Egharevba, M. E.
THE STATE AND THE PROBLEMS OF DEMOCRACY IN NIGERIA.
Nigerian Sociological Review, 2 (1).
The Nigerian state today is nothing more than a rentier state whose neo-colonial
capitalistmode and social relations were not substantially modified by the rapid
transfonnation from the production of agricultural commodities (palm oil,
rubber, tin, cereals, etc.) to petroleum as the main source of capital
accumulation. The unpredictability and volatility of the rentier economy has
over the years been the central factor in all regime changes and democratic
developments since independence. While in the core developed countries the
. state historically evolved some measures of 'relative autonomy' from the
economically dominant class and fractions, the state in Nigeria fuses class
power and political power together. Thus the on-going struggle for state power
through the process ofdemocracy is simultaneously a struggle for the means of
distribution and consumption which only power can confer. This paper
therefore examines the structure of the Nigerian state and the attendant
constraint it poses for the practice and sustainability of democracy and
democratic institutions. The paper sums up the conclusion that the state in
Nigeria is anti-thetical to the survival ofdemocracy since the,state has become
politicised and instrumentalised into a partisan state that is at once the arena and
object ofparticularist conflicts.
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