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Review Article - International Research Journal of Arts and Social Sciences ( 2023) Volume 11, Issue 3

Democratic governance and the challenges of leadership in Nigeria: 1999-2007

Akingbade BO*
Skyway Aviation Handling Company PLC, Victor Attah International Airport, Okobo,Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria
*Corresponding Author:
Akingbade BO, Skyway Aviation Handling Company PLC, Victor Attah International Airport, Okobo,Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria, Email:

Received: 03-May-2023, Manuscript No. irjass-23-98169; Editor assigned: 05-May-2023, Pre QC No. irjass-23-98169; Reviewed: 19-May-2023, QC No. irjass-23-98169; Revised: 23-May-2023, Manuscript No. irjass-23-98169; Published: 31-May-2023, DOI: 10.14303/2276-6502.2023.86


Extant empirical African studies have consistently established that the leadership pattern is the problem of achieving good democratic governance in Africa, in which the Nigerian Political State is not an exemption. The study examines and posits that Democracy is a concept developed by scholars to describe human behavior. Conceptualization starts from observation. The individual observer decides on what to select as a yardstick or parameter for measuring a concept. Conceptualization is influenced by intellectual tradition, ideological orientation and cultural patterns. A scholar is a product of an intellectual tradition, which informs his world – view or perspective. The way a scholar understands and explains a concept is related to how he was educated. During the process of education a scholar is so to say, converted into a certain intellectual paradigm, the paradigm determines his perspectives and how he explains concepts consequently, a scholar educated in the natural sciences may not find it easy to explain concept in social sciences. Ideologies represent interests in the social system. A person who belongs to a particular ideological persuasion is influenced by such an ideology in his thinking and explanation of social events. For example a person in a country with socialist ideology may most likely explain the concept of democracy in relation to equalitarian policies. An individual is also a product of a cultural system. Such culture determines his explanation of events. A cultural pattern is like an intellectual gate – keeper. It allows certain things to enter into political discussion; while preventing others from entering it. As a conceptual political variable, democracy takes different meaning in different places at different times. No society is static, all societies undergo changes from within and from without. These changes manifest the way people think and explain socio-political events. Consequentially, the explanation of the meaning of the concept of democracy is subject to such changes. In Nigeria, the instrumentalities of mass resistance and sustained opposition from the civil society forced the military out of power in 1999. On May 29 of the same year, a new civilian administration was sworn into office to begin Nigeria’s fourth democratic experiment. Indeed, Nigeria experienced its “third wave of democratization.” Our current democratic experiment has experienced some perturbations. Yet, there is a general consensus among the people that the worst civilian regime is by far better than the most benevolent military dictatorship. As we approach a new republic, there are obvious governance challenges that confront the people and the government. This paper examines what those challenges are, and discusses the modalities for overcoming them as the country embarks on a very testy civilian-to-civilian transition.


Democracy, Democratic governance, Bad leadership, Good governance, Structural functionalism, Democratic theory


Democracy is a concept developed by scholars to describe human behavior. Conceptualization starts from observation. The individual observer decides on what to select as a yardstick or parameter for measuring a concept. Conceptualization is influenced by intellectual tradition, ideological orientation and cultural patterns. A major trend since the end of the cold war has been the enabling environment for enhancing the global propagation of the liberal democratic paradigm. Incidentally, the democratic movement albeit rudimentarily, was flagged off in the colonial Nigeria with the benevolent introduction of the elective principle by the 1922 Hugh Clifford Constitution and invariably the introduction of party politics (Ajayi, 1998). Within the last decade, democracy can arguably be said to be the most sought after and yet the least understood system of government known to mankind. The collapse of authoritarian regimes in Eastern Europe, the end of the cold war and a renewed upsurge of nationalist agitations in many parts of the world seemed to have opened the floodgates for new definitions of the concept of democracy (Babawale, 2007).

Democracy as a concept originated in Ancient Greece. The concept originated from two Greek words. Demos meaning people and “Kratos” implying government or rule (Mbachu 1994). Therefore in its simplest interpretation of the Greek City States, democracy is the government of the people. In juxtaposing the concept as the government of the people, in his celebrated

Definition of the concept; Abraham Lincoln a onetime president of the United States of America defined democracy as the “government of the people, for the people and by the people” (Remy 1994:31-34). Democracy has been seen as an “institutional arrangement for arriving at political decisions in which individual acquire the power to decide by means of a competitive struggle for the people votes” (Schumpeter, 1960:25) from these analogical assertion, one can deduce that democracy is the struggle for power at arriving at a logically concluded decision.

(Sartori, 1967) perceived democracy as “the power of people and rule of the people” (Appadoria, 1975) conceptualized democracy as a system of government under which the people exercise the governing power either directly or through its representatives periodically elected by themselves. Democracy is also concerned with “how to govern the society in such a way that power actually belongs to the people (Osaghae, 1992).

(Olamosu, 2008) argues that various cultures have passed through different political systems of how to organize themselves in the best manner possible. In the course of practice, many have drawn the necessary lessons over previous mistake, most time to time tyrannical power. This has been responsible for various political systems now known in history.

Among these doctrines are oligarchy, aristocracy, anarchism, autocracy, republicanism, democracy etc. Mills (1983:59) anchored his position on how to have a stable polity on oligarchy of political elites, what Plato termed or called “philosophical kings”. Of all this experience, democracy has been more enduring and appealing to modern political world.

In political theory, democracy describes a small number of related forms of government and also a political philosophy even though there is no universally acceptable definition of the concept of democracy. There are two principles that any definition of democracy must include. The first principle is that all members of the society (citizens) have equal access to power and secondly, that all members (citizens) must enjoy universally recognized freedom and liberties. There are several varieties or typologies of democracy, some of which provide better representation and more freedom for their citizens than others.

However, if any democracy is not carefully legislated to avoid an uneven distribution of political power with balances, such as separation of powers, then a branch of the system of rule could accumulate power and become harmful to democracy itself. The majority rule is often a characteristic feature of democracy, but without responsible government it is possible for the right of the minority to be abused by the “tyranny of the majority”. An essential process in representative democracies are competitive election that are fair both substantively and procedurally. Furthermore, freedom of political expression, freedom of speech and freedom of press are essential to that citizens are informed and able to vote in their personal interest.

Democratic governance is often acclaimed to be the best form of governmental rule across the globe. The ideal archetype, which is practiced in the world, has been canvassed and at times coerced on developing countries through threats of sanctions or support for democratization process. Most developing countries in the world have accepted the idea not only in principle but also in practice. Democratic governance is conceived to be the best form of ruling the electorate in most parts of the world. This is because democracy as a form of government provides the people with necessary facilities, co-ordinate them in the best manner possible and most importantly legitimate in its perception. Having conceptualized the concept of democracy, there is an intellectual need to look at democracy in Nigeria which is the case study of this work along the lines of its leadership pattern during the said administration under study. Democratic governance as a concept that is put in place legitimately and legally in most part of the world through the electorate (people) exercising the right of voting the representative of their choice to various political post to represent them for the betterment of their lives.

On October 1, 1960, Nigeria the most populous country in Africa gained her independence from the United Kingdom. The New Republic incorporated a number of people with aspirations of their own sovereign nation. Newly Independent Nigeria’s government was a coalition of conservative parties. The Nigerian People Congress (NPC), a party dominated by Northerners and those of the Islamic faith, the Igbo who are Christian dominated National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroon’s (NCNC) led by Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, who became Nigeria’s first indigenous Governor-General in 1960. Forming the opposition was the comparatively liberal Action Group (AG), which was largely dominated by Yoruba people led by Chief (Hon) Obafemi Awolowo (Osagbae, 2002). An imbalance was created in the polity as a result of the 1961 plebiscite. Southern Cameroon opted out to join the Republic of Cameroon while Northern Cameroon chooses to remain in Nigeria. The Northern part of the country was now far larger than the Southern part. The Nation parted with its British legacy in 1963 by declaring itself a Federal Republic, with Azikiwe as the first president and Alhaji Tafawa Balewa as prime minister with ceremonial executive power. When elections were conducted in 1965, the AG was outmaneuvered in the struggle for the control of Nigeria’s National Democratic Party, an amalgamation of conservative, Yoruba element backed heavily by the Federal Government in dubious circumstances.

The democratic rule was truncated by the soldiers in in1965 as a result of political war in Western Region between the leader of Action Group Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Samuel Ladoke Akintola, which led to the declaration of the state of emergency in the region. This led to the coup of 1965 led by Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu, in which most of Nigeria’s political leaders were killed among whom were Sir Ahmadu Bello (Sardauna of Sokoto), Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, the then prime minister, Samuel Ladoke Akintola and others. The military continued to rule till 1979 when General Olusegun Obasanjo, the then Military Head of State returned power to civilians, as a result of which Alhaji Shehu Shagari emerged as the first democratically elected executive president of Nigeria. He ruled from 1979 to 1983 he was toppled by General Buhari in a coup d’etat. This resulted in a prolonged military rule, which many believes militated against the progress of the country.

Nigerians also exercised their voting rights on June 12, 1993 in an election that is widely documented as the freest and fairest in the history of Nigerian politics. The election was won by Bashorun M.K.O. Abiola and annulled by General Ibrahim Badamasi Babaginda on spurious political grounds. The government thereby handed over to an Interim National Government (ING) headed by Chief Ernest Shonekan who spent just eighty two (82) days in office after which he was overthrown by the junta of dictatorial Abacha who later died mysteriously. The Provisional Ruling Council (PRC) which was at that time the highest ruling body in Nigeria sat and agreed that General Abdusalami Abubakar should be the Nigerian head of state based on the fact that he was a die-hard solider and he was considered apolitical. General Abdusalami took over and he conducted an election that saw General Olusegun Obasanjo of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) as the democratically elected president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is against this backdrop, that we will be looking at the leadership pattern of the democratic government under the Obasanjo administration was not interrupted by military take-over of power but for the first time in her annal of history as a politically independent nation that power was democratically transferred from one civilian government to another within the same ruling party Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Nigeria is the world’s most endowed nations with abundant human and natural vital mineral deposit but rocked by democratic crises. May 29, 1999 marked a watershed in Nigeria’s political history. It was the dawn of democratic rule after several years under the yoke of military misrule marked by infrastructural decay and institutionalized corruption. The hope of the common man became rekindled with the institution of a democratic government. However, the legacy of accountability bequeathed by many years of military rule continued to be an impediment to democratic development (Akanbi, 2004). Nigeria again returned democracy in 1999 when Olusegun Obasanjo, former military leader of Nigeria State was elected as the new civilian president ending almost thirty-three years of military rule from (1966 till 1999) excluding the short-lived second Republic (1979- 1983) by the military dictators, who seized power in coup d’etat and counter – coups 1966-1979 and 1983 – 1998. On May 29 1999 Nigeria successfully transited to civil rule after almost two decades of prolonged and protracted military dictatorship. Retired General Olusegun Obasanjo was sworn in as Nigeria’s second Executive President.

It is gratifying to note that twelve (12) years after, civil rule is still holding out, despite the storms and stresses, the hiccups and political upheavals. It has been a tense and turbulent time, but Nigeria’s legendary luck has prevailed. The military have been kept at bay and restricted to their constitutional duty of preserving the territorial integrity of the nation and protecting it against external aggression. For the first time in its post- independence history, Nigeria has been able to achieve a civilian to civilian transfer of power.

Yet if anybody had thought that their meaningful process of demilitarization would be followed by a corresponding deepening of the demoralization process and an expansion of the space and frontiers of democracy, such a person would have been living in a fools’ paradise. Civil rule in Nigeria has been accompanied by a worsening contraction of the democratic space and a brazen negation of virtually all the rules and tenets of free and fair electoral procedure. The 2003 elections which were the first series of electoral contests to be held in Nigeria in twenty (20) years were widely adjudged to have been marred by widespread irregularities and large scale rigging. The international observers were dismayed and scandalized by the open and brazen resort to manipulation and forgery (Iroanusi, 2000). The Late Chief Sunday Awoniyi, a founding member of the PDP, observed that it would amount to a spiritual scandal if some good did not come out of the whole shameless process.

It is very important to contextualize the process of democratization, particularly in the light of African countries emerging from the throes of colonization. In many of these countries the problem of ethnicity and religion coupled with the absence of popular nationalist movements as the vehicle of the resistance and struggle against colonization often combine to thwart democratic aspirations with the dawn of independence, many African countries were little more than aimed camps with a mainly illiterate population tottering at the edge of despair and disorientation. Their pre-colonial system and indigenous institution completely ravaged, these new nations were not better than armistice territories with the colonial army as the only durable and viable national institution in place. This development was to have dire consequences for political evolution and democratic growth of sub-Saharan Africa (Audrain, 1975), for example, at the start of the American Revolution, there were more intellectuals in the whole country than men under arms. The rate of popular literacy and enlightenment which constituted the strength of civil society ensured that while armed struggle against Imperial Britain was going on, majority of Americans were also actively involved in the intellectual contestation to lay the foundation of a strong, virile, economically prosperous and democratic nation (Dike, 1999). But all these notwithstanding, we cannot make excuse for democratically underachieving country like Nigeria because of its bad leadership pattern which have a consequential effect on our governance structure. Even after it has been saddled with the western paradigm of political evolution, a nation must be seen to be seriously grappling with the objectification and realization of its destiny as a modern nation-state or it will regress into an anomic fiefdom of medieval tyranny, a despotic cave of biblical misery and millennial horror. This is the stark choice facing Nigeria.

Background statement to the problem

Literature on democratic studies have shown that several attempts to go back to democratic rule in most African countries have suffered a lot of setbacks, which usually led to destruction of lives and properties, simply because the rule of the game was not followed and, uncivilized and unhealthy politicking was the order of the day. People always want to impose themselves on the citizens, so they employ different means other than the normal rules of the game to get into political office. These unhealthy and uncivilized politicking has continued to cause a lot of damage and make African people to be poverty-ridden despite abundant natural and human resources in the country.

The central problem therefore is that the manner in which Nigeria is governed by the leaders is faulty. The experience of democracy in Nigeria since 1999 reminds us that democracy itself guarantees nothing. It offers instead the opportunity to succeed as well as the risk of failure. We have failed more than we have succeeded and so “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” which Thomas Jefferson outlined as the promise of democracy have still not been realized in Nigeria. In the absence of good governance that allows participation of citizens in the decision-making process to take place, in an environment where freedom of choice and expression is limited, in a place where the electoral process is far from transparent and there is no form of sincere transparency and there is no accountability from either the legislative or executive arm of government, then we can say that we are democratic only in name and not in practice.

Political adversities also have their uses. The silver lining in the farcical elections of 2007 is that they have pushed Nigeria willy-nilly into a confrontation with its destiny. The country cannot continue along its present path of electoral chicanery without a rendezvous with a major catastrophe. This is not some fancy footwork’s of theoretical postulations. As we have witnessed in many parts of the developing world, particularly in post-colonial Africa, the crisis of the democratic process has a way of spinning and snowballing uncontrollably into a crisis of the nation-state itself.

Comparatively, in Liberia, Sierra-Leone, Algeria, Cote d’Ivoire, it has led to civil wars. In Burundi and Rwanda, it has led to outright genocide with the civil war already directly emanating from a bundled electoral process, if Nigeria were to follow the same path; the humanitarian catastrophe would be of unimaginable proportions for Africa and the rest of the world.

Objectives of the research work

Most of the developed countries of the world today have embraced democratic rule, in which freedom of citizens is guaranteed, the basic social amenities is provided and there is progress in terms of basic infrastructure, vibrant economy and a sustainable growth that transformed into economic development, employment generation, housing for all, health care delivery, security of life and property is guaranteed, well equipped army that is meant to protect the state against any external or bilateral aggression, qualitative education, vibrant civil service, proper plans for retirees and good reward for those who serve the state in areas such as sports.

The research aimed at examining why good leadership in the developing continents of the world cannot really be achieved despite its claim of practicing democracy. The research work also aim at examining the territorial context in which democratic government is practiced in Nigeria and also positing the American federal democratic archetype as the best form of representative government in the world.

The research study has the following cardinal objectives:

To examine the ideological basis undermining the democratic practice in Nigeria under the said administration under study

To identify the inefficiency in the practice of this form of representative government (democracy) in Nigeria thereby expressing the mischievous act of the acclaimed democrat in Nigeria as a whole under the said administration.

To conduct research into the nature of the problems associated with democracy and the challenges of leadership in Nigeria.

To proffer pertinent alternatives changes required to make democracy deliver its dividends to Nigerians.

Justification and area study of the research work

This research study is justified on the ground that since her inception as an independent state, it is the first time that democracy is not aborted during its first phase of practice (first term) and power handed over successfully from one democratically elected civilian president to another. The research study is justified, as it will also help to complement further research work in this area of study by opening up a vista and providing panacea to global views of bad leadership identified with the third world in which Nigeria is not an exemption.

In order to adequately address the stated problems, the scope of this research study is limited to the Fourth Republic (1999- 2007) even though as the study progresses; there might be a need to make a comparative analysis of administration performance. The spatial domain of this research study is Nigeria in its entirety with a view to accessing the democratic governance, nature, practices, performance in relation to the challenges of leadership in Nigeria under the Obasanjo’s administration and sustainability of democracy to achieve its major aims efficiently and effectively.


The methods employed in carrying out this research are achieved through the primary and secondary sources of data collection. The primary sources of data gathering is carried out through unstructured interview, speeches, writings and pronouncement of politician and actors during the said administration under study. The secondary sources of data collection is achieved through content analysis method which extract from books, periodicals, press statements, memoirs and historical monograph helped in achieving this research work.

Limitation encountered in carrying out the research work

This research study is however confronted with a central problem of logistics coupled with the fact that accessing most of the relevant literatures in their area of study is considered by some democratic centres, democrats and politicians in various political positions, ministries and parastatals as divulging official secret and exposing the shortcoming of the government under which the study is centered on. The study is also limited by distance as the country is a very big nation; there is difficulty commuting to most part of the country due to its largeness as a state. As a result of the above, the study heavily depends on evidences contained in the plethora of the surviving document on democratic studies and challenges of leadership. This is also supported with data collected through unstructured interviews, speeches, writings and pronouncement of politicians and actors during the said administration under study.

In view of the above stated limitation of logistics and the largeness of the Nigerian state, obtaining letter of admittance to use three prominent research centers namely the Nigerian institute of international affairs (NIIA) in Lagos state, center for policy research trust(CPRT) and the Nigerian institute for Social Economic research (NISER) both in Oyo state and selecting cases from Oyo, Cross River, Enugu, Kano, Borno and Abuja (FCT) in terms of visitation on geo-political basis will help to mitigate the limitation and inadequacies of this research study.

Theoretical framework

Given the nature of this study, more importantly the dimension of issues to be addressed, it is plausible to examine some theories as framework for analyzing the data collected. The study in view of this adopts the structural functionalist theories and the democratic theory.

Structural functionalism

Structural functionalism represents an offshoot from general systems theories (Flanigan and Fugelman, 1967). It offers another example of a conceptual framework that has found wide acceptance among political analyst. More importantly, it embodies certain characteristics or features similar to that of system analysis, despite variations in terminology and some intellectual confusion within the approach itself. First, an emphasis on the whole system as the unit of analysis, second, postulation of particular functions as requisite to the maintenance of the whole system. Third concern to demonstrate the functional interdependence of diverse structures within the whole system. Talcott parson was one of the main contributors to the development of functionalism, a theoretical approach pioneered by Emile Durkheim and Augusta Comte. Other prominent writes include (Almond and Coleman 1960), (Brown 1952) and (Merton, 1957).

Though, the theory founds its origin in sociology and anthropology as the most influential parading in the 1950’s and 1960’s, it aims to provide a scientific theory of the political system. It is based upon the premise that it is possible to identify certain basic functions, which are requisite to the survival of all social systems. Societies that do not perform these requisite functions cease to exist as societies. According to the functionalist view point in studying any given society we should look at how it various “part” or institutions combine to give that society continuity over time. By implication, to study the function of a political practice or institution is to analyze the contribution, which that practice or institution makes to the continuation of the society as a whole.

Almond argued that all political systems performed key political functions designed to produce the society. He emphasized on the reproduction of processes and the stability of the social and political system. The best way to understand there is by turning to the analogy to the human body, a comparison, which Comte and Durkheim, and many subsequent functionalists another’s make. For instance, to study a bodily organ like the heart, we need to show how it relates to other parts of the body. By pumping blood around the body, the heart plays a vital role in the continuation of the life of the organisms. Familiarly, analyzing the function of a political institution means showing the role it plays in the continued existence of system or society as a whole. In their study attempt is made to underscore the role of our leader in governance, and also their relationship and interdependence with other component institutions in the state and how bad leadership as a structure of governing the electorate has resulted to affecting all other various supposedly functional institution functioning thereby, creating bad governance and democratic instability.

Talcott parson, the source of most political functionalists suggests the existence of four requisite functions namely, pattern maintenance and tension management, goal attainment, adaptation to the environment (Holt, 1967). Briefly summarized, the maintenance function merely means that in order to survive a society must shape the behaviour of its members to meet social needs. As such, three major processes are involved in the pattern maintenance functional requisite.

Firstly, the enculturation process that involves socializing members of the society to accept the established distribution of roles and rewards.

Secondly, a social controls process providing the constraints of individual who violates societal norms and value.

Thirdly, tension management process which has to do with the precision for the resolution of internal stress and conflict. The goal attainment functions are based upon the assumption that individuals form societies to achieve goals. The goals are sets of desired relationship between the system and its environment. It involves a cluster of ongoing activities. Without the attainment of such minimal goals as defense, sustenance and procreation, for instance, societies or systems could neither be maintained nor persist. In order to maintain necessary desired relationship with the environment it is necessary to have resources and thus the most significant process related to goal attainment is the process of mobilizing societal resources for societal efforts. The adaptation function means the societies must be sufficiently resilient to cope with ever-changing circumstances. Just as societies were originally established to achieve goals, their continued survival depends upon their ability to remain goal fulfilling; whatever external changes in their environment might occur.

Finally, each individual in the society cannot carry out all of the activities that are necessary if the functional requisite is to be satisfied. The integration function refers to the need for an overall “fit” or congruence between the various components of a society. A society in which the different social structures (roles, group, classes, institutions) are poorly coordinated will experience more difficulty in performing the pattern maintenance, goal attainment, adaptation functions than a society in which all of the structures of societal mist into a highly synchronized whole. In short, one of the functional requisite of the social system is to provide for the integration of the interdependent units-roles and structures-in the social system the structural functionalist theory.

Relevance to their study revealed that if the structure of governance and pattern of ruling the electorate produce bad leadership and consequentially bad system of governance in addendum, it is going to affect every other structure and it they won’t function very well, such structure that could be affected include the economy as there would be crisis of inflation which can have a negative impact on the standard of living of the citizenry, political structure can also be affected in terms of how the various political groups in the state co-ordinate themselves to run affairs of the people both at the centre and primordial level to achieve efficiency and grassroots good governance and leadership cannot be achieved and this can caused a lot of problem on our electoral system and leadership pattern of the state. The truth of the matter is that if the leadership pattern is faulty it is going to affect all other structure and sub-structure of the state is it economy, social and political.

Despite the shortcoming of their theoretical framework, it is worthy to state that the pressure of structural functionalism is nothing less than to provide a consistent and integrated theory from which can be derived explanatory hypothesis relevant to all aspects of a political system (Flanigan and Edwin, 1967). As William Mitchell explores in his structural functional analysis of “The American Polity”, I have chosen to use the “Structural functional approach largely because it seems to offer the best possibilities for eventually developing a general theory of political systems (Mitchell, 1972).

Democratic theory

In 1942, Joseph Schumpeter, an Austrian economist settled in the United States of America, published his capitalism, socialism and Democracy, an analysis of the inevitability of socialism. Schumpeter a reactionary monarchist did not welcome socialism, but even less did he welcome popular democracy. Schumpeter criticizes what he calls the classical doctrine of democracy, that the people through their common will elect representative to realize the common good of the people. He says there is usually no will of the people or common good, and when there is, then autocracy often better realizes both. There is no uniquely and unanimously endorsed common good, he objects, nor is there a will of the people individual wills about political matters are neither definite nor independent. Individual will is more definite with respect to consumer choices, but is indefinite with respect to democratic choice because voters do not. Individual will is not independent in politics, because it is mostly formed by the propaganda of leaders and their parties, again because of no relation between voter choice and consequences. In debunking redefinition of democracy, a construction intended to preserve elite damnation in the unwelcome socialist democracies for the future is anticipated in the name of realism, Schumpeter definition stripped democracy all ethical content (Medearis, 2001).

Schumpeter further objects, a rational combination of individual wills assumes that those judgments about the common good are definite and of equally good quality. In opposing the assumptions of the rational actor tradition, however, he argues that it is unrealistic to suppose that the will of the individual citizen is either independent or rational, rather, the individual’s will is “an indeterminate bundle of vague impulses loosely playing about given slogans and mistaken impressions” –(Schmitt et al., 1999) .Many thinkers mistakenly conceive of democracy on the model of plurality voting, as a method which only register first preferences, in explicating further in this Dahl’s characterize democracy as the product of many minorities (Dahl, 1956).

The absence of rationalizing influence of experience and responsibility rationality, impartiality and an improvement in political affairs means the typical citizen is vulnerable to advertising by groups with an ax to grind, and “they are able to fashion, and within very wide limits, even to create the will of the people. We are confronted with not a genuine but a manufactured will, and as such depression, unemployment, corrupt officials military draft, uninsured medical crisis, confiscatory regulations, air pollution, you name it, the citizens suffers from bad government (Mackie, 1998).

Liberalism and democracy might be founded on more ultimate values of freedom and equality (Habermas, 1997). Indeed, it is far less plausible to deduce liberal autocracy from (such) fundamental values. A liberal democratic could honestly hold that an apparently democratic decision to persecute a minority is not a properly democratic decision. It is crucial that Schumpeter’s mental experiment brings liberalism and democracy into contact; it is not first conceivable but likely that the typical practical democrat would in principle reject democrat override of basic liberal guarantees (Cohen, 2000).

Bourgeois German political thought of the period, sees democracy as “personnel selection rather decision- making” (Struve, 1973). Schumpeter identifies the anti- democratic and inter-intellectualist trend in opposing the liberal motions of rationality, progress and humanitarians which is grossly testified through a thorough knowledge of elite theories (Schumpeter, 1954).

Joseph Schumpeter is frequently evasive about his own view, but for his intellectual heroes of the elite school, society and class are explained by an adaptationist group functionalism: pseudo-biological, irrationalist, and amoralist. “The individual’s beliefs, intentions, actions are meaningless by product of struggle among groups, led by ruling elites, to survive and effectively function” (Nye, 1977). Schumpeter an advantage of his definitional construct of the term democracy as it serves as an efficient criterion by which distinguish democratic government from other forms of government, since electoral competition for political leadership is usually easy to measure (Ricci, 1970).

Democracy appears to be the master’s concept of the world of politics today. Yet a treacherous terrain confront those who understand it, whether as student and theoreticians or as participants and practitioners, and equally societies long known as “democracies” as in those newly embarking on “democratization”. Late in the 20th century, some political scientist rediscovered their Aristotelian roots by returning to the question of how to achieve a good, just and stable polity that is, by returning to the study of democracy. Although the approaches were highly diverse, most researchers attempted to identify the factors by which democracy are established and sustained. Democratic theory was revised in earnest in the late 1980’s, when communist requires was collapsing throughout Eastern Europe. The democratic theory as a model was propounded by Joseph Schumpeter in 1942, thought his “capitalism, socialism and democracy” he propounded a more modern theory of democracy based on what has been widely referred to as the liberal view of democracy (pluralist theory). According to Schumpeter cited in (Dode, 2012), the classical theory of democracy in which it was stated that all adult males contributed to the making of public policy was deficient to the point that it could not explain the concept of popular participation in modern times it was methodologically good for explaining behavioural pattern in small primitive societies in which face-to face relations prevail and political issue are simple. Scholars of Schumpeter intellectual persuasion have argued that classical definitions are faulty because they picture or represent conditions entirely absent in our democratic societies practically. Schumpeter opinionated that for a system to be seen as been “democratic”, the rulers should be chosen by the ruled or their elected representatives. By this arrangement, one of the essential functions expected of the electorate in a democracy is that of producing a government. Joseph Schumpeter argues further that once this democratic experiment have taken place, the democratic voter is expected to respect the political division of labour by leaving decisions or issues (in government) to leaders whom they have elected. He stated that for a nation to be democratic the principles must be effectively put into practice.

The “democratic theory” of Joseph Schumpeter has given a clear and crystal picture of what ought to be in a democratic environment. The study is relevant in the sense that it has brought to our understanding those ingredient that makes democracy the most practiced form of government in modern time. Democracy and accountability or proper stewardship will become repulsive and defective when political leaders do not allow the electorate exercising control in democratic polity and also to ask question about the governance political structure that is put in place. It is very germane; we situate our analysis within the context of the theme of this study to explicitly understand the relevance of this theory to the research work under study.

Democratic theory is very important to the study as accountability required of the democrat elected in Nigeria under the administration under study and efficient governing structure will have put the country in a good shape politically, but since this is latent, the consequence of bad governance as a result of bad leadership has made the Nigerian state to be politically unstable. The leadership pattern of determines to a great extent, the resultant effect of what will come out of the structure by any government in place. A very good example to suffice is good leadership pattern in the United States of America accompanied with proper financial and political stewardship and accountability has made the country to stable democratic in the world. In same manner they bad leadership structure identified with Latin-America, Asia and Third world countries in which Nigeria is not an exemption has led to bad democratic governance structure and his applicable to the administration under study as the manner and pattern of leadership style of Obasanjo administration have a regular impact in the government structure economically, socially and politically.


For democracy to be firmly established in Nigeria, observance of human rights and the minority problems in the country must be adequately addressed. Likewise, the present imbalance federal system is far from being ideals for democracy. Our political leaders and not rulers must be well oriented as regards the ideals and ethos of a true democratic system in relation to how the rule us as the current democratic system under study have revealed that leadership problem to a large extent affect all the structure of governance and the state itself and seeking a solution in ‘fiscal federalism’, political restructuring’, derivative revenue sharing’, would help to mitigate the inadequacies in our leadership pattern and modus operandi of governance.

The poor handling of the Nigerian economy as a result of bad leadership means that there is little base for the average Nigerian; jobs are disappearing as companies are closing down pensioners are dying routinely. Poverty abounds and crime has assumed the status of a normal feature of the Nigerian society. Whereas, democracy means better paid jobs, education, health-care, modern amenities such as: durable houses motor transportation, piped water and electricity, and above all a better future for the children. Democracy will be better enhanced if a good democratic structure that is void of bad leadership is put in place as democracy is very antithetical to autocracy.


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