THE RELEVANCE OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP EDUCATION TO POLITICAL RECRUITMENT IN NIGERIA
Franklins A. SANUBI, PhD Department of Political Science, Delta State University, Abraka, Nigeria
KEYWORDS: Entrepreneurship Education, Political Recruitment, Entrepreneurship, Intrapreneuring.
The continuing influx of non professionals into party politics in Nigeria has created the challenges of good governance and many hove asked the question of how to rid the political space of neophytes. One explanation for this phenomenon is provided in the prevailing political recruitment procedure in Nigeria. Entrepreneurship education has provided some philosophical tool for establishing a reliable political recruitment process. This paper examines the relationship and provides some recommendations on the process of ensuring good recruitments into our party politics spectrum.
Perhaps the only vocation in Nigeria today where the free entry and free exit principle of a perfect market system is operational is the vocation of party politics as people from all known professional backgrounds have found it a treasure ground of resort. It is in fact needless to ask an average politician where he or she got training in party politics. Regrettably, political recruitment process in Nigeria is very simple and without any major technical requirements, people can enroll at any point in time into party politics. The only requirement, if anything else, is your availability – the amount of readiness demonstrated by the aspiring individual to attend party meetings and caucuses. Just write down your name and attend one or two political party meetings and you are on your way to becoming a big time politician in Nigeria.
This is the point where we come to explain the prevalence of political neophytes at the various levels of public policy making in Nigeria as all manner of people both with questionable and unquestionable backgrounds in the management of public resources find themselves in the realm of leadership simply because of a faulty recruitment process into the vocation of party politics in Nigeria. Thus, you find medical doctors, teachers, motor drivers, auto mechanics, pastors or other religious leaders, retail shop owners and jobless individuals all involved in party politics as practitioners of a profession that relies much on number of people as its major asset.
“Leave politics for the politicians” is often the advice given by those who do not find any need to become one. Yet there is hardly a clear definition of who is or (should be) a politician in Nigeria since it has become an all-corners affair.
With such a seemingly irreversible phenomenon of political recruitment, the chal1eng to policymakers therefore is to create entrepreneurship educational portfolios where recruits into party politics in Nigeria would develop skills of the, vocation to take opportunities offered by the prevailing political (business) environments.
B. ENTREPRENEURSHIP EDUCATION: A CONCEPTUAL CLARIFICATION
Experts in the subject matter of history of education have credited ancient Greek civilization with its emphasis placed not only on citizenship but also on entrepreneurship education. With massive curricular contents favouring the child’s ability to use available materials through practical skills to create innovative learning outcomes, an average Athenian schoolboy knows that he has to imbibe a strong culture of entrepreneurship education.
Entrepreneurship education seeks to provide students with the knowledge, skills and motivation to encourage entrepreneurial success in a variety of settings. (Block & Stumpf, 1992) The classic picture of entrepreneurship education (also known as intrapreneurship education) as given by its major proponent Gifford Pinchot, is its distinctive focus on the “realization of opportunity” under any given setting (Pinchot, 1985). The ability of the individual to see the opportunity and utilize it for a successful outcome marks the significance of entrepreneurship education (Pinchot & Pellman, 1985). Although closely related to management education which focuses on the best way to operate within existing hierarchy and structures, entrepreneurship education like the former targets “profit making”. Profit making, in this circumstance does not necessarily imply increased monetary benefits, but may also be (especially in non-profit organizations or governments) in terms of enhanced social services or decreased costs. It could also be explained in terms of increased responsiveness to the customer/citizen/client on such services being provided.
Realizing business opportunity can be achieved, by orienting entrepreneurship education towards several directions including; Entrepreneurship (the ownership) of a new business, such as opening a new shop or small scale industry; interpreneurship (which involves the promotion of innovation or the introduction of new products or services or markets within existing environments or organization without having to start a separate (new) business unit (Pinchot, 2000). This may be made possible through research and innovative initiative among entrepreneurs. Consider for example, a food vendor who sells within a given business environment and suddenly discovers that the target clientele is expanding due to some expansionary activities of the neighboring companies resulting in their employment of new staffers. Intrapreneurship requires that the food vendor can no longer operate within his existing budget if he is to maximize profits. He does not need to be educated on the desirability of budgetary expansion to enable him create an absolute capacity for his new client’s demand. A third orientation relates to what experts call social entrepreneur which involves creating charitable organizations (or portions of existing charities) designed to be self-supporting in addition to doing their good works.
Intrapreneurship may lead to a phenomenon described as clustering. Clustering occurs when a group of employers breaks from a parent company to form a new company but continues to do business with the parent organization as in the popular Silicon Valley clusters. This phenomenon is common among lawyers who while working under existing legal chambers do break out often to undertake some business ventures without having to quit their existing chambers entirely.
Pinchot believes that entrepreneurship releases the energy’ in the direction of deep personal values while also it is a tool for releasing the creativity, values and entrepreneurial spirit of people who work in large corporations. “When you free people from fear and bureaucratic restraint, they are likely to choose innovation projects that serve their deeper values (Pinchot 1985) Intrapreneurs have a great zeal to be innovative and a drive to ownership. The entrepreneurial sence of independence is so high among intrapreneurs that Pinchot in his ten commandments of Intrapreneuring describes their attitude in work organizations as people who “come to work daily willing to be fired”.
For a productive and profit-oriented business success, intrapreneurship education is very useful. What relevance therefore, can there be, of entrepreneurship education to political recruitment in the Nigerian policy and how may we define the line of congruence between these variables.
C. ASSESSING THE RELEVANCE OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP EDUCATION TO POLITICAL RECRUITMENT IN NIGERIA
Porter (1994) has established a relationship between entrepreneurship education and business education. We can extend this discourse by establishing some relationship between entrepreneurship education and political recruitment in Nigeria. Political recruitment is a process by which citizens are selected for involvement in politics. Party system is the most important mechanism of political recruitment, The process of political recruitment involves two levels namely: recruitment of power elite, that is, party and government cadres and the recruitment of grassroots membership – who provide political support for party programmes and policies. The recruitment of grassroots may involve a historical process whereby certain cadres of the society are targeted for recruitment e.g. peasant workers and revolutionary youths, and this is then followed by the recruitment of workers, students and rebellion youths and then the recruitment of professional and educated youths. The recruitment provides a stage of political screening such as the examination of class origin, political attitude, political participation or clientelism. Clientelism in the view of Protsyk & Matichescu (2009) involves contingent direct exchanges between political actors and both vote-rich and resource-rich constituencies. At the initial point, the role of educational credentials in political recruitment may be irrelevant, but with time, become positive or negative and finally very important.
The relevance of entrepreneurship education to political recruitment in Nigeria can be established in several ways. Firstly, entrepreneurship education provides the individual with the strong initiative to succeed in his political career. There is a strong imperative to see party politics as not merely a game being played by two or more persons, but more importantly as a field where excellence in service is required. The individual will take ownership of his actions with a strong sense of judgment that being a politician can be onerous and requires a lot of responsibility and expectations from the society in terms of excellent service to the people.
Entrepreneurship education can help promote the spirit of innovativeness among people who chose to enlist in party politics. The individual utilizes every new opportunity in his political environment to create new political images of success. For instance, a politician who observes that there is a growing school enrolment among children in his community and or neighbouring communities would devise new creative political slogans or even manifestoes that will appeal to the immediate passions of his proposed electorate. It is needless for an aspiring politician targeting upland dwellers to propose programmes designed or suitable for riverine areas – such as riverine transport system.
Entrepreneurship education would facilitate political education especially in rural or unenlightened communities as individual aspirant would localize training techniques or apply local technologies to provide the relevant learning materials to his subjects. This will also help in reducing costs to the ultimate advantage of the subsisting party to which the individual belongs.
Entrepreneurship education should be a suitable tool for sensitizing the right type of party membership at all cadres or recruitment. Subjects should therefore choose to belong to a political party with a genuine sense of awareness about his expectations not merely joining a band wagon. Subjects should have their energy released towards a vocation where their deep personnel values reside. The present phenomenon where party politics is seen as a residue to retire to where all other endeavours have failed or a place where quick wealth and fame can be realized can no longer prevail.
D. Conclusion and Recommendations
An entrepreneur is an owner of a business. Entrepreneurs are driven by the myths of greed, high risk taking, intuitive thinking and even sometimes dishonesty ( Pinchot, 2000) The business may be tangible for it to be observed by others. However, the sense of entrepreneurship may be presently dialectical and reside within the individual who only waits for any physical opportunity to realize his ownership dream. Entrepreneurship education should be a relevant tool to facilitate the ownership drives among people in various vocations including party politics. In particular reference to political recruitment entrepreneurship education should help stimulate the right type of practitioners and hence secure the right quality of leaders needed especially for a developing polity like Nigeria.
Existing educational programmes should be philosophically tailored to meet the needs of subjects who are the future entrepreneurs in Nigeria. This would lead to the redirection of subjects’ perception of schooling as not merely a means of securing paid jobs. In a society with dwindling employment options, entrepreneurship education should be a suitable tool for fostering the self-employment initiatives among the school leaving class and those enlisting in other entrepreneurial vocations.
The strong Connections between entrepreneurship education and good governance in Nigeria can therefore no longer be imaginary under this discourse but realistic.
Block, Z. & Stumpf, S. A. (1992) Entrepreneurship education research: Experience and challenge. In D. L. Sexton and J. D. Kasarda, (Eds.) The state of the art of entrepreneurship, Boston, MA: PWS-Kent Publishing, pp. 17-45.
Protsyk, O. & Matichescu, M.L. (2009) Clientelism and political recruitment in democratic transition. Evidence from Romania, retrieved from the net onO4/ 22/2011 @http://www.policy.hu/protsyk /Publications/Articles/CPRomClient 11 .pdf.
Pinchot, III G. (1985). Intrapreneuring; Why you do not have to leave the organization. New York, NY:,-. Harper & Row.
Pinchot, G. & Pellman, R. (2000) Intrapreneurship in action: A handbook for business innovation, San-Francisco, California : Berrett-Kohler.
Porter, L. W. (1994). The relation of entrepreneurship education to business education. Simulation & gaming 25(3): 416-419.
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