1.1 Background of the study

It is difficult to come to terms on what democracy means. The core notion of democracy, on the other hand, is largely believed to have originated at Athens in the 5th century BC. Democracy, according to the Webster New Encyclopaedic Dictionary (1995), is a form of government in which the people have absolute authority and may exercise it directly or indirectly via representation. According to Lindell and Scott (1999), the phrase derives from the Greek word (demokratia), which was formed in the 5th century B.C. from (demos) “people” and (kratos) “power” or “rule.” It is vital to highlight that the Athenians proposed a political system in which democratic citizenship was restricted to a small group of free men. Slaves and women were not allowed to take part. What is Democracy, according to a lecture titled “What is Democracy?” Lutz (1994) presented an outline of what he considers to be democracy. He defines democracy as a system of government that includes four key elements: I a system for electing and replacing the government through free and fair elections; ii) active citizen participation in politics and civic life; iii) protection of all citizens’ human rights; and iv) the rule of law, in which all citizens are treated equally under the law. As mentioned in Javie (2006), Popper defines democracy as the opposite of dictatorship or tyranny. He emphasizes the existence of options for people to control and influence their leaders without resorting to revolt. Popper’s point of view has to be based on the reality that today’s democracy comes in numerous forms. The most important variable, according to him, is direct democracy, in which all inhabitants of a nation are allowed direct and active involvement in its decision-making process. Another kind is representative democracy, in which the sovereign authority remains with the whole body of all eligible individuals, but political power is exercised indirectly via elected representatives. The notion of representative democracy emerged primarily from concepts established throughout the Middle Ages, the Reformation, the Age of Enlightenment, and the American and French Revolutions, according to Encyclopaedia Britannica. According to Dahl, Shapiro, and Cheibib (2003), in a representative democracy, every vote has equal weight, no unreasonable restrictions can be imposed on anyone seeking to be a representative, and the freedom of its eligible citizens is guaranteed by legitimized rights and liberties, which are usually protected by a constitution. The Westminister system, which is used in the United Kingdom and has a sovereign monarch, parliamentary involvement, and judicial independence, is an offspring of this version. This is in stark contrast to the United States of America’s democracy, which is based on the separation of powers between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government. Representative democracy permits competitive elections that promote equality among all eligible people in all aspects, as well as ensuring that the rules of all elections are explicit, spelled out in advance, and do not favor any group or person over another. In support of this, Kelsen (1955) and Barak (2006) argue that representative democracy, which allows for freedom of political expression, speech, and the press, is considered to be one of the essential rights that allows eligible citizens to be adequately informed and vote based on their own interests. The ability of all voters to engage freely and completely in the life of their community, according to Nassbaum (2000), is the primary element of democracy, and democracy is a type of governance in which all eligible people have an equal voice in law-making (Diamond, 2006). The formation and growth of political parties began, and Herbert Macaulay created the first Nigerian political party, the Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP), in 1922. The battle for decolonization, self-rule, and, eventually, independence started. From the 1914 mini constitution to the 1922 Clifford Constitution; the 1946 Richards Constitution, which ushered in Regionalism in Nigerian politics; the 1951 McPherson Constitution; and the 1954 Littleton Constitution, which legally institutionalized the federal system of government with the Centre (Lagos) and three Regional Governments in Kaduna, Enugu, and Ibadan as the respective capitals of the Northern, Eastern, and Western regions. In 1939, the newly formed Nigeria’s Southern Protectorate was separated into two parts: East and West. These two became Nigeria’s Eastern and Western Regions, respectively, while the British left the North alone.

Since it has been shown that there is a link between democracy, politics, economy, and national development, one of the primary concerns in comparative political economics and development studies has remained the direction of this interaction. Scholars’ responses to issues regarding the linkages between democracy and national development, on the other hand, are heavily influenced by how they define “development.” Those who agree with Sen’s (1999) postulate and adopt a definition of development as “freedom,” which includes not only economic indicators but also social opportunities, freedoms such as human and political rights, guaranteed transparency, and protective security, argue vehemently that democracy will invariably lead to development. On this basis, Lawal and Olukayode (2012) stated in their renowned article “democracy and development in Nigeria” that democracy is induced by development. The greater the democratic dividends and the better the degree of sustainable development, the more democratic ethics there are in a community… When democratic ideals are not ingrained in and followed by leaders and administrators, growth is difficult to feel or attain. This is because incorporating democratic ideals improves performance and encourages progress (Lepset 1959). Furthermore, they argue that democracy and national development are inextricably linked since key development components such as honesty, openness, dedication, responsibility, discipline, peaceful coexistence, and integrity are strengthened in a democratic atmosphere. The argument here is that democratic achievement will always lead to national growth, and vice versa. Despite the fact that democratization and national development have some distinguishing characteristics, such as capacity expansion, popular participation, and freedom (Mazrui, 2002), democratization serves as an independent variable that determines the degree and level of development in any nation or society. On the other hand, Osaghae (1995) argues that it is important to emphasize that, although democracy may result in national progress, much of it is dependent on the environment in which the study is conducted. Aside from the influence of democracy on national development, the time span and degree of democratization may be a reflection of the democratic process. Although he is not as explicit as we would want him to be in the foregoing analysis, he has made his point. As previously said, public engagement is critical to both democracy and growth. Popular participation, in its broadest sense, is the process of enabling people to participate in the regulatory framework and devise policies and agendas that suit the interests of the whole population while also contributing best to the development process. Because of the above, Zack-Williams (2001) asserts that “no democracy, no growth.” He claims that the essential force of democratization, which makes it a sine qua non for national development, is that the mechanism and doctrines of democracy empower the people to control the decision-making process by assuming that the governed, or people, are wise enough to hold the government accountable for any wrongdoing by insisting on accountability, transparency, and other control measures. The lack of all of these important democratic features is considered as a barrier to national progress (Azra, 2003). This school believes that democracy aids national growth while requiring little or no political or social sacrifice on the part of the people. On the other hand, Bellinger & Acre (2010; p.2) argue that “democracy modifies social reactions to economic liberalization,” and that democracy has the ability to provide “a favourable atmosphere or opportunity for society responses” (Bellinger and Acre, 2010). Drawing on the above, it is preferable to stimulate rather than eliminate collective political engagement (Goldstone, 2004).

1.2 Statement of the problem

Democracy is a result of gradual work which leads to progress. The greater the democratic dividends and the better the degree of sustainable development, the more democratic ethics there are in a community… When democratic ideals are not ingrained in and followed by leaders and administrators, growth is difficult to feel or attain. This is because incorporating democratic principles improves performance and enables progress on both an economic and political level (Lepset, 1959).

Rodrik (2000) emphasizes the need of establishing and developing excellent sociopolitical and economic institutions (more involvement, negotiation, and compromise) as a precondition for national progress. “An key understanding is that effective development relies on a political and economic institutional structure that matches the political incentives confronting government with the demand of economic growth and better social welfare,” Dahl (2003) writes. As a result, it is necessary to investigate the democratic form of governance and its influence on a country’s economic and political development.

1.3 Objective of the study

The primary objective of the study is as follows

  1. To examine what democratic system of government is all about.
  2. To evaluate the challenges of running a democratic system of government.
  3. To investigate if democratic principles affects economic and political growth of Nigeria.
  4. To find out how democratic system of government can be sustained in other for economic and political growth.

1.4 Research Questions

The following questions have been prepared for this study

1)        What is a democratic system of government?

2)        What are the challenges of running a democratic system of government?

3)        Does democratic principles affects economic and political growth of Nigeria?

4)        how can democratic system of government be sustained in other for economic and political growth?

1.5 Significance of the study

This study focuses on democratic system of government and its impact  on the economic and political growth of a nation. Hence the study is significant to the Nigerian government and the several political parties as they will see the need to work hand in hand in other to sustain Nigeria s democracy.

The study is significant to the academic community as it will contribute to the existing literature.

1.6 Scope of the study

The study will  examine what democratic system of government is all about.  Also, the study will evaluate the challenges of running a democratic system of government. The study will further investigate if democratic principles affects economic and political growth of Nigeria. Lastly, the study will find out how democratic system of government can be sustained in other for economic and political growth. Hence the study will be delimited Nigeria.

1.7 Limitation of the study

This study was constrained by a number of factors which are as follows:

 just like any other research, ranging from unavailability of needed accurate materials on the topic under study, inability to get data

Financial constraint , was faced by  the researcher ,in getting relevant materials  and  in printing and collation of questionnaires

Time factor: time factor pose another constraint since having to shuttle between writing of the research and also engaging in other academic work making it uneasy for the researcher

1.8 Definition of terms

Democracy:  a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.


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