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 1.1 Background to the Study

 It is a statement of fact that Nigeria as a political entity is richly endowed with both human and natural resources. But ironically, the socio-political status and the living standards of Nigerians remain seemingly irreconcilable with the inherently embedded potentials of Nigeria as a nation. Nigeria remains largely a giant on its feet with numerous developmental challenges ranging from wide spread corruption, brazen looting of the national treasury, mass poverty, decayed infrastructures, mounting unemployment, worsening insecurity of lives and properties, moribund manufacturing sector, poor state of education and health system, pervasive inequality epitomized in an abysmal lacuna between the rich and the poor, frightening food insecurity, thoroughly compromised judiciary, rampant inflation, crisis of leadership and the utter disregard for due process and the rule of law among others. Corroborating, Chris Orngu notes that: The post-colonial history of Nigeria presents decades of visionlessness and the intentional lack of commitment to the advancement of the country’s socio-political process translating to sustained developmental crisis and steady decline in social, educational, agricultural, economic and technological spheres. This unfortunate state of affairs as some analysts insist is unquestionably accentuated by the unenviable nature of the country’s leadership at all levels of governance1 According to Lewis et al, “Nigeria is simply a dysfunctional state”2. He further observed that “Nigeria’s travails, while hardly unique within the developing world are surely exceptional in their scope and persistence”.3 He acknowledged that the economic stagnation in the case of Nigeria arises from a generalized crisis of governance and poor economic performance. In a related thought pattern, Mamman et al notes that “Nigeria, the biggest country on the African continent and one of the largest energy producers is still walloping in abject poverty as a result of bad governance” 4. This corroborates Chinua Achebe’s assertion that Nigeria’s problems remain simply and squarely the problem of leadership5. Concurring, Soyinka submits that: we are living in a condition that shames and dehumanizes us, a condition of enslavement to a ruling class that “is bereft of solution, an incontinent, spendthrift, power besotted class, a class that lacks the will even the integrity to embark upon policies for the amelioration of the parlous existence of multitude that has cushion their existence, a class that has raised corruption to Olympian heights and made a sacred duty of deceit, imposes on us no other course but that of our own rescue mission6 Critical observations of happenings in Nigeria have revealed that the apron-string of the leadership crisis in Nigeria is the perpetuation of the imperialist ideology of the colonialists. The British socio-political and economic structures have remained the existing framework from which the successive Nigerian leaders from independence seek the transformation of Nigeria without any conscious efforts to dismantle the colonialist structures of exploitation which was never contemplated for the well being of Nigerians. In the words of Uzodinma Nwala. Nigeria, as a political and economic entity, is a creation of British imperialism. The prime motive force for British imperialism was to seek new sources of raw material and new markets for her manufactures. Hence, all the social and political activities of the British in Nigeria were geared towards creating a convenient administrative structure for maximum exploitation of the human and material resources of the country7. Unfortunately, our nationalist’s championed movements leading to independence were not aimed wholistically for a socio-political and economic emancipation from colonial imperialism. The nationalists were simply out for independence as an end in itself without any corresponding nationalistic ideology for Nigeria’s transformation. Echoing this thought pattern Nwala, noted: The winning of political power was the ultimate objectives around which all nationalist strategies and tactics were organized. Western capitalism and bourgeoisies parliamentary democracy formed the framework for economic and political transformation8. The target was simply the Nigerianisation and indigenization of the socio-political and economic structures of the British colonialists without any creative strategy for Nigeria’s transformation. As such, strategies for Nigeria’s development remains largely based on the imperatives of a dependent and peripheral capitalist economy. Corroborating, Bade Onimode noted that: No real social transformation was intended by this nationalism and so no development ushered in flag independence apart from the British imposition of capitalist relations on the traditional pre-capitalist modes of production9. So, from the time of the nationalists to this point Nigerian leaders have over time constituted themselves into neo-colonialists by nourishing and sustaining the imperialist ideologies that are ontologically and intrinsically inimical to Nigerian masses. Their refusal to change the colonialist structures they inherited is hinged on the fact that the material interests of the nationalists and the present crop of leaders appears to have coincided with the status quo. Having become the most important sector of the ruling class, their social being was and is still being enhanced by the existing social order. Hence, distinguishing them from the rest of Nigerians. Substantiating further, Nwala contends that, with their preoccupation with power and its material benefits, political ideologies as to how a society can be organized and ruled to the best advantage of all hardly entered into the calculation 10. Consequently, at this historical puncture, the task of reinventing a new socio-political order in Nigeria is placed in the hands of the masses to dismantle the anti-people structures of the colonial imperialist that the Nigerian elites nourished and sustained. This call is hinged on the fact that: Since a social organisation, however inadequate never disappears by itself, since a ruling class, however parasitic never yields power unless compelled to do so by overwhelming pressures; development and progress can only be attained if all the energies and abilities of a people that was politically, socially and economically disfranchised under the old system are thrown into battle against the forces of the ancient regime11. This fact agrees with Karl Marx position that “separate individuals form a class only in so far as they have to carry on a common battle against another class”12. This battle in Nigerian context is said to be the battle between the petty bourgeoisies elites masquerading as leaders and the Nigerian proletariats. Those who share this thought pattern opined that this battle can only be won through a socio-political revolution. By socio-political revolution, we mean a sudden or radical change in socio-political system at the instance of the masses through mass uprising, mass mobilisation and popular pressure. It denotes the overthrow or renunciation of one government and the substitution of another by the governed. Revolutions have occurred through human history and vary widely in terms of methods, duration and motivating reasons and ideology but the underlining element is that it is a change effected by the popular will of the governed. The result is usually, major changes in culture, economy and socio-political institutions. So, for many people, this is the only option left for Nigerians to effect the desired change in socio-political institutions. However, contrary to this idea of revolution which is the theory based on the Marxist idea of revolutionary change, which many consider an imperative option for Nigeria, a Vienna-born philosopher Karl Popper (1902 – 1994) advanced a liberal theory of incremental change which prefers reforms to revolution in alterable socio-political situations. According to Karl Popper, in view of the fallibility of human rationality, the safest course in human actions should be to make sure that all programmes of change are advanced in small steps so that unexpected ill effects of any action are corrected as soon as they arise, and before they do too much damage. This policy is described as piecemeal social engineering or incremental change. For him, socio-political revolution is quite ingenious, but also perilously inclined to irrationalism, that is; they ultimately rely only upon inspiration without taking into account that we can only learn by trial and error, by making mistakes and improvements13. This is what he refers to as incremental change or piecemeal social engineering as distinguished from utopian social engineering in order to appreciate the merits of reforms over revolution respectively. In a common parlance, a scheme is called “utopian” if it is fascinating but incapable of realising in practice or at any rate, the cost of its realisation would outweigh its possible and intended benefits. Popper, therefore sees any attempt at a revolutionary change as an utopian social engineering. That a programme of utopian social engineering takes a long time to carry through. The generation that makes great sacrifices and suffers untold miseries in making radical reform hardly survives to enjoy its benefits. And the generation which reaps its benefits may not be able to appreciate the sacrifices made by its founders. For Popper, piecemeal social engineering or incremental change obviates the possibility of such injustice.

Project detailsContents
Number of Pages124 pages
Chapter one Introduction
Chapter two Literature review
Chapter three  methodology
Chapter  four  Data analysis
Chapter  five Summary,discussion & recommendations
Chapter summary1 to 5 chapters
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