Realities of democracy in developing countries by Dr Yakubu Aliu


This is a very cogent take on the realities of democracy in developing countries. I have argued at any given opportunity that liberal democracy, the type we are practising in Nigeria has never delivered development any where. It is just a contraption meant to keep developing countries at a low threshold of development while being controlled and exploited by the current winners of globalisation.

The fact the many developed countries are democracies doesn’t mean that democracy is a variable in the development function. Correlation does not imply causation. We will be deceiving ourselves if we think that Nigeria will develop with the kind of democracy we are practising.

There is no short cut to progress. We must pass through the route of domestic surplus accumulation that will trigger development. And as the Chinese experience has shown you don’t accumulate a massive threshold of domestic surplus without some kind of purposeful and centralized political control and even a dose of of political diktat.

For a developing country like Nigeria, time is not on its side, as far as the race of development is concerned. To lift the nation out of the current morass would require deliberate efforts to move fast enough to diversify the economy and massively export, curtail frivolous consumption and build massive savings, build domestic capacities for technology, industrialization, and infrastructure; as well as educate the people on a massive scale. A grand shift of priorities is also necessary.

A key requirement for all these would be a strong state capable of withstanding domestic and international pressures and opposition to the nations new priorities. Such a state should have the capacity to mobilize the citizens, reorientate them and steer them in a developmental direction. Not this diversionary politics of separation of powers, with. saboteurs all over the place and a disoriented political class and citizens that focus only elections without an idea of the real meaning of development.


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