A Normative Theoretical Discourse of Elite Self-Recruitment in Nigeria, 1960-2019
Since 1960, political succession, in Nigeria, has been grossly influenced by the manipulations and anti-democratic tendencies of the political elites. The elites, in their attempts to sustain their ruling hegemony, intentionally create room for their access to, and influence on, the allocation of the state’s resources, thereby undermining the significance of the principle of periodic elections. The elites have often achieved this goal by fraudulently recruiting persons with whom they share consanguinity into positions of authority. Elite self-recruitment is one of the major impediments to the development of democracy in Nigeria, especially, given its supportive influence on rising incidents of corruption, mediocrity, stupendous wastage of scarce resources, bastardisation of the judiciary arm, leadership recycling, and political dominance of the oligarchic class. Consequently, the study seeks to explain the nature of the intrigues and strategies behind elite self-recruitment and its consequences for democratic consolidation and sustainable development in Nigeria. To achieve its objectives, the study interrogated relevant scholarly works and notable Nigerian newspaper publications. The finding shows that elite self-recruitment is, indeed, a strategy of corruption by the political elite in Nigeria to steal and loot the state’s resources through the perpetual preservation of positions of state power and influence for themselves; that the practice has been a bane of the achievement of good governance and public good in the country. The study, therefore, concludes that there is need to demystify elite self-recruitment by addressing the challenges of representative democracy in a manner that the corrupt monopoly and domineering influence of the ruling political elite can be eradicated or reduced to the barest minimum, at least. This will, in turn, enhance an unhindered populist participation and positive chances of average citizens to ascend to leadership and political positions in Nigeria.
Keywords: Democracy, Democratic Consolidation, Election, Elite Self-Recruitment, Leadership Recycling.