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TRADITIONAL GOVERNMENT AND ADMINISTRATION

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1       Background of the Study

The public sector has a huge impact on people’s lives (Lane, 2000). Over the recent decades, the public sectors of the Western countries have implemented considerable reforms in response to the challenges of technological progress as well as to regional and global changes. These wide-ranging public sector reforms represent a paradigm shift from the Traditional model of Public Administration (TPA), to the New Public Management (NPM). In other words, there have been numerous attempts to replace the huge massive bureaucracies based on hierarchical forms with market-based economic theories built on consumer-driven managerialism. Whilst power was centralised in TPA, NPM decentralised power distribution to the businesses. However, shortcomings of both contractual relationships between firms and competitive market regulations gave rise to the Network Governance (NG) model.

It is difficult to provide a universally accepted definition of a traditional system of authority in Nigeria because of the diversity in the political and administrative components of traditional systems in different parts of the country. This difficulty notwithstanding, traditional systems of authority may be defined as the indigenous polity which existed before the advent of the colonialists (Adewumi & Egwurube 1985:20).

The responsibility for giving appropriate definition as to who is a traditional ruler is primarily that of the State Governments.  There are no fundamental variations in the definitions contained in the Traditional Rulers and Chiefs Law of the various State Governments (Onoja 2007; Emordi & Osiki 2008). Based on the review of various of State laws, Ola and Tonwe (2009:174) argue that a ‘traditional ruler’ may be defined as ‘the traditional head of an ethnic group or clan who is the holder of the highest primary executive authority in an indigenous polity, or who has been appointed to the positioning accordance with the customs and tradition of the area concerned by instrument or order of the state government, and whose title is recognised as a traditional ruler title by the Government of the State’.

The NG includes taking into consideration the voluntary, private and public sectors, national, regional and international institutions in the performance of different functions of governance. In such models, people face various roles. People are considered passive recipients of the services in TPA, active customer of the services in NPM, and active citizens in decision-making processes in NG. However, what happens in practice seems to be different from the intended goals (Powell, 1990, p. 296; Hughes, 2003).

The aim of this paper is to examine the strengths and weaknesses of the mentioned models of public administration with emphasis on the role of public. This paper has been divided into three parts. In each part, one of the public administration models will be critically reviewed. This paper concludes that NPM cannot replace a part of qualities such as predictability, stability and due process in TPA with its elements. It depicts, nevertheless, more empowered and less accountable citizens to the systems than TPA. However, it can have negative effects on low-income class of the society since it largely relies on market regulations. But on the other hand, NG can be the most desirable form of administration as citizens are accountable and responsible in the networks. Nonetheless, there are doubts about the ability of political leadership to guarantee the accountability of this model.

Several researches have confirmed the buoyancy, authority and importance of African traditional structures in the politico-cultural and socio-economic operations of Africans. In contrast with this is the emerging State’s empowerment to make and enforce laws. Therefore, it is noted in ECA project paper (2006: iii) that:

As Africa seeks to build and strengthen capable States, there is the need to recognize and address this “duality” fully. This is principally borne out by a growing recognition that capable democratic States must be grounded on indigenous social values and contexts, while adapting to changing realities. This will require among other actions, aligning and harmonizing traditional governance institutions with the modern State.

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