Inclusive Governance, Being A Paper Presented By Hon. Olayinka Oladipupo Olatunbosun, FCILG

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Inclusive Governance, Being A Paper Presented By Hon. Olayinka Oladipupo Olatunbosun, Fcilg      At The Meeting Of Chartered Institute Of Leadership And Governance (Usa) Held At  

Nigerian Army Resource Centre, Mambila Barracks Junction, Asokoro, Abuja On          Friday, 17Th June, 2022 At 10:00Am.



This paper defines inclusive governance and also explores the various parts and importance of inclusive governance.  In many societies today including developing nations, the prevailing system of governance or form of control is exclusive governance where the so called powerful class dominate the majority.

In an exclusive system, the common features we would find include lack of participation, near zero representation of existing social groups, poor conduct of elections or lack of it, no accountability, adoption of unnecessary secrecy about public affairs, lack of transparency, dictatorship or absence of the rule of law, god fatherism or hero worship, winner-takes-all, inefficiency, incompetence, lack of innovation or modernization and resistant to meaningful change as well as the elevation of corruption.

     These aforementioned depravities or vices are usually rejected in same or normal society, hence, the advocacy for inclusive governance as a panacea for growth and development.

This paper highlights that inclusive governance can indeed foster development, attract the right investors, and it emphasis that there are factors that bring such result.

     This paper therefore, seeks to address and clarify the concept of “Inclusive Governance”, which different corporate bodies and governments now embrace for institutional transformation in both developed and developing nations.

Inclusive governance entails extensive use of human and non-human resources for the growth of organization. Thus, Rocha Menocal (2015) opined that states and societies with more open and inclusive institutions are more peaceful and more resilient, and tend to be better governed.


The concept of Inclusive Governance (IG) is not new to professional groups like our reputable Chartered Institute of Leadership and Governance, governments and the enlightened public.

Stuart and Samman (2017) opines that IG is constructed from the legacy of previous governance concepts such as democratic governance, participation, good governance, etc, which referred, directly or indirectly to notions of inclusivity rather than exclusivity in decision making processes or development programmes. All these ideas are geared towards ensuring that the minority or marginalized and vulnerable groups in the society could contribute ideas or express their opinions, exercise influence and also collaborate with other major stakeholders in public affairs.

Furthermore, many professionals agreed that the emergence of the IG as a divergent approach is connected to the Global Agenda 2030, which seeks to ensure no one is left behind in promoting a peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.


Inclusive governance is synonymous with equity and inclusiveness. Inclusive governance through public consultation is the hallmark of democratic standard and fundamental to sustainable development. Inclusive governance as reiterated in various international initiatives, seeks to promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies adjudged to enhance political stability and sustainable growth.

Oni et al (2017 and Tooma (2017) argue that public consultation is now being used in all levels of government in order to increase participation of citizen in the policy-making process and as a remedy for effective policymaking and democratic legitimacy.  

In the same vein, Davies (2011) and Hogan et al (2015), opine that public consultation has become the norm of inclusive democratic governance and is seen as a means of addressing the declining public trust in government institutions and elected officials. Consulting and involving citizens in policy-making process helps to enhance democratic legitimacy and reduce distrust and cynicism towards public governance and institutions.

Xiaodong et al (2019) observed that with the limited traditional and institutional channels for engaging citizens, Information Communication Technology (ICT) now presents viable platform for engaging citizens in the public policy process.

For us to understand the deep meaning of the term “Inclusive Governance” (IG), I need to draw your attention to the United Nations’ Agenda 2030. This Agenda is a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity. It also seeks to strengthen universal peace in larger freedom. As pointed out in the preamble of Agenda 2030, eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development. It is expected that all countries and stakeholders, acting in collaborative partnership, will implement this (Agenda 2030) plan.

Acemoglu and Robinson (2012) assert that Governance means more than just “government”. It embodies the set of institutions or rules of the game, both formal and informal that shape access to and participation and influence in political structures and processes; including parliaments, public sector organisations, electoral processes, legal systems and institutions.

The 2017 World Development Report defines governance as “the process through which state and non-state actors interact to design and implement policies, within a given set of formal and informal rules that shape and are shaped by power” (World Bank, 2017).

Call (2011) is also of the view that governance shapes and has a profound impact on the state and how it works along its three core dimensions – capacity, authority and legitimacy as well as on the nature and quality of state-society relations.

Inclusive governance, on the other hand, refers to “a normative sensibility that stands in favour of inclusion as the benchmark against which institutions can be judged and also promoted” (Hickey, 2015). 

Inclusive government refers to the way politics and societies function and interact. Inclusion as a process leads to a focus on how decisions are made, who is included, how and why, shows voices count and how these dynamics shape the nature and quality of policies as well as how they are implemented.

On the other hand, inclusion in terms of outcomes leads to a focus on how key developmental progresses and benefits such wealth, prosperity, services, justice or security are equitably distributed and shared.

      Inclusion is a necessary ingredient and driver of development or rather a long-term outcome of development processes and it can be done effectively through institutions.

Some academics argue that institutions are crucial factor in shaping progress on governance and development while others dismiss these claims as a historical and maintain that stability through political settlements agreed at elite level and state capacity come first and before inclusion. This requires that all groups in society be given opportunity to improve and maintain their well-being. It means giving an open door to all and treating all equally, that is, all citizens should have opportunity to enjoy the benefits derivable from government and also contribute to it.

However, the pivotal term in this topic is “governance”, which determines the realization of organizational goals or otherwise.   It is a known fact that under certain circumstances, more inclusive processes can foster more inclusive development.

The term ‘Inclusion’ with reference to a process is how decisions are made and who is included in that process and how and why the outcomes of such linkages, which include how wealth and prosperity are distributed and shared across a population and why.   

The idea of inclusive government can be adopted in corporate world as well as in local and central governments.       In government, inclusive governance is when national or regional governments enable the input of citizens in decision making processes.

The extent to which governance is more or less inclusive has to do with the extent to and ways in which people and groups that have been traditionally left out or marginalised (including women; young people; racial, ethnic and religious groups; disabled people, transient and migrant populations, etc.) are able not only to participate but also to exert greater influence in political processes and to hold government authorities to account (Joshi, Hughes and Sisk, 2015)

If we use the case of Nigeria, you notice we practice democracy and the 1999 constitution specifically allows citizens to participate in government, vote and be voted for, etc but in reality, very few powerful individuals recycle themselves from the first republic to date and is even getting worse.

Although, from time to time, Nigerian government usually encourages citizenship participation but the reality is the dominance of a few old politicians who have refused to allow meaning change and transformation of the country. At several times under different regimes (military and civilian), National Visions had been set; e.g. Vision 2010, Vision 2020 and now Vision 2050 with strategic measures to make them work.

The major reason for the failure of previous Visions in Nigeria is not farfetched, ‘exclusive governance’. Some political leaders behave as if they have monopoly of knowledge and engage in wasteful spending of tax payers’ money on elephant projects, which are usually abandoned by succeeding government.  In other words, if a government especially the dictatorial type decides to exclude citizens from making contributions to governance or undermine their constitutional rights of participation, such government will rarely be supported by the majority in the society, and the result is predictable.


Permit me to emphasise the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN Agenda 2030. According to Alicia Barcena (2018), the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (road map) was adopted by the 193 Member States of the United Nations at the General assembly in September 2015, outlines a transformative vision for economic, social and environmental development that will guide the work of the organization towards the vision of promoting inclusive governance, which include the following:

Goal 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere.

Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.

Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.

Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

Goal 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.

Goal 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries.

Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

Goal 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

Goal 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

Goal 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.


These gargantuan goals set by the United Nations are intended to achieve development across the whole world but ultimately, to promote inclusive governance.  It presupposes that organisations and especially nations of the world will accept, make appropriate laws, strategise, and deploy adequate resources to achieve a reasonable proportion of the set target.

However, a popular tool for engaging citizens in the process of governance is Information Communication Technologies (ICTs). ICTs have been found to be solutions to the plight of governance across the world (Alkraiji, 2020). The past two decades have witnessed the increasing use of ICTs by public institutions as new tools to better engage citizens in politics (Oni et al., 2016).



Inclusive government entails the compliance with some fundamentals as follows:

  1. Rule of Law: This refers to constitutionalism or the adherence to law to ensure equal access to justice for all.
  2. Openness and Transparency:To develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels.
  3. Participation, Representation, Fair conduct of Elections: Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels.
  4. Eradication of Poverty: In the Global Agenda 2030, it was acknowledged that Billions of people in the world continue to live in poverty and are denied a life of dignity, and consequently, there is rising inequalities within and among countries. The case of the present day Nigeria is a clear example of this scenario. We all know that in the midst of plenty resources in Nigeria, there are enormous disparities of opportunity, wealth and power, and a wide gap between the rich and the poor. Unfortunately, the poor watch helplessly how the powerful rich in their country squander public wealth.
  5. Global Connectivity to prevent spiraling conflict, violent extremism, terrorism and related humanitarian crises:We do not need anyone to tell us that there is threat to global peace as a result of lack of inclusive governance. To broaden and strengthen participation of countries in the institutions of global governance, there is always the need to connect with people and institutions in all spheres.
  6. Access to unrestricted information:This refers to the need to ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms in accordance with existing national legislation and international agreements.


From the foregoing, inclusive development is a development that includes the marginalized people, sectors and countries in social, political and economic processes for increase human well-being, social and environmental sustainability and empowerment.

Inclusive governance is expected to galvanize to the realization of organizational goals. Thus according to the United Nations, Good Governance is measured by the eight factors of participation, rule of law, transparency, responsiveness, consensus oriented, equity and inclusivism, effectiveness and efficiency, and accountability.



Generally, the types of governance include:

  • Governance as a process.
  • Public governance.
  • Private governance.
  • Global governance.
  • Governance analytical framework.
  • Nonprofit governance.
  • Corporate governance.
  • Project governance, etc.


Government and corporate bodies are by design made up of various parts and each part, plays one form of roles or the other. This is the wisdom behind the creation of different social institutions to cater for the basic needs of the society. However, inclusiveness requires the synergy of the various parts to make the whole healthy.

    From this perspective, inclusive development is a development that includes, marginalized people, sectors and countries in social, political and economic processes for increase human well-being, social and environmental sustainability and empowerment.



As I address this topic, it is germane to ask pertinent questions:

  1. To what extent has the Inclusive Governance agenda is making headway into the policy discourse of multilateral and bilateral agencies, African institutions, civil society organizations and governments?
  2. Who are the national and international strategists that ensure the success of IG?
  3. What are the successes that have been recorded since the emergence of IG?
  4. What are the peculiar national and global challenges in the implementation of IG?
  5. How many members-state of the UN have made appropriate and significant laws to pave way for include governance and meaningful development?



We are yet to have an egalitarian society but it can be said that significant progress has been made in some countries, which has addressed development challenges. Thus, UN Agenda 2030 states that within the past generation, hundreds of millions of people have emerged from extreme poverty; access to education has greatly increased for both boys and girls; the spread of information and communications technology and global interconnectedness has great potential to accelerate human progress to bridge the digital divide and to develop knowledge societies and technological innovation across areas as diverse as medicine and energy.

The importance of public consultation is, perhaps, made more succinctly by Lezaun and Soneryd (2007) when they aver that seeking lay views of the public is fundamental to good governance. As they observed, it enables government to elicit valuable insights, wider information, potential solutions, diverse perspectives and values when formulating public policies or making decisions.

Lezaun and Soneryd (2007) submitted that consulting the lay publics throughout the policy formulation process will not only assuage public mistrust of political representatives but also reinforce the legitimacy of political institutions.

Thus, involvement of citizens enables government gain greater public acceptance which is indispensable to political stability and development.

In the observation of Hogan et al (2015), the values of public consultations lies in the need for the perspectives of the lay publics in the designing of the measures and policies for the wellbeing and human development of a country. In this regards, public consultation is seen as central to inclusive governance which leads to improved democratic results by assisting society develop and meet its political, social, economic and cultural goals. In a situation where certain segments of the society are abandoned in developmental programmes, meaningful progress cannot be said to exist. Thus, Clift (2004) argued that the attainment of sustainable human development requires people centred approaches. It demands healthy participation of citizens in determining decisions that affect them. The centrality of public consultation to inclusive governance is the reason every nation around the world is taking variety of measures and modalities for engaging the citizens in the decision-making process.

Thus, the importance of inclusive governance cannot be overemphasized and this can be highlighted as follows:

  1. Inclusive governance has important intrinsic value that is rooted in enabling people to exercise voice and influence in the processes that concern them. It can also provide the basis for forging shared identity and common values and in this way, it can galvanise social cohesion.  
  2. Inclusive governance helps to foster inclusive development outcomes, but this process is neither linear nor automatic. Rather, it is highly contingent and requires a great deal of strategic agency, vision, leadership and capacity to be effective. The role of the state in boosting both inclusive governance and inclusive development is also essential.  
  3. It paves way for the eradication of exclusivity and enabling inclusive governance processes, and inclusive development outcomes are fundamentally about altering power structures and redefining state–society relations. This process of transfor-mation is bound to remove tensions, thereby compelling the need to set priorities for the good of the society.  
  4. It helps to harness and promote prosperity and shared well-being. Some of the enabling factors include state capacity, which is essential to achieve developmental goals.  
  5. It helps to identify prevailing challenges or barriers to reform and national programmes.
  6. It enables the brokering and convening locally led spaces for engagement and reform, and supporting strategic coalitions to address common challenges collectively.
  7. It focuses on representation and participation and underlying power dynamics and how to nudge local socio-institutional norms and behaviours towards more inclusion.



We must be reminded that several years ago, an earlier generation of world leaders came together to create the United Nations (UN) from the ashes of war and the organization conceptualized the values of peace, dialogue and international co-operation. Despite the existence of the United Nations, the whole world especially the developing countries are still going through oppression in the hands of those who believe in exclusivity rather than inclusive governance.

Although, the concept of inclusive governance among policymakers and practitioners is still relatively an embryonic phase, but it has been embraced across the world. Working the talk is the next phase.

I believe that our own generation should do better by building on ideas that can promote inclusive governance, and one of the initiatives was championed by the UN.

The new UN Agenda contains 17 Sustainable Development Goals with 169 associated targets which are integrated and indivisible and the good news is that world leaders pledged common action and endeavour across such a broad and universal policy agenda, and are setting out together on the path towards sustainable development, devoting themselves collectively to the pursuit of global development and of “win-win” cooperation which can bring huge gains to all parts of the world.   

Undoubtedly, there is limited eagerness to adopting IG as a new paradigm or fashion, to be translated in a mandatory way as policies, strategies, tools and instruments for development because the few dominant class still want to maintain the status quo.

It has been argued that a more open and inclusive institutions, states and societies tend to be more prosperous, effective and resilient. It is therefore, germane that movers, shakers and leaders at various levels should understand the importance of inclusive governance, which is what this paper has expatiated.

Government and any social institution must have certain characteristics for it to be able to adopt inclusive governance, namely: power, law and revenue.

Power enables the government to influence the citizens and execute polices while law refers to the body of rules that regulate the conduct of the people. If government operates an inclusive governance, it must embrace constitutionalism or act according to high ethical standards, otherwise known as the rule of law. In this case, government is expected to identify, understand and manage prevailing or inevitable conflicts of interest and loyalty, maintain independence of decision making and ensure open communication by informing and consulting people about their organization or nation and its operations.

Finally, let me state here that the United Nations (UN) appointed a group of scientists to write its 2023 Global Sustainable Development Report but drew inspirations from experts from different fields.

I therefore, call on you (the professionals in various chartered institutes) to help our dear country (Nigeria) from your wealth of knowledge and experience to be able to achieve the UN Development Goals as well as our national Vision 20:2050. In helping the government, indigenous and foreign professionals should remind political leaders of the importance of inclusive governance and to abhor unnecessary dichotomy of the society or polity.  

As stated in the UN Charter, our journey into meaning inclusive governance will involve Governments, Parliaments, the UN system and other international institutions, indigenous authorities, civil society, business and the private sector, the scientific and academic community and all people.

I equally call on everyone present here today and appeal to institutions to embrace and promote inclusive governance if our resources are to be maximally harnessed and utilized, and as we do so, the world around us will become more peaceful and progressive.

Thank you.


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Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty, Crown Business Publishers, New York.

African Union: Goals and Priority Areas of Agenda 2063.  

The African Union Commission.

Bergh, G., A. Rocha Menocal and L. Rodríguez Takeuchi (2014),

What’s Behind the Demand for Governance? An Assessment of People’s Views, Overseas Development Institute, London.

Call, C. (2011), “Beyond the ‘Failed State’: Toward Conceptual

Alternatives”, European Journal of International Relations, Vol. 17/2, pp. 1-24.

Oni et al (2016), E-consultation and the quest for Inclusive

Governance in Nigeria. Published Online: 24 Sep 2020.

Rocha Menocal, A. (2015), Political Settlements and the Politics

of Inclusion, Developmental Leadership  Program, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK.

United Nations (2015), Transforming Our World: The 2030

Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals, Department of Economic and Social Affairs,

UNDP (2015), A Human Rights-based Approach to Development

Programming in UNDP: Adding the Missing Link, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), New York.


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