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Subject : Government
Topic: Pressure Groups
Lesson Objectives: By the end of the lesson, the learners should be able to:
- Define the term pressure group;
- State and explain the various types of pressure groups;
- State the weapons or strategies use by pressure groups to meet their demands;
- Identify the differences and similarities between pressure groups and political parties.
A pressure group is an association of people who have the same interest and work for the purpose of influencing government decisions, policies, and programmes to their own advantage. Pressure group is also known as interest group. Examples of pressure groups for example in Nigeria we have the Nigerian Union Of Teachers (NUT), The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).
Types Of Pressure Group
- Economic pressure groups: these pressure groups take into consideration and pursue the economic well-being of its members. The members are in most cases engaged in the production of certain goods and services. Examples are Manufacturing Association Of Nigeria (MAN), Nigerian Association Of Chambers Of Commerce, Industry Mines And Agriculture (NACCIMA), Employer unions etc.
- Occupational Pressure Groups: This pressure groups are formed by people who are engaged in certain occupation to protect the interest of its members and defend their occupational interests. Examples are Cocoa Farmers Association, Groundnut Farmers Association, Garri Sellers Association.
- Professional Pressure Groups: This type of pressure groups as the name implies are made up of people who practice the same profession and are interested in protecting the interest of their members and also defended the integrity of their professions. accountants, bankers, lawyers, architects, engineers, sometimes form this type of pressure group
- Promotional Pressure Groups: These are aimed at pursuing a particular cause, examples are association for the defence of human Rights association for the prevention of cruelty against animals associations against discrimination and racism etc.
- Religious Pressure Groups: This type of pressure groups are formed by people who belong to the same religion and I are interested in influencing government decisions to their advantage. Examples are Christian Association Of Nigeria (CAN), Supreme Council For Islamic Affairs (SCIA), Christian Youth Organisations (CYO), Muslim Youth Organisation (MYO) etc.
- Social Pressure Groups: This types of pressure groups are formed by youths who are out to defend their interests and enhance social Union. Social clubs, students unions, old boys and girls associations are examples of this type of pressure group.
- Anomic Pressure Groups: Anomic pressure groups are not organised in nature and members come together to achieve immediate common goal. They use violence to achieve their goal. Street demonstrators groups, students riot groups, are examples of anomic pressure groups
Characteristics Of Pressure Groups
- Pressure groups as association of people is organised with distinct leaders.
- the major target of pressure group is to defend the interests of their members by influencing government decisions and other important organisations.
- Pressure groups always have limited members.
- Pressure groups also have constitution that guides the activities of the entire groups and behaviour of the members.
Functions Of Pressure Groups
- pressure groups help to improve the economic, religious, and social well-being of the members.
- Pressure groups help to enlighten the citizens particularly the members about government policies and programmes.
- Pressure groups help to ensure good governance by constructively criticising the government. For example Nigerian Labour Congress NLC, Trade Union Congress TUC, Academic Staff Union Of Universities ASUU, etc. always raise alarm against real and perceived government of obnoxious economic, social, and educational policies.
- Pressure groups help to build stable viable and self-reliant economy.
- they also help to provide information to the government on where it should direct its attention to in alleviating the plight of the masses. pressure groups act as agents of national integration as their members always cut across different ethnic cultural religious and linguistic backgrounds.
Strategies Or Weapons Used By Pressure Groups To Achieve Their Aims
- Lobbying: members of the pressure groups through lobbying influence the legislators to make laws or amend the constitution in their favour.
- Consultation: this is the Miss whereby pressure groups make useful enquiries from government and the government also seeks to know the opinions of pressure groups in formulating and executing certain policies and programs.
- Mass Media: pressure groups expressed their opinions interest and position of government policies through the radios televisions newspapers and magazines. they gather the support of the citizens and draw the attention of government to what is good for the entire society.
- Demonstration And Protest:pressure groups always have stage demonstrations and protests where members carrying placards signpost with inscriptions expressing their grievances and stating what they want.
- Letters And Petitions: pressure groups put their demands and complaints on papers and direct them to appropriate institutions of government in an effort to convince governments of their position and setting public issues.
- Supporting Candidates In Elections: pressure groups may decide to give their support to a special candidate in an election on the condition that such a candidate with advanced and grant their demands when voted into power.
- Strike And Boycott: these weapons are employed after others have failed. Striking members of the pressure groups avoid work to draw the attention of government or management of private organisations to yield to their demands. strikes are not encouraged as it could easily paralyze the activities of an organisation.
Disadvantages Of Pressure Groups
- The activities of pressure groups like the use of strike to press home their demands may cause incalculable damage to the economic social and educational lives of the citizens. consider the havoc that is cost if professionals like medical doctors put down their tools because of strike.
- The use of demonstrations and protests by members of pressure groups which most often resorts to violence and leads to loss of lives and property.
- Pressure groups activities if not properly regulated can lead to political instability.
- The use of lobbying can easily transmute into bribery and corruption which is detrimental to National development.
- Pressure group sometimes pursues parochial interest thereby neglecting the welfare of the entire citizenry.
- Few groups that constitute the leadership of the pressure groups could use the platform to pursue opportunistic interests there by misrepresenting the entire citizens by deliberately misinforming government.
Factors That Militate Against The Success Of Pressure Groups
- Poor Leadership: docile and visionless leaders could hardly help a pressure group to achieve its aims and objectives.
- Insufficient Fund: money is necessary for the upkeep of pressure groups. therefore lack of fund may hinder pressure groups to operate effectively since they may not be able to meet the cost for running their offices and branches.
- Poor Organisation: poorly organised pressure groups always like the potency to achieve its goals and objectives.
- The Type Of Government In Power: democratically constituted government based on rule of law always provide conducive environment for pressure groups to operate and achieve their goals and objectives than military or dictatorial regime.
- Political Instability: frequent changes in government hindered the actualisation of the goals and objectives of pressure groups.
Differences Between Political Parties And Pressure Groups.
- Political parties are formed to win election and control government why pressure groups are formed to influence government policies and programmes to the advantage of the members.
- Political parties present candidates for election where is pressure group support candidates for election.
- programs and policies of political parties are for the generality of the citizens but in pressure groups, programs and policies are for selfish interest of the members.
- political parties are distinctly organised with defined leadership structure however the pressure groups are not as organised as political parties.
- Membership of political parties are not restricted and limited in number meanwhile membership of pressure groups is restricted and limited.
- Political parties continue to exist whether they win or lose elections however some pressure groups may cease to exist after realizing certain objectives.
Similarities Between Political Parties And Pressure Groups
- Both political parties and pressure groups are formed by citizens of a country.
- They have constitutions that guide their mode of operation.
- oth participate in politics and are also vital for democratic polity.
- They both help to enhance national unity as members cut across ethnic, tribal, and religious lines.
Take a quick test for this lesson
- Define the term pressure groups.
- State and explain the various types of pressure groups.
- State the weapons or strategies use by pressure groups to meet their demands.
- Identify the differences and similarities between pressure groups and political parties.
Questions answered correctly? Kudos!
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