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An Interrogation of the Elite Theory and Political Elite Recruitment in Nigeria: A Theoretical Analysis

Nyewusira, Vincent PhD, Ndaage, Barikuma Lazarus,


This paper tried to interrogate the Political Elite Theory, its application and relevance to the political elite recruitment process in Nigeria. It is a fact that, despite the democratic regimes experienced in Nigeria over the years, the political leadership recruitment process is still determined by, and skewed in favour of a few. This calls for such question as; could the elite theory be said to be applicable and relevant in Nigerian politics? In its conceptual explication, the paper gave an analysis of the elite theory and further enunciated its principles, tenets, ideas, assumptions and application. The essence was to determine the relevance of the theory in political elite recruitment process in the country. Following from this, the Elite Theory stood as the theoretical framework of analysis. The study critically discussed the elite recruitment process in Nigeria and proceeded to finding the relevance of the Elite Theory in the elite recruitment process in Nigeria. Through robust analysis, the study found that, most of the assumptions of the elite theory are very real and relevant in Nigerian politics today as the flaws, manipulations and anti-democratic tendencies are in allusion to basic assumptions or ideas of political elite theory. The paper therefore concluded that the elite theory is very apt, applicable and relevant as a framework of analysis for political elite recruitment in Nigeria. The study also noted that, it is the observation and operationalization of some of these assumptions that has corrupted politics in Nigeria and recommended among others that political offices in the country should be made less attractive so as to reduce the level of competition over such offices. Keywords: Elite, Elite Theory, Recruitment, Political Elite.

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