Nigeriais Africa biggest economic country according to the recent financialrebate done in the West African nation (Ogunlesi, 2014). The on-goingpolitical transition has buoyed up the political standing of thecountry in the eyes of other African nations, however the economicchallenges are immense. The incoming president is a former militarygeneral that places a reality check in the country strive tofully-fledged democracy. This paper will zero in on how democracy isimpacted by many changes from military to civilian rule.
Anexamination how the constant changes from military to civiliangovernments influences democracy aggravating the economic and socialproblems in Nigeria.
Itis a case of ingenuity on how Nigerians keep forming parties afterthe tenure of military governments. The military government expressesan extreme aversion to political parties, however they use thepretext that the political parties are the cause of social ills. Thisclaim is not proven although implemented by the government with suchzeal that political parties are agents of strife, fuel disunity andcreate discord. The appropriating political and social ills to thepolitical parties do not change anything occurring in the countrytherefore even allocating corruption, as one of the ills is not a newphenomenon. This has necessitated a lack of attachment to politicalparties that has resulted in political parties being used as vehiclesto a destination. Practicing democracy without political partiescreates a vacuum between the leaders and the led denying the led arallying premise. This is because people who are equal associatingfreely with each other consequently abolishing political partiesleaves the people without a forum.
Thekind of ills the military governments accuses the civiliangovernments of establishing they perpetuate them. The same militaryis rife with allegations of corruption, nepotism, patronage anddiscriminations among many other ills. This ultimately leads to thembeing instruments of discord, disunity and agents of strife worse offthan the civilian government. The destruction of political structuresthat are the political parties impedes the inculcation of democraticpractices. The citizens exhibit a careless attitude towards issuesbased politics because of the absence of issues-based politicalparties. This has led to a feeling of entitlement of the people inpower be it military or civilian because they believe their time isshort (Joseph, 2014, p. 256). This political issue overlaps with thesocial problem of a civil service that practices prebendalism is verycorrupt aggravating the social ills facing Nigeria as a country. Lackof political parties that caters for every expression by the ledprovides a fertile ground for sprouting of nefarious militarymilitias or groupings. Currently even with civilian governmentpolitical parties are not founded on issues because of the militarygovernment interruptions over the years. Political parties evolutionfrom ethnic groupings to truly nationalistic composition requires acontinuous period of existence and operation. Therefore, theabolishing effects are being experienced now.
Thestraddling of the Nigerian political landscape by ex-militarygenerals is also a problem. This is in the light that the incomingpresident is a former military general who once led Nigeria after acoup. This in itself is not a real occurrence. However, someproponents opine that even Ghana a shining example had an ex-militarypresident who ushered in democracy. This is proposed while ignoringhow the said leader attempted to foist his wife of the populacedestroying the meagre credibility former president Jerry Rawlingshad. Incoming Nigeria president retired General MuhammadBuhariran an anti-corruption crusade detaining people without the dueprocess of the law followed. This leads to the question will hefollow the law now he is the president-elect again? The high turnoverof ex-military leaders in the political landscape is not healthy asthe perception that democratic principles are of little concern isprojected in my view.
Overthe years, Nigeria has had such kind of ex-military leaders vying orwinning elections as a civilian. This creates a perception among thecitizens that somehow there is a connection between the military andpolitics. It provides ex-military political aspirants with an edge inelections over civilian candidates, therefore it may precipitateseeking relationship with the military. These military leaders whenthey did the coups had no clear understanding of what it takes to runa country consequently when elected on a civilian ticket will theyhave a clear insight? (Feit, 1968, p.180). The preparation ofex-military leaders to fully-fledged politicians is problematicalthough in Nigeria it seems they exhibit the real power in or out ofthe government.
Weakinstitutions are products of constant changes between military andcivilian governments. The ruling elites had other priorities than tobuild strong and stable social system, which are established bystrong institutions. Examples like NigeriaPolice Forceis a body marred by various ills namely corruption, nepotism, andtribalism among others. This is the institution that the mandate isto investigate crimes leading to prosecution, therefore with suchills cannot perform optimally. There pay is not good enabling thepoliticians with resources making it a private police force. Thisaffects democracy as citizens see them as protectors of the rulingelites instead of serving the populace. A culture of impunity isentrenched because this vital institution is not working properly(Mehlum,Moene & Torvik, 2006, pp. 1117-1131).
Judiciaryis another system crucial for the establishment of democracy as it isthe arbitrator between the people. The compromising of thisinstitution creates a vacuum that provides a ground for violence thatdestroys freedom. When there is, no credible system of law with notrustworthy arbitrator as the same judiciary is marred by allegationsof corruption and favoritism. A useful rule of law system requiresadhering to the rule of law coupled with proper enforcement of thesaid laws. Political activity results in competitions within therules that needs arbitration by the courts, therefore, when aconnection in a chain is unlinked, both democracies cannot thrive.The collapse of these two institutions creates a social upheaval, asthere is no need to abide by the laws of the land. In such anenvironment, no meaningful economic activity can be started and togrow which has led Nigeria economy to be oiled dependant to date(Mehlum et al., 2006, p. 1126).
Politicsis resources distribution consequently when as a country Nigeria doesnot practice it rightly problems occurs (Ogundiya et al., 2011, p.29). Political parties are collective citizens bargaining platformsfor the country resources exercised through a democratic system. Lawsthat institutions like the judiciary and the police force aremandated to enforce govern the environment the political partiesoperate. This is bad when leaders who are elected at some pointtrampled upon the said laws implying that the rules do not matter.The social and economic problems facing Nigeria requires amulti-dimensional solution, therefore democracy is just one of thepoint.
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Mehlum,H., Moene, K., & Torvik, R. (2006). Cursed by resources orinstitutions?. TheWorld
OgunlesiT. (2014),April 7. Nigeria overtakes South Africa to become Africa`s largesteconomy. http://www.theguardian.com.
OgundiyaI. S., Olutayo A.O. & Amzat J. (2011). Assessmentof Democratic Trends in Nigeria.
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