UNDERDEVELOPMENT AND ITS IMPLICATION FOR DEMOCRACY IN NIGERIA – AN INDEPTH ASSESSMENT OF THE NIGERIA’S #ENDSARS 2020 PROTESTS
By Tracy Ekene Keshi
Under development is characterized by high employment rate, high level of insecurity, unemployment, poverty, illiteracy, poor healthcare, unequal distribution of income and wealth, low level of socio-political consciousness amongst others. This has been the case for Nigeria despite its abundant human and natural resources and potentials for being the giant of Africa. Corruption, bad governance and other anomalies have been blamed to hinder the country’s development. This paper holds the position that this has a huge implication for democracy and if Nigerian leaders do not hold themselves responsible for this problem and confront same, no meaningful development will take place.
Keywords – Underdevelopment, democracy, corruption.
Democracy is a system of government where laws, policies and leadership of a state are decided by the people (Lawal, T. and Olukayode, 2012). Therefore, a government is deemed democratic when citizens participate in decisions that affects them, and when there is the presence of political egalitarianism where citizens have equal chance to government decisions (Michael 2011). The most important component of a democratic governance is its vital role in enhancing the welfare of the people and fostering good governance and development of a country. The growth of any nation is the process of improving the living standards, sustainability and equality of all human lives, and a country is said to be developed when most of its citizens have access to basic healthcare and education, security is guaranteed, high standard of living and low unemployment rate, high per capita income.
However, despite its huge human, material and natural resources Nigeria still grapples with development. Extreme poverty; disparity in delivery of social services including formalized education systems, medical facilities, and safe drinking water; poor or lacking infrastructure and governance capacity; and an environment of physical insecurity are challenges that has contributed to the vicious circle of underdevelopment and fragility which has overwhelmed Nigeria’s operational capacity to deliver services and hinder long-term economic growth (Nathanial, Oladayo 2014)
An analysis of extant literatures by erudite academicians (Adegbami, Adepoju, 2017) on underdevelopment implies that poor leadership, bad governance, lack of accountability and transparency and majorly corruption have impeded the continuous underdevelopment of Nigeria. Consequently, it has impaired hard work, diligence, efficiency and weakened institutions, hampered investment and economic development, disparity in delivery of social services. Furthermore, it has contributed to poor infrastructure development and poverty.
Accordingly, scholars of repute (Aloko, Abdullahi, 2018.) have established the inextricable relationship between corruption and underdevelopment in Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa, its huge damages to the social and political development of Nigeria as well as the impact it has on democracy. Mlambo(2018) argued that corruption is a phenomenon that has led to most Africa states’ underdevelopment, industrialisation, marginalization and lack of basic socio –economic development using South Africa as a point of departure. Mlambo highlighted that after 26 years into democracy, corruption has manifested itself to be a stumbling block to the country’s development. Undoubtedly, this has continued to be a widespread occurrence that has made those politically connected get richer and the general populace poorer.
In the same vein, Aloko (2014) also highlighted that corruption has retarded the growth and development of Nigeria. Aloko emphasized that in view of this, successive administration since independence has embarked on series of reforms in public administrations with a view of achieving greater efficiency, discipline and productivity. However, the anticipated gains were never achieved due to the absence of political will and built in corrupt mechanisms within the committee put in place to rid Nigeria of Corruption. He conducted a study to examine the relationship between corruption and underdevelopment in Nigeria, x-ray the challenges corruption poses as well as its possible solutions. While these studies provide a background to examining and positing the impact of corruption on development in Nigeria, this paper argues that the consequences of underdevelopment could lead to civil unrest and other social vices which are real dangers to the stability of democracy in Nigeria.
#EndSARS Protest and the Arab Spring
In 2009, due to global financial crisis the world economy contracted by 2.2 percent. GDP growth in Africa declined from 4.9 percent in 2008 to 1.6 percent in 2009. In 2010, the GDP growth in Africa started thriving as it rose to 4.3 percent. declined from 4.9 percent in 2008 to 1.6 percent in 2009. However, the global economic downturn exacerbated the already high unemployment rates and vulnerable employment in Africa. (Economic report on Africa 2010). The explosive combination of undemocratic regimes, corruption, high unemployment, widening income and wealth inequality created the conditions for an uprising, and within a couple of years, the Arab spring emerged. These countries faced political turmoil and social unrest that caused the security situation to deteriorate and created uncertainty for domestic and foreign investors. This led to a deceleration in Africa’s economic growth as still building their economies after the political convulsions of the Arab spring.
The Arab spring, a wave of pro-democracy protests and uprisings that took place in the Middle East and North Africa beginning in 2010 and 2011, challenged some of the authoritarian regimes, demanding improved economic opportunities and social economic justice and to express their dissatisfaction with corruption and deterioration in their quality of life and public service equality. The uprisings began first in Tunisia and then in most other developing Arab countries. The Arab spring protest caught most of the world by surprise and precipitated a chain of events that changed the course of history in the middle east and north America ushering a long period of political instability and civil unrest. The Arab Spring protesters were dissatisfied with inefficient government service delivery such as unaffordable housing, roads and highway public transport, unavailability of quality health care and education as well as high unemployment rate. The Middle East and North America region had some of the highest unemployment rates in the developing world especially for youths. Moreover, while education and health care were free, and energy and water were subsidized, the quality of these services was so poor that many people turned to the private sector for them. People felt that they needed connections to those in power to obtain good-quality jobs, and many expressed concerns that they could not move ahead no matter how hard they worked. The reason for the protest was a call for betterment of the economic situation, civil and political freedoms and emancipation from oppression, as well the fight against corruption. The people started raising their voices in protest against governments that had not kept their part of the social bargain. Once the protest began in Tunisia, the spread to the rest of the region was quick. While this was enabled by technology and common language, it mostly reflected that the economic problems and popular grievances were common throughout the developing parts of the region. The hopes that these movements would end corruption and impunity, increase political participation and bring about greater economic equality was quickly collapsed in the wake of the counter revolutionary moves by some foreign state actors, military interventions and destructive civil wars.
Even though it first happened in North Africa (Arab Spring), it took over ten years to be manifested in Nigeria in West Africa in the form of the #EndSars Protests 2020. The protest began as a march against the brutality of a notorious police unit known as the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). SARS is a unit of the Nigeria Police Force created in 1992 to fight violent crimes related to theft and firearms. However, the group became controversial for its connections to extortion, torture, framing, blackmail, kidnapping, armed robbery, home invasions, rape, invasion of privacy, police brutality, human rights violations, extra judicial killings and other illegal activities. The call for an end to SARS started on twitter in 2017, and became a social movement in Nigeria and across the world.
On October 8th this year, a video allegedly showing SARS officials in Warri, Delta State, struggling with a young boy in a white SUV, shooting him and driving off in the car. Typically, the Delta State Police Command denied that security officers in the viral video were members of SARS, and that the boy was not shot and killed. This video went viral and elicited an outcry from the public calling on the Nigerian government to investigate the matter. This triggered the largest protest for an end to SARS and police reforms in Nigeria. The #EndSARS protest became a social movement against police brutality, human rights violations and by extension bad governance in Nigeria and across the world. The demonstrations brought major cities like Lagos and Abuja to a standstill threatening its already feeble economy.
Since the inception of SARS, there have been frequent reported cases of unlawful killings and police assault allegedly carried out by members of this unit. Nigerians had since 2017 been calling for the end to SARS but to no avail. Moreover, in June 2020, Amnesty International released a report titled “Nigeria: Time to End Impunity, Torture and other violations by SARS. This report proposed that SARS officers have continued to commit human rights violations including at least 82 cases of torture, ill treatment and extrajudicial executions between January 2017 and May 2020. The Amnesty International report also revealed a pattern of abuse of power by SARS officers and the consistent failure by the Nigerian authorities to bring perpetrators to justice. It featured the lack of accountability in the Nigerian police that contributes and aggravates these violations. The absence of an effective police accountability systems is the reason why SARS officers enjoy impunity for human rights violations
The Federal Government of Nigeria had in the past repeatedly promised to reform SARS. In 2006 and 2008, presidential committees proposed recommendations for reforming the Nigeria Police. In 2009, the Nigerian minister of Justice and Attorney General of the federation convened a National Committee on Torture to examine allegations of torture and unlawful killings but made little headway. In October 2010, the then Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, allocated 71 billion naira ($196m) for police reforms. In 2016, the inspector general of the Nigeria Police Force announced broad reforms to correct SARS units’ use of excessive force and failure to follow due process. All of these actions were aimed at increasing SARS public accountability for its citizens. Inspite of all these, members of the SARS have shown blatant disregard for human lives and have continued to subject detainees in their custody to torture and other forms of ill treatments with total impunity.
Similarly, the response of government over time to protests demanding for good governance and accountability especially the #EndSARS protest has been lackadaisical and watered down while citizens continue to suffer the consequences and effect of horrible policing, human rights abuse and bad governance. These inactions have spurred hundreds of Nigerians especially youths to march across major cities in the country calling on the government to implement and adhere to their five demands which includes immediate release of all arrested protesters, justice for all deceased victims of police brutality and appropriate compensation for their families, setting up an independent body to oversee the investigation and prosecution of all reports of police misconduct within ten days, in line with the new police act psychological evaluation and retraining of all disbanded SARS officers before they can be redeployed and increase police salary so they can be adequately compensated for protecting lives and properties of citizens.
More so, young people who make up over 40 percent of the Nigerian population are majorly targets of these SARS operatives. They have suffered excessively from police torture. Reports from the #EndSARS protesters show that most of them were arrested based on flawed profiling of dressing, hairstyles, types of mobile phones used, possession of laptops of flashy cars etc. Amidst the ongoing protests, President Muhammadu Buhari announced the disbandment of the SARS unit. Although it was a step in the right direction, protesters continued to occupy the streets requesting the remaining demands were met as that was not the first time the government had disbanded SARS and promised reforms. For two weeks, the protests that had started against police violence included bad governance, inequality, poverty, nepotism, lack of accountability and transparency, widespread corruption, despair, growing mistrust and loss of faith in government, lack of leadership and the fact that the government have refused to acknowledge these concerns. Nigerian citizens used this channel to express their feelings, disappointment and unhappiness at the Nigeria poor leadership. Majority of the protesters who were aged between 18-24 were deeply dissatisfied by an education system regularly disrupted by striking lecturers, absence of basic necessities, unstable electricity, poor health facilities, bad roads, insecurity, high cost of living just to mention but a few. Police brutality may have triggered the #EndSARS protests, but corruption, underdevelopment and bad governance were the fundamental reason.
The recent #EndSars protest 2020 presents a unique opportunity to research the causes and issues of underdevelopment, as well as an attempt to contribute to ongoing literatures on its implication on democratic stability and sustenance.
Recently, young Nigerians filled the nation’s streets and social media, blocking major roads across cities. They marched in tens of thousands chanting “Soro Soke” which means “speak up” against police brutality, for a greater accountability, better governance and a more equitable society. The protest which began as march against the viciousness of a notorious police unit known as the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) became a channel for the youth to vent their anger with the leaders who have been in charge of Nigeria for decades, and demand change. A few days into the protest, young people were able to establish helplines that could respond to emergencies and providing legal services to those in need as well as even setting up a radio station. While those who were in support of the #EndSARS movement were peaceful, another fragment of the youth saw the protest as an opportunity. They vandalised shops, raided warehouses and targeted businesses of prominent politicians. Although these two groups took a different approach, they share one thing in common: a dissatisfaction with the leadership of the Nigerian administration. The government that has failed to curb corruption, tackle poverty and inequality amid warnings that it could lead to civil unrest. According to the new global index produced by Oxfam and Development Finance International, Nigeria was rated last in a list of 152 countries ranked by their commitment to reducing inequality. Similarly, National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) highlights in its 2019 Poverty and Inequality in Nigeria report that 40 percent of the total population, or almost 83 million people, live below the country’s poverty line of 137,430 naira ($381.75) per year. Primarily, young people under 30 make up more that 40% of Nigeria’s population. They face severe hardship, lack of access to basic amenities, chronic unemployment rates and are victims of underdevelopment. Consequently, it is evident that the effects of an underdeveloped nation pose threats for the democracy of that nation. The above provides the basis for this research paper, as this study aims to high-light the causes and issues of underdevelopment, as well as an attempt to contribute to ongoing literatures on its implication on democratic stability and sustenance by analysing the Nigeria’s #ENDSARS 2020 protests.
The Nexus between Corruption and Underdevelopment.
Corruption has been blamed for the continued under development of Nigeria despite its abundant natural resources and creation of two anti-corruption agencies. It has retarded economic growth and has increased poverty and inequality. According to 2019 Transparency International Corruption Perception Index (CPI) report on the perception of the state of corruption in the country, Nigeria ranked 146 out of 180 countries assessed. Also, out of 100 points signalling maximum transparency and no corruption, Nigeria scored 26 points. Corruption. Similarly, in 2018, Nigeria ranked 144 out of 180 countries, as opposed to 148 out of 180 countries in the 2017 CPI. This conversely means that rather than the ranking being a representation of any significant improvement, it rather indicated that the new rank is more or less a result of the abysmal performance by 2 other participating countries in 2019 and 4 in 2018. This becomes evident, considering the fact that Nigeria having scored 26 points out of 100 in 2019 CPI, 27 points in 2018 CPI, maintained same score in the 2017 CPI, and out of 100 points signalling maximum transparency and no corruption, Nigeria scored 26 points. The CPI aggregates data from a number of different sources that provide perceptions by business community and country experts of the level of corruption in the public sector. It uses a scale of zero to 100, where zero is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean. While the index does not show real incidences of corruption, it is a reliable indication of the perception of the Nigerian public and the international community about the state of corruption in the country. The index is 100% impartial, objective and globally well respected.
The recent ratings as indicated above seems to further re-enforce a 2015 study on Corruption and Poverty in Nigeria by the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) which suggested that corruption in the public sector remains a sore spot in Nigeria’s quest to instil transparency and accountability in the polity. This study which also revealed that corruption is the basis for failure in social service delivery like power supply, and collapse of infrastructure, went further to pose that, there is no political will to fight corruption in the workings of the polity, especially at the states and local government levels.
Corruption affects development in different ways. For example, billions of dollars that would have been used to provide social amenities in Nigeria are siphoned and kept in foreign accounts. The former World Bank president, Paul Wolfowitz revealed that public officials in Nigeria have embezzled more than $300 billion from the nation’s pulse for the past forty decades (Ndibe, 2006).
The former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nuhu Ribadu and the former World Bank Vice President for Africa, Oby Ezekweili has stressed that Nigerians leaders have stolen over $400 billion from the sales of crude oil since independence. The over $400 billion that has been stolen from Nigeria would have impacted the development progress in Nigeria if such a huge amount has been channelled to aid development. Tanzi and Davoodi (1997) detect four outlets through which corruption may have an adverse effect on economic growth: higher public investment, lower government revenues, lower expenditures on business operations and maintenance, and lower quality of public infrastructure. Under development in Nigeria is one of the progenies of corruption in Nigeria. This is because it breeds so many negative values that retard the development of Nigeria. The challenges corruption poses to the development of Nigeria are enormous, and beyond reasonable doubt, explains the underdevelopment of the country which has huge implications for democracy.
At the moment, Nigeria is on a troubled and distressed journey to democracy, economic growth, political stability and nation building. Despite the huge human and material resources Nigeria has and bailout aids from the West, I am still awed and upset at the underdevelopment and the deplorable standard of living in Nigeria. Lack of leadership, absence of effective development policies, corruption etc which have led to misery, despair, institutional decay, insurgency, socio economic unrest are direct consequences of poor governance in Nigeria. (Cyril Anaele, pg 41).
Impact of Underdevelopment on Democracy
Democracy is a system whereby the people choose their leaders and demand for accountability from them. In a democracy, the people are supreme and are the highest form of political authority. The flow of power is from the people to the leaders in government who hold only temporary power. Regrettably, the way and manner democracy is practiced in Nigeria is a different ball game. Patronage and rent-seeking are way of life; “those who are in government are desperate to hold on to power at all cost. The leaders in government has taken advantage of the gullibility of some of these young people who are victims of underdevelopment to engage them in violent activities. During the #EndSars peaceful protest, demonstrators were attacked by armed thugs in the streets of several cities, these thugs were allegedly sponsored by the government to disrupt the protest and cause chaos. The thugs under the guise of being part of the #EndSars protest hijacked and misdirected the initial, genuine and well-intended protest. The hijacked protest was characterised by the heavy presence of security personnel on the streets of different cities, mob attacks on security personnel, killings and vandalization of public and private properties. Who were these thugs? These thugs were majorly young people who constitute about 40 percent of the Nigeria total population. Due to the lack of economic opportunity, inclusion and adoption of policies on education, skill acquisition, empowerment and employment, the youths have become willing tools in the hands of these disgruntled politicians who want to use them for anti-social and secret political activities. When a large number of youth are unemployed and uneducated and not empowered, their quest to survive may make them become willing tools in the hands of these leaders to cause mayhem. These youths are victims of failure of leadership and one of the greatest threats to democratic stability and sustenance in Nigeria. No democracy has strived and stabilised in the atmosphere of lawlessness, thuggery, intimidation, killings, maiming and unabated destruction of lives and property as was witnessed during the #EndSars Protest.
Also, it is pertinent to note that no prospective investor would want to capitalise in a country characterized by insecurity, confusion and uncertainty. The existing investors might be forced to relocate their investment to a safe haven which will further reduce the economic fortunes of Nigeria which democracy needs to stabilise and survive. According to the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Nigeria lost more than 700 billion in economic value since the #EndSars protest started. For a country that is already underdeveloped, this has a huge implication for democracy.
Currently, Nigeria does not have a democratic structure where effective development policies and strategies have been designed to create incentives for citizens to save, invest and innovate. The concentration of power is in the hands of those controlling state apparatus thus leading to a wide gap of inequality between the poor and the rich. For Nigeria to move forward, the political leaders of Nigeria must be willing to be accountable, transparent in their leadership and would have to change their mind set and embrace creative and innovative ideas that will transform and restructure the system, improve the standard of education and rebuild the economy. Furthermore,
otherwise Nigeria will remain unproductive and underdeveloped.
Discussions on why Nigeria has failed to develop as it should despite its huge natural resources have been ongoing for years. Some of the reasons given are due to lack of effective leadership where leaders have been unable to change their mental models which have prevented them from building critical institutions and infrastructures capable of transforming the nation. Again, lack of accountability, corruption and selfishness are also reasons why they cannot stimulate a healthy competition, increase the wealth of the nation and create economic opportunity for everyone.
The major cause of Nigeria’s frail economy are poor leadership and governance, this has contributed greatly to non-functional infrastructure and institutions, low quality of education, and lack of practical skills and knowledge to drive the economy. For a country to attain political stability, there has to be development of institutions and infrastructure that drives the economy, creates employment and takes care of people’s needs.
The education and health care systems are the engines that drive individual and national productivity, therefore transforming the education system into 21st century models and providing the students with the relevant knowledge and skills needed to effectively compete in the knowledge driven global economy will be productive and lead to the development of that nation.
Our leaders must begin to understand the essence of leadership, and that true leadership is about serving the people and having a sense of responsibility and accountability. In democracy, power is for the people and by the people (Northouse 2017) so in making decisions that affects them you must be conscious of the needs and opinions of these people.
For the purpose of this paper, I will choose the education and health sectors to draw a descriptive picture of Nigeria’s development crisis. Nigeria’s education system is in crisis. It has 10.5 million children out of school, which is the highest in the world. It is clouded with several challenges such as strikes, examination malpractice, inadequate teaching/learning facilities. Education is the bedrock of development, but unfortunately Nigeria’s education system is clouded with several challenges such as incessant strikes, poor educational infrastructures, non-implementation of educational policies, inadequate classrooms, teaching aids, paucity of quality teachers and poor learning environment. Nigeria has 10.5 million children out of school which is the highest in the world. There is a need to review the Nigerian educational system in line with current trends and best practices as well as the provision of a learner friendly successful learning environment. For Nigeria to restructure her education system, her leaders need to be transformative in orientation (Banks, 2008, p.94). Just like the education sector, the health sector in Nigeria is lacking the evolving and latest medical science and technologies that would empower the health care workers to provide high quality health services to the people. (Adejoro, 2015; Musawa, 2014). In Nigeria, most communities do not have access to basic health care facilities (Adejoro, 2015, para. 20). Subsequently, thousands of Nigerians die every year from preventable diseases such as high blood pressure, hypertension, prostate cancer, diabetes, breast cancer, maternal child birth issues, and malnutrition (Musawa, 2014). In spite of the poor state and deterioration of our health care service in Nigeria, political leaders frequently seek high quality health care services abroad at the expense of the public and in most cases with tax payers’ monies. (Adejoro, 2015; Dantiye, 2015) while tax payers regularly resolve their basic health care problems.
The youth make up about 43 percent of the Nigerian population and are the centre of absolute strength for the nation. Therefore, should be equipped with the best possible education and standard health care facilitated with favourable conditions to the attainment of their skills which will contribute to the development of that nation. The dilapidated education system has a huge implication for democracy in Nigeria. The overwhelming majority of the #EndSars Protesters and thugs who hijacked the protests looting, destroying properties and breaking law and order were made up young people. The first category which are the #EndSars Protesters who are young people tired of been assaulted by the SARS Unit of the Nigeria Police Force, of their human rights violated, of being killed, of bad governance are guided accurately through education and can tell the difference between right or wrong. While the latter is propelled in the wrong direction, brainwashed and grown as a hindrance in the way of other people’s lives, have become a burden and headache on the society due to lack of proper education and orientation. These aforementioned categories of young people were not naturally born criminally minded or cleverly minded, but their education, environment, underdevelopment and
societal conditions have helped determine their fate and destiny. The right to education is a fundamental human right, and the young people who have lack access to education have been deprived of this civil right. This has a huge implication for democracy as the impact of this could lead to these youths being troublesome elements to the nation and even to the rest of the world as was witnessed recently.
Therefore, the accessibility, affordability and quality of education are centrally significant to global development. People are tired and hungry because the country is underdeveloped. There is a rising discontent in the society from reaching a boiling point as citizens and to prevent this, Nigerian needs a leader that will transform the education and health care systems and invest in functional infrastructure and inclusive institutions.
According to the Human Development Index (HDI) Report 2018, Nigeria scored 158 out of 189 countries with a HDI Value for 0.534 which put the country in the low human development category. The HDI is a summary measure for assessing long-term progress in three basic dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, access to knowledge and a decent standard of living. A long and healthy life is measured by life expectancy. Knowledge level is measured by mean years of schooling among the adult population, which is the average number of years of schooling received in a life-time by people aged 25 years and older; and access to learning and knowledge by expected years of schooling for children of school-entry age, which is the total number of years of schooling a child of school-entry age can expect to receive if prevailing patterns of age-specific enrolment rates stay the same throughout the child’s life.
1.2 Research Methodology
The main research question I pose is: In what ways does underdevelopment impact democracy in Nigeria? To investigate this question, I employ the use of the following sub-questions to highlight the factors that impede development in Nigeria: What are the key factors hindering development in Nigeria? What are the solutions to underdevelopment in Nigeria? To answer the research question, I adopt the exploratory analysis of the Nigeria #EndSARS protest 2020 as a case study to emphasize that underdevelopment has a huge implication for democracy. The more democratic a society is, the higher the dividends of democracy, thus a better level of sustainable development. It is in my opinion that development can be felt or achieved when democratic principles are adhered by leaders and administrators because this enhances performance and facilitates development.
This paper will use the method of literature review to reach to a final conclusion posed by the questions.
2.0 Conceptual Framework
Democracy: Democracy is a valued form of government and serves as a process through which good governance can be achieved. One of the requirements of a high-quality democracy is a truly democratic rule of law that ensures political rights, civil liberties and accountability mechanisms which will sustain political egalitarianism of members of society and enhance national growth. The level of democracy affects the quality of governance and a good parameter for assessing the quality of democracy is the level of vertical and horizontal accountability where public officials and institutions are obliged to be held accountable for all their actions and decisions, while citizens are duty bound to hold their leaders to account. In other words, democracy is a catalyst for accountability, transparency and responsive government which brings about good governance. Democracy has principles and if fairly practised should bring about a reduction in poverty, socio-economic empowerment and other quantitative and qualitative indices of national development. Regrettably, the way and manner democracy is practised in Nigeria is a far cry from these principles hence its failure to thrive in Nigeria. This invariably manifests in poverty and underdevelopment which has a huge implication for democratic stability in Nigeria.
Human Rights: The growth of a nation is measured largely by the availability of institutional and legal framework for protection of human rights integral to its working system and the level of enforcement and practical enjoyment of such right by its people . The right to development is a fundamental human right by which every citizen is entitled to participate in, contribute to and enjoy socio – economic, cultural and political development. The level of a state development can be determined by the extent to which its citizens enjoy human rights in all their ramification. These rights must be well protected, and guaranteed before democracy and development can be meaningfully accomplished and sustained. More so, the protection and promotion of basic rights should be the fundamental purpose of government, otherwise peace, progress and stability of that nation cannot be achieved. This poses a major threat to the democracy of that nation.
Underdevelopment: Underdevelopment refers to the low level of development characterized by low real per capita income, wide-spread poverty, lower level of literacy, low life expectancy and underutilisation of resources etc. Recent studies by African researchers have put the blame of the continent underdevelopment on the doorstep of African leaders. They argued on this postulation that corruption in Africa leads to the continent’s underdevelopment. This assumption is based on that funds that would have been used to develop the continent are stolen by African leaders for private and personal use. (Nageri et al. 2013; Agbiboa, 2012; Maunro, 2007; Obayelu, 2007; Sachs, 2005; Smith 2007). In the case of Nigeria, the accumulation of the nation’s economic resources for personal benefits have variously contributed to the leakage of capital from Nigeria. As a result of this, Nigeria has not been able to engender meaningful development in spite of her huge resources endowment. This has greatly affected her quest to improved quality of life of her citizens. Poverty, inequality, unemployment and starvation still pervade the nook and cranny of the country. The consequences of this has implication for democracy in Nigeria.
Recommendations and Way Forward
Failed development visions, abandoned development programs and policy summersault are common problems that militate against development in Nigeria. They are products of corruption and leadership incompetency. Corruption is the major obstacle to development in Nigeria and tackling it is essential to the survival and progress of Nigeria. To this end, corruption must first be curbed by political leadership by practising democracy in the form of good governance to realise development within Nigeria. This entails respect for the rule of law, accountability and transparency as well as responsive, efficient and effective leadership. All hands must be on deck to ensure that this is achieved by electing and appointing credible leaders
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