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GOVERNANCE, INCENTIVE SYSTEMS, AND INSTITUTIONS: Is A Nigerian Developmental State Achievable?

GOVERNANCE, INCENTIVE SYSTEMS, AND INSTITUTIONS: Is A Nigerian Developmental State Achievable?


Abstract: Two foundational pivots define a developmental state: the national ethos or objectives of that state and the institutional mechanisms, structures, organizational configurations or characteristics in achieving those objectives. The quest by Nigeria to become one of the modern world’s developmental states is not in doubt; documents and policies abound evincing this desire. More than 50 years since independence, these objectives (this dream) of a developmental state remain elusive. Could it be that the second and equally significant pivot – the institutional mechanisms, the organizational configurations – have not been given the needed priority? This paper critically evaluates the varied but extant institutional dimensions in Nigeria and finds that Nigeria’s present political structure is a potent disincentive, an albatross, to achieving her dream of a developmental state. On this singular issue hangs many other institutional defects. Significantly, our findings indicate that Nigeria is currently robbed of the key ingredients of a developmental state, namely, autonomy and embeddedness. She is held hostage by particularistic interests: Boko Haram, Fulani herdsmen, mafias in the oil industry, Niger Delta Avengers, MASSOB, IPOB, etc. The paper recommends, among others, fiscal federalism and a political restructuring of the federal system along regional lines, where each region would be given the latitude to create as many states commensurate with their need but in tandem with the proposal contained in the Draft Report of the 2014 National Conference. This will ultimately reduce the cost of governance, free funds for development projects, make federating units less fiscally servile and lethargic, and promote national unity and integration.

JEL classification: E02

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