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Why Democracy & Good Governance Are Not Working in Nigeria – By Abdulrazaq O. Hazmat

By Abdulzaraq O. Hamzat / NNP / Nov. 23, 2012 –

Someone might have asked you, or you may have been asking yourself this question: if democracy means all the theoretical, institutional and behavioural dimensions that is usually written in books, why is it that not every country in the world where democratic government is running operate democracy successfully like it is written in books? Especially in Africa, democratic governance is not a stable feature of our society, but rather, an episode phenomenon as shown by studies.

According to studies, there are many reasons why Africa especially
have proved incapable of operating stable and successful democratic
governance namely, economic underdevelopment and mass poverty,
centralization of economic and political power, corruption in its
various forms and manifestations and negative historical precedent.

For the purpose of this article, we shall concentrate on economic
underdevelopment and mass poverty, which we believe was as a result of corruption and negative policies. Research has proven that, the main feature of underdevelopment that acts as a barrier to democracy and good governance is the fact that the economy of underdeveloped countries are structurally linked with the economies of the advanced capitalist countries in such a way that the economic activities in the underdeveloped countries produce beneficial and positive results in the advanced countries while creating poverty, misery and negative results in the underdeveloped countries.

Example can be seen in the Nigerian Oil sector, where Nigeria’s oil is
transported to foreign countries to their economic benefits, but
return back to Nigeria in exploitative form whereby creating scarcity
and misery, which eventually leads to fuel subsidy which has crippled
multimillion small and medium scale businesses over the years, aswell
as created massive poverty, massive corruption in oil sector and all
sort of negative examples too numerous to mention.

It is in this sense that some scholars from the Third World countries
speak in terms of ”the development of underdevelopment”. Studies have shown that, this expression simply means that as the
underdeveloped countries try to improve their economic conditions,
their situation gets worst or to use another expression, the very
negative indices of development that they seek to improve become
deeper and more far reaching. It is therefore not surprising that such
countries which Nigeria belong, can hardly operate stable democratic
government, but have to move constantly between democracy and
authoritarian rule. This ensured that there is a disfunction between
the goods produced in our country and the goods consumed by our
population. A low life expectancy, incapacity to respond to natural
calamities such as the recent floods around the country, etc.
The economic system introduced in Africa by the Europeans was either
extraverted or disarticulated.

Extraversion simple refers to a situation where producers/government
officials have their attention fixed on the outside rather than on
their national market. Disarticulation refers to a situation where the
roads/sea ports in Africa were directed more at Europe and America
than on our national territory. This situation ensures that every
valuable resources, be it mineral, man power, intelligent citizens and
historical/ancient valuables are transported abroad. The uneven nature of European activities in Africa produced some core
area of influence and affluence existing in precarious relationship
with the vast periphery of rural areas.

Another area of note is education, the kind of education introduced to
African countries in the colonial era is aimed at producing black
European gentlemen rather than well trained engineers and technicians, but till date, most African countries including Nigeria have been
unable to shift away from the education of being just a gentleman, to
an education which is aimed at national transformation. Educations
which not just conceive European based policies to be implemented in
Africa, but a truly indigenous policy that can actually work and
produce the right result.

This economic underdevelopment also allows the advance countries to
impose their own policies on the underdeveloped countries by the use
unfound, partial and often misguided policies and theories. Example is
such which was championed by the Nigerian Minister of Finanace,Mrs
Ngozie Okonjo Iweala,which claimed that the removal of fuel subsidy
was inevitable to the economic stability of Nigeria, a policy which is
clearly improvised and have negative effect both on present and future wellbeing of the citizens. The subsidy situation which came about due to corruption as earlier stated above and without tackling the rout cause, there can never be any progress. but Mrs Okonjo Iweala insisted on embarking on such shallow thinking imposed policy whose effect has proven bad and worst on the citizens wellbeing till date and possible some future ahead.

Studies also have it that, while the devaluation, economic
liberalisation, removal of subsidy etc. can be shown to promote
economic growth and development in some particular western countries, their blanket application to underdeveloped countries which Nigeria is one in general helps to keep them impoverished. Where a large number of people are poor, illustrate hungry and sick, the practice of democracy is rendered virtually impossible for in such a situation, many people are so concerned with meeting their basic needs for food and shelter that they care more or less nothing about political participation.

The relationship between an economic underdevelopment and democracy and good governance was shown to be that, as the forces of production of a society grow, the society is able to accumulate more surpluses from the labour of its members. This surplus value extracted from labour over time makes some societies to be wealthy and capable of dominating others. When such domination is directed mainly at acquiring private economic gain, then the relationship so established become an imperialistic relationship, thereby creating wealth and prosperity for the advanced countries and poverty and underdevelopment for the third world countries where Africa belong. And such poverty and economic underdevelopment stands as a major barrier to the growth and development of democracy in the world.

History have it that, since the 19th century, most African countries
have been held in a structural relationship to the countries of Europe
and America, which has left them underdeveloped. For this reason,
these countries have been unable to practice democracy and good
governance because they lack the necessary social prerequisites for
democratic governance.

In conclusion, for the underdeveloped countries to have any chance of
operating a successful democracy and good governance with its
principles like other advanced countries, the underdeveloped countries
must cut its structural tier and relationship with the advance
countries, living a room for a level playing ground and moving at
their own pace. Their relationship with the advanced countries must
strictly be based on mutual interest and mutual benefit.
Underdeveloped countries must operate as independent entity,
independent in government, economy, policies and affiliation.

Amb. Abdulrazaq O Hamzat
MD/Initiative Creator (IC)
Grand Plan

Short URL: http://newnigerianpolitics.com/?p=26645

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