n AFFRIKA Journal of Politics, Economics and Society - Local communities and grassroots politics in Nigeria : the need for reconceptualisation

Volume 5, Issue 1_2
  • ISSN : 1998-4936
  • E-ISSN: 2075-6534


There are contending perceptions of the challenges of grass root development in Nigeria. Given the perceived failure of democratic politics to engender grass root development, some scholars have argued that politics foisted at the local level is a major obstacle to development at the grass root. From this perspective, a decisive solution would consist in the deliberate de-politicization of the grass root level. However, such arguments are made on the basis that it is possible to make water-tight dichotomization between the local and national levels. In this regard, it is important to note the ways local level actors are fundamentally embedded in what are erroneously regarded as the over-determination of the grass root by national level actors. Contrary to this view, this paper argues that the grass root levels are similarly characterized by clientelist networks, godfatherism and prebendal politics. Failing on its normative role as grass root development agency, this paper posits on importance of conducting local government elections on non party basis. The paper examines the bases for grass root politics and showed that rather than usher in grass root development contemporary practice largely deviate from the conception of local politics as means of engendering social capital. Local choice theory, participant observation and interview provided guide for the theoretical and methodology for the study. This paper suggests means of making grass root politics development oriented.

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