Public Opinion and the Public Policy Making Process in Nigeria: A Critical Assessment

Ugumanim Bassey Obo, Felix Onen Eteng, Maurice Ayodele Coker


The process of making public policies is often influenced by a number of factors and considerations, one of which is public opinion. But the relationship between public opinion and the public policy-making process is a difficult one. This essay critically assesses the role of public opinion in the policy-making process in Nigeria, and while it is acknowledged that responsive and genuinely democratic governments are hugely sensitive to the opinions of the citizens on issues of public policy, it is argued that this is not the case in Nigeria. With the aid of the elite and class analytical models, it is contended that the opinions of the Nigerian masses hardly impinge on the policy-making process, and the “public” policies churned out of this process are often designed to promote and protect the class interests of those who control the Nigerian State. It is concluded that the extreme poverty and illiteracy which pervade the Nigerian society have emasculated and disempowered the majority of the people and made them inconsequential observers in the policy-making process in the country.


Public; Opinion; Public opinion; Public policy; Policy-making process

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