Formulation And Implementation Of Government Policies
Concisely, the emphasis of this research project is on the formulation and implementation of Governmental policies: A case study of Udenwa’s Tripod Vision. This is in connection to the fact that policy formulation and implementation is important in any administration.
Much emphasis were laid on how policies and programmes of government are formulated and implemented in Nigeria, Governor Achike Udenwa’s Tripod vision was also used as a case study. This research work also revealed the various method through which data for this work was sourced for and it also gave analysis of the various data collected.
Finally, some suggestion was put forward by the writer which if put into practice will improve the process of policy formulation and it will also assist the government in achieving desired result in formulated policies.
1.1 Background to the Study
The increasing role and impact of public administration in the lives of people in modern time has engineered much concern about how public policies are made and implemented. This work tries to look at the process of formulation and implementation of governmental policies.
It is important to note that for any management system or government to effectively carry out the task of achieving its objective, that management system must arm it self with the tool of effective policy formulation and implementation to enable it adjust to the environmental changes or react to the demands of the environment. Policy formulation and implementation like decision making requires careful thinking and planning. It is essential therefore that policies be designed and implemented to suit particular situation to which they are to be applied to.
The tripod vision of Udenwa, which was in the area of Agriculture industrialization and re-orientation no doubt was an attempt by the former governor of Imo State to resolve the protracted crises in the Nigerian economy. The tripod vision was designed to address the latest challenges facing the entire people of Imo State especially the most vulnerable groups, the down trodden and the poor in the rural communities.
It is a strategy which goals are the identification, planning and implementation of programmes and projects aimed at poverty reduction and sustainable human development. The tripod vision was a participatory and all embracing movement towards the realization of the full potentials of the people of Imo State through public private partnership relationships.
Before the adoption of National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS) as an economic development strategy in Nigeria in September 2003, the government has put in place in Imo State the Tripod Vision whose objectives were in the area of Agriculture, industrialization and Re-orientation. The birth of NEEDS reform agenda and SEEDS subsequently became more of the amplification of the objective of the tripod vision which provided a soft landing for SEEDS in the state.
The development agenda of the people of Imo State was articulated under the leadership of the government of Chief Dr. Archike Udenwa within a 2015 visionary horizon defined by the Imo Tripod Vision seed of economic social and political emancipation.
The development of this framework had its origin at the inception of the first tenure of the administration in 1999. The fruit of this effort was the first and second Imo Economic Summits held in 2000 and 2002 respectively. There were also several studies and other consultation aimed at identification and highlighting the development challenges facing the state. These initiative culminated into the launching of the Tripod vision of the administration.
The Tripod vision was a medium term agenda for realising the enormous potential of the state, under the direction of a people oriented Tripod Vision and guided by a mission of balanced economic development and poverty reduction. It’s major thrust is the full and active constructive engagement of citizens in productive Agricultural and Industrial productive activities as well as value orientation.
1.2 Statement of Problem
The lack of adequate information and attention to the process of formulating and implementing public policies and programmes, has led to lack of impact or low level of impact of most programmes implemented within the country. This problem has been caused by many inadequacies existing in the process of policy formulation and implementation within the country.
First, the process of policy formulation has not been adequately consultative even with some key stakeholders Government officials and donor representatives have dominated the initiation of most public policies with the private sector playing no or a minimal role.
The low involvement of private sector and civil society in policy formulation was due to the long period of military rule in the country that created a culture of fear and passiveness in national policy issues. The creation of a more competitive political environment following the re-introduction of civilian rule and a multi party system is gradually changing the scene as civil society and lobby groups find more space to agitate for issues of interest to them.
Poor policy implementation has also been one of the major problems in the country’s policy process. One of the major reasons for this state of affair is lack of continuity, consistency and commitment to programme implementation by succeeding government. Where such programmes are continued, they are starved of sufficient financial resources and well trained manpower to guarantee success.
1.3 Objectives of Study
This study is an examination of the personality characteristics of making public policy in Nigeria and the focus is on the personality, idiosyncratic factors and the determination of the extent to function of individual styles and value of public policies in Nigeria.
It will also examine the process of policy implementation and will also reveal main obstacles to the effective implementation of public policies.
Finally, this work will unearth whether this programme vision (Agriculture, industrialization and re-orientation) did make any significant impact on the Nigerian economy. In this connection, the work will also look at the gains that has been recorded since the introduction of this vision of Udenwa administration.
1.4 Scope and Limitation
The scope covers the process of formulating and implementing government policies in Nigeria. Of particular concern to us will be on how the perceptions, values and leadership styles of public policy makers affects the process of public policy making.
For the purpose of streamlining, the scope of this work will specifically be on the key actors in public policy making process.
On the part of limitation, it is pertinent for the researcher to reveal certain problems encountered in the course of writing the project. First is the issue of time, the time frame given for the research work was not enough to adequately carry out an indept study due to tight schedules, academic programmes etc.
Next, it was certainly not easy for the researcher to get certain vital information from some personalities because some declined accepting questionnaires and some never returned questionnaires sent to them.
Finally, financial constraint was also a limitation encountered by the researcher. The researcher has to put up with travelling long distances in search of information and also the high cost of transportation.
1.5 Significance of the Study
This study will assist to bring to the fore, the complex and inter-locking power, influence and relationships that determines and shapes public policy making.
Through this study, appropriate strategies for dealing with the contemporary problems of Nigeria will be known. And also from the knowledge derived from this work, government will be able to pursue development goals that will enhance the living condition of the people.
On the other hand, it is expected that a comprehensive review of laws governing policy implementation and the technicalities involved, will bring ecological sustainability, equity and participation in addition to raising the standard of living of Nigerians.
This work will also be useful to policy makers, implementers, government and the general public etc.
Finally, by focusing our analysis on specific periods and individuals, it is expected that this work will expose the situation factors that influences and shapes the nation public policy making process.
1.6 Statements of Hypothesis
The following hypothesis shall be tested.
- The tripod vision of Udenwa was not fully actualized due to poor implementation.
- The tripod vision of Udenwa was fully implemented.
1.7 Definition of Terms
According to Ikelegbe, policy formulation is the development of relevant policy in relation to public problem and the proposition, consideration and enactment of the policy.
According to Robert and Edwards, policy is defined as a set of decisions taken by a political actor to a specified situation.
According to Okereke, policy implementation are those activities that are directed towards putting programmes to the necessary personnel, logistic support and funds, which will enhance the actualization of the policy objectives.
Summary, Recommendations and Conclusion
With the reorganization of the local government system, it became clear who the policy actors were at the local level. Thus rather than continuing as mere implementers of decided or adopted policies as was the case in the past, local governments became masters of their own programmes or policies and also in involving strategies for implementing these programmes.
With their newly found autonomy the focus now shifted to the political interplay amongst the various groups at the local government level. Thus the questions of who dominated the policy process and why were examined. The findings were that the political functionaries, especially the executives represented by the chairman, dominated the policy formulation process while the public servants, including the appointed ones, dominated the implementation stage.
However, as we noted of Uzenwa’s Tripod vision, which is our locale for this study, some other parallel agencies or institutions were set up to implement some adopted policies due to the inadequacies of the organizational structure of the institution as well as political exigencies such as the need to ensure that decided policies or programmes were effectuated by institutions favourably disposed towards the interest of the initiators and the need to spread political patronage to their supporters and benefactors. To further elucidate the reasons for the domination of the policy processes by the political functionaries and public servants certain basic reasons were adduced.
First, during that period of “executive-centeredness”, the chairmen were expected to give both legislative and executive leadership on policy issues and therefore they determined substantially the effectiveness of government at this level.
Second, the system at the time enabled the chairmen to dominate the policy formulation process. Unlike before where the chairman were heads of the executive councils as well as heads of the various legislative councils, the tendency was to look up to them for leadership. Hence in spite of the separation of powers which was intended to make them equal parties in respect of policy issues, the executive chairmen still dominated the process of policy formulation in their various local government areas.
Third, by virtue of the fact that chairmen as chief accounting officers in their various local government areas enabled them to control their own votes and those of the other groups. This made the primus inter pares at the local government level. Hence others have to subsume their own interest to that of the chairmen.
Fourth, although the public servants to a great extent influenced the final output of policies in the course of effectuation of adopted policies, the fact that they were after all responsible to the political functionaries, who were given power to hire and fire them, made them subordinate their interests to the wishes and intent of their political superior in order not to hamper their careers.
On the other hand, the public servant dominated the implementation stage of the policy process due to certain basic reasons.
First, the increasing complexity of policy problems demanded high degree of professionalism, knowledge, skill and experience to tackle. Since the public servants which dominated the agencies possessed these skills, knowledge and experience required, they invariably dominated the policy implementation process.
Second, the need for continuity also necessitated the domination of the implementation stage of the policy process by the public servants. While the political functionaries were constant victims of the political instability, the public servant had a more permanent tenure.
Third, political exigencies did not allow the political functionaries to effectively participate in the implementation of steeled policies or programmes. This made the public servants to dominate the implementation stage of the policy process.
Fourth, is the sophistication of the policy implementation tools. With the benefit of modern technology, implementation tools have become more sophisticated and only the public servants who by their highly specialized training and experience have acquired the needed dexterity in the application of these tools could use them effectively.
Fifth, due to the generally cow-level of educational background of those holding elective positions of the local government, the public servants with relatively superior and more relevant qualifications dominated the policy implementation stage.
Arising out of the findings or observations made in the analyses of the issues raised in this study the following recommendations are made.
- To achieve or realize the intent and goal of adopted policies at the local government level, the local government system should be structurally consistent with the other two levels of government so that
the tenures of the council chairmen be elongated and made stable to enable them full implementation of policies already adopted.
- The issue of qualification of those aspiring to elective positions at the local government level should be re-examined. Both the educational qualifications and age limit should be reviewed upward to prevent the present situation where dropouts and people barely coming out of adolescence with little or no experience dominates most of the councils and even the executive arm of the local government.
- The issue of votes control should also be re-examined. The situation where the executive chairman controlled both the executive and legislative votes would certainly negates the independence of the two arms of government and therefore defeats the concept and practice of separation of powers envisaged by the proponents of the system. As a way out after the votes of the two arms have been decided during budgetary allocation, they should be made to take control over their votes without necessarily making the legislative arm dependent on the executive for its functioning as this often made them subservient to the executive.
- The issue of the use of other agencies outside the organizational structure should re–examined in line with its necessity and expedience. Care should be taken to avoid a situation that will lead to duplication of functions and thereby causing conflict and bad blood between competing structures or agencies.
From the foregone analyses, it could be safely concluded that the system of government then at the local level signaled the establishment of the local government system as a distinct and third tier of government in the country with its clearly defined roles and functions.
Thus with the above empowerment local governments did not only become master of their own destinies, but were also expected to assume full responsibilities in matters and issues relating to how they govern and develop their areas of jurisdiction as the tier of government closest to the people at the grassroots.
Therefore, in consonance with our theoretical framework, that is the group theory, establishing an equilibrium among the interests of the various groups at this level of government became paramount. However, the imbalance observed in the power equation at this level could be traceable to some inherent factors in the system during this learning period which needed to be corrected for the evolution of a more stable and balance government at the level.
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