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can you consider Nigeria as a democratic state
May 19, 2017

he model of democracy that is popular in this age
of globalization is liberal democracy, democracy is
a descriptive term that is synonymous with
majority rule, it associated with democratic
consolidation and good governance. However, in
Nigeria, effort to attained the high level of
democratic consolidation and good governance
have been made but not yet to be crowned with
much success.
The literal meaning of “democracy” comes from a
combination of two Greek words, demos (people)
and kratos (rule), and at its core, “Democracy is a
form of government in which the people rule”. The
term originated in Athens and was a part of the
standard classification of regime forms that
distinguished rule by one (monarchy), several
(aristocracy), and the many (democracy). However,
beyond the literal meaning of democracy, there has
been considerable debate over the criteria that
distinguish democracies from non democracies.
It can be argued that, democracy is a system of
government where the opportunity to participate in
an authoritative decision making is opened to all
who are willing and interested to share. However, it
is a system of government that recognized
individual rights, a system of representation and
electoral system based on the principle of one man
one vote and one vote one value.
The Nigerian state assumed a new governance
status in 1999 following the demise of authoritarian
regime in the country. Military dictatorship was
replaced by representative democracy with the
hopes and aspirations of good governance much
higher than what the seemingly collapsible
democratic institutions could fulfil. The source and
nature of transition in 1999 was later found to
constitute threat to the foundation of democracy
and obliterates the current efforts at consolidating
Since restoration of democratic rule in the country,
change of government has been orderly while
elections have been periodic. Between 1999 and
2015 four different civilian administrations have
emerged and there have been four successive
transitions from civilian government to another
(Obasanjo Administration, 1999-2007, Yar’adua/
Jonathan Administration, 2007-2011, Jonathan
Administration, 2011-2015) and incoming
administration Buhari Administration 2015. This
also applicable to the legislature. Since 1999, the
country has successfully passed through five
legislative houses both at the centre and the
component units. Elections in the Fourth Republic
have been characterized by monumental
irregularities and malpractices which magnitude
increases with every election.
Despite the fact that Nigeria has experienced about
sixteen years of uninterrupted democracy practice
the are various challenges confronting democratic
consolidation and good governance in the Nigeria.
Corruption constitutes one of the greatest
challenges and threats to the democrat
consolidation in Nigeria Fourth Republic. The
incidence of corruption in the country reached a
crescendo in 2004 when a German based non-
governmental organisation called Transparency
International in its 2004 Corruption Perception
Index(CPI), report projected Nigeria as the 2nd
most corrupt country in the world(132nd out of
133 countries surveyed)
Since the emergency of the fourth republic, Election
and democratic practice in Nigeria has been more
of a force than a serious fact. Admittedly, Nigeria
registered and voted at the elections that brought
the ruling class into power, the candidate
presented to them for selection were chosen not
by them but by the political elites. Voting as
observed became for Nigerians a matter of ritual
performances than discharge of bounden duty.
It can be argued that elections and democratic
practice in fourth republic characterized by
electoral malpractices, political intolerance,
economic mismanagement, using political office as
gateway to personal enrichment, political thuggery,
lack of intra party democracy, insecurity,
manipulation of religion and ethnicity to achieve
selfish political ambition

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