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This research work that analysis on the impact of public
opinion on public policy in Nigeria from 2010-2012 while
narrowing it down to the economic policy of deregulation
or fuel subsidy removal of 2012. Broadly divided into five
chapters, the work breakdown how governmental
decisions are being influenced by the opinions of the
people in the democracy of Nigeria. History had it that
before the discovery of oil, agriculture gave Nigeria about
70% of her income until now oil has earned Nigeria a
higher foreign income. Hence, this work fills the gap and
age answers to questions on whether public policies are
products of public opinion, the impact of public opinion
on public policies and if the deregulation is a solution to
poverty and underdevelopment. The system theory
became the theoretical framework which deals on policy
input and policy out put. A historical analysis was made
on the topic was made, while the effect of public opinion
on public policies were also discovered. Policies for
managing poverty and underdevelopment were brokendown in the work. At the end, the work gives an insight
and explains the reasons behind policy making in Nigeria
and also gave possible solutions to the issue.
Table of Content
Title Page—————————————————-i
Approval Page———————————————-ii
Acknowledgement ————————————–v-vi
Abstract —————————————————-vii
Table of Contents ————————————–viii-x
Chapter One: General Introduction
1.1 Background of the Study —————————1-8
1.2 Statement of the Problem—————————-8-11
1.3 Objective of the Study———————————–12
1.4 Literature Review ————————————12-31
1.5 Significance of the Study——————————–32
1.6 Theoretical Framework——————————32-37
1.7 Hypotheses——————————————–37-38
1.8 Methods of Data collection and Analysis————-38
1.9 Scope and Limitations of the Study——————-38
1.10 Definition of Terms.——————————–39-41
Chapter Two: The Influence of Public Opinion on
Public Policy: A Historical Analysis
2.1 The Colonial Era.———————————–42-53
2.2 The Military Era————————————-53-69
2.3 The Civilian Era————————————-69-90
Chapter Three: The Impact of Public Opinion on
Public Policy in Nigeria.
3.1 The Abrogation of the Anglo-Nigerian Defence Pact
and the Rejection of the Non-Aligned
Policy. ———————————————91-102
3.2 The Rejection of the International Monetary Fund
(IMF) Loan and the Organization of Islamic
Conference (OIC) Membership.—————-102-114
3.3 Establishment of Anti-Corrupt Agencies and
Palliative measures.—————————–114-127
Chapter four: Policies for Managing Poverty and
Underdevelopment in Nigeria.
4.1 The Policy of Nationalization and
4.2 The Policy of Poverty Alleviation.———–138-156
4.3 The Policy of Deregulation and the Opinion against
Deregulation ———————————156-172
Chapter five: Summary, Conclusion and
5.1 Summary—————————————–173-179
5.2 Conclusion————————————–179-182
5.3 Recommendations—————————–182-186
Bibliography ————————————187-189
Chapter One: General Introduction
1.1 Background of the Study.
Since independence in 1960 in Nigeria, different
governments have embrace on one programme or
another. The research work is to examine the activities of
the public opinion on public policy from 2010-2012,
hence, narrowing it down to an economic reform policy of
the deregulation of the downstream oil sector in Nigeria,
also known as the fuel subsidy removal in Nigeria.
Nigeria is a democratic nation. One of the principles of
democracy is the operation of fundamental human rights,
which of allows for the freedom of speech, which is on the
view of the majority, influencing governmental decisions.
Public policy as applied to politics is seen as a statement
of a principle with their supporting rules of action, that
conditions and governs the achievement of their goals.
Government usually engages in different programmes, as
the government is the authoritative body because they
are backed up by the law. Government also has both
power and authority to execute their duties and also
ensure compliance. These programes are directed
towards solving a particular programmes or preempting
them. Therefore, programmes are not just mode for fun of
making them, they are made to solve the societal needs.
They entail the expenditure of public funds.
Before colonialization, the economies of the different
kingdoms that now constitute the Nigeria political entity
were based on agriculture. Since independence in 1960,
the role of agriculture in the economy of Nigeria has been
on the downward trend with regards to its contribution to
GDP. Its share to GDP fell from 61.5% in 1963/1964 to
14.6% in 1983. This has been partly due to the
emergence of oil-Reynolds (1975) argued that agricultural
development can promote economic development of the
underdeveloped countries in four different ways:
1. By increasing the supply of food available for
domestic consumption and realizing the needed
labour for industrial employment.
2. By enlarging the size of the domestic market for
the manufacturing sectors.
3. By increasing the supply of domestic savings
4. By providing the foreign exchange earned by
agricultural exports.
Since the discovery of oil, which earns us our
foreign exchange, agriculture has been abandoned.
Exploration for crude petroleum oil in Nigeria first began
in 1980. But serious and sustained efforts did not
happen until shell Darcy petroleum Company
commenced operations in 1935. It took this company
more twenty years to discover petroleum crude oil in
commercial quantities in Oloibiri in 1956. Nevertheless,
oil price has never been satiable in the country as
successive governments keep adjusting the price
upwards beyond the affordability of the common citizens
of the oil producing country. Like in the price of
petroleum products is a global phenomena problem in
the international market.
Specifically, oil prices in Nigeria have been on a
continuous increase since the beginning of 2004 and this
has happened despite the organization of petroleum
Exporting countries (OPEC) increase in its oil out put.
Earlier in 2004, the run up in oil price was attributed to
surging demand for petroleum products due to global
economy. Then, it was the unrest in Nigeria. Concerning
the security of oil, supplies have heightened more
recently. Nigeria is the sixth oil producing nation in the
The subsidy removal on fuel has increase the price
of oil. In the past, the increase in price occurred mostly
in the extent of disruption to oil supply. Now, the
deregulation policy has heightened the price of oil
disruption of oil supply. There is concern the current
step rise in the price of oil as a result of the removal of
subsidy on fuel could have an adverse impact on the
Nigeria economy; that is currently on road to recovery
and expansion. When oil is expensive, people try to use
less of it. They may reduce the amount they derive on
reduce the temperature to which they heat their houses,
which their minor economies will have little or nothing on
consumption Higher have less money to spend on other
things. This reduces because most goods and services
the consumer would have bought have required the use
of oil for their production and delivery. If higher oil prices
reduce consumer demand very much manufacturers and
retails will find that their profits suffer and that they
have surplus capacity. They will therefore, deter their
plans for expansion. This will result in very large energy
savings because work is energy intensive.
The concept of public policy can be seen as simply
governmental actions or course to proposed actions that
are directed to achieving goals (Ikelugbo 1999). Care
Fredrick (1980) defined it as government or one of its
divisions by government. The main idea of public policy is
that it has to do with the government. It is an action or
sets of actions taken by public authorities, it is the out
put or production of governmental process and activtieyt.
Public involves and affects the wide verity of areas and
issues with which government have to do such as the
economy, education, health, defence, social welfare,
foreign affairs as well as other areas like culture.
Sometimes, the government adopts the state coercive
agencies like the police to enforce and ensure compliance
of policies. Also these coercive agencies end up loosing
their lives in the course of ensuring compliance. A case
study is in Ilorin, Kwara state a police officer and a youth
were feared dead. Their death occurred during a violent
demonstration by the youths that engaged the youths
and police into a tow hours fight, throwing missiles
which led to the use of live bullets by the police.
The subsidy removal on fuel is an economic policy.
Nigeria adopted several economic policies for
development. The introduction of economic reform
programmes started after her independence in 1960.
During this period, Niger derived to embark on a
programme for development, which they saw its
importance for gaining economic independence
especially. Still at that, the past colonial masters of
Nigeria still control the affairs of the nation. While the
past-independent leaders sort assistance from them for
development. This was done through the iprotation of
industrial technology amongst others, while the assisting
countries will give out their conditions. And any
developing country like Nigeria that will not submit to the
scheme of economic demands or conditions of those
aiding them or will not accept their advice and control,
usually, will have little choice of developing.
The economic policy have been seen or have given
the impression that it is a policy which has been
influenced by the western countries or foreign investors
based on their interest in the country‘s oil; another way
the westerns want to dominate Nigeria again. This has
elicited stiff resistance by the Nigeria public through
labour unrest and mass protest.
This study therefore, attempts to assess the impact
of public opinion on public policy in Nigeria, using the
deregulation of the downstream oil sector or oil subsidy
removal as our analytical focus.
1.2 Statement of the Problems
It is obvious that the present democratic rule in Nigeria
has witnessed increase price increase of petroleum
products more than during the past military
Since independence, successive governments in
Nigeria have embark on various policies geared towards
developing their country. The first development plan was
carried out during the ear of Abubakr Tafawa Belewa
(1962-1968), the second was during the era of General
Yakubu Gowon (1970-1974), the third was during the era
of General Murtala Mohammed (1975-1980), Green
Revolution by the government of General Olusegun
Obasanjo, Alhaji Shehu Shagari 91981-1985) carried out
the operation Feed the Nation Policy (OFN), War Against
Indiscipline (WAI) was carried out by the government of
general Mohammed Buhari in 1989, General Ibrahim
Babangida carried out the Structural Adjustment
Programme (SAP) between 1990and 1992, General Sani
Abacha carried out the policy on War Against indiscipline
and Corruption in 1997. At the advert of democratic rule
in 1999, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo embarked on
economic reform pregramme, encapsulated in the
privatization, liberalization and deregulation
Not withstanding, these array of programmes,
Nigeria is still looking for a better way for advancement
and development as none of these economic reforms of
the country. Deregulation of the downstream sector
started during Obasanjo‘s regime as an economic told
that will enhance or foster development. This was
justified on the grand that the downstream sector or the
oil sector is riddled with corruption as a result of
mismanagement and ineffiency.
Same Nigerians especially the political observes see
it as a good step that will save Nigeria from her present
economic problems. Other see it as a means where by few
people will benefit, which a large number pf the citizens
will not, instead, it will be detriment to them. To some
scholars also, it is a channel for development while other
sees it as a new way or means of penetrating and
exploiting Nigeria by the western world. None has
however emphasized the role of public opinion in
influencing the formulation or abrogation of public
policies to assuage the yearning of the populace. This
research work therefore attempts to fill this gap to the
extent liter by seeking answers to the following questions:
1. Are public policies in Nigeria a product of public
2. To what extent has public opinion impacted on
public policies in Nigeria?
3. Is the deregulation of the down stream oil sector
a panacea to poverty and underdevelopment in
1.3 Objectives of the Study
This work is channeled at the critical examination and
analysis of the impact of public opinion on public policy.
Specifically, the study intends to:-
1. To ascertain if public policies in Nigeria are
products public opinion.
2. To ascertain the impact of public opinion in
public policies in Nigeria.
3. To determine if the deregulation of the
downstream oil sector is a panacea to poverty
and underdevelopment in Nigeria.


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