Wednesday, December 16, 2009





The entity called Nigeria was born in the year 1914 as a British colonial construct, but after decades of colonial domination, attained Independence, Sovereign and Republican status in 1960 and 1963 respectively. It is factual that society is ordered, steered and directed towards desired end or goals by the State through policies. Public policies therefore play crucial role in the State and are also instrumental to the development and underdevelopment of a given State. Whereas, there has been no lack of public policies in the Nigerian State since independence, the paradox of public policy implementation has continued to militate cum mar the realization of public objectives in the country. The reason been that, most Government Policies either end prematurely only at the formulation stage; are purposely designed not to be religiously implemented or simply mal-implemented to benefit only a section of the society. The focus of this paper therefore is to critically investigate the character of the Nigerian State and unravel the politics that envelopes public policy implementation in the country. This paper is organized into four sections, which includes: the introduction; Conceptual clarification of the Nigerian State, Politics, Public Policy; the Public Policy implementation Paradox in Nigeria; and lastly the Conclusion/recommendation.
There is no fundamental straight jacket definition of the State which is acceptable for all men and all purposes. Therefore, scholars conceptualize the State from different perspectives. In simple parlance, the State refers to a group of people, occupying a definite territory, living under a government and incorporating sovereignty.
According to Harold Laski (1961) The State “is the crowning point of the modern social edifice” its character he explains “reveals it as a method of imposing principles of behavior which regulates the lives of men”. The State is the most inclusive organization which has formal institutions for regulating the most significant external relationships of men within its scope (Anifowose, 2008). Thus, it is the organization which exercises coercive authority over the inhabitants of a territory. Political power is exercised through the State. More so, the State is the object of political competition and its nature defines the character of politics in society.
One can poignantly assert that, the fundamental role of the State is the maintenance of social and political order in society. This however has been a subject of debate and contention between liberation and Marxism. The basic argument here is centered on how and in whose favour the State imposes order. Liberal scholars, opines that the State is a legal or public force, which uses its monopoly of coercion to police and guide the society impartially. That is, the State is apolitical and neutral in the exercise of power, therefore, it does not promote one interest against the order. It refutes the contention of the Marxist theory that, there is a ruling class that benefits more from the State(Ekekwe,1986:10)
Be that as it may, the Marxist view of the State, which is the framework of our analysis, contends that the State favours the interest of the ruling class that controls it (Ekekwe 1986:10). The State therefore is an instrument for class domination. Engels, in Alapiki (2004:30) describe the State, as” an organ of class rule, an organ for the oppression of one class by another, it is the creation of “order”, which legalizes and perpetuates this oppression by moderating the conflict between the classes.
In a capitalist State like Nigeria, the State promotes the interest of the bourgeoisie (the ruling class) which controls it, and experience has shown that the State plays this role through legislation (Okodudu and Girigiri, 1998:34). Therefore, the laws and policies that emanates from the State reflects the interest of the dominant cum ruling class, to the detriment of the teaming masses. This implies that, State policies are always detrimental to the people it purportedly exist to serve.
Following a critical performance evaluation of the Nigerian State, several scholars have described the Nigerian State: as exploitative, cruel and irresponsible (Ake, 1981, Okowa, 2005), weak, captured, dependent and hegemonic (Orugbani, 2002), illegitimate oppressive and repressive (Okoba, 2003), privatized and lacks autonomy (Ake, 2001), and lastly, the Nigerian State is a failed State, due to the glaring contradictions that defines the character of the Nigerian State. And just because the State lacks autonomy, it is been privatized and used as an instrument for the pursuit of parochial interests, against the pursuit of the public good. The idea is that, corrupt elements and amoral personalities in the State capitalizes on the non-autonomous and weak nature of the State to wickedly direct State resources to their selfish interest cum aggrandizement. That is, in most cases, State resources in the civic public are diverted to infamous channels in the primordial public which benefits only a few category of people in the society.
As a common phenomenon in the social sciences, the concept politics had different connotations or interpretations. The reason, been that, politics as an issue, concept and phenomenon basically invokes a lot of variegated opinions and sentiments. This is because, virtually everybody has an “expert opinion” on issues of politics, and politics as a universal phenomenon affects every one of us in different dimensions. In the globe presently, we live in an age of growing politicization where government actions and inactions, the water we drink, institutions we attend, marriage and divorce, our accommodation and mode of transportation, cost and provision of basic social amenities e.t.c all fall within the purview of politics.
The above scenario corroborates the declaration of the famous great philosopher, Aristotle and originator of the term “politics” that “man by nature is a political animal”. He went further to opine that the essence of social existence is politics and that where two or more men are interacting with one another, they are invariably involved in a political relationship, and this is a natural and inevitable predisposition among men…As men seek to define their positions in society, as they attempt to wring personal security from available resources and as they try to influence others to accept their points of view, they find themselves engaging in politics (cited in Rodee, et al 1972:2). Politics is therefore a ubiquisitous phenomenon and an unavoidable fact of human existence.
Politics basically refers to the conscious or unconscious struggle for domination, advantage and interest actualization by man in society. Hence politics is been defined as “who gets what, when and how (Lasswell 1930:23), some scholars prefers “and how much” to Lasswell’s conceptualization. Politics is organized dispute about power and its use, involving choice among competing values, ideas persons, interests and demands (Curtis, 2007). Politics is the manner in which power is obtained, exercised and controlled, the purpose for which it is used, the manner in which decisions are made, the factors which influence the making of those decisions, and the content in which those decisions take place (Sohari, 1987:10). The above implies that politics connotes social relations involving the intrigue to gain authority or power. To Bierce (1992:2) politics is strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. It is the conduct of public affairs for private advantage.
Put differently, politics refers to the activities associated with the control of public decisions among a given people and in a given territory, where this control may be backed up by authoritative and coercive means (Almond, et al 2001:4). Nnoli (1986) posit that, politics connotes “all those activities which are directly or indirectly associated with the seizure of state power, the consolidation of state power, and the use of state power”. While to Iyoho (1983:27)” Politics is the sharing of power between the various organs of government within the state, and the relationship between those who govern and those that are governed”. But in the words of David Easton (1965) politics implies, the authoritative allocation of values.
We can deduce from the above definitions that politics is a dynamic and interactive activity. It is the act of influencing, controlling and manipulating others in societal settings. Politics is also equated with government, that is, the activities that take place around the legally based institutions of the state. What this means is that, politics comes to play whenever there is struggle among decision makers over access to the distributive mechanisms of scarce resources in the State.
More so, whereas the liberalists argues that politics has utilitarian value, that is geared towards the good of the whole community, Marxist contends that politics is an integral part of class struggle between the dominant class (political elites) and the dominated or underprivileged class (the hoi polloi). And that, since the political elites are in control of the state structure (government), the tendency is that, they will always use their access to the instruments of the state to make decisions that will benefit the upper class to the detriment of the under privileged class (Paki and Inokoba, 2006). The Marxist analysis thus exposes the class character of politics, it reveals those in charge of the authoritative allocation of values and those that benefit from such allocations.
Different definitions of public policy abound, and it may simply be futile trying to discover which is correct or proper. One of the widely quoted but simple definitions of public policy is that by Thomas Dye (1975:1), where he defines public policy as “what government choose to do or not to do”. He went further to explain that: Governments do many things. They regulate conflicts within society, they organize society to carry on conflicts with other societies, they distribute a great variety of symbolic rewards and material services to members of the society and extracts money form the society, most at times in the form of taxes. Thus policies may regulate behavior, organize bureaucracies, distribute benefits, extract taxes or all of these things at once…”.
One crucial point to note from the above conceptualization is the concepts of “non decisions”. The reason been that, a decision by government to ignore a problem or make changes is in a sense a policy decision because it tends to favour the perpetuation of the status quo. Secondly, there may be a divergence between what governments decide to do and what they actually do which captures reality in the Nigerian context. Public policy is a future oriented inquiry into the optimum means of achieving a given governmental objective. Thus, it is a governmental programme found in a nation’s laws or in public statements by a functionary of government. Other conceptualizations of public policy includes: it is a government programme of action which stands for various degrees of goal articulation and normative regulations of government activities, that is what government intends to do or achieve and how it intends to do it (Egonnniwan 2004). Ira Shankansy (1970) contends that, public policy refers to important activities of government. The reality however is that public policy embraces all governmental activities or outputs as it affects members of the society, and can not be limited only to important activities of government. Public policy is also defined as a purposive course of action followed by an actor or set of actors in dealing with a problem or matter of concern (Anderson, 1975). It is a series of goal-oriented actions taken by government actors (Leichter, 1975:19). Public policy also connotes official statements determining the plan of action or what the government what to do (Mlekwa, 1976).
It is indeed factual that, the special character of public policies stems from the fact that, they are basically formulated public by authorities. This implies that those persons who engage in the daily affairs of a political system, are recognized by most members of the system as having responsibility for these matters and take decision that are accepted as binding most of the time by most of the members so long as they act within the limits of their roles (Anderson, 1975). The argument is that, public policy has to do with actions taken by public authorities. And due to the fact that, it is a product of governmental process and activities, it affects a large spectrum of issues and sectors of the society which governments have something to do. This includes the economy, housing, defense, transportation, health care, education etc. And expressions of public policy embraces, laws, judicial decisions, executive orders and rules government budgets, local ordinances, administrative decisions, organizational directives or any rule of conduct behind which stands the enforcing power of the principal system. Public policies are in essence designed to resolve societal problems. Particularly those considered to require public or collective action. Again public policies can be categorized as been distributive redistributive, regulatory and constituent respectively in accordance with the purpose they are created to serve in the society.
In an ideal situation the public policy process is divided into different phases or stages, which rightly includes problem identification, policy initiation, deliberation and formulation, implementation and the policy evaluation stages respectively. The adopted policy is only a statement of intentions, expectations, goals, prescriptions, standards and requirements; it is basically a carefully drafted set of exhortations, directions and hopes. Therefore most public policies require actions and enforcement mechanisms to effectuate them. Public policy implementation is the act and process of converting a policy into reality or simply enforcing the policy. That is, it is the process of translating policy mandates into actions, and policy goals into reality. It refers to the actions taken to accomplish the intents, objectives and desired outcomes of a policy.
The implementation process consists of the implementing organization, the socio-political and economic environment, the policy target group, the policy objectives, the enumerated methods of implementation and the policy resources ( Sharkansky and Meter, 1975: 71-81).
We must reiterate the fact that, Nigeria is presently swimming in the ocean of abject poverty, absence of basic social amenities and excruciating underdevelopment, not because, there are no good public policies to ameliorate the situation, but because policy implementation is the Achilles heel of the Nigerian State.
An historical excursion into the annals of public policies in Nigeria reveals that, if all the policies formulated in the country were religiously implemented, Nigeria no doubt would have been in a fast lane of development. Paradoxically however, most of these public policies only exist on paper and are never implemented to actualize the objectives of such policies. The culture of non-implementation of public policies is therefore in a very high degree in the country and virtually affects all levels of government. For instance, it is pitiable to note that some projects conceived in the First National Development Plan in the country are still not implemented. Public policies are thus debased to mere rhetoric with no iota of commitment and implementation. The politics of public policy implementation in Nigeria is multidimensional, we shall therefore proceed to identify and explain some of them.
Public Policy Implementation or delivery is negatively or positively affected by the attitude or behavior of implementers. That is, if they are negatively disposed to a policy, there will be lack of commitment to the implementation process.
It has been identified that the Nigerian state is privatized dependent, weak and lacks autonomy. Therefore, despite the availability of public policies that stands to better the lot of the average Nigerian, the State unfortunately lacks the political will to positively realize such policy objectives. The argument is that, even though the set objectives of government policies stand to benefit the public, the cabal that holds the top echelon of government hostage will jeopardize or frustrate the implementation of public policies. In the energy sector for instance, Nigeria with a population of over 140 million people presently generates only a miserable capacity of 1,500 mega watts. And despite the sinking of a copious 13.2 billion American dollars in the sector by former President Obasanjo regime, no tangible result was achieved (The Source, 2009: April 6: 16).
Planning is of paramount importance no matter what your venture might be. Therefore, the design of the modes and methods of implementation of a policy is critical to implementation success. Wrong choices of means and methods could mar implementation chances and cause policy failure. This is because the instruments, methods, knowledge, technology, equipment, models and modes of delivery utilized in implementing a policy determine whether implementation and performance would be successful or not (Ikelegbe, 2005; 183).
The Nigerian State in most cases, down plays the crucial issue of implementation design of public policies. This trend translates to the advent of public policies without clear-cut modalities or mechanism of implementation. Policy objectives are therefore in most cases misinterpreted or worst still abandoned. There are also cases where by the Federal Government will formulate National policies without consulting the Local Governments, but only to direct them to implement such policies without adequate enlightenment and education.
It is truism that programme leaders could be quite facilitative of implementation. They steer, direct and motivate programme efforts. That is, an able, committed and enthusiastic leadership could build and strengthen the commitment devotion, loyalty, support and enthusiasm of staffs in programme implementation. Unfortunately, the Nigerian State majorly parades an array of misfits for highly sensitive, public positions. And this ugly scenario led to the inability of programme leaders to create favourable environment for policy implementation. In a dispensation where square pegs are put in rounds holes and merit sacrificed on the alter of mediocrity, policy objectives can not be positively realized.
It is not as if, Nigeria is a poor country in terms of material and human resources, but it is the formulation of wrong policies at the right time and dicriminative/segregative funding of some policies that has led to the problem of lack or resources. This is because when most public policies are formulated, adequate provision of resources is not made to implement them. The Primary Health Care programme, for instance stand to benefit massively the rural population and urban poor in the country, but resources are not appropriated to make it a success. There is thus politics of implementation because, the resources needed for adequate implementation are not provided to realize policy objectives. Policies such has the NYSC scheme, National Immunization Programme, Universal Basic Education and Transport Policies etc has continued to suffer set back due to the above trend.
Corruption is also a major issue in the politics of public policy implementation in Nigeria. When corruption penetrates the implementation process, public policies becomes mutated and the desired goals may not be achieved. Most public policies are formulated and funds appropriated for, but corruption like an octopus has continued to entangle, ruin and make impossible the implementation process.
Due to corruption, Nigerian are still under the yolk of excruciating poverty despite the several efforts been made to alleviate poverty. For instance, the Administration of General Babangida, in 1986 establishment the National Directorate of Employment aimed at promoting skill acquisition and self employment among the unemployed. The Administration also introduced the People’s Bank of Nigeria, the Community Bank and Nigeria Agricultural and cooperative Bank, to provide loans to low income earners for the financing of small scale businesses. There were equally National Agricultural Land Development Authority and the Directorate of food, Road and Rural Infrastructure (DFRRI) all aimed at empowering the people and in alleviating poverty in the country (Nigerian news world October 13, 2008:15). The sum of 50 billion naira has also been allocated to the National Poverty Eradication Programme NAPEP created by the former President Obasanjo’s administration, but paradoxically, the level of poverty instead of decreasing is rather on the increase. The fact remain that resources appropriated for the implementation of public policies are criminally diverted to private ends, hence frustrating the implementation process. It is also sad to note that most public policies only exist as conduct pipes to drain state resources by corrupt elements. For instance, the National poverty Eradication Programme was designed to pay the sum of three thousand naira monthly to some category of the unemployed in Nigerian to better their living condition. The programme was however hijacked by corrupt politicians and instead of the poor benefiting from the scheme, the pay roll was filled by ghost names, unwarranted party loyalists and their children. Just because the State lacks autonomy and is dependent, those who controls State power use it to enrich themselves and their Cronies, which is detrimental to policy implementation. Service to the State in an uncorrupt manner is replaced with personal aggrandizement, therefore State resources are looted every now and then.
Sectionalism cum ethnicity has also continued to marr public policy implementation in Nigeria Experience has shown that, some national policies are implemented fully in some parts of the country, but simply abandoned or marginally implemented in other areas. The petroleum Trust Fund head by General Buhari, for instance, constructed a lot of good roads in the northern part or the country but nothing tangible was done on road construction in the Niger Delta where the fund was derived from. In terms of Health care, the former Yobe State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Mamman Mohammed, for example said “drugs and other consumables worth over N7,528 billion supplied by the PTF to the state in 2003, under the Bamako Initiative Scheme expired and became useless before they were sold” as they were more than what the state required. He went further to state that “the yearly Drug requirement of the state is N1 million only, but PTF supplied a total of about N198 million worth of drugs and Hospital consumables to about ten General Hospitals in Yobe State between 2001-2003 (Etekpe, 2007:73).
Juxtaposing the Yobe State experience with the Niger Delta and South East States reveals that those areas suffers from gross inadequacy in the supply of drugs. But, Yobe State was simply favored because the chief implementation officer was from the northern extraction. Moreso, it is factual that implementing officers of policies do so to benefit their immediate ethnic groups and abandon same polices sited for implementation in other ethnic groups dominated areas. In essence, compromises made during implementation that seeks to alter basic policy goals are detrimental to the successful execution of programmes. That is, in any situation where by actors in the implementation process are self centred or motivated by self aggrandizement, policy objectives would be difficult to be realized maximally.
The dependent and weak character of the Nigerian State more often than not, has led to egocentrism and duality of policies. Instead of continuing with, policies that are advantageous to the masses, every new policy. And this has always translated to duality of policies which exist to achieve same objectives. Duality negatively impacts on implementation in several ways. It may generate competition and rivalry among staff of the programme, as each programme would strive for more visibility and attention. They may seek to castigate, undermine and outplace each other which might unhealthy for stable and be successful implementation.
The State which has monopoly of the coercive use of force ought to regulation all facets of the society. But in the Nigerian content, the State in some instance, plays the culture and religious card to undermine the implementation process of public policies in some parts of the country. A notable example is the purported link between polio immunization and infertility that have continued to limit the polio eradication process in Northern Nigeria. The imposition of Sharia Law in some of the northern States when constitutionally, Nigeria profess to be a secular State is another case in point.
Budget implementation have become a different ball game in recent times, and has assumed a recurrent decimal often resulting into stalemate between the Executive and Legislature (Nigerian News World, 2008 October 20: 21). Whereas in an ideal situation, budgets are religiously implemented to actualize set goals, the reverse is the case in Nigeria. Prior to now, some Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, after, idling away their time for a full year would just amorally share among a category of their workers money appropriated for projects in the budget they fail to execute. At other times, frivolous contracts were hurriedly awarded in the closing days of the year, just to ensure that money was spent. The alleged sharing of 300 million naira by Ministers and top officials of the Ministry of Health, Head by Professor Adenike Grange is a reference point. However, due to the Presidential directive to prosecute those involved in the sharing of unspent funds, the new trend is the return of unspent funds to government covers at the end of the fiscal year. For instance, in December 2008, over 400 billion naira, more than 50% of the capital vote was returned to the treasury as unspent funds, while the important projects the money was budgeted for litter the country uncompleted (Tell, 2008 December 22). In present 2009 Budget, have also recorded very low implementation. The logic therefore is that, policies are formulated and funds appropriated for, but deliberately never implemented, only to deceive the public. Government especially at the Federal level carry out yearly Budgetary rituals but consciously politicized the implementation process for no just course.
There is also the issue of selective implementation of Budgets. And in this case only policies and programmes that directly benefits the government or its loyalists are selected for implementation, while others are simply abandoned or poorly implemented. The East West Road, which links the South-West to the South-East and South South, has been in deplorable condition for decades, causing hardship to commuters, but nothing has been done to improve the condition of the road. On the contrary, the present administration has awarded contract of over 300 billion naira to increase the number of lanes in Kubwa and Airport roads in Abuja with over 50% of the money paid. In essence, Public policies are enacted for purposes other than implementation, thus is most cases, they are only symbolic.
Most public policies in Nigeria are squarely reflections of the personal interest of the political class rather than the demand of the citizens, thus such policies lacks public support in terms of implementation. This is attributed to lack of political sensitivity. Experience has shown and there is no denying the fact that, most public policies that are speedily implemented in the country turn out to be misplaced priorities. The logic is that policies are implemented based on what the implementing officials stands to benefit from the process. For instance, a community might be in need of a functional Hospital, Link Roads, Portable Water and Classroom Blocks etc. But, due to the politics of public policy implementation and the personal benefits that might accrue to the implementing officials, government will proceed to build a VIP Toilet without the provision of water in a community that can not boast of a guaranteed source of water supply. Policies are therefore implemented in areas that does not necessarily need them and in other cases simply very difficult to implement.
It is crystal clear at this junction to assert that the public policy implementation realm in Nigeria is seriously being ravaged and swallowed up by the impure fire of corruption, mismanagement of resources, self-centeredness, favoritism, duplication of policies and inordinate political will etc. Public policy implementation is almost a failure in Nigeria and until the issues being raised are adequately addressed, public policies will continue to exist only on paper and thus eluding or frustrating the implementation process. One can poignantly assert that, due to the inherent contradictions and politics in the sphere of public policy implementation in Nigeria the inordinate marginal and non-implementation of public policies is the policy of the Nigerian State.

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The term Energy in simple parlance refers to power obtained from sources such Electricity, Coal, Petroleum or Water etc, that make machines and automobiles to work. The world is presently in a highly industrialized and technological age which needs a lot of energy to produce goods and services needed by man. Though there are different types of energy such as Wind, Water, Coal, Bio fuel, Solar and Oil etc, Crude oil no doubt is the most sought after source of energy in the globe.
Crude oil is produced in different parts of the world such as United States of America, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Venezuela, Angola, Nigeria, Gabon, Canada, Ecuador, etc, and crude oil prices behaves much as any other commodity with wide price swings in terms of shortage or over supply. The crude oil price cycle may extend over several years responding to changes in demand as well as OPEC and non-OPEC supply (Williams, 2008). The focus of this paper is to critically unravel how the activities of OPEC, affects the availability of Oil as an indispensable source of global energy. We shall therefore explore the conditionalities that led to the formation of OPEC, its aims and objectives and how its activities affect the production and supply of Oil (petroleum) in the world. More importantly the study shall investigate the politics of quota system and oil prices and their effect on global energy sourced from oil. The study is organized in to seven sections. This includes the Introduction, Politics, Oil as a Source of Global Energy, OPEC and Global Energy, OPEC and Global Oil Price/Supply, OPEC and the Instrumentality of Sanctions, OPEC and its Challenges and lastly the Conclusion.
As a common phenomenon in the social sciences, the concept politics had different connotations or interpretations. The reason, been that, politics as an issue, concept and phenomenon basically invokes a lot of variegated opinions and sentiments. This is because, virtually everybody has an “expert opinion” on issues of politics, and politics as a universal phenomenon affects every one of us in different dimensions. In the globe presently, we live in an age of growing politicization where government actions and inactions, the water we drink, institutions we attend, marriage and divorce, our accommodation and mode of transportation, cost and provision of basic social amenities, activities of international organizations, e.t.c all fall within the purview of politics.
The above scenario corroborates the declaration of the famous great philosopher, Aristotle and originator of the term “politics” that “man by nature is a political animal”. He went further to opine that the essence of social existence is politics and that where two or more men are interacting with one another, they are invariably involved in a political relationship, and this is a natural and inevitable predisposition among men…As men seek to define their positions in society, as they attempt to wring personal security from available resources and as they try to influence others to accept their points of view, they find themselves engaging in politics (cited in Rodee, et al 1972:2). Politics is therefore a ubiquisitous phenomenon and an unavoidable fact of human existence.
Politics basically refers to the conscious or unconscious struggle for domination, advantage and interest actualization by man in society. Hence politics is been defined as “who gets what, when and how (Lasswell 1930:23), some scholars prefers “and how much” to Lasswell’s conceptualization. Politics is organized dispute about power and its use, involving choice among competing values, ideas persons, interests and demands (Curtis, 2007). Politics is the manner in which power is obtained, exercised and controlled, the purpose for which it is used, the manner in which decisions are made, the factors which influence the making of those decisions, and the content in which those decisions take place (Sohari, 1987:10). The above implies that politics connotes social relations involving the intrigue to gain authority or power, and in other cases the maximization of interests. To Bierce (1992:2) politics is strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. It is the conduct of public affairs for private advantage. We can deduce from the above definitions that politics is a dynamic and interactive activity. It is the act of influencing, controlling and manipulating others. International organizations therefore engage in politics to protect and promote their interest.

Petroleum or crude oil is a greasy liquid, with a unique and characteristic odor, occurring naturally at the surface of the earth and at dept (Wallace and Good, 1950:3). The first commercial oil well was drilled in North-Western Pennyslavania in 1959, known as Drake Well (Middleton, 2007:6). All over the world, the lives of people are affected and the destiny of nations is probably determined by the results of Oil industry operations. Oil keeps the factories of the industralised countries working and provides the revenues, which enables Oil Exporters to execute ambitious national and economic development plans. The march of progress would be retarded and life itself could become unbearable if the world was deprived of oil. That is why oil has become concern of governments, a vital ingredient of their politics and a crucial factor in political and diplomatic strategy. Oil has been given the image of a big business ruled by naked politics and dominated by ruthless men who are sensitive to nothing except their profit (Feyide, 1986:7). By any standards, Oil is the World’s leading industry in size, it is probably, the only international industry that concerns every country. And as a result of the geographical separation of regions of major production and regions of high consumption, it is first in importance in its contribution to the world’s tonnage of international trade and shipping. Because of these and other attributes, such as its involvement in both national and international affairs, a day hardly passes without oil being in the news (Adeniran, 1992).
Oil supplies assume great importance in world politics because oil is not being discovered at the same rate it is being used. For every two barrels pumped out of the ground, the giant Oil Companies discover only one new barrel. About 70 percent of the oil consumed today was found 25 years ago or longer. Meanwhile, demand for oil keeps escalating and the era of cheap and abundant oil is ending (Deffeyes, 2005:66). Oil consumption hit a new all-time high of 90 million barrels each day in 2006. The International Energy Agency predicts that by 2030 the world will be using 50 percent more oil as demand grows to 120 million barrels a day and it warns that the world will need to spend 3 trillion dollars over the next 25 years to meet this run-away global oil demand (Kegley, 2007:368).
There are different varieties of crude oil. Each variety of oil has a name: United States West Texas Intermediate, North Sea Brent Blend, Algerian Saharan Blend, Indonesian Minas, Nigerian Bonny Light, Saudi Arabian Arab Light, Fatch from Dubai, Venezuelan Tia Suana Light, Mexican Isthmus and so on. And the quality of a particular oil determines its cost (Middleton, 2007:15) The general rule of thumb is the “lighter” and “sweeter” the oil, the more valuable it is.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is a permanent inter-governmental organization created at the Baghdad conference on September 10-14, 1960 by Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. The international Oil cartel, OPEC was formed in reaction to the activities and policies of the defunct Seven Sisters cartel, made up of powerful western international oil companies. The first version of OPEC was created in Baghdad after Exxon, one of the Seven Sisters Oil companies cut oil prices without consulting the oil producing countries.
Therefore, the furious oil ministers from Saudi Arabia Venezuela, Kuwait, Iran and Iraq met in 1960 and joined to form OPEC, hoping it would emulate the Texas Railroad Commission in controlling production and prices of oil (Ikein, 1998:72). The formation of OPEC was also triggered by a 1960 law instituted by American President Dwight Eisenhower that forced quotes on Venezuelan and Persian Gulf oil imports in favour of the Canadian and Mexican Oil industries. When this led to falling prices for oil in these regions, Venezuela’s President Romulo Betancourt reacted seeking an alliance with oil producing Arab nations as a preemptive strategy to protest the continuous autonomy and profitability of Venezuela’s oil (
In terms of membership, the founding members (Iraq, Iran, Venezuela, Kuwart and Saudi Arabia) were later joined by nine other members. This includes: Qatar (1961), Indonesia (1962) – suspended its membership from January 2009, Libya (1962), United Arab Emirates (1987), Algeria (1969), Nigeria (1971), Ecuador (1973) – suspended its membership from December 1992-October 2007, Angola (2007), and Gabon (1975-1994), OPEC had its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland in the first 5 years of its existence, but was moved to Vienna, Austra on September 1st, 1965.
To this end, the OPEC objectives are:
- To keep oil competitive relative to other energy sources through production and pricing policy.
- To protest the per barrel purchasing power of oil export revenues.
- To maintain the intrinsic value of oil both as a non-renewable resources and as a raw material for other noble uses of petroleum.
- To take cognizance of the impact of oil prices on the world economy and especially the efforts of the developing countries to establish a new international economic order.
- To regulate the production to secure an equilibrium between supply and demand in the market (Saad, 1988: 12).
However, according to its statutes, one of the principal goals of OPEC is the determination of the best means for safeguarding the Carter’s interest, individually and collectively. It also co-ordinate and unify petroleum policies among Member Countries and pursues ways and means of ensuring the stabilization of prices in international oil market, with a view to eliminating harmful and unnecessary fluctuations; giving due regard at all times to the interest of the producing nations and to the necessity of securing a steady income to the producing countries, an efficient and regular supply of petroleum to consuming nations, and a fair return on their capital to those investing in the petroleum industry (The Statute, OPEC, 1960).
It is imperative to note that, in terms of share of world crude oil reserves, OPEC constitute 939 billion barrels (78%), while non-OPEC states has 265 billion barrels (22%). Out of this figure the bulk of OPEC reserves is concentrated in the Middle East with Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq contributing 55% of the OPEC total ( OPEC rise to international prominence in the 1970’s as its member countries took control of their domestic petroleum industries and acquired a major say in the pricing of crude oil on the worlds markets.
The decision-making center of OPEC is the Conference comprising National delegations at the levels of oil ministers, which meet twice each year to decide the overall out, that is production quotas for individual members.The Conference also meet in special sessions when deemed necessary to review the quotas.
The fundamental mechanism adopted by OPEC to influence the supply of oil to the global market is the quota system. This implies that in order to enhance the protection of the collective interest of member states and profit maximization, each member state is allotted a production quota per day to stabilize the supply of oil to the global market. The logic is that, in tandem with the economic laws of Demand and Supply, unregulated production will lead to surplus oil for sale which will reduce the global price. While regulated production level will lead to stability and increase in the global oil price. Common sensically, the inability of any OPEC member state to meet up its quota of production will invariably result of the reduction in the supply of global oil and hence, increase in price (Ebienfa and Nwaodike, 2009:10-11),
It is pertinent to that increase in the price of oil per barrel translate to current account surplus for the member states. OPEC benefited tremendously from the quota system especially in the first decade of its inception and the trend has some how continued to date. The profit margin has persistently lingered, because, when ever OPEC member states are not satisfied with the existing price of oil (per barrel) modalities are introduced to reduce the Production Quotas of Member States to maintain profit maximization. OPEC used oil reserves in determining the production quota for its member countries. Some scholars have argued that, this reserve based allocation system seemingly penalizes countries with large population and leads to the problem of cheating. In general, the use of the quota system under a broad range of circumstances is well recognized in the economic literature and it is widely known to be inefficient, particularly the welfare loss from not having free trade. A number of empirical studies have shown that the use of quotas cause inefficiency in global trade (Ikein, 1998:70).
The use of quotas by OPEC to restrict crude oil production so as to gain control of the world oil market through its pricing is an interesting area to understanding the politics of quotas in world trade. OPEC conceives the retention of the quota system as a means to influence the production and pricing of oil resources to benefit its members. It is also a means to improve its credibility as a powerful cartel. As Ikein (1998) puts it “the basic rational of OPEC as a cartel is not different from other developing countries view, which emphasizes the risky depending nature of the sale of raw materials for foreign exchange and that a disruptive change in world demand for their raw materials could seriously jeopardize each nations balance of payment. It is further argued that the nature of the extractive industry constitute a systematic depletion of the valuable national assets of the host country constitute a systematic depletion of the valuable national assets of the most country, while leaving little of enduring value. Moreover, in the short run, these raw materials or primary goods are subject to uncontrollable fluctuations, and in the long run they are exhaustible. Oil which is the focus of our attention is not an exception in the above regard. Therefore the politics of OPEC’s quota system is justified.
Be that as it may, disruptions in the production quotas of member states greatly impacts on the price of crude oil. In April, 1990, the average price for a barrel of internationally traded crude oil was less than 15 dollars. Five months later, stimulated by Iraq’s invasion of the tiny oil Sheikdom of Kuwait, it rose to more than 40 dollars. For the third time in less than two decades, the world suffered “an oil shock” when the price paid for the most widely used commercial energy source skyrocketed (Kegley, 2007:367). The problem of cheating, or non-quota adherence, was partly responsible for the Iraqi-Kuwait conflict. Iraq’s incursion into Kuwait is believed to have been a move to punish Kuwait for perceived insubordination. Part of the rational for the invasion is that Kuwait over produce oil, surpassing its quota enough to depress oil prices (Butt, 1990:1). The Iraqi-Kuwait war disrupted the production quotas of the two countries and sent new shock waves into the world oil market, precipitating an immediate increase in oil prices.
The global oil price swings in recent years is also attributed to production disruptions in the OPEC member countries such as Iraq, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia etc. The fact remains that just because increase in price benefits the member countries, OPEC usually down plays the issue of increasing production quotas to stabilize the market. Whereas, in low price regimes, modalities are quickly evolved to cut down production quotas.
For instance, OPEC’s income from oil and exports jumped 35 percent to more than one trillion dollars last year as world oil prices hit record highs of almost 150 dollars per barrel, OPEC saw the total value of its petroleum sales abroad reach almost 1,007 billion dollars in 2008, up from 746 billion dollars in 2007, which was itself a record. The increase in prices last year kept all of OPEC’S members in current account surpluses with a group current account balance of 467 billion dollars for the year, up 28 percent (Business Day 2009, July 2009). The price swings are always not favourable. Experience has shown that from a record high of 150 dollars per barrel in June 2008, it fell to as low as 40 dollars per barrel in 2009 before gradually appreciating to the present 80 dollars per barrel, in November, 2009.
The use of sanctions is another vehement force used by OPEC to exert its influence in global affairs. Historically, it was the persistence of the Arab-Israel conflict that triggered a response that transformed OPEC into a formidable political force. The initial step was the formation of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries in 1967, after the Six Day War by Arab members as a separate overlapping group, for the purpose of centering policy and exerting pressure on the west over its support of Israel. However, the climax of it, was during the Yom Kippur war of 1973, fought between Israel and two Arab States, Egypt and Syria. Furious at the emergency re-supply effort that enabled Israel to withstand Egyptian and Syrian forces, Arab members of OPEC embargoed oil shipments to countries deemed pro-Israel, the United stated of America and the Netherlands (Roskin and Berry, 1997:136). Their purpose was to alter these countries policies towards the Arab-Israel conflict (Kegley, 2007:479). It involved reductions in total oil production and a ban on shipment to the United States and Netherlands (Holland). This refusal caused a fourfold increase in the price of oil, which lasted five months, starting on October 17, 1973 and ending on March 18, 1974. For instance, by January 1974, crude oil prices had risen from 3.1 dollars a barrels at the outset of the crisis to 11.65 dollars, a near fourfold increase, and prices for gasoline and heating oil more than doubled. The steep climb in oil prices confronted the United States with a shift in economic power that, according to Henry Kissinger, altered irrevocably the world as it had grown up in the Post War period (Spiegel and Wehling, 1999:311).
OPEC is also flexing its economic muscles by cutting production in an effort to use oil prices as an instrument of coercive diplomacy to influence the course of the unfolding war on terrorism, particularly between Palestine and Israel. In fact, the sanctions mechanism is a crucial tool that can make OPEC a force to reckon with in world politics if effectively utilized. It is indeed truism that the cut off of OPEC exports to the United States, Japan, China or Europe would be catastrophic, and this dependence seemingly puts OPEC in control (Kegley, 2007:369).
Though OPEC have played a great role in the politics of global energy in this dispensation where oil presently remains an indispensable source of energy, the cartel is bedeviled with some bottle necks. First and foremost, it has not always being successful for OPEC to influence the price of oil in the world market. Put differently, OPEC has not been very successful with its objectives since the early 1970’s. The argument is that, except in the wake of the 1979 Iranian upheaval, and in market anticipation of a possible destruction of substantial reserves in the 1990-1991 and 2003 Gulf wars, real prices of crude oil fell from 1974 through 2003. Again, the increase of prices in recent times has little to do with the effectiveness of OPEC as a cartel. But to a large extent attributed to increased demand of oil in Asia due to the fast expanding sphere of industrialization, coupled with production problems in Venezuela, Nigeria, and other producing regions; a weakling dollar, and an increased terrorist threat to oil production and transport facilities.
A good illustration is the fact that, after 1980, oil prices began a six-year decline that culminated with a 46 percent price drop in 1986. This was due to reduced demand and over-production that produced a glut on the world market. The oil price instability of the 1980s eroded OPEC power and the Cartel lost revenues. The organization took steps to combat price instability through production cut backs and a quotas system, but the non-OPEC producing countries undermined the organizations position in the world market, and the OPEC market share fell drastically. In the late 1980’s OPEC as a whole produced only 40 percent of the world’s total oil supplies, whereas it had accounted for 64 percent of those supplies in 1979 (Al-Charlabi, 1988:233). The price upheaval is adversely affecting OPEC’s ability to maintain its power. This is due to the fact that the international oil industry is highly vulnerable to shocks, since it is influenced by both economic and political forces.
One of the most common misconceptions about OPEC is that the organization is responsible for setting crude oil prices. Although OPEC did in fact set crude oil prices from the early 1970’s to the mid-1980s, this is no longer the case. It is true that OPEC’s member countries do voluntary restrain their crude production in order to stabilize the oil market and avoid harmful and unnecessary price fluctuations, but this is not the same thing as setting prices. In today’s complex global markets, the price of crude oil is set by movements on the three major International Petroleum Exchanges. They are the New York Mercantile Exchange, the International Petroleum Exchange in London and the Singapore International Monetary Exchange (
Production disputed is another factor that weakness the collective influence and interest maximization of OPEC states. The idea is, OPEC member countries are faced with the problems typical of developing countries. Due to the above premise, the economic needs of the Member States more often than not, affects the internal politics behind OPEC production quotas. Iran, Nigeria, Algeria and Venezuela have relatively large populations and need high oil revenues to support economic development programmes. In contrast, Saudi Arabia, United Arab, Emirates, and Kuwait with relatively small populations have been producing at levels well in excess of domestic revenue needs in order to satisfy the international market demand (Taher, 1982:154). Thus, the agitations to reduce the production quotas of Member States by countries with smaller reserves relative to populations, termed price “hawks” (e.g Iran and Iraq before the demise of Saddam Hussein’s Presidency) are continuously opposed by the price “doves’ Saudi Arabia and UAE which are nations with larger reserves relative to population. In fact, such demands conflict with Saudi Arabia’s stated long-term strategy of being a partner with the world’s economic powers to ensure a steady flow of oil that would support economic expansion. The argument advanced by Saudi Arabia is that, expensive oil or oil of uncertain supply will drive developed nations to conserve and develop alternative fuels, and that would constitute a threat to their source of national revenue. The Saudi Arabian delegation jeopardizes OPEC’s influence when it walked out of OPEC’s negotiating session on September 10, 2008, where the cartel voted to reduce production. Although the Saudi Arabian delegated officially endorsed the new quotas, they stated that they would not observe them. That is, they will meet the market’s demand, see what the market requires and will not leave a customer without oil. That policy has not changed (New York Times, 2008: September 11).
More so, as mentioned earlier, considering the fact that worldwide oil sales are majorly denominated in United States Dollars, changes in the value of the Dollar against other world currencies affects the Cartel’s decisions on how much oil to produce. This is because, when the dollar falls relative to the other currencies, the Cartel States receive smaller revenues in other currencies for their oil, which invariably causes substantial cuts in their purchasing power.
Again the invention of new sources of energy in the globe such as nuclear energy and biofuel poses a threat to the continuous reign of oil as the most sought after source of energy in the world. It is indeed factual that, cleaner and more affordable sources of energy will erode the deterministic influence of OPEC in the world energy market. Due to the above challenges, OPEC presently is not a political force to reckon with in the world politics.
Experience has shown and there is no denying the fact that, OPEC has not realty utilized the resources in its disposal to direct the course of world politics. Scholars have argued that even the embargo mechanism enforced against the United States of America and Holland did not record maximum success with adverse effects on the embargoed countries. The reason has been that, oil is a fungible commodity, which can be easily resold. That is countries that bought legitimately from the OPEC countries can resell their products to the affected countries at the same OPEC selling price. The dependent nature of most OPEC States on western and emergent Asian economics infiltrates the rank and file of the cartel to collectively initiate policies that will adversely affect the interest of countries like United States of America, Britain, China, Japan etc.
Oil is indeed a vital indispensable source of energy in the world. And OPEC as a cartel has been successful to a large extent in protecting the economic interest of its members via the price control mechanism immersed in the quota system. However, the conflict of interest among members and the dependent posture of OPEC members on Western economics has continuously bedeviled its influence as a force to reckon with in the larger sphere of world politics.


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There is a widely accepted view that the exploitation and domination of man by man characterize all spheres of social relations cum human existence. The aim of this paper is to investigate political science research as a tool for domination in Africa.
This paper is very ambitious. It will raise more questions than it could answer. The reason has been that, the subject matter demands the exploration and investigation of critical questions. This includes: What is politics? What is political science? What is Research? What is Domination? What is Knowledge Production? What is the nature of knowledge production in Africa? Is Africa a research oriented continent? How can knowledge production be deployed for domination? etc. The paper is organized into four parts: conceptual clarification, knowledge production in Africa, Political science research as a took for domination in Africa, and lastly, the conclusion.
According to Aristotle, “man is by nature a political animal”. By this, he means that the essence of social existence is politics and that two or more men interacting with one another are invariably involved in a political relationship. Men are engaged in politics as they try to define their positions in society, as they struggle for scarce resources and as they try to convince others to accept their points of view (cited in Anifowose, 2008). Politics is Who Gets What, When and How (Lasswell, 1930). Politics is also, defined as organized dispute about power and its use, involving choice among competing values, ideas, persons, interests and demands (Curtis, 2001). Put differently, politics refers to the activities associated with the control of public decision among a given people and on a given territory, where this control may be backed up by authoritative and coercive means (Almond et al 2001:4). It is the art of influencing, manipulating and controlling others (Wright cited in Anifowose, 2008). To David Easton(1960) Politics connotes the authoritative allocation of values. Politics in essence is the struggle for domination and maximization of interest in society.
Political Science
In its broadest sense, political science as a social science discipline could be defined as the systematic study of politics. It is the application of scientific methodology, to understand the social relations that has bearing on the political behaviour, and fundamental social principles or laws that guide the political process (Anifowose and Enemuo, 1999:5). Political science comprises a vast range of subject matters that are of interest to the political scientist. These include: Comparative Politics, Public Administration, International Relations, Political Theory, Political Sociology and Inter governmental Relations.
The word research is derived from the French word “reacherche”, which means to search closely. Research connotes the systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions. Research can also be defined as an endeavor to study or obtain knowledge, through the use of systematic approach with the intent of clarification. It is a curiosity – driven activity that, has the purpose of discover, and advancement of knowledge. Research is a form of inquiry that involves seeking of evidence to increase knowledge (Fawole, et al,. 2006:2). From the above conceptualizations, research is systematic, it is designed to obtain knowledge and the results of a research are verifiable. For instance, Basic Research produces new scientific knowledge, hypothesis and theories which are expressed in research papers and memoranda, while inventive work drawing on this basic research produces patentable inventions (Kuper and Kuper, 1999:737).
It is imperative to note that, all researches have ontological and epistemological positions whether acknowledged or not. In other words, research has a range of underpinnings, as well as methodological techniques cum practices. It has to be theoretically engaged, hence research is under girded by theory, research is not value free and research is about rigour (Fawole, et al 2006:3). Epistemology basically refers to part of philosophy that deals with knowledge. An epistemological issue concerns the question of what is (or should be) regarded as acceptable knowledge in a discipline. Epistemological positions include: Positivism, Realism and Interpretivism. Ontological issues on the other hand has to do with whether the social world is regarded as something external to social actors, or as something that people are in the process of fashioning. Ontological positions include: Objectivism, Constructionism or Constructivism (Bryman, 2006).
Research is classified in different ways. The criteria for classifying typologies of research embraces, methodology, Approach, function/purpose and Discipline-Based etc. Generally, research helps to push the frontiers of knowledge beyond the horizon. It is an in depth analysis based on reflective thinking of the various phenomena or observed units to make a generalization. Research is the search to establish facts. It is the hunt for the truth. The process of research is an helical cycle.
Political Science Research
Political science is a social science concerned with the study of theory and practice of politics and description and analysis of political systems and political behaviors. One can not talk of political science research without situating it in the wider context of social science research. Social science research studies man and his institutions. It is largely empirical and bound to be inter disciplinary as the social phenomena are not isolated. Social science research is the systematic method of discovering new facts, verifying old facts, their sequences, interrelationships, causal explanation, and natural law that governs them., In other words, it is the scientific undertaking in the field of social sciences to acquire facts. Social research is the manipulation of things, concepts and symbols; with a view to extend new knowledge or verify the old knowledge whether that knowledge aids in the construction of a theory or the practice of an art (Cauvery, et al 2000). Social science research involves the use of scientific methodology. It implies the development of new scientific tools, concepts and theories which would facilitate viable and valid study of human behavior.
Be that as it may, it is important to note that the emergence of political behaviouralism as an approach to political science marked a sharp departure from the traditional orientation of political enquiry, which was mainly in the form of normative and descriptive studies. The behavioural paradigm heralded the emergence of empirical analysis; in other words, the scientific mode of analysis. That is, it changed the methodological and technical face of political investigation (political science research) (Paki and Inokoba, 2006). The scientific procedure of methodology adopted by political science from the natural sciences in its study and analysis of political phenomena involves: observations, formulation of Hypothesis, verification, experimentation and theory formulation. However, in the social sciences, human beings are the sources of data, therefore the attitude, environment, honesty, personal values and bias of the researcher and respondents have the tendency to affect the research findings cum decisions.
The Climax of every research is knowledge production or the verification of existing knowledge. Any scientific research in the social (or natural sciences) involves a search into a problem or problem area, with the ultimate intent of contributing to the corpus of scientific knowledge, which them becomes available to the world (Mukherji, 2000). It is indeed factual to assert that, knowledge is produced through the rigorous process of research.
Knowledge production, communication and dissemination is becoming central to the mission for all universities in the 21st century, thus enabling a shift beyond teaching towards research and civic engagement. However, a growing gap in knowledge production exists not only between high-income and other countries, but also within the developing world. Stagnating research means some nations have lost their relative share of global knowledge production (University World News, 2009). The lack of “research on research” in most developing countries promoted the UNESCO forum to commission a study on the research systems of 52 developing countries, to investigate the growing gap in knowledge production between developed and less developed nations, to uncover the roots of and reasons for the inequalities, and to help strengthen research and research capacity in developing nations.
Knowledge production in Africa is conditioned by various structural and epistemic imperatives. The contexts and constrains that shape knowledge production are subject to changes emanating as much from the academy itself as from the wider society. Knowledge production is undergoing massive transformations tied to shifting internal and external mandates and missions. Knowledge production systems involve the intricate interplay of institutional, intellectual, ideological and individual factors. Academic institutions which represents the hallmark of knowledge production can be classified according to their physical location (Rural, urban or metropolitan), fiscal base (private, public or for profit), academic structure (Doctorate Granting, Associates or Specialized). More so, the intellectual enterprise itself can be distinguished in terms of theoretical orientation (positivist, post structuralist, feminist etc) and methodological consideration (empirical experimental, ethnographic, tactual etc) as the case may be (Zeleza, 2003).
The above subject matter can be viewed from different perspectives. This includes: what is the nature of knowledge production in political science? What are the accepted tools of political science research? How can knowledge production in political science be an instrument for domination? etc.
Experience has shown and there is no denying the fact that, the perspective from which research is initiated affects the knowledge been produced. The argument is that, science is neutral and subjective. And that borrowed paradigms aid the institutionalization of domination. The interpretation of reality is coloured from the perspective one is viewing the problem from. Science is basically the service of power. Hence, stand point epistemologies focus on how research and knowledge production can be done from different perspectives. According to Hardling (1994) “modern sciences have used regional resources to constitute their goals, problematic, hypothesis, concepts, models and metaphors, research designs and technologies, favoured languages, selection and interpretation of data, the institutional structures necessary to do such sciences, their dissemination patterns, meanings and other consequencies. Their cognitive technical cores, not just their consequencies, are locally constituted.” The above argument captures reality in political science. The reason has been that, the tools for political science research is western biased and conceived as the ideal. Political science research can be deployed for domination if the knowledge been produced is used to influence, manipulate or control a given population. And this explains the African experience.
First and foremost, Africa is not a research oriented but knowledge dependent continent. The reason has been that the budget for research and development in Africa is very low. Research is a rigorous process that involves finance and availability of research instruments. Paradoxically, most research institutions in Africa, are grossly under funded and lack the capacity to engage in quality research. More so, the cost of publishing is very high and as such militates against knowledge production. In Nigeria for instance, the persistent calls to increase the national budget for education to 40% is yet to be realized. Therefore, university lecturers are confined predominantly to mere teachers and not researchers.
Secondly, African leaders are not sensitive to knowledge production by African scholars. The publications and research findings of African scholars in most cases are treated with disdain, which hinders scholarship promotion in the continent. Africa depends majorly on knowledge been produced in the developed world which act as the source of domination. Political science research is a tool for domination simply because the dominant theories cum knowledge produced via political science research are western biased. Political science is replete with studies, theories and idea that are prejudiced and biased against Africa. Explanations and prescriptions to the problem of African underdevelopment are often Eurocentric. Western development theories attempts to explain the continent’s underdevelopment by emphasizing endogenous variables so much that little or no reference is made to the all important role played by exogenous forces (imperialism). Furthermore, many western scholars argue that the only way Africa can get out of the shacklers of underdevelopment is to adopt western values, ideas and policies (Ibaba, 2004). The argument is that the emphasis of westernization of Africa as a panacea for development is a tool for domination. That is subjugating African to European culture, customs and belief system.
According to Ake (1979 and 1981) “western social sciences (political science inclusive) is focused on stability and order. And that this is institutionalized through the discouragement of dialectical thinking. The discouragement of dialectical thinking is related to the ideological commitment of western social science to the justification and preservation of the existing social order. With this kind of commitment, mainstream western social science has an inbuilt bias in favour of categories such as mechanical and organic solidarity, traditional and bureaucratic authority, universalism and particularism, democratic and totalitarian political systems, which are discrete and in sharp contrast and suggestive of good and bad. The categories connoting good are associated with the prevailing western society”. The logic is that, everything Western is good, and anything African is bad.
Political science research in Africa by western scholars paints Africa as backward, primitive, uncivilized and stateless prior to the advent of colonialism, which is not the case. In essence, knowledge production in political science from the western world stands to be a mechanism for domination and exploitation.
Another crucial point to note is that, most African scholars are disadvantaged in times of publishing in reputable international political science journals. The reason been that, the inadequacies in our national educational systems, has not prepared them effectively for this task, coupled with the bias measures against African scholars. As Widner (2000) has emphasized, issues that concern Africanists do not attract universal attention, and book publishers are reluctant to print even first rate research by Africans for global audience, for fear of commercial failure. A gatekeeper mentality” among the editors of professional Journals create a similar skepticism towards Africanists articles because they do not necessarily comply with what these gatekeepers narrowly consider to be dominant canons in the discipline. The implication therefore is that, knowledge production from the West dominates public consumption in political science research, and that is inimical to Africa.
Again, a related issue is the implication of lack of research funding in Africa and the attendant sourcing of research funds from abroad. Much social research is funded by organizations such as firms (Ford, Mac Arthur and Rockefeller Foundation) and Government Departments in the Developed world. The undeniable fact is that, such organizations frequently have a vested interest in the outcome of the research. This explains the selective funding of research which rests on interest maximization and protection. That is, the funding agencies seek to invest in studies that benefit them, and which will be supportive of their operations and worldview. A good example is scholarship grants for Doctorate research in specified areas offered to African students and scholars. The logic is that such research concern and questions are, tailored to suit the interest of the funding agencies. More so, the research findings are manipulated to protect their interest. Experience has shown that the West also exert pressure to restrict the publication of independent research findings that are critical of the dominant knowledge in circulation.
Again, where as African leaders are pressurized by the West to delink the State from the provision of basic social services by implementing privatization, deregulation and structural adjustment programmes, the state in the west is playing greater roles to benefit the citizenry. The recent bail out programme for bank in the west due to the global economic meltdown is a case in point. The instigation of African leaders to band the teaching of Marxism and Marxist literatures simple because it explains the dialectics of exploitation of man by man and how consciousness can lead to change is another notable example.
I will conclude by refuting a widely held political geography knowledge that “Mungo Park discovered River Niger”. The above statement is a mechanism for domination. Writing the political history of Africa from the western perspective is detrimental to Africa. The fact remains that, Africans have been using the River Niger for water and aquatic resources for millennia before the coming of the white man. Mungo park may be the first Whiteman to visit the Niger River, but never at all discover the River Niger.
Knowledge is power and political science is the master science. If you understand it, you survive the world. The best and easiest way to dominate or control a man is to indoctrinate him. Unfortunate for Africa, that has been the trend as regards political science research and knowledge production. Until Africa rise up to challenge and free it self from this dominance, the western world is ever ready to perpetuate the status quo. This does not mean that the deployment of political science research by Africans for the domination of Africans is not possible.

Ake, C. (1979). Social Science as Imperialism: A theory of Political Development. University Press, Ibadan.

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Sunday, November 1, 2009


The slogan of the re branding protagonists going on in Nigeria has been ‘NIGERIA: GOOD PEOPLE, GREAT NATION’. However, rebranding without first acknowledging our problems and solving them is tantamount to putting the cart before the horse. According to one of Nigeria advertising tsars, Biodun Shobanjo, a product can be referred to as a brand if and only if it can produce consistently an identifiable satisfaction to customers. In his words, that is why rebranding Nigeria will fail and woefully for that matter, this is because the brand Nigeria cannot produce consistently what rebranders claim it is.
The fundamental problem with Nigeria is bad leadership. Nigerians are hard working people, but the ugly monster of bad leadership has continually militated against any meaningful progress in the country. It is sad to note that the only thing developing in this country is underdevelopment.
The endemic poverty that has engulfed the country is bereft of change programs and policy implementation.
Nigerians will rather complain than take pragmatic steps to better their existential conditions with the words of late afrobeat legend, Fela Kuti ‘suffering and smiling’ fitting for the situation. Government on their own part will rather find excuses, procrastinate, coin out some enticing but deceitful English words such as 7 point agenda than implement people oriented policies.We must therefore all rise up and take our destinies in our hands by saying a big NO to bad leadership and mediocrity and tell Mrs Akunyili and her band of rebranders that instead good people, great nation, all we can get from bad leaders is poor masses

Saturday, August 8, 2009


The amnesty purportedly offered militants in the Niger delta area of Nigeria is a total misnomer. This is because amnesty can only be granted to a convicted criminal. The militants in Niger Delta Nigeria are not criminals, but simply freedom fighters.
With the level of environmental degradation and endemic poverty that characterize the region, those involved in militant activities cannot be blamed at all. How can a rational human being remain docile when his resources are looted with impunity. According to Wole Soyinka in his book (The Man Died), ‘The Man is dead in him who keep silent in the face of tyranny’.
To be candid, who actually need amnesty in the Niger Delta? The militants that are fighting for development in their land, or the federal government that has neglected and marginalized the region for decades. My simple submission is that it is the Niger Deltans that should be thinking of granting the government amnesty for the atrocities and total disregard for human right and rule of law committed in the region. The killing of innocent villagers and destruction of their habitat in Choba, Ogoni land, Tombia, Kaiama, Odi, Agee, Gbaramatu, Oporoza, etc. shows clearly that the federal government has no moral justification to talk about amnesty. How can a government that deploys jet fighters to bomb innocent villagers talk about amnesty? A sinner can never forgive God, it is impossible.
The federal government is raising the issue of amnesty because they want to reconcile with the criminal militant elements they used to rig the 2007 election as 2011 draws near. If all militants are really criminal and top government functionaries have nothing to hide, then why not compel them to face the laws of the land. Amnesty is not and can never be the solution to the Niger Delta crisis. The solution is massive and aggressive infrastructural development of the region.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


It is factual that someone who is sick cannot give out his best. Moreso, if the head of a country is sick, then that country would be prone to crisis.
The case of Nigeria is so pathetic because ours is a sick country presided over by a sick president. Whereas president yar’adua has good policy, initiatives captioned the seven point agenda, the level of implementation and realization of policy objectives has been outright failure.
The fundamental reality is that in a dependent prvatised and corrupt state like Nigeria, he who occupies leadership position contend with diabolic forces. Therefore it is only a healthy and vibrant leader that can bring about positive changes, and promote development.
A sick president ruling a sick country is tantamount to national stagnation cum retrogression and that explains the deplorable state of our roads, corruption, fraudulent elections, violation of rule of law, absence of basic social amenities like health care, food, electricity, etc. No wonder ASUU, NASU, SSANU, NUJ, RATAWU, NIPOST, medical and health workers are all on strike.
The existential conditions clearly explains the Nigerian situation. In fact if the head is sick, what else do you expect from the body called Nigeria.