Governance and Accountability Issues in Nigerian Parastatals
: The Case of Ajaokuta Steel

  • Johnson Obera

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    The purpose of this study is to examine and understand why parastatals in Nigeria are on the face of it performing so poorly. Parastatals are critised for being ostensibly immersed with ethnicism, corruption, nepotism, patronage, clientelism, low accountability and transparency. These issues were explored in the context of Ajaokuta Steel; an enterprise that was substantially complete two decades ago but subsequently progressed no further. Ajaokuta Steel is an industrial giant meant to take the lead of industrialising, developing, and taking Nigeria and Africa from poverty and unemployment. To pursue this study the researcher employed mixed methods of research with interpretivism combined with a critical ambition and a case study as the main research strategy. The researcher used questionnaires, observations, interviews to gather data. Theoretical framework based on neopatrimonialism was used to guide the researcher in the empirical work and in the study. The interviews from the case site and stakeholders were analysed from the voice recorder and those from the questionnaires were analysed using descriptive statistics. The use of several data collecting methods was to achieve triangulation and because of the seriousness of the problem which needed an in-depth investigation to unveil the mystery behind the non-completion of the giant moribund industry. The results of the interviews, case study and questionnaires indicated that the problems of governance and accountability of parastatals in Nigeria are that governing board members and chairmen who formulate policies are appointed to boards based on political patronage, ethnic balancing and religious considerations, thereby loading boards with unqualified people who may ultimately compromise an organisation such as Ajaokuta Steel. Interviewees and respondents also identified a lack of political will on the part of the government, suggestions of an international conspiracy, corruption, military incursions in politics, the geographical location of Ajaokuta Steel and the culture of neglecting projects, as further contributory factors. Interviewees and respondents mentioned also lack of accountability and transparency in the affairs of parastatals. These factors have greatly affected all parastatals in Nigeria. It was recommended that parastatals should appoint board members, the CEO and staff based on track records of good antecedents; publish their accounts in the national newspapers; or be privatised by Public Private Partnership (PPP) so that government will be able to concentrate on its primary duties of providing security, health services and education for its citizens.
    Date of Award2015
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorRobin Roslender (Supervisor) & James Haslam (Supervisor)


    • Neopatrimonialism
    • Accountability
    • Patronage
    • Governance
    • transparency
    • triangulation
    • corruption

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