The Constitution - Volume 6, Issue 1, 2006
Volume 6, Issue 1, 2006
Author Georges Nzongola-NtalajaSource: The Constitution 6, pp 1 –19 (2006)More Less
This article examines democratic transitions in Africa. It focuses on three historic waves, namely, the pre-independence struggle, post-independence era of democratic subversion and the period of democratic restoration beginning from 1988 to the present. It argues that the failure of the post-colonial state to live up to its people s expectations is partly due to the erosion or lack of democracy. It further contends that the roots of this failure are to be found in the internal contradiction of African states and the international environment. On one hand, African leaders conceived the state-building project in anti-democratic terms, reinforcing state s capacity for resource mobilisation and social control. On the other; the external environment imposed development strategies that only integrate African states into the international relations of production which have been counter-productive to the interest of the poor people of Africa. It concludes that nation-building and state building projects in Africa can only be achieved in the contest of a comprehensive democratisation of the state. Democracy as a social project means social progress in terms of better standard of living and full participation in the process of governance by the people.
Author Sylvester Odion-AkhaineSource: The Constitution 6, pp 20 –50 (2006)More Less
This article takes a critical look at the role of the international community on the issue of human rights and democracy in Nigeria. It captures the convergence of authoritarianism, economic crisis and end of the Cold War as determinants of the spheres of human rights and democracy in authoritarian states. These variables are simultaneously the key to understanding the role of the international community. The article argues further that credit could be given to the international community for promoting the course of human rights and democracy in Nigeria under military dictatorship, but it was however constrained by an overriding economic interest underlined by the regime of limited sanctions imposed on Nigerian military rulers. This gave the military room to manoeuvre. The article concludes that untainted commitment to the twin issue of democracy and human rights as foreign policy tool can help in dismantling authoritarian regimes wherever they exist.
Author Tunde AgaraSource: The Constitution 6, pp 51 –70 (2006)More Less
This article focuses on the phenomenon of retired military officers' involvement in politics and economy of Nigeria. Its attempts to provide reasons for their emergence as both a political and economic force in present day Nigeria. In particular, the article shows that this phenomenon of ex-military officers emerging as power contenders and holders is not accidental but has been consciously planned and executed by successive military Heads of State through the instrumentalities of state power. This article investigates this phenomenon where in spite of agitations to the contrary, the military seems to have, again, gained control of the Nigerian state and its democracy. It concludes that unless genuine democracy is allowed to take root in the polity, the presence of ex-military officers in the politics might become counterproductive to democracy and development.
Author Tony Chizea, Bona & IyareSource: The Constitution 6, pp 71 –100 (2006)More Less
This article examines the issues of small arms proliferation and the rise of ethnic militias in Nigeria in the broad ambit of the phenomenon of ethnic conflicts in West Africa. It reviews the theoretical perspectives on ethnicity and conflicts in order to unravel the cause of conflicts and the consequent arms proliferation in Nigeria. It argues that poverty, couched as the non-fulfilment of basic human needs, underlines the raging conflicts in the country and has been aggravated by breakdown of state institutions which ought to medicate the process of individual and collective self actualisation. The article also takes a swipe at the external environments especially the Private Military Companies (PMCs) and agencies of global governance like the IMF and World Bank whose policy output has compounded the problem of poverty and stoked the fire of crisis in Africa and Nigeria in particular. It concludes by recommending a re-engineering of governance, a comprehensive poverty alleviation policy and a corresponding cancellation of debt burden of African countries instead of controversial and conditional debt relief schemes.
Author Modupeola FasekeSource: The Constitution 6, pp 101 –111 (2006)More Less
This article examines historically the image of the Nigerian civil service. It focuses specifically on the festering corruption within the civil service and its consequent hindrance to performance of its bureaucratic function (government business) to the nation. The article traces the corruption and image crises in the sector to the British colonial legacy inherited by Nigeria, and its transformation from an instrument of exploitation in the colonial era to one of corruption and fraud in the post-independence period especially under military rule which created job insecurity in the civil service and consequently deepened the tendency to short-change the system for self-enrichment. It argues that despite the series of structural reforms, image laundry, improved packages and others meant to engender integrity and transparency in the civil service, the sector has not improved. Since the years of military rule to the present civilian era, the IMF and World Bank inspired structural adjustment and economic reforms programmes meant to make the sector more effective is yet to payoff. It concludes by advocating a complete re-orientation of the civil service complex.
Author Femi AborisadeSource: The Constitution 6, pp 112 –123 (2006)More Less
This article captures the preponderance of a totalitarian character in Nigerias electoral process and democracy as practiced by the ruling class. It avers that since the amalgamation of Nigeria in 1914 up to the present Obasanjo government, electoral dictatorship has been foisted on the people. It argues that democracy ought to be based on ""free consent"" of the people. Conclusively, the article outlines measures that would ensure free and fair election, such as minimising electoral violence; economic empowerment of ordinary people and court judges; reducing payable remuneration rates to political office holders as disincentives for electoral fraud and violence; multiplicity of political platforms as a way of ensuring free and fair election, mode of compensation of INEC commissioners, systematic and continuous update of voters register; refusal to swear in disputed candidates/results until final court determination of the case; enforcement of legal provisions on party/candidate funding; and limits to election expenditure.