This article examines the reform programme of the Obasanjo Government (1999-2007), as laid out in the National Economic Empowerment Development Strategy (NEEDS) (National Planning Commission 2004), using it to reflect on processes that are involved in instrumentalist and opportunistic uses of ‘gender’ and ‘empowerment’ by the state.
I argue that NEEDS works ideologically to manufacture hegemony and the illegitimacy of dissent with regard to the Obasanjo government’s reform programme. These effects are produced through the workings of particular processes; here I examine the most evident of these – appropriation. I make my argument in two ways: first, through epistemological challenges to the use of particular discourses in the text; and secondly, through exposure of the hiatus between governmental rhetoric and practice.
This article comes from the IDS Bulletin 39.6 (2008) Appropriating ‘Gender’ and ‘Empowerment’: The Resignification of Feminist Ideas in Nigeria’s Neoliberal Reform Programme