Democracy and Good Governance: Nigeria's Dilemma

Topics: Democracy, Governance, Economics Pages: 24 (7271 words) Published: January 21, 2011
DEMOCRACY AND GOOD GOVERNANCE: NIGERIA’S DILEMMA

Ilufoye Sarafa Ogundiya

Department of Political Science Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, Nigeria

E-mail: oisarafa@yahoo.com, elegantlv@aol.co.uk

Abstract Despite its enormous resources and huge potentialities, Nigeria remains grossly undeveloped. Consequently, political instability, abject poverty, acute youth unemployment, heightened crime rate, poor health prospects and widespread malnourishment have been the main features of Nigeria’s political economy. The development tragedy in Nigeria fits into the trends of political instability for which Africa has become infamous in the past three decades and lends credence to the arguments by some students of African politics that governance is one of the major problems in Africa. This chapter argues that the problem of development in Nigeria is a problem of governance; define in term of the proper, fair and equitable allocation of resources for the achievement of the end or purposes of the state, which is the promotion of the common good. The paper submits that for good governance to be feasible in Nigeria, sound anticorruption policies devoid of mere speechifying must be put in place. Furthermore, the paper recommends a functional legislature and viable and independent judiciary, and the attitudinal transformation on the part of the political elite, the absence of which good governance and development will continue to be a mirage.

Keywords: Corruption, instability, underdevelopment, democracy, good governance.

INTRODUCTION

Despite all social and economic policies that have been implemented by the successive administrations, Nigeria has remained a laggard in social, economic and political developments. Subsequently, political instability, abject poverty, acute youth unemployment, heightened crime rate, poor health prospects, widespread malnourishment have been the main features of Nigeria’s political economy. One of the major explanations for the failure of all development programmes in Nigeria has been the absence of democracy and intermittent military intervention in politics. However, with the benefit of hindsight and as demonstrated by the current experience, even the periods of civil rule (1960-66, 1979-83and 1999 till now) has failed to produce any positive or better results. This assertion is vindicated by the report of a survey conducted by Simbine (2000) which showed that, in term of performance, respondents in her study gave higher ranks to three military regimes (Gen Murtala Muhammed 1975-76, Gen Muhammad Buhari 1983-85 and Gen Yakubu Gowon in that order) even though the two civilian administrations of Sir Tafawa Balewa, 1960-66 and Alhaji Shehu Shagari, 1979-83 were included. This shows that there is no automatic connection between democracy and development. Secondly, though discussable, the result implies, in the context of the Nigerian experience, that the record of the military is a bit better than that of the civilian counterpart. Nevertheless, over generalisation may be dangerous in this regard, every indicators pointed to the fact that Nigerians were worse off during Shagari administrations. Even, it is not an overstatement to contend that the return of the country to electoral democracy in 1999 has not made significant impact on the economic and social well-being of the people.

Several other factors explain the development tragedy in Nigeria. These are: the colonial legacy, bureaucratic and political corruption, poor labour disciplines, globalisation and unfavourable international environment, unpatriotic followers and bad leadership to mention a few. This paper examines the nexus of democracy and good governance. It also provides explanations on why democracy has not engendered good governance in Nigeria. It is argued that democracy cannot engender good governance in a state where it is yet to make sense, most especially among the contending political elites. Therefore, the major...

References: Afronet Position Paper (2005) “Elections in Zambia: A Question of People, Law and
Governance” Afronet Homepage http://www.oneworld.org/afronet/papers.htm
Ake, Claude (1996). Democracy and Development in Africa, Washington DC: The Booklings
Institution
Amuwo, Kunle (2005). The Peripheral State: Critical Perspectives on the Structure and Role
of the Public Bureaucracy, Journal of Development Alternatives and Area Studies, vol
Blair D (2005) #220bn Stolen by Nigeria’s Corrupt Rulers. The Telegraph, June 26
Eboh, P M (2003)
J Obi (Ed.) Philosophy, Democracy and Responsible Governance in Africa, New Brunswick and London, Transaction Publishers, PPXIII-XXVI
Ekei J.C (2003) “Governance in Traditional Africa: Implications for a Nascent Modern
African Polity” in Oguejiofor J Obi (Ed.) Philosophy, Democracy and Responsible Governance in Africa, New Brunswick and London, Transaction Publishers, PP445-456
Gyekye K (1997), Tradition and Modernity: Philosophical Reflections on the African
Experience, Oxford, Oxford University Press
Godbole Madhave (2007) Report of the one man Comittee on Good Governance, July
Human Right Watch (2007) “Election or “Selection”? Human Rights Abuse and Threats to
Free and Fair Elections in Nigeria” http://hrw.org/backgrounder/africa/nigeria0407/index.ht .Accessed 23rd April 2007
Isabelle Johnson (2007). Redefining the Concept of Governance http://www.acdi-cida.gc.ca/CIDAWEB/acdicida.nsf/En/JUD-111883426-HX4. Accessed on Nov. 4th 2008
Mogobe R
Philosophy, Democracy and Responsible Governance in Africa, New Brunswick and London, Transaction Publishers, PP 36-63
Nigerian Tribune (2008)
Nwigwe BE (2003). “Origin and Limits of State Authority” in Oguejiofor J Obi (Ed.)
Philosophy, Democracy and Responsible Governance in Africa, New Brunswick and London, Transaction Publishers, PP 85-104
Oburota A. (2003) “Governance as a Source of Social Violence in Africa” in Oguejiofor J
Obi (Ed.) Philosophy, Democracy and Responsible Governance in Africa, New Brunswick and London, Transaction Publishers, PP 388-398
Odunuga Segun (2003), “Failure of Governance and the Phenomenon of Conflict in Africa”
in Oguejiofor J Obi (Ed.) Philosophy, Democracy and Responsible Governance in Africa, New Brunswick and London, Transaction Publishers, PP 153-172
Ogban Ogban Iyam (1996), “The National Assembly, Corruption and Democratisation” in
Gboyega Alex (Ed.) Corruption and Democratisation in Nigeria
Oluwole S. B (2003) “Democracy and Indigenous Governance: The Nigerian Experience”, in
Oguejiofor J Obi (Ed.) Philosophy, Democracy and Responsible Governance in Africa, New Brunswick and London, Transaction Publishers, PP419-430
Owolabi K. A (2003), “Can the Past Salvage the Future? Indigenous Democracy and the
Quest for Sustainable Democratic Governance in Africa” in Oguejiofor J Obi (Ed.)
Philosophy, Democracy and Responsible Governance in Africa, New Brunswick and London, Transaction Publishers, PP 431-444
Oyebode Akin (1996) “The Judiciary, Corruption and Democratisation”in Gboyega Alex
Toyo, Eskor, (1994) Crisis and Democracy in Nigeria: Comments on the Transition from the
Babangida Regime,Zaria, Ahmadu Bello University Press.
The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 Constitution
Udo E (2003), “Practical and Theoretical Problems in the Emergence of Responsible
Governance in Africa”, in Oguejiofor J Obi (Ed.) Philosophy, Democracy and Responsible Governance in Africa, New Brunswick and London, Transaction Publishers, PP 121-139
UNDP (1996) Report on the Workshop on Governance for Sustainable Human Development,
MDGD, New York, April
UNDP (1999) Compendium of African Governance Performance: Good Governance and
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • good Essay
  • Essay on Good Governance
  • Democracy and Good Governance Is a Coin of the Same Side. Discuss Essay
  • Essay on good governance
  • GOOD Governance Essay
  • Good Governance Essay
  • good governance Essay
  • good governance Research Paper

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free