Democracy and the State of Nigeria
There are many functioning democracies in the world today, but not all democracies function in the same way. With so many examples of a democracy, how does one determine what makes a democracy? Robert A. Dahl assesses this question in his book, On Democracy; through his works, he describes the elements of necessary conditions as well as sufficient means of having a consolidated democracy. Based on these qualifications, the government and politics of Nigeria will be analyzed to evaluate if it operates within such a government.
There are five major criteria in creating the necessary conditions for a democracy, and by these components democracy could be defined in a much broader manner rather than an order of a necessary constitution or a qualifying political system. According to Dahl, the five criteria to meet the standards of a democracy consist of effective participation, voting equality, enlightened understanding, control of the media, and inclusion of adults.
These five criteria compose the necessary components to have a politically equal democracy; without one of these elements, the equality of the process and association disappears. The importance of the first criterion, effective participation, is that a democracy is a government that allows the people to have decisions in politics, and effective participation is necessary to inform the government of the people’s opinions. As Abraham Lincoln so famously said, the goal of a democracy is to have a “government of the people, by the people, for the people.” The second criterion, voting equality, is a key factor in that it creates an accurate representation of the people. For this to be ensured, all votes must be weighted the same and the opportunity to vote must be guaranteed.
Enlightened understanding is the third criterion. This entails that the people are given a clear understanding of policies, alternative policies, and their consequences....