Sustainability of the Nigerian Democracy: A Study of the Nigerian Experience from 1999 – 2020
The study offers the analysis of how genuine democratization can entrench democratic values, norms, attitudes and culture in Nigeria in a transition political economy. The study, therefore, investigated the patterns of institutional foundation laid by the military before handing over power; the extent of participation of the electorates; the attitudinal or behavioural mindsets of the political elites; the quality of governance; and how these have helped to promote democratic dividends, political stability and sustenance of democracy in Nigeria. The study adopted historical and qualitative research methods to capture events that typify the character of democratization and democratic consolidation in Nigeria between 1999 and 2007. The following findings were revealed: patrimonial legacy and militarized polity have negative implications for sustenance of democratic values in Nigeria; the electorates did not participate fully in democratic elections even though, there was successful transition from civilian to civilian administration and an increase in the number of registered voters; institutional and behavioural foundations were not laid for the sustenance of democratic values. The analysis also showed that the quality of governance was poor as the dividends of democracy were not felt by the people as mass poverty prevailed, as well as increase in the spate of electoral violence. Accordingly, the study recommended that the polity should be demilitarized; political education should be embarked upon to enlighten the political elites and the electorates on democratic values, norms, attitudes and culture; the political space should be devoid of violence to guarantee security of lives and property and improve the quality of governance for the realization of the dividends of democracy by the electorates. The study concluded that adherence to the proffered suggestions would foster democratization, democratic consolidation and engender enduring political stability that is conducive to socio-economic development.