Actors Involved in Nigeria’s Policymaking Process
In the policymaking processOpens in new window of any given country, both government and non-governmental bodies constitute themselves as actors in formulation process of public policyOpens in new window.
To clearly examine the influence of these actors, it is important to cite the works of Ikelegbe (1996) who sum the actors as follows:
1.1 Governmental Actors — Governmental actors are made up of the legislature, the executive, the judiciary, and the bureaucracy. We shall in turn examine each one of these bodies in the following discussion.
The influence of Legislative bodies in policymaking process range from its initiation and formulation to its implementation, control and review. The influence over policy emanates from the legislative function of representation and expression of popular opinion, law making, control and oversight of the executive branch and control of expenditure.
The legislators represent the citizens and therefore articulate and aggregate the people's interests and demands by initiating and formulating policy proposals in the legislature. In fact, the legislature is the major factor in many political systems in which demands made on the political process by various individuals, communities, groups and institutions are identified, communicated, discussed, reconciled, compromised, mediated and sometimes concretized into policies. Legislatures may enact bills or draft policies emanating from demands of the people, or members of legislative or the executive branch in to law or policies.
The executive possesses enormous influence on the initiation, enactment, implementation, performance and modification of public policies through its powers, responsibilities and activities.
The judiciary is the body of judges and courts that interpret the constitution and laws of the country and adjudicates conflicts and crises between the various institutions of government, groups and individuals.
Bureaucracy is deeply involved in the proper articulation and shaping of policies, as the policy process entails agenda settingsOpens in new window and problems identification.
1.2 Non-Governmental Actors — These include the following:
Political parties influence public policy and the policy process to an extent. These bodies articulate the needs, demands and interests of their members and supporters and mediate compromise and also aggregate them into courses of policy actions.
An interest group is a collection of individual, with some common characteristics, interests and interactions. They exist principally to project, pursue and protect their common interests. Interest groups necessarily interact with governmental and non governmental actors in the policy process because a lot of their interests are affected and dictated by governmental interventions and regulations. This is why interest groups are actors in the policy process.
The citizens or populations of a nation are also important actors in the policy process. In fact, they could be considered as the core or base actor for several reasons. First, they constitute the human environment of policies. The human environment’s perceptions, values, preferences and demands constitute the major environmental influence on public policies. Thus, the citizens are the dominant constituent of the environment; they have major influence on the determination of policy actions. Second, the citizens make the demands for public policy and constitute the clients and targets. Thus, policies are made for the benefit of citizens.