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 characterised 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 been difficult to achieve in Nigeria.
Furthermore, a democratic system provides a conducive atmosphere for the evolution of a culture of debate, exchange of ideas, an environment with a traditionally vigorous and out spoken free press that promote peaceful coexistence. A 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 elections are rightly considered as significant hallmark of a democratic system This is because a genuine democratic election remains the vehicle through which the people of a country freely express their wishes, on a basis establish by law, as to who should have the legitimacy of governance (Thorpe, 2009), and not coincidentally election rigging which has triggered the demise of Nigeria’s earlier attempts at democracy since independence. (Herskovits in Jega, 2007).
Democracy include the right of people to live their own aspirations and programmes, not only in political life, but also in economic, cultural, religious and other aspects of life including the right of people to participate fully in decisions that affect their life (Imam 1991).
Democracy, like beauty, is in the eyes of the beholder (Shafritz, 1988). This is to say, like all other concepts in the social sciences, the term is subject to various conceptions and conceptualization. Historically, democracy is said to originate from Ancient Athens some hundreds years B.C. and later adopted in Western Europe following emergence of revolutionary movements, American war of independence, French revolution of 1789 and much later through colonial expansion to most of the third world countries, and Eastern Europe following the collapse of Soviet Union in the early 90’s. As time goes on, specifically after the World War II, two dominant perspectives on democracy emerged. These are: Western Liberal democracy and Socialist democracy. With the former gaining upper hand over the later. However, no matter how democracy is understood, interpreted or practiced, it has a generally agreed upon philosophical
justification premised on certain universally cherished human values and ideals: freedom; equity, and justice (Nnoli 1986).
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