The Impact of democratic leadership and socio-economic development a case study of Kaduna state


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The quest for democracy, selfless leadership, and socio-economic development by the Nigerian state since independence in 1960 has suffered serious setbacks, which has engaged the attention of scholars and students of Nigeria’s political history; and administrators alike. Many have attributed the country’s setback and lack of progress to poor leadership. It is argued that the problem of leadership if not tackled has the potential to derail the country’s quest and aspiration for an enduring democracy, good governance and socio-economic development.

It is worrisome to note that political independence had not brought substantial change in the economic conditions and people’s general development. As Fayemi (2009) rightly observed, the standard of living is deteriorating on a daily basis as high unemployment, inflation, civil strife, poverty, corruption, disease, malnutrition, illiteracy, insecurity of lives and property, among others appeared to be the only legacy the state is capable of passing from one generation to the other. The most critical question that any patriotic Nigerian might be asking today is why has the country not experienced radical socio-economic development? As Okau (2014) noted, while answers to this question may vary from group to group and individual to individual, some answers are so strong that they are rarely controvertible. In this respect, the problem of democratic leadership is a good example. The emergent of political leadership of the post-independence Nigeria has shown a disappointing incapacity to manage affairs of the country. The citizens are feeling thoroughly embarrassed and disappointed by the turn of events because of the unfulfilled expectations and dashed hopes. The people are facing economic hardship of the highest order propped up by recession-trumped policies, despite the enormous national resources with which the country has been endowed. Nigeria’s celebrated economic growth has not translated into better economic and social welfare for Nigerians. Thus, poverty reduction and job creation have not kept pace with the population growth which implies social distress for an increasing number of the people. Poor leadership has succeeded in putting Nigeria and it humongous population into political and economic impasse. It is rather unbelievable that since the return of democracy in 1999, the country could not consolidate the democratization process to achieve good governance and usher Nigerians into the land of goodies. In most parts of the country today, millions of human inhabitants share water from the same source with animals, water infested with bacteria and viruses. Nigeria is poorly governed, hence her failure to rise to the height of its potentials. According to Achebe (2010), the country’s embarrassing stunted growth despite its enormous human and material resources is the product of the failure of leadership.  The allusion that determined and focused leaders, elected or non-elected, make their society is well grounded with the facts of history. The people or followers feed on the energy of their leaders to rise to their individual potentials and fuel national development. Simply put, leaders are the engine room of national development, to this end the critical role of leadership can never be overemphasized.

Since the emergence of democratic leadership in Kaduna state in 1999, the state has witnessed the administrations of five different governors, and a party system that oscillates between two key political parties (PDP & APC). Despite its democratic clime, the metropolitan state has been thrown into the habiliments of ethnic cum religious violence (e.g. the recent Kafanchan Massacre), caught in the harbinger of corruption, godfatherism, marginalization, economic under-productivity and redundancy. It is only an aphorism to aver that quantifying the development strides of the various administrations, one can say that the state has not experienced tangible, practical and radical socio-economic  development, as both socially and economically the state still remains backward and stunted; infrastructurally the state has failed to carve a niche for itself, it is encumbered with an epileptic civil service, red-tapist and unfunctional local government administration, prebendal policy structure and implementation process, dichotomized population and a very wide lacuna between the people and the government. It is in consideration of the importance of democratic leadership to socio-economic development that this research work seeks to examine the subject matter within the copious of Kaduna State to ascertain the fads, facts and fallacies that shapes democratic leadership in Kaduna state.


Democratic leadership and socio-economic development are undoubtedly two most contested concepts in social and political discourse. There are different perspectives on the concepts influenced by history, ideology, discipline and experience. It is common place to knowledge that Kaduna state has been basking in democratic bliss since 1999, which is indeed remarkable for many reasons. It is in consideration of the importance of the subject of democratic leadership socio-economic development that this research work seeks to examine the linkage between democratic leadership and socio-economic development, it seeks to quiz if democratic leadership has been able to promote socio-economic development in Kaduna state.

The research will also seek to investigate the correlation between democratic leadership and socio – economic development. The study will scientifically seek to understand the challenges of democratic leadership in Kaduna state. The rationale is to question the existence of what exist by studying the trends and economic dynamics within the state since attaining its democratic status.


The purpose of the study is to highlight the nexus between democratic leadership and socio – political development in Kaduna state with a view of understanding its practicality in the state. And as such the following are the objectives of the study:

  • To examine if democratic leadership have been able to promoted socio-economic development in Kaduna state
  • To ascertain if democratic leadership has brought about improvement in the living condition of the inhabitants of Kaduna state
  • To determine if democratic leadership has improve the human development index of the people of Kaduna state


The investigation would be guided by the following research questions:


  • What is the impact of democratic leadership on socio-economic development in Kaduna state?
  • What is the linkage between democratic leadership and socio-economic development?
  • Democratic leadership improved the human development index (HDI) of the citizen o Kaduna state?
  • In what ways has democratic leadership improve socio-economic development in Kaduna state?


  • Democratic leadership has promoted socio-economic  development in Kaduna state
  • Democratic leadership has failed to evolve socio-economic development in Kaduna state


This study presents an exploration into the nature and peculiarities of the barriers and constraints faced by democratic leadership in Kaduna state. Therefore, the principal significance of the study is to make valuable contribution in the area of supplying objective and pragmatic solutions that will aid the furtherance of democratic entrenchment that will facilitate rapid and radical socio-economic development in Kaduna state. It will also seek to highlight key practical suggestions for improving overall human development index of the people of the state. In this respect, this study is expected to be of interest to both national and international audience which includes academic researchers, lecturers and fellow scholars in the field of politics and democratic studies. In addition, the implications of the empirical work will be of particular interest to policy makers, sponsors and those involved in governance as findings would be converted into a blue print cum white paper which will guide democratic leaders on governance.


For the purpose of conceptual clarification and to limit the level of ambiguity which as a rule is the hallmark of academic research, it is important to examine some of the concepts and terms that are used in this study i.e. leadership, democratic leadership, and socio-economic development.


The term leadership has been defined in several ways. Northouse (2003) defined leadership as a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal. Riggio and Murphy (2003) stated that leadership is a process by which a person influences others to accomplish an objective and directs the organization in a way that makes it more cohesive and coherent. These definitions identify leadership as a process involving an individual who is wielding some level of influence in such a manner as to bring about the accomplishment of fulfillment of certain objectives.


Democratic leadership entails the exercise of power according to popular will. According to Bello-Imam and Obadan (2004:2), “It represents the exercise of the state power with the consent of the people either directly or indirectly through their elected representatives”. Within democratic leadership there is provision for state institution to express the will of the state and ultimately for the supremacy of that expression on all basic questions of social-economic direction and policy. In the same vein, democratic leadership according to the UNDP ensures that political, social and economic priorities are based on broad consensus society and that the voices of the poorest and that of the most vulnerable are heard in the decision making over the allocation of development resources. From the foregoing, there appears to be consensus on what democratic leadership should constitute.


According to Riggio and Murphy (2003) socio-economic development is the process of social and economic development in a society. Socio-economic development is measured with indicators, such as age composition of the population; Biological composition of the population; Health composition of the population; material equipment (i.e., per worker; resources, productive machinery, etc.)  state of the industrial arts; state of the educational, scientific, and related cultural equipment of the population; the prevailing value system: in particular,  ICT and economic creativity and the disposition of man to put forth economically productive effort’  dominant character of the politico economic system, its  free enterprise, mixed, social democratic, or totalitarian in character?; effectiveness and stability of the rules, institutions, and legal ingredient designed to preserve economic, political, and civil right,  degree of cooperation and unanimity between the groups, the institutional structure and physical apparatus of the economy;  relative amount of vertical and horizontal mobility characteristic of the population; internal geographical distribution of economic activities; exchange relations obtaining between the economy under study and other economies; degree of specialization and division of labor in effect; scale of economic organization and activity prevalent; relative amount of complete, partial, and disguised unemployment present;  distribution of the power to make and execute entrepreneurial decisions; residual factors etc.


In other to accurately capture the role of democratic leadership on socio-economic development in Kaduna state, secondary data would be used. The secondary sources will include information on the relationship between democratic leadership and socio-economic development obtained from business journals, periodicals, textbooks, dissertations, abstracts, magazines, newspapers etc.


Chapter one contains the introduction of the research study. It is the “what” of the study i.e. this chapter outlined what the researcher intend to study. It is made up of background of study, research aim and objectives, research questions, assumptions of the study. It also contained the definition of concepts, significance of the study and research methodology. Chapter two deals with the literature review of the study. It is also known as the “why” of the study. This chapter reviewed the work of past researchers on the same area of discourse which this research studied. It also presents the theoretical framework. Chapter three covers background to the study area, organizational/ contextual architecture of the study area, policy constraints, trend-mapping, statistical review of trends and implications for study. In Chapter four the hypotheses were also tested and the result was discussed in this chapter. Chapter five is the last chapter of the research work. The summary, findings of the research, recommendations, and conclusion of the study were done in this chapter. Suggestions for further study were also stated by the researcher in this chapter.

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