Public Policy and Governance in Nigeria: A study of President Buhari’s civilian regime


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This study intends to examine Public policy and governance in Nigeria: A study of Buhari’s civilian government. Despite the government establishment of various public sectors and facilities across the country, the country is still facing serious problem of various kinds, is it the government that is not financing these public sectors and facilities, or are the people not partaking in the public policy services, or are the policies not effective to the lives of the citizens? These and many unanswered questions prompted the researcher to go into investigation on public policy and governance in Nigeria. The study employed the descriptive survey research design; primary and secondary data sources were used and data was analyzed using descriptive statistical tool which was presented in frequency tables and percentage. 55 respondents were used. The study findings revealed that health policies are fully implemented and it has contributed immensely to the development of the people, contributing to the effectiveness in governance on the path of the government, it was however noted that despite the numerous public policies on health related issues on the effectiveness of governance, the
policies are faced with some problems such as corruption, inadequate health workers and medical equipments. It is recommended that. As a policy and for effective governance, government should increase the number of health facilities across the nation so that everybody
will have the opportunity of accessing them easily, which can bring about governance dividend and development to the people and nation at large.

Background of the Study

Public policy are the actions part of government, it is defined as what government chooses to do or not to do (Dye, 1975). Policies are designed to achieve certain objective. They are strategies and programmes that government adopts or employ in addressing the needs of her citizens. One essential attributes of governments in many nations of the world, both developed and developing are to design or formulate certain fundamental policies in order to regulate, control and guide the operations and conducts of its administration and subjects. In Nigeria, various policies have been put in place in order to improve the general well-being of the public and public sectors over the years. Public policy clarifies existing conditions and objectives, and articulate relevant actions and strategies to reach the desired conditions. They also “involve taking the necessary actions, evaluating their outcomes and impacts, drawing lessons to guide future conducts and performances, and varying what is (to be) done in the light of the lessons. It must be realized that the essence of public policies is to improve the living conditions of the people (Ikelegbe, 2006).

The incidence of policy failure could be tantamount to a worsening of the said living conditions. This is especially so in the socioeconomic sphere. Nigeria’s poor socio-economic conditions since the attainment of political independence have been ascribed to a variety of causes. Prominent among these is policy failure, which itself derives from a full range of adverse influences. These influences include, inter-alia, policy errors and poor implementation of appropriate policies. It has often been advanced that Nigeria has no difficulties with plan and policy formulation, while the problems are usually with implementation. However, one important realization is that both policy formulation and implementation are complementary facets of the policy process. Unless we cultivate this complementary and take a holistic perspective of the policy process, we can hardly guarantee the desired policy success.

The implementation of these policies is often bedeviled with challenges such as People’s attachment to customs, traditions, myths and legend, high level of corruption, ignorance, poverty and lack of needed commitment by the stakeholders among others. These problems have hitherto constituted barriers to the effective public policies and governance in Nigeria since the country attained independence on October 1 1960. Governance is the use of institutions, structures of authority and even collaboration to allocate resources and coordinate or control activities in society or the economy (World Bank, 2003).

Governance consists of the traditions and institutions by which authority in a country is exercised. This includes: the process by which governments are selected, monitored and replaced; the capacity of the government to effectively formulate and implement sound policies, and the respect of citizens and the State for the institutions that govern economic and social interaction among them (Kaufmann et. al. 2006). Governance may operate in an organization of any size: from a single human being to all of humanity; and it may function in a positive or negative way. It is in this sense that good governance is differentiated from bad or poor governance. Good governance therefore is now used to refer to the exercise of political power to promote the public good and the welfare of the people. The public good here incorporates the norms of values of a free, just, ordered and law- governed society as well as those of happiness and the good life (Babawale, 2007).

Public policies, thus aim to promote societal well-being, good governance and development. Accordingly, they deal with a wide range of societal issues – economic, political, social, cultural, scientific and technological, and environmental – for example, in agriculture, industry, defense, health, population, social welfare, education, transport, utilities, housing, environment, political structures and organizations, law and order, and regulation of economic and social activities (Obi, Nwachukwu & Obiora, 2008).

Policy-making is complex, demanding the very best of government officials. It is worth the effort. The destiny of a nation, the fulfillment of her dreams and aspirations – flow out of the exercise of public policies she makes. The policy-making process weighs and balances public values. Often there is no “right’ choice or correct technical answer to the question at hand. That is why policy-making can be an adversarial process, characterized by the clash of competing and conflicting interests and viewpoints rather than an impartial, disinterested or “objective” search for “correct” solutions for policy problems. Because of these value clashes, the policy-making process can get emotional. However, it does not have to be rancorous. Thus, this work tries to examine the extent to which public policies and governance under the President Muhammadu Buhari’s civilian government have succeeded in achieving her objectives and to assess how these policies have helped developed the people and the Nigerian State with major emphasis on health related policies.

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