Impact of Political and Cultural Systems on Poverty in Nigeria
Impactof Political and Cultural Systems on Poverty in Nigeria
Justlike any other community, Nigeria suffers from numerous socialproblems. However, solving these problems has been nightmare inNigeria due to cultural disorientations. For instance, Nigerians donot comprehend their social responsibilities in resolving theseissues (Oduwole,2016).On the contrary, there are cultural beliefs across Nigeria that theirsocial problems are supposed to be solved by the government. Owningto these it is necessary to understand specific social problems inNigeria from both political as well as cultural perspectives. Thepurpose of this article is to explore the issue of poverty in theNigerian culture. Most if not all problems in Nigeria related topoverty, i.e. either they arise due to poverty or they result intopoverty as their final product. The role of the political system aswell culture in policy development for devising a concrete solutionhas been discussed.
PoliticalSystem in Nigeria
Nigeriaas a republic is made up of 36 states with Abuja as the capital cityand several territories. The federal government is the supreme sourceof power in the land. It comprises of the executive, legislature andjudiciary with their powers vested by the country’s constitutionthat was adopted in 1999 (Clementina,& Kelvin, 2015).The constitution endows the powers in the president for the executivebranch, national assembly for the legislature and federal courtsincluding the Supreme Court at the topmost of the judiciary branch.The president heads the state, the government and the multipartysystem. The country’s politics are conducted within the federal,presidential and representative democratic republic framework wherebythe government exercises the executive powers. Precisely, thepolitical system in Nigeria is complex and requires thorough scrutinyin order to understand (Kalagbor,2011).In fact, most citizens find it very hard to comprehend their nation’spolitical system.
Thepresident assumes office after being elected through the universalsuffrage and he is endowed with the power to appoint ministers tohead federal ministries collectively referred to as the cabinet. Thecabinet must have at least one person from each of the 36 states inorder to be approved by the senate of Nigeria (Obafemi,& Ifere, 2014).The senior civil servant for each minister is the permanent secretaryeven though at times one minister is given the responsibility to headtwo ministries. This observation is a clear demonstration oflikelihood of corruption incidences, which are blamed as major causesof poverty. One would wonder how and why single person holding higherofficial position would be allocated another bigger office. In acountry with the highest population such as Nigeria, it beat logic tohave such situations.
Thenational assembly of Nigeria is made up of two chambers namely, thesenate and the House of Representatives. The house of representativescomprises of 360 elected members to hold a four-year term in singleseat constituencies (Oduwole,2016).The senate comprises of 109 members with 108 elected in 36 three-seatconstituencies for four year term period. The other member is chosenin single seat constituency of the federal capital. The country is amultiparty democratic system with various administrative divisionscomprising of 36 states and 774 local government areas. The countryalso has been under the military rule for several years (between 1966and 1999) recording five successful and three failed coups totalingto eight (Dauda,2016).A scrutiny into this history reveals that corruption embedded withinthe body politic and other sections of life hindered progress andefficiency. Eventually they led to destabilized lives and loss ofproperties hence accounting for rampant poverty in the country.
Withclear evidence that both the executive and the legislative branchesare corrupted, it is necessary to examine the country’s judicialand legal system. The judiciary is made up of the supreme court ofNigeria, the court of appeal, high courts and trail courts in thatorderly ranking (Kalagbor,2011).The role of the national judicial council is to protect the judiciaryform the executive branch even though the president on recommendationby the council appoints the chief justice and associate justice. Thesenate confirms the appointees. In Nigeria, the legal system is basedon the rule of law, British common law and independence of thejudiciary and the legal system framework is provided by theconstitution of Nigeria (Clementina,& Kelvin, 2015).The legislation is the source of law with both customary andindigenous laws being major constituents.
Povertyin Nigeria’s Culture
Theeconomic report released by World Bank in July 2014 shows thatNigerian economy is among the highest growing economies across theworld. Unfortunately, despite the fact that the country economicgrowth rate is 7.4 percent, poverty remains a major problem inNigeria. For example, more than 70 percent of the country’spopulation lives below the poverty line (Obafemi,& Ifere, 2014).The country’s general poverty level is estimated at 33.1 percent.This sounds ironical bearing in mind that Nigeria is among thebiggest economies in Africa. In fact, Nigeria is endowed with massivewealth coupled with a larger population to make good sue of theavailable resources. The reported poverty levels are unacceptable fora country like Nigeria, which has plenty of natural resources likeoil as well as well-developed economy (Oduwole,2016).This is adequate prove that some systems in the country are notfunctioning well hence the need to understand the country’spolitical and cultural systems.
Inview of the above, there is no doubt that high level of poverty inNigeria is because of the country’s political instability. Due topolitical instability, major resources that could have benefited thecountry are endowed within the hands of very few (Clementina,& Kelvin, 2015).Most of the people owning these resources are either foreigners orthose who use their position in authority to take forcefully over thecontrol. As a result, the country’s earnings are poorly distributedwith more than 80 percent resting within the few elite class. It isnow over 50 years since Nigeria gained independence. Sadly, it isestimated that the country commands less than 1 percent of itssummative assets (Kalagbor,2011).With such structures, there is no doubt that most people in thecountry will not be able to get aces to basic services.
Culturalpractices and beliefs can also be considered as another main cause ofpoverty escalation in Nigeria. For instance, the elite groups thatcontrols and regulates the country’s resources have the tendency oftransferring its wealth to foreign countries (Obafemi,& Ifere, 2014).Doing so has deprived off the country the ability to make investmentsin major sectors such as infrastructure and education. The outcome ofsuch failures has been increasing level of unemployment that iscurrently rated at 8.2 percent (Anyanwu,2014).Without employment, people are not able to earn income meaning theyare financially unstable. The associate outcomes of unemployment suchas increased crime rate, tribal conflicts and terrorism cannot beleft out. All these acts mean that people loose the little possessionthey have as they try to safe their lives hence accounting forincreasing poverty level.
Itis essential to understand that poverty is a vicious circle and thusone cause usually reinforces other possible causes. In Nigeria, it isclear that poor economic management is the mother root for increasingand unending poverty situations (Oduwole,2016).The country is lacking basic infrastructural services likehealthcare, education and clean water. This means that people havenot been given an opportunity to support and help themselves advancein life. Lack of income has made it harder for people to satisfybasic needs including food, shelter and clothing. As a result, thesecurity situation in the country is not good and there is high levelof corruption as well as poor investment. This implies that povertyis an intertwined problem in Nigeria and it requires extensive planin order to address (Clementina,& Kelvin, 2015).Therefore, it is important to consider the efforts and implicationsof both Nigeria’s political and cultural system in addressingpoverty.
Impactof Political System on Poverty Policy Development in Nigeria
Thequality of laws, rules and regulations that governs citizens anddictates the relationships with foreigners are the foundations forany country to develop. Over 90 percent of Nigerians relies greatlyon agricultural sector, which also account for 45 percent of thecountry’s GDP (Anyanwu,2014).Agriculture is mainly practiced in rural areas whileindustrialization is the heart of economy in urban areas.Unfortunately, the government has done very little to develop ruralareas and convert them into economical hubs. The country also lackscompressive laws required to regulate rural urban migration and itsassociated impacts. All the government does is to develop industriesin cities with the hope that this will help trickle down rawmaterials and wealth demands to rural areas (Dauda,2016). The government polices have done very little if any to help the poormajority living in rural areas.
Thegovernment has been instrumental in establishing peace across Africanby allowing Nigerian troops into war tone countries such as Liberia,Libya and Mali (Oduwole,2016).Unfortunately, the government does not have reliable structures tohelp its citizens make investments in these countries. Wherebycitizens have tried to make investments overseas, the country lacksan appropriate guiding principle requiring them to run accounts inNigerian banks. As a result, Nigerians ends up benefiting othercountries because it is even very hard to track their wealth. Due tothese technicalities, such wealth usually never contributes to thewellbeing of Nigeria. The worst of it all is that the country lacks apolicy requiring foreign investors to employ local citizens (Anyanwu,2014).Having such a principle will ensures that a significant part of theprofits accrued remains within the Nigerian economy rather than beingtransferred to foreign countries as it is now.
Itis the duty of the government to grant citizens their happiness byfighting and protecting their rights. One way of doing so is bymonitoring and regulating the minimum wage that poor laboring peoplegets from their respective employers (Dauda,2016).There is need for the Nigerian government to develop a policy thatrequires employers to pay employees minimum wages that sustains themlive above the set poverty line. In return, both employers as well asthe government will realize that motivated employees lead toincreased productivity. Similarly, this will encourage moreinvestment due to increased innovation, willpower and financialcapabilities among the currently poor population. With enhancedcapacity utilization, the cost of production will reduce hencereducing the prices of goods (Oduwole,2016).If goods become affordable, people will be able to satisfy theirbasic needs an aspect that is key determinant for poverty conditionswithin the country.
Ifonly the government as well as Nigerians could comprehend the roleand importance of communication in the society, it would have beeneasier to phase out poverty. It has become a trend for Nigerianleaders to evade the reality that they contribute largely to thedeteriorating situation within the country (Obafemi,& Ifere, 2014).The government does not good procedural strategies for communicatingwith angry citizens a factor that accounts for numerous riots some ofwhich even turns into cur-views and coups. If only the governmentcould put in place reliable platforms for engaging with citizens inresolving grievances, it would have done much justice to the economy.Through civic education, the government could have informed citizensabout their personal responsibilities (Dauda,2016).Eventually citizens would have been vital in creating and executingpositive solutions to curb increasing poverty levels.
Impactof Culture on Poverty Solutions
Anassessment into the Nigerian culture reviews very interesting resultsaccounting for major reasons why proposed poverty solutions andpolicies never work. In order for a country to eradicate poverty,there is need for increased production rather than consumption(Kalagbor,2011).Similarly, it is essential to have higher savings and investment rateamong people to increase earnings as opposed to higher expenditure.Regrettably, this is not the case in Nigeria because most Nigerianslove fulsome life and thus they spend without thinking about the needto save. In fact, most of them live in debts because they spend morethan they earn. Unhappily, instead of investing they usually end upspending on irrelevant things making it hard for the country toaccumulate adequate wealth (Obafemi,& Ifere, 2014).This implies the country lacks the resources to redirect towards jobcreation, business investment, innovation and international trade.
Sadlyto note, is the reality that Nigerians have developed and beliefs inthe culture of being employed. Mentioning self-employment anddevelopment of business-oriented minds to Nigerians is juts a wasteof time. Research has shown that the wealthiest people across theworld are business oriented and enthusiastic enough to transformdreams into reality (Kalagbor,2011).With the peanuts earned by Nigerians after being employed by Asians,there is no doubt that they will never be able to generate awell-capitalized business. With a well-capitalized business, it wouldhave been easier for the Nigerians to get adequate turnover profitsthat empower them with the ability to sustain their living standards(Dauda,2016).It is necessary for Nigerians to adopt a new culture of frugality sothat they do not work tirelessly only to benefit their new colonists.
Beliefsabout child bearing and family planning are another importantcultural aspect that should be accorded adequate consideration inNigeria. Despite the fact that children are blessings and great giftsfrom God, this is only true if one is able to take care of thosechildren (Anyanwu,2014).Unfortunately, as per research, it has been established that onaverage poor Nigerian women have seven children. This is far muchhigher compared to their wealthy counterparts who have just one ortwo children at most. The culture of overdependence on husbands isthe reasons why poor women have so many children. This explains thephrase “the poor will always remain to be poor” because thesefamilies do have the potential to take care of the needs of theirrespective members (Clementina,& Kelvin, 2015).Having a manageable family size ensures that the families do notstrain or struggle thus enabling them to move out of the povertyline.
Constructiveengagement is another important approach for resolving poverty inNigeria. Unfortunately, Nigerians have undermined traditionaloccupations yet they want to get money forcibly from business andcorporations operating within their territory (Clementina,& Kelvin, 2015).This has scared away investors thus limiting the country’s abilityto develop its infrastructural system. Nigerians have failed to leada credible life and thus their cunning ways are costing them so much.For instance, parents usually hire experts to write exams for theirchildren, people have shied away from honesty and handwork and theyelect leaders basing on religion and tribal inclinations. Theapproaches used to air out grievances are never diplomatic and peopleare usually quick to blame the government even for their own personalresponsibilities (Anyanwu,2014).Nigerians have adopted cultural practices that hinder economic growthboth at personal as well as national level.
Asillustrated above, there is no doubt that poverty is a seriousproblem in Nigeria despite numerous attempts by the government tocontrol the issue. Through this analysis, one is able to identifysome of major reasons as to why there is such higher rate of povertyin Nigeria. First, those involved in designing, developing andimplementing poverty reduction plans do not adequate informationabout the issue. They are either foreigners or locals who hold biggeroffices and thus have never had an opportunity to experience the realissue. Secondly, the programs adopted are usually top down instructure. Thus, they lead to increased corruption, bottleneckbureaucracies and increased gap between the anticipated beneficiariesand planners. Thirdly, wrong approaches have always been used wherebyprograms aim to alter the economic conditions instead of changing theideologies among the poor. It is essential to change the minds ofpeople rather than trying to change the conditions in order toresolve poverty issues.
Thereis increased self-doubt and lower social change among Nigeriansmaking it harder for them to put into action the proposed solutions.Due to this, Nigerians have ignored their responsibilities thinkingthat the government, foreigners or someone else will come and fightpoverty on their behalf. Overdependence on unreliable promises formpoliticians has ruined the Nigerian society, as people are constantlygrowing lazy and resistant to helping themselves. The bottom line ofall these is that the antipoverty efforts have always beenuncoordinated and scattered making it impossible to achieve the setgoals. There is need for comprehensive yet cohesive programs linkeddirectly to the poor with the aim of transforming their mentalconditions about poverty. It is obvious that wrong problem diagnosticapproach has always led to selection of wrong measures andapplication of irrelevant procedures. Nigerians must understand thatpoverty eradication is not about satisfying needs. Instead, it is allabout developing an enabling environment that empowers peopleexercise their inherent traits to enhance their lots. Nigerian shouldadopt the “what” to “why” then “how” approach in fightingpoverty.
Anyanwu,J. (2014). Marital Status, Household Size and Poverty in Nigeria:Evidence from the 2009/2010 Survey Data. AfricanDevelopment Review,26(1),118-137. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-8268.12069
Clementina,K., & Kelvin, C. (2015). Financial Exclusion of Small andMedium Enterprise and Poverty Alleviation: Nigeria Experience.ArchivesOf Business Research,3(4).http://dx.doi.org/10.14738/abr.34.1221
Dauda,R. (2016). Poverty and Economic Growth in Nigeria: Issues andPolicies. JournalOf Poverty,21(1),61-79. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10875549.2016.1141383
Kalagbor,S. (2011). Urban poverty and democracy in Nigeria: Challenges andopportunities. Sophia:An African Journal Of Philosophy,11(1).http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/sophia.v11i1.65126
Obafemi,F., & Ifere, E. (2014). Incidence of Energy Poverty in Nigeria: ACritical Assessment. AdvancesIn Social Sciences Research Journal,1(4),1-18. http://dx.doi.org/10.14738/assrj.14.179
Oduwole,T. (2016). Dialetical Discourse on Development and Poverty: It’sImplication in Nigeria. AdvancesIn Social Sciences Research Journal,3(6).http://dx.doi.org/10.14738/assrj.36.2039
No related posts.