DEMOCRACY AND POLITICAL PARTICIPATION IN NIGERIA (A CASE STUDY OF ASABA, LGA)
BACKGROUND OF STUDY
The Nigerian state assumed a new governance status in 1999 following the demise of authoritarian regime in the country. Military dictatorship was replaced by representative democracy with the hopes and aspirations of good governance much higher than what the seemingly collapsible democratic institutions could fulfill. The source and nature of transition in 1999 was later found to constitute threat to the foundation of democracy and obliterates the current efforts at consolidating democracy.
The reality of the attempts to subvert the concept of democracy to serve the interests of a few, rather than a greater majority, still looms high. The emerging democracy was artificial and reflexive of external imposition. It is a weak democracy that repudiates inalienable ethos of its true identity. Democracy and political participation are related to good governance are interrelated and complementary but appear to be antithetical in Nigeria. Democracy in Nigeria is alien and its practice has proved difficult.
Democracy is abused , good governance becomes elusive and evasive. This is what Darl (1989) describes as “virtual democracy”, democracy that shares resemblance with true democracy but lacks basic tenets of democracy. Democracy in Nigeria has three unique features which include: insulation of economic matters from popular participation, manipulation and monopolization of democratic process including the use of violence and electoral fraud to secure legitimacy and peripheral participation of citizens. Surface-level participation does not have far-reaching influence on the outcome of policy choices.