The Crisis of Underdevelopment and the Transition to Civil Rule: Conceptualizing the Question of Democracy in Nigeria

This article analyses the problem of democracy in Africa, focusing on the case of Nigeria. It argues that the aborted birth of democracy at independence largely explains the similarity in outlook of military and civil regimes in Nigeria. This explains why military regimes acquire some legitimacy, even though military rule is, by definition, undemocratic. In the absence of a democratic culture, the question becomes which regime can provide stability and economic development. The collapse of oil prices in the early 1980s exposed the structural deficiencies of the postcolonial model of development. Radical reform measures were required to arrest the economic decline, and the IMF World Bank model of structural adjustment was accepted. An analysis of the structural adjustment programme shows that it tends to reinforce and deepen the authoritarian culture. This tendency is reflected in the programme of transition to civil rule, which does not seek to promote liberal or popular democracy per se, but to provide the political basis for the successful implementation of the adjustment programme. Notes, ref., sum. in French.

Title: The Crisis of Underdevelopment and the Transition to Civil Rule: Conceptualizing the Question of Democracy in Nigeria
Author: Bangura, Yusuf
Year: 1988
Periodical: Africa Development: A Quarterly Journal of CODESRIA (ISSN 0850-3907)
Volume: 13
Issue: 1
Pages: 33-50
Language: English
Geographic term: Nigeria
External link: https://www.jstor.org/stable/24486644
Abstract: This article analyses the problem of democracy in Africa, focusing on the case of Nigeria. It argues that the aborted birth of democracy at independence largely explains the similarity in outlook of military and civil regimes in Nigeria. This explains why military regimes acquire some legitimacy, even though military rule is, by definition, undemocratic. In the absence of a democratic culture, the question becomes which regime can provide stability and economic development. The collapse of oil prices in the early 1980s exposed the structural deficiencies of the postcolonial model of development. Radical reform measures were required to arrest the economic decline, and the IMF World Bank model of structural adjustment was accepted. An analysis of the structural adjustment programme shows that it tends to reinforce and deepen the authoritarian culture. This tendency is reflected in the programme of transition to civil rule, which does not seek to promote liberal or popular democracy per se, but to provide the political basis for the successful implementation of the adjustment programme. Notes, ref., sum. in French.