The Impact of Leadership on the Governance of Infrastructure Development in Nigeria

Michael Oziegbe Onolememen, Walden University


The Impact of Leadership on the Governance of Infrastructure Development in Nigeria


Michael O. Onolememen

MS, University of Lagos, 1991

MS, University of Nigeria, 1988

BS, Bendel State University, 1985

Dissertation Submitted in Partial Fulfillment

of the Requirements for the Degree of

Doctor of Philosophy

Public Policy and Administration

Walden University

August 2015


Research literature has documented Nigeria's leadership crisis since its independence from Great Britain in 1960. This crisis corresponds with political instability and infrastructure weaknesses, which have resulted in crime, corruption, poverty, lack of social cohesion and personal freedoms, environmental degradation, gender inequities, and deteriorating conditions of public works. No literature was located that addressed the impact of leadership on the governance and development of infrastructure in Nigeria. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to investigate this phenomenon in Nigeria between 1960 and 2010. The theoretical framework comprised Burns' and Bass' theories of transformational leadership, and Davis' and Toikka's theories of transformation and transition in governance. Data were collected through personal interviews with a purposeful sample of 13 past presidents of Nigeria, public officials, and infrastructure development experts; and by reviewing secondary data on leadership and development in Nigeria during the period 1960-2010. Data were analyzed using the constant comparative method to identify patterns and themes. Findings showed that Nigeria's governance should be based on pragmatic-visionary, or transformational leadership: (a) political instability and the Nigerian civil war have been obstacles to infrastructure development and implementation; (b) military dictatorships implemented improvements, although they neglected rural areas; (c) a new national infrastructure plan must be funded, developed, and implemented; and (d) corruption must be combated in awarding project contracts. The implications for positive social change include informing policy makers about the importance of infrastructure development in Nigeria, in order to improve economic growth and the lives of citizens.