of Public Interest As A Determining Factor Of Policymakers’ Performance And Action In Nigeria (A Case Study Of Rivers State)

Project and Seminar Material for Political Science

The Extent Of Public Interest As A Determining Factor Of Policymakers’ Performance And Action In Nigeria (A Case Study Of Rivers State)


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background Of The Study

At any level of government, policy making is the most important tool for development. The government lays out its plans and programs for the people through policymaking. Every government exists to serve the interests and desires of its citizens. However, Nigeria’s progress has stalled, owing to the people’s lack of participation in government policymaking during the country’s years under military control. The government’s military believed it had all the answers to the nation’s challenges. Expectedly, more than three decades of military control resulted in years of disconnected planning and development because the people who would benefit from these efforts were not fully engaged in the process. The outcome is evident for all to see: a swelling unemployment population, deterioration of existing infrastructure, a decline in school enrolment and a rise in school dropouts, power outages, housing crises, and inadequate health-care delivery, to name a few. The return to civil government in 1999 sparked hopes of reversing the polity’s socioeconomic and political collapse. Despite various reform measures implemented during the period under review, there has been no qualitative change in people’s standard of living. People’s situations have deteriorated in many circumstances. Policy making is still the most effective way to change things for the better. However, if interest groups are recognised and pushed as primary actors in policymaking and national development, they can bring about the necessary adjustments. In advanced democracies, for example, interest groups are actively sought after by political institutions and leaders who see their proximity to the electorate as a means of better understanding their needs, improving the quality of public policies, and ultimately achieving sustainable development goals. The proliferation of interest groups in various fields in the run-up to and following the inauguration of Nigeria’s Fourth Republic could have a positive impact on the people’s well-being and welfare. However, in the policy process, both exogenous and endogenous elements combine to vitiate the impact of interest groups’ actions on policy making and national development. Is it possible for interest groups to bring about a much-needed change in the country’s current level of development? Perhaps the best way to answer this question is to examine all of the concerns it raises.


1.2 Statement Of The Problem

Over time, policy making has been a major tool in the hands of governments for achieving social welfare and well-being for the people they are supposed to serve. This could explain why the subject has gotten so much academic attention. However, there have been differing interpretations of what the idea entails. Some argue that public policy is defined as “the connection of a governmental unit to its surroundings” (Sharma, Sadana and Kaur, 2012). This is a broad description of the notion, since it makes many academics wonder what it really means. Another interpretation argues it could relate to “…anything governments choose to do or not do” (Sharma, Sadana and Kaur, 2012). According to Henry (2005), public policy is “a course of action adopted and pursued by the government.” This viewpoint does not reveal the conceptual underpinnings of the government’s policy. Pfiffner asserts that policy making is the determination, expression, and crystallization of the community’s will in this perspective (in Adebayo, 1979). The provision of water, housing, education, and security, among other things, could be part of people’s wishes or expectations. People’s participation in the policymaking process is critical to government programs’ acceptance and success (Laxmikanth, 2011).

The behavior of interest groups in politics, on the other hand, contradicts the assumption of their function in a democratic society. According to the disparity between what governments propose as policies and programs and their effects on people’s welfare and well-being, public policy formation and execution in the context of interest group activities has not truly benefited or encouraged sustainable national development. Poverty has risen, unemployment has increased, many children are dropping out of school, infrastructure gaps exist, and instances of insecurity are on the rise.


1.3 Objective Of The Study

  1. To determine if public interest impacts the performance of policymakers in Nigeria.
  2. To determine if the public interest impacts the actions of policymakers in Nigeria.
  3. To determine the impact of policymakers on the wellbeing of the citizens of Nigeria.

1.4 Research Questions

  1. Does public interest impact the performance of policymakers?
  2. Does the public interest impact the actions of policymakers?
  3. How have policymakers influenced Nigerian citizens’ well-being?

1.5 Significance Of The Study

The goal of this study is to educate, inform, sensitize, and enlighten the general public, government officials, and policymakers about the importance of public interest as a determining factor in policymakers’ performance and action in Nigeria. Policymakers and interest groups have an important role in addressing inequities. This study will be highly valuable to other researchers who are interested in learning more about this topic, and it can also be used by non-researchers to supplement their own work. This study adds to the corpus of knowledge and may serve as a model for future studies.


1.6 Scope Of The Study

The scope of the study was limited to The Extent Of Public Interest As A Determining Factor Of Policymakers’ Performance And Action In Nigeria, with Andoni LGA Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria as a case study.


1.7 Limitation Of Study

Due to a shortage of money and time, the researcher’s ability to locate relevant materials, books, or information was limited.


1.8 Definition Of Terms

Public Interest:

The public interest is “the welfare or well-being of the general public” and society.

Policymakers:

A member of a government department, legislature, or other organization who is responsible for making new rules, laws, etc.


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