Nigeriais a country that has a high potential for economic take-off,however it is saddled with obstinate obstacles that stubbornlywithstand eradication. The ever-changing switch from military tocivilian rule then back again is a phenomenon that is not conduciveto economic and social growth. The focus of this paper is how thisfrequent change from civilian to military affects democracy in thispopulous and multi-ethnic country.
Anexamination of how democracy is affected by the frequent changes ofgovernment from military to civilian rule aggravating the social andeconomic problems in Nigeria.
Themilitary governments anytime it takes power abolish all politicalparties. The premise of this action is that political parties areinstruments of discord, disunity, agents of strife and corruption.These vices already exist therefore they are the cause of themilitary intervention in the first place. The absence of politicalparties does not mean the absence of political strife and expression,therefore, a vacuum is created between the leaders and the led. Theproblems that the military government sets out to destroy it is foundthat the same military is involved in corruption, embezzlements,fraud and many vices within. The people of Nigeria, who are dividedinto ethnic groupings, now see no channel of the political expressionresort to other means that are not based on democratic ideals. Thispolitical party`s ban destroys political structures that are to beused in a democratic country, so practicing democracy without thepolitical parties is not active. This effectively deepens the freedomproblems in Nigeria. The country political development is hampered bythis kind of frequent changes from military to civilian governments’therefore political parties’ democracy is not established.
Anotherphenomenon of Nigeria democracy is the new development of ex-militarygenerals who once ruled as military leaders making a comeback aselected leaders. Proponents of this mostly cite Ghana as an examplebecause of former president Jerry Rawlings although his democraticcredentials were discredited when he tried to force his wife tosucceed him. Nigeria is a country that has a high turnover of formergenerals vying for presidency like the incoming president retiredGeneral Muhammadu Buhari. The nagging question is will a formermilitary ruler who ruled above the rule of law now abide by the law?This in my view exacerbates the democratic principles, as democracyis not only doing right but also the projection of a perception ofdoing right.
Thechange from military to civilian rule and vice versa has precipitatedthe destruction of institutions that are pillars of democracy in thecountry. Institutions like Nigeria Police Force, universitiesand the judiciary are among those affected. This has led to aprecedent of no credible system of law the police force at timesdisregards court rulings. The judiciary itself is married bycorruption allegations and counter allegations. There is notrustworthy arbitrator when the court is ineffective in dischargingits duties as par the law not as per the highest bidder. Democracycannot function in an environment that the rule of law is notfollowed and enforced. This is a blow to the growth of democracy aswithout the requisite pillars then the nothing is happening becausethe people who are used to flaunting the laws ensures thatinstitutions that ought to enforce the laws are not functioningproperly. The politicians can do anything knowing they will not beheld accountable therefore democracy becomes a sham to be practicedaccording to whims.
Theposition advocated is that the frequent change from military tocivilian created a crop of leaders who must win elections at allcost. This occurs because they once ruled outside the confines of thelaw and did understand that if the rule of the law is followed theysource of wealth will be scrutinized. The pillars that entrencheddemocracy like judiciary arbitrating according to the lawirrespective of the person involved or the Nigeria police forceinvestigating to completion a criminal matter to its` conclusioneither conviction or acquittal in the court of law. These needs timeto entrench in one system of government that is civilian, so changeis a disruptive occurrence that is detrimental to the same. Politicsin every African country is synonymous with resource distribution,therefore, when politics serves the few then the state funds onlybenefits a few so social problems will deepen (Ogundiya et al., 2011,p. 29). Democracy in Nigeria will resolve most of the economic andsocial problems Nigeria is encountering now consequently a rightapproach should be nurtured. Democracy is a political issue that thefocus of this paper attempted to address however it is not thesilver bullet to resolve the economic and social problems in Nigeriatherefore the solution to the country woes needs a multi-layeredapproaches to be resolved.
OgundiyaI. S., Olutayo A.O. & Amzat J. (2011). Assessmentof Democratic Trends in Nigeria.India. Gyan Publishing House.