Political Elite And Development Crisis In Nigeria (A Case Study Of Southern Ijaw L G A Of Bayelsa State)

Project and Seminar Material for Political Science

Political Elite And Development Crisis In Nigeria (A Case Study Of Southern Ijaw L G A Of Bayelsa State)


Abstract


This study was carried out to examine political elite and development crisis in Nigeria (a case study of southern IJAW L G A OF Bayelsa State). Specifically, the study aimed to ascertain the factors associated with development problems in Nigeria, examine the role of Nigeria political elites in promoting national development, ascertain the effectiveness of political elites in combating development problems in the country and proffer proper solution for remedying development problems in Nigeria.The study employed the survey descriptive research design. A total of 259 responses were validated from the survey. From the responses obtained and analyzed, the findings revealed that the factors associated with development problems in Nigeria are inadequate infrastructure, tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade. obstacles to investment and lack of confidence in currency valuation. The study also revealed that the role of Nigeria political elites in promoting national development is to preserve power and privilege, elites have a disproportionate impact on development outcomes, they exercise a disproportionate influence on society despite their being minorities and they shape national discourse even in democracies. The study further revealed that political elites are effective in combating development problems in the country. Lastly, the revealed that the solution for remedying development problems in Nigeria is through establishing a strong foundation for a concentric diversified economy, investment in critical physical, financial, science and innovation infrastructure, building a solid framework and enhance capacities to strengthen security and reconstruction and development in various dimensions of a nation. The study thereby recommend that government should embark on development projects and programmes that are of priority to the people in the Muslim dominated region of the north as well as other parts of the country with the aim of winning over the locals who are easily recruited into terrorist (vanguard) groups. And the project should be such that generate meaningful employment for the vulnerable youths.


Table of Content


  • Title Page
  • Certification
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Table of Content
  • List of Tables
  • Abstract

Chapter One:

Introduction

  • 1.1 Background of the Study
  • 1.2 Statement of the Problem
  • 1.3 Objective of the Study
  • 1.4 Research Questions
  • 1.5 Research Hypothesis
  • 1.6 Significance of the Study
  • 1.7 Scope of the Study
  • 1.8 Limitation of the Study
  • 1.9 Definition of Terms
  • 1.10 Organisations of the Study

Chapter Two:

Review of Literature

  • 2.1 Conceptual Framework
  • 2.2 Theoretical Framework
  • 2.3 Empirical Review

Chapter Three:

Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Research Design
  • 3.2 Population of the Study
  • 3.3 Sample Size Determination
  • 3.4 Sample Size Selection Technique and Procedure
  • 3.5 Research Instrument and Administration
  • 3.6 Method of Data Collection
  • 3.7 Method of Data Analysis
  • 3.8 Validity of the Study
  • 3.9 Reliability of the Study
  • 3.10 Ethical Consideration

Chapter Four:

Data Presentation and Analysis

  • 4.1 Data Presentation
  • 4.2 Analysis of Data
  • 4.3 Answering Research Questions
  • 4.4 Test of Hypotheses

Chapter Five:

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

  • 5.1 Summary
  • 5.2 Conclusion
  • 5.3 Recommendation
  • References
  • APPENDIX
  • QUESTIONNAIRE

Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background to the Study

At the moment, the most significant challenge that Nigeria and Africa as a whole are dealing with is one related to their lack of development. This is due to the fact that the nation has not been able to fully exploit its resources, despite the fact that there are vast amounts of both minerals and people. Several decades after the end of colonialism, most of Africa, including Nigeria, is still struggling with issues such as high rates of poverty, a lack of basic infrastructure facilities in all sectors of the economy, unemployment, high mortality rates, political instability, and insecurity of lives and property. Nigeria is included in this group. For instance, the United Nations Human Development Report from 2005 ranked Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, 155th in terms of GDP per capita, 158th in terms of human development index, 165th in terms of life expectancy at birth, 121st in terms of combined primary, secondary, and tertiary gross enrolment, and 158th in terms of life expectancy at birth. Suberu (2007) had stated not too long ago that in spite of Nigeria’s “earning around US$500 billion in oil revenues since the 1970s, yet remains mired in poverty, unemployment, a bourgeoning domestic debt, infrastructural squalor, abysmal health and educational services, and attendant social frustration and unrest,” the country is still suffering from these issues.

The discussion on how to tackle Nigeria’s development dilemma emerged against the backdrop of the country’s current predicament in terms of its economic growth. The political elites make up the vast majority of the stakeholders who have the potential to aid in the growth of the state, ultimately leading to the settlement of any development crises. Wikipedia (2015) describes the political elite as “a small group of people who control a disproportionate amount of wealth or political power.” This definition fits a narrow definition of political elite. In most contexts, the term “political elite” refers to the most powerful group of individuals. Alternately, it may be defined as a certain portion of a group that is singled out for distinction as being superior to the remainder of the group in terms of aptitude or traits, or that enjoys more privileges than the remainder of the group.

The most powerful and well-respected members of a society are those who hold prominent political positions. Those individuals who are acknowledged as great leaders in a certain area are members of the elite. Therefore, there are elites in the political sphere, the religious sphere, the scientific sphere, the business sphere, and the artistic sphere. According to Ekeh (1983), the term “elite” refers to relatively small groups of people who have disproportionate sway over the direction that certain aspects of society take. He went on to define the members of the political elite as decision-makers whose authority is not susceptible to regulation by any other entity in the community. According to Nnoli (1981), political elite are those who, as a result of their superiority, are in a position to have an impact on the direction that the society takes. The members of a political elite group have significant influence on the beliefs and perspectives held by the population that they represent as a part of society. According to Falola (2005), they are people who make choices that have significant repercussions, who are able to achieve their will even when others oppose them, and who have the most of what it is possible to have, including the greatest money, power, and prestige. Nevertheless, the phrase does not refer to a single individual but rather to a plurality or a collectivity of people, regardless of how few there may be in that group. This recognizable group has a number of qualities and capabilities, which not only provide it a certain air of superiority but also endow it with the ability to make decisions and exert influence over others.

The phrase “political elite” may alternatively be described as a group of high-level decision-makers within a political culture or specific political system that monopolizes political power, affects key political policies, and holds all essential offices of political command. This definition of “political elite” is one of many possible definitions of the term. The most important obligation that the political elite has to the general people as a whole is to restructure society by making an effort to mobilize and make use of the political energies and resources that are now available. Their strategy for combating their economic backwardness and achieving material progress involves bringing about change in both their institutions and their mindsets. They see the political party or the machinery of the government as the primary vehicle for modernisation in their society. Nevertheless, it seems that the upper class in Nigeria has acquired a magnitude that is not typical of the actual functions in the context of growth. An examination of the current circumstances in Nigeria demonstrates that the country’s political elite class does not have any relationship that is both consistent and meaningful to the country’s national interest. The formation and behavior of Nigeria’s political elite group have not been translated into a source of national development, despite the fact that it was well observed by American political scientists John Purcell (1974) that powerful initiatives from within the political elite groups are critically important for national development (Ojo, 2006). Despite this fact, the formation and behavior of Nigeria’s political elite group have not been translated into a source of national development in Nigeria.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

Almond (1960), has used the phrase ‘power elite’ to refer to the political elite who have monopolies on power and dominate the nation. They have been referred to as the ‘ruling class’ by Marx, as the ‘governing elite’ by Blanda (2001), as the’veto group’ by Riesman, and as the ‘top leaders’ by Floyd Hunter. Blanda (2001). The political elite class in Nigeria had no willingness to consider the constructive use of elite advantage as a strategic weapon for engineering national progress. This was especially true in the case of Nigeria. Because Nigeria’s political leaders have not been able to effectively mobilize the country’s untapped potential, very little of the country’s promise has been achieved. At the present time, the people (masses) have restricted access to educational opportunities, inadequate access to clean drinking water, and inadequate access to medical care. It is said that millions of people in Nigeria are afflicted with a variety of fatal ailments. There is a high incidence of low income and high unemployment, as well as the involvement of youngsters in street trade and risky reproductive behaviors. On the other hand, the researcher is going to examine the development-related challenges in Nigeria while taking into consideration the function of political elites (Ake, 1995).


1.3 Objectives of the Study

The general objective of this study is to examine political elite and development crisis in Nigeria (a case study of southern Ijaw L G A OF Bayelsa State).

The following are the specific objectives:

  1. Ascertain the factors associated with development problems in Nigeria.
  2. Examine the role of Nigeria political elites in promoting national development.
  3. Ascertain the effectiveness of political elites in combating development problems in the country.
  4. Proffer proper solution for remedying development problems in Nigeria

1.4 Research Questions

  1. What are the factors associated with development problems in Nigeria?
  2. What are the role of Nigeria political elites in promoting national development?
  3. What is the effectiveness of political elites in combating development problems in the country?
  4. What are the solution for remedying development problems in Nigeria?

1.5 Research Hypothesis

  • Ho: Political elites in Nigeria does not play any significant role in combating development crises in the country.
  • Ha: Political elites in Nigeria does not play any significant role in combating development crises in the country.

1.6 Significance of the Study

The following are considered to be the significance of this study:

  1. This research will be a useful guide for political elite in Nigeria in identifying their roles and actively participating in the process of national development using their political power as the development facilitation tool.
  2. This study will educate the general public on how political influences of some small group of people in the society can be used in resolving the developmental challenges faced in the society.
  3. This research will be a contribution to the body of literature in the area of political elite and development crisis in Nigeria, thereby constituting the empirical literature for future research in the subject area.

1.7 Scope of the Study

The scope of this study borders on political elite and development crisis in Nigeria. Geographically, the study will be delimited to southern IJAW L G A OF Bayelsa State as a case study.


1.8 Limitation of Study

Financial constraint

Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).

Time constraint

The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.


1.9 Definition of Terms

Political Elite

Political elite are a small group of people who control a disproportionate amount of wealth or political power. In general, political elite means the more powerful group of people within the political structure.

Development

The act or process of growing or causing something to grow or become larger or more advanced.

Infrastructure

The basic physical and organizational structures and facilities (e.g. buildings, roads, power supplies) needed for the operation of a society or enterprise.


1.10 Organizations of the Study

The study is categorized into five chapters. The first chapter presents the background of the study, statement of the problem, objective of the study, research questions and hypothesis, the significance of the study, scope/limitations of the study, and definition of terms. The chapter two covers the review of literature with emphasis on conceptual framework, theoretical framework, and empirical review. Likewise, the chapter three which is the research methodology, specifically covers the research design, population of the study, sample size determination, sample size, and selection technique and procedure, research instrument and administration, method of data collection, method of data analysis, validity and reliability of the study, and ethical consideration. The second to last chapter being the chapter four presents the data presentation and analysis, while the last chapter(chapter five) contains the summary, conclusion and recommendation.


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Introduction

This chapter summarizes the findings on political elite and development crisis in Nigeria (a case study of southern Ijaw L G A OF Bayelsa State).The chapter consists of summary of the study, conclusions, and recommendations.


5.1 Summary

In this study, our focus was to examine political elite and development crisis in Nigeria (a case study of southern Ijaw L G A OF Bayelsa State). The study specifically was aimed to ascertain the factors associated with development problems in Nigeria, examine the role of Nigeria political elites in promoting national development, ascertain the effectiveness of political elites in combating development problems in the country and Proffer proper solution for remedying development problems in Nigeria. A total of 259 responses were validated from the enrolled participants where all respondent are drawn from residents of southern Ijaw L G A OF Bayelsa State.


5.2 Conclusion

Based on the finding of this study, the following conclusions were made:

  1. The factors associated with development problems in Nigeria are inadequate infrastructure, tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade. obstacles to investment and lack of confidence in currency valuation.
  2. The role of Nigeria political elites in promoting national development is to preserve power and privilege, elites have a disproportionate impact on development outcomes, they exercise a disproportionate influence on society despite their being minorities and they shape national discourse even in democracies
  3. Political elites are effective in combating development problems in the country
  4. The solution for remedying development problems in Nigeria is through establishing a strong foundation for a concentric diversified economy, investment in critical physical, financial, science and innovation infrastructure, building a solid framework and enhance capacities to strengthen security and reconstruction and development in various dimensions of a nation.

5.3 Recommendation

Based on the responses obtained, the researcher proffers the following recommendations:

  1. There should be a fundamental restructuring of the Nigerian state through the “recurring decimal” of national conference.
  2. Devolution of power to the component groups on the basis of ethnic nationalities in the true spirit of federalism. This will help to reduce the source of tension and terrorism, and also the struggle for state power among the various ethnic groups.
  3. The monopoly of power by few ruling class should be broken. Political power holding should not be vested with just few ruling elites, rather it should be re-distributed to accommodate all groups or constituents of the Nigerian state.
  4. Government should embark on development projects and programmes that are of priority to the people in the Muslim dominated region of the north as well as other parts of the country with the aim of winning over the locals who are easily recruited into terrorist (vanguard) groups. And the project should be such that generate meaningful employment for the vulnerable youths.
  5. The monstrous evil of corruption by political office holders should be viewed as a crime that attracts stiffer punishment.

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