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Restructuring the Public Sphere for Social Order in the Niger Delta through Polycentric Planning: What Lessons for Africa?

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The increasing deprivation, neglect and orchestrated politics of exclusion by the Nigerian-state against the people of the Niger Delta can be traced to the structurally-defective and centralized governance arrangements in the Niger Delta. The consequent stiff resistance, violent reactions, militancy and hostage taking triggered by this politics of exclusion in the region have confirmed that people matter in politics. This paper argues that in some ways, the weakness of centralized and structurally-defective governance in the Niger Delta provides an opportunity for community self-governing institutions to play the role that governments and their agencies have abandoned. Using the Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) framework, this paper engages in problem solving and solution seeking strategies that could help restructure the public sphere in the Niger Delta. This paper demonstrates principles and practices needed to make polycentric planning, self-governance and adaptive development strategies resolve socio-economic and political crisis. It is in light of this exigency that this paper develops an African Public Sphere Restructuring Model (APSRM) that derives inspirations and workability mechanisms from twelve (12) African development models that cut across several sectors of the economy in the Niger Delta.

Affiliations: 1: Development Planner & Environmentalist, Department of Architecture, Covenant University 10 Idiroko Road, Canaan Land, Ota, Ogun State, Nigeria, Email:


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