Political Leadership Crisis And Sustainable Democracy In Nigeria Fourth Republic

Project and Seminar Material for Political Science

Political Leadership Crisis And Sustainable Democracy In Nigeria Fourth Republic


The study examines political leadership crisis and sustainable democracy in Nigeria fourth republic. The study also identifies the rationales behind the actions of political cronies that lead politicians to continually satisfy their demands to the detriment of the national interest. The purpose is to examine the effects of the roles of political leaders and their cronies on the crisis of governance in Nigeria. The study relies on secondary data from empirical works on the subject and documentary analysis of works on governance and democracy. The data have been analyzed using descriptive analysis. The results show that there is a high level of interdependency between politicians and their cronies, such that the social relationships rooted in blood ties, race, friendship, or religion have shaped or given meaning to human identities and formed the basis of governance. The very essence of democracy and democratization and its practices anywhere in world resolves, and should of course, be contingent on the aspirations of the people which such government serves. However,the misfortunes of democratic project in Nigeria since the beginning of Nigeria’s nationhood is largely bereft of ideas, lack of progress, arbitrariness and the overall insulation of the people’s rights and privileges as enshrined in the Constitution. The study foresees, however, that the illicit actions of politicians and their cronies could be checked by voting such politicians out of office, changing the mindset of the cronies regarding their immoderate demands, adhering to the rule of law, promoting selflessness, upholding good ethical behavior, and strengthening the Code of Conduct Bureau and other anticorruption institutions.

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Background of Study

Africa is currently experiencing the paradox of her being. Poverty and squalor are but hallmarks of a great continent that has richly being blessed by nature. A continent that often has been spared of untold natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes (except for few landslides in pockets of places) and the likes.

In various states of the continent, there are myriads of natural endowment, oil, coal, Gold, Iron- ore, precious stones and others too numerous to be mentioned. Yet in the midst of these endowments, persist also mismanagement, self-interest and unimaginable forms of corruption. In fact, some have commented that these resources have often become a curse rather than a blessing to the continent. This obvious gap between the God given opportunities and its meaningful utilization in a purposive manner, calls to the question the problematic nature of leadership and its centrality to the discourse on development.

One must acknowledge that praxis of democracy and the fundamentals of rule of law is universally difficult considering the number of years it took developed nations to arrive at their current stage.

As Mike Igini argued “the process of democracy building took between 27 and 256 years in Britain, between 78 and 168 years in France, between 30-80 years in Germany, between 30 and 70 years in the USA and about 50 years in Japan” (The Nation, 2012). Considering these number of years, we may perhaps appreciate the efforts of the different states in the continent. Be that as it may, we must still remark that the overall task and vision of democracy aimed at ensuring a prosperous and secured continent with her citizens being given opportunities for self-actualization is still a far cry in many African nations.

Democracy may not be achieving its full fruit in many nations of the world but the African case is still a more problematic one owing to the character of leaders. It is within the plethora of yet to be achieved vision that the inevitability of leadership is thus projected.

The inevitability of the role of leadership in driving the process of development is seen from the perspective of agenda setting, resource mobilization and utilization as well as political action. History is often marked with the stories of the revolutions engineered by great political figures often addressed as “Heroes of History” for those that have positively influenced development or ‘Evil Men’ for negative drivers of history. Names like Mahatma Gandi, Nelson Mandela, Alexander the Great, Alfred Nobel, Josef Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Mobutu Sese Seko, Indi Ami and the like elicits different reactions from different people.

The centrality of leadership to development in Africa is a major key in that leaders define the context and development pattern by policies and allocations of resources. Upon independence African states anticipated a better and a prosperous continent. For the various nationalist leaders, Kwame Nkrumah of the then Gold Coast (Ghana) to Nnamdi Azikiwe and Obafemi Awolowo of Nigeria; Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia to Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, one vision held them bond development and economic recovery of their people. Their struggle was namely liberation from a grossly limiting bondage of the colonial rule and to launch their nations into a new era of development. This struggle for development was not to be compromised but was to be given ultimate attention. For instance Kwame Nkrumah upon the independence of Ghana said “we must achieve in a decade what it took others a century” (Nkrumah, 1973:401). Their urgency and haste for development of Africa has been described by Ayittey as “the need to ‘catch-up’ (Ayittey, 2005:58). Ayittey, (2009) further argued that even though that need was understandable, but the impatience that underscored their action led to “haste, which made waste.”

However, years after the attainment of independence, the continent is still bereft of the core necessities and it is gradually drifting into failed state situation with most of her nation states faced with the challenges of survival. There is obvious and noticeable abysmal failure of leadership style all over the continent. Hence the multiplicity of crisis being experienced in most African states that is thus degenerating into a failed state crisis for the continent is first of all a crisis of leadership. As the Nigerian novelist rephrased William Yeats, “…things fall apart when the center cannot hold…”

1.2 Statement of the Problem:

The study on Political leadership crisis and sustainable democracy in Nigeria forth republic came about as a result of weak governmental structures, inefficient public service, corruption, ethnicity, godfatherism, monetisation of politics, and political violence. Finally, most of the research has been carried out on Political leadership crisis but not even a single research has been carried out Political leadership crisis and sustainable democracy in Nigeria

1.3 Aims and Objectives of Study

The main aim of the research work is to determine political leadership crisis and sustainable democracy in Nigeria fourth republic.

Other specific objectives of the study include:

  1. To determine the relationship between political leadership crises and sustainable democracy in Nigeria fourth republic
  2. To determine the causes of political leadership crises in River State
  3. To examine whether governmental structure affect political leadership

1.4 Research Questions

  1. What is the relationship between political leadership crises and sustainable democracy in Nigeria fourth republic?
  2. What are the causes of political leadership crises in River State?
  3. Does governmental structure affects political leadership?

1.5 Statement of Research Hypothesis

H0: There is no significant relationship between political leadership crises and sustainable democracy in Nigeria fourth republic.

H1: There is significant relationship between political leadership crises and sustainable democracy in Nigeria fourth republic.

1.6 Significance of Study

The study on Political leadership crisis and sustainable democracy in Nigeria fourth republic will be of immense to the entire river state. The study will enable the Civil society actors be alive to their responsibilities, particularly as the bulwark against corruption, inefficiency, ineffectiveness and general maladministration. Citizens as well must be well mobilised to always demand accountability and transparency from their leaders.

1.7 Scope of Study

The study on Political leadership crisis and sustainable democracy in Nigeria fourth republic is limited to Rivers State.

1.8 Limitation of Study

Financial constraint

Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).

Time constraint

The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.

1.9 Definition of Terms

Political Relating

To the government or public affairs of a country.


The action of leading a group of people or an organization, or the ability to do this.


A time of intense difficulty or danger


Able to be maintained at a certain rate or level.


A system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.


A state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, and which has an elected or nominated president rather than a monarch.

Chapter Five


The study was carried out on political leadership crisis and sustainable democracy in Nigeria fourth republic. The analyses and review in this study have attempted to place in perspective the concept of good governance and the various challenges posed to it by the illicit actions of political leaders, which result in primordial motives for personal rewards that supersede the national interest in a country such as Nigeria. In the process, the essay has shown that, although all persons have the tendency toward greed, the actions and pressures of cronies on politicians have resulted in the mismanagement of public funds and bad governance in Nigeria. However, normatively, institutional reform through the creation of small-scale businesses; the education of cronies; leaders’ leading by example; legitimate empowerment of cronies through new policies; disciplined habits and strong ethical behavior on the part of both politicians and cronies; and removal of corrupt politicians from public office through elections would reduce the tendency to loot the state’s resources for the benefit of cronies.

The study also contended that good governance as observed in developed democracies has been difficult, if not impossible, to attain in Nigeria. This is partly due to the lack of politicians’ accountability to the people, the inability of people to access information, widespread corruption, poor governmental policies that cannot tackle poverty effectively, youth unemployment, an abnormally wide gap between the rich and the poor, and greed, all of which have militated against the spirit of promoting the national interest.

Apparently, democracy transcends the forming and merging of political parties, general elections, grapple for political office and having a civilian government/leadership in power. It is a process that involves the total and effective participation of citizens in determining policies and decisions which affect their day-to-day lives at all levels. It involves the responsiveness of the government to the needs and aspirations of its citizenry. It is based on the ability of a nation to provide channels for discussions, consultations and mobilizations. Nigeria needs to develop her democracy in such a way that it largely empowers the majority of the citizenry and guarantees their survival. Our democracy should be developed, whereby the system of governance advertently and inadvertently develops the masses’ individual and collective potential, which would promote and contribute positively to the overall wellbeing of the nation.

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