Sulayman Dauda Daura








“Each generation out of relation of security discovered its mission, fulfills it or betrays it” Frank Fanon


“To see injustice and pass without as mush as a word, is in itself injustice” Forth Caliph.


“This generation of Nigeria and indeed future generation have no other country than Nigeria. We shall remain here and salvage it together” General Buhari.


It is indeed future generation upon generation and we cannot deny the fact that we have no other country than our country as do for others and 50 years now what have we achieved as a country? And the answer absolutely must be silent because nothing positive has happened; thus, the need to ask ourselves the questions behind our negative images and performance. Although we can not deny ourselves the fact that the problems to our present predicaments are not known. It is also clear that a problem is half solved when you know what it is, then what are we up to? Therefore there is need to wake up from our slumber to save our very souls and the generations unborn from being doom into an undefined doom.


In other words, Nigeria since independence has deliberately deny itself development, and no one can deny the fact that development is a people affair and as such the entire people must be mobilized, organized and involved in development with an ultimate aim to economic growth which provides employment gains, reduction in poverty, an increase in equality of income through multiple equality of opportunity including that of gender and protection of the environment.


The process of Development is a profound and complicated issue. Hence society that lack confidence cannot carry it out. The course of Nigeria cannot be helpful if we are constantly confronted at every turn with negative images of ourselves, like all other society’s and nations, Nigeria cannot advance with a keen sense of self worth and without the constant re-enforcement of these worth. Knowledge will forever remain the most powerful engine of development. It enables us to subdue nature and satisfy our wants. However, if development entails growth and changes, the need there for appropriate political system, stable and effective with people’s participation, the need for political leaders capable and committed to managing these political changes is a process of national consensus building. These needs are decisive hence, the need for absolute considerations, and re-thinking to the earlier quotations above.


The predicament and or lingering factor to the course of Nigeria’s underdevelopment after 50 years of birth are many, however, this paper narrow itself to few which are most considered crucial and these include: Democracy, election rigging and National security; Good governance and infrastructural development which include several other issues such as, Education, Health, and Agricultural and industrial and energy sectors as important key areas to a nation survival.





It is important to support this paper with a theory, and thus, choose the social contract theory which is an old concept in political philosophy propounded by Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and Jean Jack Rousseau. The choice of the theory is informed by it s adequacy in explaining the Origin of nature, and operation  of democratic systems out of which  periodic elections are organized to ensure regular turnover of leadership.


Hobbes (1588 – 1679) make emphasis of a state of nature describing  it as poor, nasty, brutish and short, because in it, there are certain features associated with human conditions thus, equality  of  need, scarcity, essential equality of human power, and limited altruism. This state of nature is lacking basic human needs, because it lack the social cooperation to produce these needs (Development) and that for man to avoid these state of nature, there must be a guarantee that people will not harm one another and thus, the concept of social contract. The theory was built upon the premise that the basis of a legitimate legal power is in the idea of contract. In an organized society, contract had been formed between the citizens and the sovereign power (Government). As a result of such contract, power to act and regulate is vested in government which is represented by an individual or groups of individuals, these representation are trustees of the societies wither elected or selected commonly through periodic elections.


The concept of social contract, if well established, create an avenue that increase benefits between the parties to the contract in areas such as political, moral values and socio-economic, that bring  lasting peace to societal existences. In other words, social contract has a strong temporal dimension such as the willingness of people to work together in maintaining the contract is strongly influenced by how they view the future. Usually citizens may see little worthy in cooperation with their rulers, if they doubt their sincerity of such contract which was entered for societal development purpose to do with social security, stability and economic development and growth without discrimination.


Specifically, this theory give an overview of how government in an organized society are formed, maintained change or overthrown. It explains why people come together to avoid living a brutish, nasty and short lived” that characterizes the state of nature where political authority is absent, which is commonly obtained through periodic elections in a liberal democracy, and that elections that meet the requirement of that contract are termed as legitimate.





Democracy which has multiple of variant of definitions and meanings is believed to have a worldwide acceptance as the best form of government. And if one may argue, the concept has been either imposed or largely accepted as the best form of governance. However, this system of government is characterized by certain shortcomings which are either external or internal. i.e domestic causes and or foreign influences. In the case of Nigeria, the concept of democracy has become difficult to define and this is because, the very factor which qualifies a democracy (free and fair election) has not been achieved.

Since independence the country had witnessed massive electoral fraud followed by violence which has compromised the very ethics of liberal democracy in spite of several electoral reforms that have no positive effect. And this predicament to democratization process has rather been on the increase and there is no evidence of any serious and sincere effort made to stop it from reaching an unwanted level. Virtually, these have been breeding all sorts of violent scenarios to the possible feature of a total anarchy, a situation which some consider Nigeria moving towards a failed state.

These predicaments have been a worrisome episode as many politicians particularly those in government resort to the use of threat and violence to pursue their political goals, eg Obasanjo’s “do or die” statement in 2007. Since return to civil rule in May 1999, the country has witnessed more violence with an estimated loss of life of more than 10,000 people mostly during the period of elections. Thus, bringing the question to what exactly is democracy in Nigeria. Because, democracy in the ideal sense, offers the ordinary citizens the best chance to live under a regime of fair laws enacted in the national interest as opposed to a tyrannical or despotic regime.

In other word, democracy is supposed to provide the best condition for economic development, employment opportunities, and Conducive atmosphere for individual citizens to go ahead with their business. In essence, for democracy to succeed, a free, fair and credible election are rightly considered as significant hallmark of a democratic system and not coincidentally election rigging which has triggered the demise of Nigeria’s earlier attempts at democracy since independence.

Free and Fair Elections have been so closely tied to the growth and development of representative democratic government that they are now generally held to be the single most important indicator of the presence or absence of democratic government. This is because elections belong to the people and the principles for a democratic elections are usually traced to the wishes, aspirations and the right of citizens to take part in government and in the conduct of public affairs of their countries, through elections and or mandate as enshrined in article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Right and article 25 of the international covenant on civil and political right (ICCPR). Elections are the institutional technology of democracy. They have the potential to make government both more accountable and more legitimate. Election should sound the death knell to political violence.

As election is central to democracy, so are credible elections central to the survival and consolidation of democracy. In other word, a stable political environment with a sound political will and a solid electoral legal framework, based on internationally recognized electoral system, are prerequisites to credible elections and democratic governance, that can contribute to peace and stability of a nation and without which a fraudulent election may lead to chaos and anarchy. In other word according to Paul Collier, the method of organizing election among the bottom billion (backward countries) pressured by United State and Europe is not truly democracy rather it can be seen as ‘democrazy’, this is because elections among these countries is mostly a matter of life and death.

A survey of Nigeria’s political history to date with specific reference to the federal elections has shown that the absence of credible elections threatened the existence of the first and second republics in the country. Similarly the 1993, 1999 and 2003 and 2007 elections were rather an up shoot of the previous elections characterized by ethnicity, political thuggery, threat and intimidation, kidnapping and assassinations; manipulation of electoral bodies as well as the use of security personnel against political opponent with particular reference to the 2003 and 2007 general election which witnessed a civilian to civilian continuation.

Many literatures have argued that since independence election in Nigeria have been characterized by recurring source of disputes, strong arm twisting tactics, crises and conflict, abuses which have had deleterious effects on democracy to the Country. Thus it can be said that the critical challenges to democratic sustainability and consolidation in Nigeria, is that of getting both the electoral process and election administration right.



Nigeria has witnessed various electoral management bodies since 1959 pre-independence election to date. These include:

  1. Electoral commission of Nigeria (ECN) which conducted the Pre-independence election of 1959.
  2. Federal electoral commission (FEC) established in 1960 which conducted Post-independence federal and regional election of 1964 and 1965 respectably.
  3. Federal electoral commission (FEDECO) which conducted the 1979 2nd republic and 1983 general election.
  4. National electoral commission (NEC) which conducted the controversial June 12th election of 1993.
  5. National electoral commission of Nigeria (NECON) established in December 1995, which conducted a set of local and National Assembly elections that were never inaugurated.
  6. Independent National electoral commission (INEC) which conducted the 1999, 2003 and 2007 general election in the country.


INEC is claim to be an independent electoral body compare to all the previous electoral body in the country, yet that ‘independency’ has been criticize to exist only by the name. While Government and the INEC leadership claiming the body to be independent of governmental control and most efficient. Critiques and international observers have accused the body as non independent and it remain the worst of all previous electoral bodies, considering the negative roles it play in all the previous election of 1999, 2003 and 2007 general election. Was more, the 2007 presidential election in Nigeria was rated to be the worst ever election to be conducted in history. A report by the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), indicate partisanship of the electoral body and the security agents. Thus one may argue from the foregoing submission that none of the electoral management body in Nigeria can claim independent. This is because, for an election management body to be fully independent, it must be completely independent of the contesting parties and their candidates, and as well processed within it a legally enforceable mandate and a well defined jurisdiction, composition and term. It must also be fully empowered regarding the performance of it functions. This is a global challenge not only to Nigeria because, most electoral management bodies in the bottom billion (developing world) are not independent, impartial or competent to be able to conduct a credible election.



One other factor that greatly undermines democratic governance and threatens national security in Nigeria is the issue of ‘god fathers’ and ethnic militias thus, a godfather is a person who have the power personally to determine both who gets nominated to contest and win election. Generally, in the context of Nigerian politics godfather’s are persons who direct the affairs of politics either at local, state or federal level. The concept in contemporary Nigeria has become a dangerous phenomenon simply because of greed, resulting to all sorts of violence and throwing most of Nigerian state into anarchy. The case of Oyo and Anambra is a good example.

The most absurd display of the power of godfatherism in Nigerian politics took place in Anambra state, where the bitter fruits of Nigeria’s 2003 electoral sham came to harvest. This bitterness virtually threw the state into anarchy; where ethnic militias took control of the state, in a factional form rather than the instrument of legitimize violence causing the state to lose public property estimated to the tune of 10billion Naira to various atrocities and arson.

The most disheartening and heart rendering story is the evidence which shows presidential connection to the crisis in Anambra state, in which the president (Obasanjo) in a media chart remarked that “the breach of agreement between the (conflicting) parties in Anambra crisis was beyond constitutionality and legality”. The president was also alleged to have openly identified himself with one side of the conflicting group. Was more, in both cases of Anambra and Oyo state, presidential, security and judicial backing was alleged to be behind the removal or dismissal of the respective state governors simply because they breach the agreement made earlier between them and their godfathers.

It is pertinent to note that the role of godfathers in Nigerian politics has impacted negatively on democracy and political development of the country. Their activities have eroded the electorate’s belief and confidence in the electoral process, the notions of consent, popular mandate and sovereignty are devalued and the basis of democracy grossly eroded. The discovery of six voter registration machines in the house of one of the so-call godfathers in the South-West city of Ibadan is a clear sign of democratic failure with no single action taken by the government. These scary scenarios put the question of integrity on the 2007 general election, which clearly portends the danger for the survival of democracy.

Thus, one may argue that Nigeria’s main sources of threat are largely internal and political, by mere looking at series of events that occurred and are continuously occurring. In a study I conducted regarding the 2007 election I found clearly a relationship between election rigging and political crisis, and political crisis of course is a major source of threat to national security. For example in the First Republic when a state of emergency was imposed in the Western Region in the year 1962 as a result of political crises between rival parties, the Tiv uprising in 1964 and the 1966 bloody coup, its reprisal and the resulted civil war all testify to the internal and political consequences of threat to Nigeria’s national security. The second republic also recorded series of crises from violent conflict to economic instability. For example the ‘Maitatsine’ disturbances in Kano which spread to Borno and the defunct Gongola States has a political consequences as was alleged by some individuals that the leader of the crisis (a self acclaimed Islamic religious preacher with extremist ideology) had the backing of the State Government who was said to have taken no earlier action to stop the violence from escalating.

There was also a clear inability on the part of the central government to arrest the situation as admitted by the president that it “fell below…expectation”. In other words, because of the perceived danger of growing insecurity in the country due to allegations of corruptions against the politicians and other characteristics of electoral irregularities, thuggery and violence, the military toppled the then ‘Democratic Government’ in order to overcome the perceived dangers to national security and as well to clean up the system for a stable democratic system.

Another area which seems to pose a greater threat to our national security, is the attitude or role played by the politicians in diverting public funds that were supposed to be used for the executions of physical and capital projects (infrastructural development) such as health, education and agricultural development, and as well, general social security of the citizenry. These funds are in most cases diverted to personal pockets of the political office holders and it is the same money which they use in providing youth with hard drugs and weapons, in- sighting them to carry all sort of violence act in defense of their personal interest above national interest.

These implications rendered democracy useless and as well shows the economic implications and threat to national security because lack of education coupled with the increasing nature of unemployment and as well as rising population of restive youths in the country, posed a greater threat to national security. Virtually from the very day politicians are sworn into office that is when they begin strategizing on how to win or rig the next election using public funds supposedly for infrastructural development there by showing a devil-may-care concern upon responsibilities of the mandate given to them.

From whatever angle it may be, it is certainly known that electoral malpractices pose a greater security threat to a nation considering the amount of violence, destructions of life and property it breeds. A clear example of effect of electoral fraud can be seen in many African countries such as Kenya, Zimbabwe and in particular Somalia that have not seen peace for decades. With these predicaments here and there, we can therefore strongly agree with the argument made by Paul Collier that democracy has not yet produced an accountable and legitimate government because incumbent politicians have won elections by a method that requires them to misgovern. And that the rich liberal democracies have basically missed the point partly because the West has been unrealistic in ensuring the basic steps to which the bottom billion should take similar to their own process and or a system compatible to their culture and religion.

All over the world security agents are crucial in the election process especially, democratic elections. The Nigerian police force that are saddled with the responsibility of establishing orderliness, has for long lack the capacity and deliberate inability to work effectively due to certain institutional shortcomings that undermine them to carry out their assign role of maintaining peace. These unlawful conducts undermine democratic governance.

So much blame to Nigeria’s present predicaments have been attributed to prolonged military rule, though it could have contributed little that we should not deceive ourselves the fact that the course of present day Nigeria is the handwork of our political elites, after all, a stable political system always keep the Military away from extra-constitutional activities. Why not USA or Britain? It should be clear to us and the world in general that Nigeria has the largest concentration of African People and that if Nigeria should be allow to failed as a state, will the world be able to contain the possible number of internally displaced people Idp’s? Should Nigerian state failed, it will no doubt affect the region, the continent and the globe socially and economically.




Scholars and development thinkers have continue to debate the efficacy of the process of development. Some argued that the process brought political independence to the colonies but not economic independence. Categories such as dependency, neo-colonialism, hegemony and imperialism have facilitated research project on this theme. Others argued and suggested that decolonization process was a total break and that the problem of 3rd world society does have to do with inadequacies of the cultures of the new nations. This is acceptable because the nature of Nigeria’s leadership is dominated with poor caliber of policy makers and development elites, suffering from intellectual inadequacy which has its roots from greed, lack of moral values, and deliberate ignorance and what I use to refer as “educated illiterate”, meaning un-useful education. Even the electorates are party to these predicament as a short coming for their in ability t o hold responsible the elected or chosen officials – accountable.


Nigeria today known as the most famous bottom billion is running the most expensive, unjust and corrupt system in the world. A rough estimate of more than half of its generated income have gone into the personal pocket of the so call ‘elected or selected’ public office holders since the beginning of the present democratization system in 1999 to date. The earlier led government of Obasanjo was responsible for that, as a way of bribing, particularly the Legislative and Judicial arms to get away with what it want. While the Legislatures on the other hand lack the focus to re-think on accepting the path of honor by admitting the unfairness of virtually diverting more than half of the nation’s resources to their individual personal needs in the name of allowances and constituency project, setting aside the basic functions of Ministries. The judiciary on the other hand is polluted with new generation of unjust Judges. Corruption has become the order of the day been officially (though not in the Constitution yet) institutionalized. What a complex Nigeria!


Corruption is the creation of social system. It spells dishonesty. It is a crime and remains an enemy of progress. Politically, it destroys democracy and economically hampers social transformations including development and economic growth. In other word, the damages corruption has done to the Nigerian nation are astronomical. It has led to slow movement of governance and thus, creating all sort of illegalities in day to day running of the nations affairs. In terms of corruption Nigeria has for years been ranked among the worst first 5 – 10 most corrupt nation in the world.



Dependency has been the problem of Nigerian economy as well as social and security crisis, because we are dependent capitalist country. Our ruling class is dependent and or to say appendages to foreign holdings.  Their activities remain a serious security threat to the Nigerian nation. And we can’t deny the fact that economy remains the language of security. The level of country’s economic and sound technological development determines the level of its Defense and Security. Clearly, lack of ideological clarity by our leaders has been a contributing factor to our present predicament. It should be clear to our leaders that it is not the amount of artifact that a country purchase that makes it a great nation rather, the amount of productive forces is what makes a nation great. For example, Michael Porter’s “Competitive Advantage of Nations” makes emphasis on the concept “Diamond model” – which he explain that production forces of a country remain its engine of development. While German Diamond model is printing and technology, and looking toward Africa, if Kenyan Diamond model (major source of income) is exportation of fresh flowers to Europe, then what of Nigeria? Certainly is oil and why oil neglecting other vital areas Agriculture, Science and Technology? Oil has been and will remain a source of trouble and we must look back for a better option.


A nation attain development when the principles of economic variables in the society such as the level of consumptions, import, export, prices, investment, saving etc, is reading positive and a society can be economically developed  when there is equitable, effective and efficient distribution, allocation of incomes and when the gap between the haves and the haves not is closing. But the case of Nigeria, only the cars outside the Senior service houses tend to get bigger and slimmer and a large part of our import bills are spent on food, drinks and tobacco. It is also difficult to calculate with precision to investment resources the amount wasted on luxury houses, prestige projects. Our ports, sports arenas, Hospitals Universities and Conference halls etc are often build recklessly on lavished scale for use by a minute section of the population and without affording the culture of maintenance. This take us back to Kennedy’s (1988) assertion, in his study the decline of the great powers, that “Imperial overstretch” was the cause of their degeneration that, resources that are supposed to be used for building infrastructure are diverted to unnecessary spending.



The training of manpower (human capital development) is the responsibility of the educational sector, and we can best measure the standard of the nation’s education by asking ourselves:

  • The number of qualified teachers
  • Available teaching facility including research
  • Performance of student
  • And as well as the level of the nations development in areas of science and technological innovation and economic gains.


However, in the case of Nigeria, the most disheartening and heart rending story lies with the educational system. The situation with our educational system is causing a great deal of heart ache to every peace loving Nigeria because the greatest of slavery is denying right to education. Virtually generations (me inclusive) that comes between the early, mid and late 70s to date have had nothing more than a “half baked” education. We can’t speak eloquently not even develop innovative and challenging ideas of the present 21st century’s global order. In comparison, an elementary of the 60s and before independence is by far knowledgeable and skillful than a present day Msc or Phd holder. Most of our academic institutions are today organs of corruption, victimizations and sexual assaults. This is exactly where the rebranding programmed supposed to start and not the other way of sinking billions of naira with no possible positive effect. The Nigerian nation must not play with education (knowledge). And the Nigerian nation must undergo dialysis to remove the bad blood of negative culture into our educational system.



Education and health remain inseparable dimension of the complex reality of human existence, hence the two are interwoven and therefore, once the standard of education catch cold, the health sector automatically sneeze, because medical personnel are being trained through the educational system. And we can’t deny the fact that Nigeria has yet to attain the internationally standard rating of health indices of reduction in the level of death rate, infant mortality, out breaks, provision of adequate medical facilities and average calorie intake. I could recall the only period Nigeria did great within the few decades after the civil war to date was during the PTF years. This was the time when our indigenous professionals were given the opportunity to show their capability that with political will, they are up to the task.



Agriculture has for long been the most important sector of the Nigerian economy. The sector supplies both food for local consumption, export and raw materials for industrial activities. However, with a taste to the sweetness of oil, the nation political elites have shown a “devil-may-care” concern to the “God most –blessed” sector in the world and none or little attention has been given to this important aspect of our national economy.


The low productivity of peasant agriculture resulting from the use of primitive method and small scale land holding  in contrast  with large tracts  of un-utilized land in Nigeria proves that the Agricultural sector is capable of vast increasing output affecting that agricultural expansion depend in part on the establishment of local capitals goods industry. Similarly, the continued expansion of consumable industry depends on the increasing demand of consumers goods. Many other methods of increasing the peasant agricultural output include cooperative farming, state owned farms which must be stressed. These could only be achieved with a political will, and clear policy objectives.



Sometimes in March 2007 big wigs and or to say stake holders meet in Abuja, discussing the de-industrialization of Northern Nigeria, with a great sense of honor as if something positive will come out within few days of the conference. Because of the paper contribution made by a few intellectuals of great ideas yet, we are now saying bye-bye to 2010 and nothing has ever got done. Meaning all the effort in research and presentation made by these great intellects has gone in vein.


Before the decline of this sector when ‘nigeria was NIGERIA’ Kaduna alone was known to be a peace loving state by the name of “Liberal State”. But today, that name has been changed to “Centre of learning”. Of course it has to be changed because residence of the state have learnt a lesson of different forms of crimes, conflict and crises that occurred that led to the lost of thousand of lives and properties worth billions of naira, all as a result of unemployment and political greed.


The Nigerian textiles industry which has been in existence before independence has experienced severe decline in the past decades, with majority of companies no longer operational. For example, the textiles industry in Kano and Kaduna alone were known to be the largest employer of labor in the country, has lost over 300,000 workers. In a society with the culture of dependency, how many families would have been denied the means of livelihood? This is simply due to greed and corruption. The government has for years show lack of concern to improve power supply, revisit and or have a clear define term on industrial tax policies and subsidies. Instead, successive government since 1999 has continually supported their cronies importing textiles from abroad while starving home owned textiles industries. It is well known that a few greedy Nigerians have established and own multiple of textiles manufacturing industries in far away China and other places. The government has kept away its eyes aside without doing anything to stop it. Every day contraband products are coming into the country directly through our ports and or through neighboring states of Benin, Cameroun, Chad and Niger. Everyday you see people with moustache on the screen claiming the interception of contraband goods as a means of decoy to the reality of what is happening.



Energy is an important factor of production in both economics. Efficiency in exploitation and development of a nation’s energy resources is of great importance to the progress and well being of the people. The indices of a nation’s industrialization and or development are measured through the levels of energy production and consumptions. Nigeria, though endowed with variety and abundant energy resources base, has not succeeded in diversifying her energy sources. Thus, the energy subsector remain dominated by the (an ever growing conflicting) petroleum component which has an estimated proven reserve   of about 21 billion barrels of crude. In today Nigeria, the only thing we can be proud up in the energy sector is the change of name from never expect power always prepare to light a candle (NEPA)plc, to problem has change name (PHCN).



The railways in 1912 linking Kano and Lagos, which pave way for the amalgamation of 1914 has served as means for both political and economic interaction between the two regions. After 50 years of independence, neither our rail system, good roads nor no safety in our airspace. What a complex Nigeria!


Conclusively, our elites are the major offenders to the Nigerian precarious situation, while a great many are the major sinners to the Nigerian backdrop, many have folded their arms without a mush and only a few good men are left to fight the course and off-course a single tree can’t make a forest. Democracy in Nigeria can best be described or term as “war in peace” simply because the concept of democracy in the ideal sense preach peaceful coexistence among societies and were democracy is deny peace, then a violent democracy is nothing but “war in peace”.


Finally, our National Security should be an environment with conditions where our most cherished values and beliefs, our democratic way of life, our institutions of governance and unity of the state, welfare and protection of the citizens are continuously enhanced. And for Nigerian Nation to attain that height, we must achieve peace and harmony among religious and ethnic divides across the state. The government, elites and the entire people must engage in nation building through Constitutional democracy and not the other way of extra-constitutional and judicial activities that renders the Nigerian state more of anarchical society.



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About sulaymandauda

A 10th, July 1976 Nigerian. A Ph.D Research Candidate with the Nigerian Defence Academy Kaduna.
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  1. augustine obaedo says:

    Sir , I sincereily appreciate this your work. I hope you will permit me to make reference to some or part of this beautiful piece of yours in some of my future write-ups, please.

  2. augustine obaedo says:

    I appreciate your attention,please

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