Patron-Client Politics And National Development In Nigeria
The research intends to investigate patron-client politics and its effect on national development in Nigeria. The research design implored for this study is Descriptive survey design. A total of 73 respondents were interviewed and a simple random sampling method was used to select target respondents from the population. The researcher uses qualitative prescriptive analysis in which the researcher analyzes, interprets, or discusses the topic based on relevant previous researches conducted. The forgoing discussion and analysis reveals that Nigerians are further learning, acquiring and increasingly developing the prebendal orientation, attitude and dispositions to the detriment of the overall sustainable democratization, national growth and development process.
1.1 Background of the Study
Richard A. Joseph… is usually credited with first using the term prebendalism to describe patron-client or neopatrimonialism in Nigeria. Since then the term has commonly been used in scholarly literature and textbooks. The Catholic Encyclopedia defines a prebend as the “right of member of chapter to his share in the revenues of a cathedral.” Joseph used the term to describe the sense of entitlement that many people in Nigeria feel they have to the revenues of the Nigerian state. Elected officials, government workers, and members of the ethnic and religious groups to which they belong feel they have a right to a share of government revenues Joseph wrote: “According to the theory of prebendalism, state offices are regarded as prebends that can be appropriated by officeholders, who use them to generate material benefits for themselves and their constituents and kin groups…” As a result of that kind of patron-client or identity politics, Nigeria has regularly been one of the lowest ranked nations for political transparency by Transparency International in its Corruption Perceptions.
As Oluwafemi stated: many Nigerians may not know the term, but they know the practices and attitudes to which it refers.To understand prebendalism, it is necessary to grasp what is a prebend. The dividing line is when the office holder is able to appropriate the office, that is, convert it into his or her piece of the state. In contemporary Nigeria, and other peripheral capitalist countries, there is a short time-horizon in which resources accruing to the office can be diverted for personal and related uses, or for the capital accumulation which it facilitates. “The prebendalization of the patrimonial state”, in the Wikipedia excerpt, is therefore an apt formulation. Prebendalism is not necessarily Nigerian. It is entrenched and a pervasive nature in a country; and how prebendal attitudes were woven into what Ken Post and Michael Vickers had earlier described as a “conglomerate society”, i.e., a nation composed of cultural sections defined by ethnicity, language, region and cultural practices. Patron-client mechanisms were fundamental features of a dynamic system that linked the appropriation of state offices in Nigeria to the material and welfare of thepeople.A key consideration is what happens to the state itself. A prebendalized system, however, is inherently unstable. Aspirations to build a capable state, a democratic system, and a coherent nation are ultimately foiled by prebendal practices.
1.2 Statement of Problem
Segun Ayobolu (2011) provided occupants of public office at all levels in the second republic felt that their positions entitled them to unbridled access to public resources with which they not only satisfied their own material needs but also serviced the needs or wants of subaltern clients… This kind of criminal diversion of public resources for selfish private ends starved the polity of funds for development, increased poverty and inequality, and intensified an unhealthy rivalry and competition for public office that triggered pervasive instability. The crippling consequences of dysfunctional governance are experienced in all areas of life in Nigeria. There is a fundamental contradiction between patron client and the provision of efficient public services. The research intends to investigate patron- client politics and national development in Nigeria.
1.3 Research Question
- What is the nature of patron client politics?
- What constitute national development?
1.4 Objective of the Study
- To appraise the nature of patron client politics in Nigeria
- To appraise national development
- To determine the effect of patron client politics on national development
1.5 Significance of the Study
The study shall project the effect of patron client politics on the nations development With a view to determining measures to reverse the trend in the interest of channeling public Resources to national development.
1.6 Statement of Hypothesis
- H0 The level of national development in Nigeria is low
H1 The level of national development in Nigeria is high
- H0 The level of patron client politics in Nigeria is low
H1 The level of patron client politics in Nigeria is high
- H0 The effect of patron client politics on national development in Nigeria is low
H1 The effect of patron client politics on national development in Nigeria is high
1.7 Scope of the Study
The study is focused on the appraisal of patron client politics and its effect on national development. It analyzes the nature of patron client politics and profers measures to mitigate and reverse the trend so as to enhance the chanelling of economic resources to national development.
1.8 Definition of Terms
Patron Client Politics
Richard A. Joseph… is usually credited with first using the term prebendalism to describe patron-client or neopatrimonialism in Nigeria. Since then the term has commonly been used in scholarly literature and textbooks. The Catholic Encyclopedia defines a prebend as the “right of member of chapter to his share in the revenues of a cathedral.” Joseph used the term to describe the sense of entitlement that many people in Nigeria feel they have to the revenues of the Nigerian state. Elected officials, government workers, and members of the ethnic and religious groups to which they belong feel they have a right to a share of government revenues Joseph wrote: “According to the theory of prebendalism, state offices are regarded as prebends that can be appropriated by officeholders, who use them to generate material benefits for themselves and their constituents and kin groups…” As a result of that kind of patron-client or identity politics, Nigeria has regularly been one of the lowest ranked nations for political transparency by Transparency International in its Corruption Perceptions
ROGER (1976) describe development as the type of social change in which new ideas are introduce within a social system to produce higher capital incomes and levels of living through more production, Method and improved social organization.
Recommendations and Recommendations
Effective, sustainable and proper democratic practice and national development would be difficult to achieve if the rampant and deep rooted prebendal practice in Nigeria is not adequately addressed and controlled. Realizing this control effectively entails the following:
One, that there comes into existence the right political leaderships at the various tiers of government in Nigeria with the requisite political will to bring about appropriate and sustainable reform measures to deal dispassionately and decisively with patron-client politics in Nigeria.
Two, that there becomes a change in the mind set of Nigerian political office holders from patron-client politics to the altruistic and ideal practice of using public offices to serve the people. By this, they should show willingness to and actually sacrifice personal selfish interests for the good of the majority of the citizens. In this case, the culture of seeing political offices as prebends need to be systematically discouraged and discarded. This could be achieved through effective political socialization by designated government agencies like National Orientation Agency or Ministry of Information. Through this, the right attitude and orientation towards political official positions could be cultivated among the Nigerian people. Indeed, such orientation could alter, in a positive manner, the average Nigerian’s perception of public office and politics.
Three, curbing prebendal tendencies in Nigeria entails, very importantly, on the part of government, a continuous vigilance over the kind of political culture that the nation is developing and over the processes, both manifest and latent, of political socialization. In essence, Nigerian government need to create and preserve the growth of public sentiments and values that are consistent with representative democracy and that would encourage good governance. This becomes very necessary as political culture is the corner stone of political development.
Four, there is the need for enforcement of the principle of checks and balances. Checks and balances emphasis one arm of government being a watch dog over the other arm, each having been assigned its specific functions according to the principles of separation of powers. Ofcourse, the existence of institutional checks and balances moderates the desire and actual use of public office for selfish personal or group interest. Indeed, adherence to the principle is necessary as power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Five and finally, Nigeria needs leaderships at the federal, state and local government tiers with apparent character of selflessness, discipline, honesty, personal sacrifice and exemplary public and even private lives. This is necessary as such leaderships would be less inclined to towards seeing and using public offices as prebends
The forgoing discussion and analysis reveals that Nigeria’s development process and the practice of ideal democracy, over the years, has been greatly circumscribed and profoundly constrained by patron-client politics. Indeed, the institutions and offices of the state are not being significantly used to advance the interest and well-being of the greater majority of Nigerians. Rather, they are increasingly being utilized and manipulated for personal and other primordial interests and gains. The implication of this is that it will be difficult to attain any meaningful economic and socio-political development in Nigeria as long as patron-client politics remains pandemic and unchecked.
The prebendal culture and practice that has been identified to be central to the problems of socioeconomic and democratic underdevelopment in Nigeria is being perpetuated through political socialization. In this case, Nigerians are further learning, acquiring and increasingly developing the prebendal orientation, attitude and dispositions to the detriment of the overall sustainable democratization, national growth and development process.
Controlling the prebendal practice, entails a determined and systematic efforts involving, cardinally, socializing Nigerians into understanding and seeing public offices and their occupation as an opportunity to render selfless, honest and transparent services for the advancement of the nations welfare and development. This needs to be if proper democratic practice and meaningful national development is to be realized in Nigeria. Indeed, the more Nigeria continues to pay lip service to the control of patron-client politics, the more it flourishes to the detriment of proper democratic practice and national development.
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