Democracy can solely enhance a nation state, proper? What about when it doesn’t? Nigeria’s stability has suffered by the hands of democracy, says Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Historical past Moses Ochonu.
“Nigeria’s predicament is a microcosm of the phenomenon of rising monetary prices of elections in Africa and diminishing returns on democracy,” he stated.
For the previous 20 years the electoral price ticket has grown and democratic dividends have plummeted
Based on Ochonu, this prompts the query, “Is that this costly, periodic democratic ritual referred to as election price its value?”
Survey information has proven that Nigerians, and Africans general, more and more consider the price of democrac is simply too excessive, and that it’s an experiment that has largely failed them.
In gentle of this, Ochonu suggests a reimagining of democracy — a mannequin based mostly on Nigeria’s distinctive tradition, wants and traditions, quite than utilizing the USA as a blueprint.
Historical past of Democracy in Nigeria
Within the 1990’s Western foundations and governments labored to democratize Nigeria and different African states. These pro-democracy teams mistakenly assumed it might be simple for Africa to undertake the virtues of liberal democracy regardless of histories replete with dictatorships. Nigeria’s residents had been satisfied that democracy was synonymous with improvement and that elected officers would maintain themselves accountable to the folks.
As a result of elections are zero-sum occasions, electoral rivalries have worsened Nigeria’s ethnic and spiritual fault traces, resulting in political violence that threatens the unity and stability of the nation. Moreover, Nigerian politicians additionally don’t concern electoral pay again, in order that they usually renege on marketing campaign guarantees.Nonetheless, quite than enhancing improvement and political accountability, democracy has supplied the proper entrance to legitimize corruption — usually permitting public officers to steal public funds legally. Nigerian public workplace holders, for instance, are the very best paid on this planet. The excessive wage prices together with excessive value of elections and patronage leaves much less funding for roads, healthcare, faculties and water.
“For the previous 20 years the electoral price ticket has grown and democratic dividends have plummeted,” Ochonu stated.
The ensuing disappointment felt by many Nigerians has resulted in voter apathy, diminishing belief within the state and a rising inclination to look towards different types of authorities for reduction.
A December 2014 survey means that “important proportions of the inhabitants categorical assist for non-democratic practices, equivalent to army rule or an authoritarian president.”
A New Mannequin of Democracy for Nigeria
In gentle of the social and political points attributable to overt corruption, Ochonu proposes a reimagining of democracy. First, he suggests a constitutionally mandated political decentralization.
“Battles over accountability, illustration and governance are higher and extra successfully fought out at native ranges than in distant nationwide and state capitals,” he stated.
Second, Ochonu argues that Nigeria ought to cease holding on to traditions merely to repeat the USA. For instance, they may transfer from a presidential system to a parliamentary one. Moreover, they might prolong their election cycle from 4 to 6 or seven years in an effort to scale back election prices.
Lastly, students and activists want to think about the truth that elections are usually not the one option to follow democracy. For Nigeria it could really be extra helpful to pick out randomly or in keeping with an agreed-upon system quite than vote.