Simon Fraser University
The Adventure to Democracy
In the midst of the prevalence of democratic transitions, a number of developing countries are seeking to achieve the successful consolidation of civil order in modern days. Among those participants, Mexico and Nigeria has been spotlighted for the completely contrastive endings at the end of their long-adventures towards democratization since their independence; Mexico, from its independence, has maintained the political stability despite the authoritarian single-party regime and even accomplished the solid democratization at the time of the 2000 election whereas Nigerian regime has been deteriorated by a series of military cues d’états and internal political corruptions which made previous attempts to democratize in vain. The root cause of the different dynamics in Mexico and Nigeria is the composition of population. Since post-independence history, Nigeria has been indecisive whether to stay in military regime or to return to democracy. The nature of its dilemma was heterogeneity which segregates the countries into shattered pieces. However comparing to the complexity in Nigeria, the population of Mexico comprised of relatively a small number of ethnic groups has prioritized the national development before taking the advantage of its own ethnic groups. Mexicans’ patriotism considerably contributed to its peaceful and successful restoration of democracy. This paper will analyze the main drawbacks of Nigeria to accomplish a civil society obstructed by the diversity in ethnicity, and at once provide how Mexico’s overwhelmed those problems.
Staying under the power of a single party
First of all, the domination of Hausa-Fulani in Nigeria has exacerbated the political splits in terms of ethno-regional cleavage while the authoritarian party known as PRI had rendered the strong foundation of democracy in Mexico. From pre-independence time, Nigeria has been dominated by three main ethnic groups in different part of country; Hausa-Fulani in north, Yoruba in west, Igbo in east. Minabere Ibelema suggests that the political and economical authority has been under the handful of Hausa-Fulani elites since the independence and this monopolized privilege of Hausa Fulani generated the other groups’ great tension and instability coming from the fear of being dominated (pg 212, Ibelema, 2000). Supporting Ibelema’s statement, International Crisis Group provide a behind history that this arbitrary collection of disparate groups is a by-product of colonial rule (pg1, ICG, 2006). The unwilling assortment of a number of different identities falls short of a sense of belonging. When different groups cannot bring up solid unification, inter-communal conflict always happens and it is represented in the event of Biafra war, raged between the year of 1967 and 1970 in Nigeria. According to Chinwe Esimai’s journal about Nigeria, the outbreak of the civil war has been motivated from “ethnic rivalries” but the intense hospitality between Igbo and Hausa-Fulani further led to the secession of Igbo as the Republic of Biafra (pg.236, Esimai, 2006). In short, the political fights in Nigeria are intended to take over the power of political privilege rather than to achieve the political goals. Moreover, the further establishment of tripartite federal structure created a certain bias and hospitality against each ethnic group which restrains individual’s political liberty to stay only under the ethnic group. It is the explicit reason that Nigeria lagged behind Mexico in democratization.
As opposed to Nigeria, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which monopolized the dominant position in Mexican government, fulfilled the political consolidation during its longevity. Andreas Schedler admires the achievement of PRI to bring a degree of social peace and political stability in its 71 years of continuous ruling (pg 5, Schedler, 2000). Although the length of...