DEMOCRATIC CONSOLIDATION AND GOOD GOVERNANCE IN NIGERIA : ISSUES, CHALLENGES AND PROSPECTS
Democracies that seek stability require time for continuty. Democratic consolidation as political regime in which democracy as a complex system of institutions, rule and patterned incentives and disincentives has become the new game in town behaviourally, attitudenally and constitutionally. In the same line, consolidation is the process of achiving broad and deep legislation, such that call siginificant political actors at both elite and mass levels belives that the democratic regime is better for their society than only other realistic alternative they can imagine.
ISSUES IN DEMOCRATIC CONSOLIDATION AND GOOD GOVERNANCE IN NIGERIA
As earlier observed, democratic consolidation is not as once and for all activity, it is a transitional and continus web of activity that aim at ensuring perfection in very fact of democratic ethos - free and fear election, rule of law, condoctives party politics, supportive behavioral pattern and elite consensus vibrant civil society and literate masses, independent and incorruptive judiciary etc.
In politics, there are different levels of democratic attainment, each with its unique perequsite. Democratic consolidation apply to different societies with different democratic development, the four categories of democratic attainment will be indentified in this write up. Electoral Democracy, Deligative Democracy, Liberal Democracy and Advance Democracy.
In pratice, as a transitonal phonomeno, a society that seeks to be democratically consolidated could move from authoriterian to electoral democracy, while another could transist from electoral democracy to higher democracy (deligative or liberal democracy). However, deligative democracy which can be placed a little above electoral democracy and below liberal democracy. The model deligative democracy is found in new democracy state like Brazil, Korea, Philippines, South Africa, etc.
For liberal democracy, unlike deligative democracy where the conduct of politics and exercise of political power were usually influenced by those deep social and economic crises inherited from authoriterian predecessors, it characterized by control government and decision on policy is vested in elected officals, these elected officals where chosen in free, fear and frequent election. All adults have right to vote and to be voted for, however, the political sovereign of the state was reside on people.
Nigeria democratic experience since independent and actual democratic practice since enroment of democracy in May 29, 1999 closely typifies of that of deligative democracy. Betwwen May 1999, where Nigeria experiense the third transition from authorirarian to democracy till date May 2014, Nigeria has witnessed about fifteen years of uninterrupted democracy practice. This was enough to delete Nigeria''s name from the list of democratically unstable nations and evaluate its status to that of electoral democracy. However, Nigeria is yet to attain the status of liberal democracy but deligative democracy, even not stable in the deligative status on account of anti-democratic behavioral disposition and attitudes that are incongruent to democractic consolidation. By testing the groeth and democratic consolidation in Nigeria's Fouth Republic, Nigeria on democratic scale pointed between electoral and deligative democracy, even not stable as those of Brazil, Korea, Philippines, South Africa.
In democracy, three factors are central to good goverance namely Responsiveness, Responsibility and Public goods. All these factors are about the relatoinship between the leader and the people. Thus good government would require that the leader must work for public goods of the people's welfare. But in Nigeria, government are still not responsible to their people. They hardly listen to people voices.
CHALLENGES AND PROSPECTS
Nigeria positiopn on democratic scale falls between electoral and deligative democracy, to further on the ladder of democratic scale to liberal democracy, Nigeria needs to improve its behavioral disposition toword democratic ethos - free, fear and frequent election, rule of law, accoutability, authonomous to to all units of government etc.
To achieve the feet starting point is a well though of constitution, acceptable to almost all the sections and interests within the country. Put differently, a person constitution is necessary but not sufficent requirement for democratic consolidation of Nigeria. This is true, more so that most of the democratic callenges faced Nigeria since independent - structiure dificiently etc are constitutonal in character and may able to all. Also, democratic behaviouralism norms, check and balance, authonomous, constitutionalism, accountability, separation of power etc. could be built into the constitution and the remains just a matter of time for people to internalize them both behaviourally and attidunally.
Ajayi Amos Kehinde
Department of Political Science,
Obafemi Awolowo University,
Email: [email protected]