Elite Collusion and African Governance System: A Critique of Democracy and Development in Nigeria

  •  Abdulhamid Ozohu-Suleiman    
  •  Shehu Mustapha Liberty    


Following the commencement of the third wave democratization in Africa, scholarly preoccupation shifted, or at least began to shift away from the over flogged discourse on colonial antecedents and authoritarian rule among others, as explanations for governance failure in the continent. Thus, the prevailing liberal political conditions now offer a new perspective to articulate the development problematic in emergent democracies of Africa. This paper seeks to examine how the negative outcomes generated by this governance system have made development the casualty of the democratization process in Nigeria. It advances the thesis of elite collusion to provide insights into the causes of governance failure in Nigeria. The paper argues that the hegemonic interest of the ruling elite remains the predominant factor that narrowly defines public policy. By means of interpretative approach the paper reviewed secondary data from extant literature and development reports that are Germaine to the subject matter of the study. It established that much of the development deficit is the predictable consequence of the disconnect between the common good and state policy/institutional action. This disconnect is exacerbated by a political environment that is overwhelmed by self-seeking and unpatriotic ruling elite. The paper concludes that; democracy, though, a necessary condition for good governance and sustainable development, requires an ideologically driven party politics to reconstruct the prevalent governance system. A number of recommendations are made among which are; an urgent need to build strong governance institutions that are rule bound (re-bureaucratization) in order to neutralize elite collusion, and a realignment of the democratization process to embrace the variant of social democracy – an option that prioritizes the participation of the masses in the development process.

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