THE RISE OF POVERTY AND THREATS OF SUSTAINING DEMOCRATIC RULE IN NIGERIA

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THE RISE OF POVERTY AND THREATS OF SUSTAINING DEMOCRATIC RULE IN NIGERIA

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

The practice of democracy in Nigeria over a decade ago has not yielded much needed good governance. This is because democracy is practiced in such a way that responsible and competent people are scared away. Scholars and keen observers have attempted at unraveling the factors militating against translating democracy into good governance through the conduct of election, (Abiodun, 2002).

The  fact  is  that  2/3  of  the  world‟s  extreme  poor  are  concentrated  in  just  five  countries-  India,  China, Nigeria,  Bangladesh  and  the  Democratic  Republic  of  Congo  (Yong  ,2014).  It  is  disheartening  that  despite  the natural  and  human  resources  that  Nigeria  is  blessed  it,  she  is  one  of  these  countries..Poverty  is  a  major  problem of  our  time,  which  along  with  environmental  threats,  weighs  heavily  on  our  planet  and  the  future  of  humanity.  

It has  assumed  unprecedented  and  unacceptable  proportion  in  Nigeria,  manifesting  not  only  in  abysmal  decline  in economic  indicators  and  trends,  but  more  glaringly  and  tragically  in  the  suffering,  hardship  and  general impoverishment  of  the  vast  majority  of  the  people.  The  average  Nigerian  is  far  worse  off  than  he  was  54  years ago  when  the  country  achieved  political  independence. The  prevalence  of  poverty  and  misery  in  Nigeria  is  however,  a  paradox.  Nigeria  should,  by  no  means be  a  poor  nation.  Apart  from  being  an  oil-producing  nation,  Nigeria  is  endowed  with  other  natural  and  human resources  which  are  enough  to  put  her  on  a  solid  path  to  economic  development  and  greatness.  But  Nigeria  still wallows  in  abject  poverty  despite  her  stupendous  wealth.  Deep  concerns  have  been  expressed  about  the sustainability  of  the  democratic  process  in  Nigeria,  as  poverty-induced  agitation  and  violent  conflicts  spread across  the  country.  Stakeholders  in  the  Nigerian  democratic  enterprise  appear  to  be  at  crossroads  on  what  to  do to  alleviate  poverty,  which  is  generally  regarded  as  the  greatest  threat  to  the  nascent  democratic  process  in  the country.  

Large  segments  of  the  population  are  demanding  the  dividends  of  democracy  as  the  incidence  of poverty  continually  grows  throughout  the  nation.  Geo-  political  zones  are  crying  out  against  impoverishment, deprivation  and  marginalization.  Countless  ethno-cultural  associations  and  pressure  groups  are  being  formed  to articulate  interests  for  a  better  share  of  the  national  cake,  even  when  such  interests  threaten  the  very  basis  of democracy  in  the  country.   It  is  a  fact  that  the  rising  incidence  of  poverty  in  Nigeria  poses  a  serious  threat  to  the  democratization process.  The  concern  of  this  paper  therefore  is  to  highlight  the  challenges  posed  by  poverty  to  democracy  in Nigeria.  Conceptual  definitions  of  poverty  and  democracy  are  presented,  the  causes  of  poverty  and  the implication  of  poverty  for  democracy  is  also  examined,  while  suggestions  for  reducing  the  incidence  of  poverty across the country are also put forward.

THE RISE OF POVERTY AND THREATS OF SUSTAINING DEMOCRATIC RULE IN NIGERIA

THE RISE OF POVERTY AND THREATS OF SUSTAINING DEMOCRATIC RULE IN NIGERIA