Forging an elite Consensus

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Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari at 76 years old is probably thinking of a legacy to leave behind after his 2 terms of 8 years at the helms, leading one of the youngest population of people on average globally.

Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a stalwart of the ruling APC is 67 years old, while the Presidential candidate of the opposition PDP is 72 years old.

Beyond politicking for the sake of politics, in Nigeria today there seems to be a lack of an elite consensus on the broad reforms that the country should be undertaking to leave a better future for the next generation.

In political science, the elite consensus theory posits that a small minority, consisting of members of the economic elite and policy-planning networks, holds the most power—and that this power is independent of democratic elections.

Through positions in corporations or on corporate boards, and influence over policy-planning networks through financial support of foundations or positions with think tanks or policy-discussion groups, members of the “elite” exert significant power over corporate and government decisions.

The basic characteristics of this theory are that power is concentrated, the elites are unified, the non-elites are diverse and powerless, elites’ interests are unified due to common backgrounds and positions and the defining characteristic of power is institutional position.

Clearly today in Nigeria that is not the case.

The big issues that confront the nation today are largely unresolved, and there is a lack of clarity on what the way forward is.

From the huge fuel subsidy expenses, floating of the naira, an education policy, what to do with the power sector, privatisation of government assets, restructuring and decentralisation of power from the centre, comprehensive health care reforms, private sector led growth, free trade and non-protectionist policies, and so … Read More...