THE INFLUENCES OF PARTISAN, ETHNIC AND TERRITORIAL CLEAVAGES ON BILL COSPONSORSHIP IN NIGERIA’S NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
Akujuobi, Christopher Ugochukwu
MetadataShow full item record
Nigeria has been pulled in multiple directions by divisive centrifugal forces emanating from ethnic, partisan and territorial cleavages, as well as differences in the demands for public goods and services. This culminated in a civil war in the period 1967-1970. These problems are made worse by the discovery of oil in commercial quantities which turned the country into a mono-commodity economy, and increased the clamor by the different groups for a fair share of the oil revenues. Nigeria therefore conveys an image of a dysfunctional political system to many researchers. Based on these observations, my expectation is that the National Assembly being a microcosm of the Nigerian society, the legislators will mirror the existing superstructures drawn around socio-political cleavages in their bill cosponsorship behavior. Using for the first time, original bill initiation data collected from the Sixth Legislative Session of Nigeria’s Fourth Republic National Assembly covering the period 2007 to 2011, the study explores the bill cosponsorship patterns through Social Network Analysis, adopting the exponential random graph modeling. Although, some of the results present significant divisive co-partisan, co-ethnic, and intra-territorial bill cosponsorship relationships, ethnicity has a moderate influence as a predictor of the decision to cosponsor legislation in both chambers. There are also significant ties that cut across parties, ethnicity and territory. Based on these revelations, the image of a dysfunctional state about to descend into total state failure as predicted by some analysts are not conclusively supported by the data analyzed in this study. What the country requires at this moment is the strengthening of the institutions of democratic governance such as the National Assembly. This, I believe will promote the centripetal forces of national cohesion that will bind Nigerians closer together, and thus provide a viable and sustainable alternative to a doomsday scenario.