Accountability Theory and Democracy in Nigeria

Accountability Theory and Democracy in Nigeria

Author by Dr. Olajumoke Yacob-haliso

Journal/Publisher: Africa’s Big Men: Predatory State-society Relations In Africa

Volume/Edition: 1

Language: English

Pages: 195 - 212


The chapter proceeds via the three dimensions of accountability proposed in it: first of all, accountability with reference to the selection of representatives, by which we probe the process of selection: principally elections; secondly, we explore the question of the representativeness of the elected officials, that is, to what extent they embody, act for, stand for or speak for the interests of the larger collective or electorate; and thirdly, we review the available processes for demanding and for rendering account in Nigeria. The chapter concludes that it is indeed difficult to label government as currently practiced in many African states democracy properly so-called, because of the inherent contradictions and flaws in the accountability systems operating in these contexts. The performance of democratic ‘rituals’ such as elections have not addressed the accountability deficit; these processes have themselves been seriously flawed and have lost efficacy over time; the citizens are excluded from the accountability equation; and coupled with the legitimacy problems and weak institutions noted in this paper, corruption and big-manism all over the continent have virtually exploded in scope, incidence and consequences, while the relationship between the state and its citizens is desperately weak.

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