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Recurring governance crisis has been associated with the Nigerian state since independence despite its oil wealth. Successive regimes have been tinkering with the nation’s resources in a manner that reduces the fortunes of the ordinary citizens in terms of welfare and good living. Personalised leadership style of the political elites dominates the political space with little regard for the welfare of the citizens. This article compared the effectiveness of the political arrangements in the pre-and post-colonial Nigeria. It discovered that the principles that guided the operations of politics in the pre-colonial era were more result-oriented. Leaders were more focused on the need for the promotion of the public good. Post-colonial leaders promoted personalisation of politics. Rather than harnessing extant constitutional powers to police the execution of public policies, public office holders, most especially the lawmakers, exploited their requisite oversight powers to negotiate for pecks and other pecuniary gains for personal benefits. The article concluded that the Nigerian state requires a purpose driven institutions of governance in a form of reinvention and rebranding of the principles associated with the pre-colonial political process and culture to curb the excessive use of executive power to promote impunity.
Keywords: Colonialism, traditional, indigenous practice, pre-colonial, corruption.