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Patterns Of Elite Bargains And State Resilience In Nigeria

4113 words - 17 pages


The purpose of this research is to examine the role of elite bargains in promoting state resilience in Nigeria. Various factors like the civil war, military dictatorship, ethno-religious crises and the recent Boko Haram have undermined Nigeria’s unity. In spite of these factors, Nigeria has maintained fourteen years of continuous democratic rule, introduced various economic reforms and exhibited virtual military capacity to contain insurgencies. This research links the role of elite bargains to Nigeria’s resilience, the degree to which a state can withstand and recover from the shocks of state fragility. It proposes four patterns of bargains which may lead to resilience even ...view middle of the document...

6 billion in 2008 (OECD, 2010 p.2). Despite these measures, the number of fragile states is on the rise (Osaghae, 2007; Uzoechina, 2008); a reflection of the fact that international efforts have not been able to adequately address the issue of state fragility.
In addressing this concern , scholars such as Englebert & Tull (2008) and Osaghae (2010) assert that though the schemes and technical aid provided by international organizations to fragile states may seem to be beneficial, they ignore the fact that such states already have inbuilt working practices, based on indigenous political structures also capable of responding to the shocks of fragility. Hence, the repercussions of conventional intervention, according to Englebert & Tull (2008), is that external intervention can conflict with internal state mechanisms, eventually leading to cross purposes and a negative impact. A proposed solution is to promote locally ingrained models to achieve relative stability. These homegrown patterns of resilience center, in significant part, on bargains that are inclusive of the major contending political forces and orchestrated by powerful elites that have direct influence on government (Law, 2012). This integration of shared interests in the administration of a country plays an important role in enduring over time to promote resilience (Putzel& DiJohn, 2012).
This paper will assess whether some of these elite bargains, as described in the literature, have played a role in Nigeria’s resilience. It makes use of a middle-range theoretical framework which proposes that elite bargains allow for a common understanding among various ethnic groups in the society. Such elite bargains are identified by their inclusiveness. The inclusive bargains involve negotiations to ensure at least majority of the political and ethnic groups in the country, are represented in the bargain. Such bargains also ensure a proportional distribution of state resources among participating members. Thirdly, the bargains ensure a significant number of political and ethnic groups have equal access to state jobs Furthermore, the bargains ensure that there is a degree of consensus with the military. These patterns create an avenue for peaceful settlement capable of leading to resilience.
By assessing the role of political elite bargains in achieving state resilience in Nigeria, this research possesses the capacity to make a case for promoting indigenous patterns that contribute to state resilience as opposed to conventional international responses to state fragility. The research also intends to contribute to literature which emphasizes Nigeria’s resilience over its fragility, given the sparse work associated with this perspective among scholars.
To better account for the role of inclusiveness on state resilience, this research first introduces a theoretical framework that focuses on the alternative concept of the inclusive elite bargains with a focus on its patterns and dynamics. Building on...

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