Dividends of Democracy in Nigeria (1999-2010): The Paradox and Need for a Re-Focus

Ndifreke S. Umo-Udo

Abstract


This paper takes a critical look at the notion in which different programmes, polices and projects being undertaken by government for the welfare of the citizens are being presented under the guise of dividends of democracy. The paper notes that what should actually constitute the basis for determining democracy dividends must be based on the extent to which power is being exercised by the people, through their ability to elect those that will govern them, and their ability to affect the different programmes and polices of government through their active involvement in binding decision making. It argues that democracy and political participation must extend beyond voting rights alone to include other things such as the people’s control of their leaders, their actions and the ability to contribute in the process of governance. The paper concludes that the citizens cannot truly enjoy any meaningful dividends of democracy except through popular participation and the consent of the people. It also recommends among other things for the implementation of the Justice Uwais report on electoral reforms and the institution of the referendum to allow the citizens to subject major polices and issues to popular vote and contribution by the citizens.

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