Political Culture, Elite Privilege and Democracy in Nigeria
This article examined the effect of Nigeria's political culture on its nascent democracy. Drawing on findings from a range of historical and empirical studies, the paper investigated how compatible Nigeria’s political culture is with democracy’s core values- liberty, justice and equality. Findings from a variety of references showed ways in which Nigeria’s political culture not only shapes state inefficiency and poor economic outcomes, but also provided evidence of how culture disrupts efforts at national unity and diversity. The study also showed how Nigeria’s political culture creates a winner-take-all approach to elections to the extent that widescale post-election violence is normalized. Culture also shapes hard attitudes towards the press and suppression of fundamental human rights. In sum, Nigeria’s political process is not likely to consolidate or deliver democratic dividends. The paper recommended that for democracy to act as catalyst for development across Africa, political awareness and social mobilization through new media are crucial.
Key Words: African politics, Nigeria, democracy, political culture, development