Afe for Vanguard

May 29, 2024

Democracy and the people’s role(2)

Afe Babalola

TYPES OF DEMOCRACY

Today, we have different types of democracy which include the following:-

1.   Anticipatory democracy, which relies on some degree of disciplined and usually market-informed anticipation of the future, to guide major decisions 

2.   Athenian democracy (sometimes called classical democracy), as originally developed in the Classical Greek city-state of Athens 

3.   Defensive democracy, a situation in which a democratic society has to limit some rights and freedoms in order to protect the institutions of the democracy. 

4.   Deliberative democracy, which focuses on hearing out every policy alternative, from every direction, and providing time to research them all 

5.   Demarchy, a form of democracy which has people randomly selected from the citizenry to either act as representatives, or to make decisions in specific areas of governance (defense, environment, etc.) 

6.   E-democracy, which comprises the use of electronic communications technologies, such as the Internet, in enhancing democratic processes within a democratic republic or representative democracy. 

7.   Market democracy, another name for democratic capitalism, an economic ideology based on a tripartite arrangement of a market-based economy based predominantly on economic incentives through free markets, a democratic polity and a liberal moral-cultural system which encourages pluralism 

8.   Democratic centralism, an organizational method where members of a political party discuss and debate matters of policy and direction and after the decision is made by majority vote, all members are expected to follow that decision in public 

9.   Direct democracy, implementations of democracy in more pure forms; classically termed pure democracy

10. Dominant-party system, a democratic party system where only one political party can realistically become the government, by itself or in a coalition government 

11. Economic democracy, a theory of democracy involving people having access to subsistence, or equity in living standards. 

12. Grassroots democracy, a form of democracy emphasizing trust in small decentralized units at the municipal government level, possibly using urban secession to establish the formal legal authority to make decisions made at this local level binding 

13. Illiberal democracy, a type of representative democracy where there are no or only weak limits on the power of the elected representatives to rule as they please 

14. Jacksonian democracy, a form of democracy popularized by President Andrew Jackson promoted the strength of the executive branch and the Presidency at the expense of Congressional power 

15. Jeffersonian democracy, a form of government named for American statesman Thomas Jefferson 

16. Liberal democracy, a form of representative democracy with protection for individual liberty and property by rule of law 

17. Multiparty democracy, a two-party system requires voters to align themselves in large blocs, sometimes so large that they cannot agree on any overarching principles 

18. New Democracy, a Maoist concept based on Mao Tse-Tung’s “Bloc of Four Classes” theory in post-revolutionary China 

19. Non-partisan democracy, a system of representative government or organization such that universal and periodic elections (by secret ballot) take place without reference to political parties 

20. Parliamentary democracy, a democratic system of government where the executive branch of a parliamentary government is typically a cabinet, and headed by a prime minister who is considered the head of government 

21. Participatory democracy, which involves consensus decision making and offers greater political representation, e.g., wider control of proxies others trust them with, to those who get directly involved and actually participate 

22. Republican democracy, a republic which has democracy through elected representatives 

23. Representative democracy describes indirect democracy where sovereignty is held by the people’s representatives 

24. Social democracy, a political philosophy that calls upon government to be for the people. In contrast to Socialists, modern Social Democrats do not believe in nationalizing industry 

25. Sortition, a democratic method of choosing political and administrative officials, advocated by Aristotle, and used in classical Athens and Venice, which is based on the drawing of lots as opposed to election by vote 

26. Soviet democracy, a form of democracy in which workers elect representatives in the organs of power called soviets (councils) 

27. Totalitarian democracy, a system of government in which lawfully elected representatives maintain the integrity of a nation state whose citizens, while granted the right to vote, have little or no participation in the decision-making process of the government. 

28. Westminster democracy, a parliamentary system of government modeled after that of the United Kingdom system 

29. Workplace democracy, the application of democracy to the workplace as opposed to conventional top-down management hierarchy 

EMERGENCE OF NIGERIA AND PROGRESSIVE ATTEMPTS AT CONSTITUTIONALISM

In the words of a writer: “Nigeria’s political problems sprang from the carefree manner in which the British took over, administered, and abandoned the government and people of Nigeria.  British administrators did not make any effort to weld the country together and unite the heterogeneous groups of people.”

The emergence of “Nigeria” as a country has never been a product of evolution but essentially that of imposition and or colonial configuration.  Before the advent of the British, what later became known today as Nigeria was a product of assorted settlements, clans, organized societies each with its own peculiar, identifiable and distinct identity, mores, tradition and political arrangements for the day to day administration. Examples are Oyo empire, Benin Kingdom – all with well defined political structures.  The British came and dismantled these structures and, in their stead, imposed their own system without any regard whatsoever for the obvious disparities and seemingly irreconcilable differences.

The advent of the British marked the turning point in the political settings of the natives and ushered in colonialism – a long lasting experiment that had its tap root in the Berlin Conference of 1884-85 with its indelible transformation.

THE BERLIN CONFERENCE OF 1884-85BERLIN CONFERENCE

A lot of the problems plaguing us as a country today, have their foundations in the infamous conference of 1854 to 1855 when the European powers convened in Berlin Germany and Partitioned Africa.  This conference signified the absurd partition of our heritage, our language, tradition and culture. The imaginary boundary line along artificial and arbitrary barriers saw some part of Yoruba race being merged with the Republic of Benin, a French territory.  Some parts of Hausa/Fulani speaking people were also merged to form part of Niger Republic, Ghana and Sierra Leone. The result is the eternal separation and criminal division of a people hitherto United as different nations under different empires – The old Oyo Empire, The Benin Empire, the Hausa Fulani Empire and the Kalabari Kingdom.

The genesis of these seemingly insurmountable problems is the fact that the carving out of the area later known as Nigeria for the British was actually premised on selfish economic interest.  The inhabitants of the area later christened Nigeria were never consulted. Indeed they had no say.  The problems associated with most areas of civil strife today in Africa actually have their roots in the problems of this Berlin Conference. These countries include Burundi, Congo, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Sudan, Angola to mention a few.

In the large area carved out for the British which was later named Nigeria, courtesy of Mrs. Lugard, were and still are over 400 tribes and ethnic groups with remarkable differences of language, culture, tradition and even ways of dressing.  Some of the big nations forcibly included in the new country like Yoruba, and Hausa kingdoms are as large or even larger than Britain.  Apart from the skin pigmentation, these tribes have nothing in common.  The differences between these numerous tribes are as much as those between the European Countries spanning Ukraine in the East to Portugal, France, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden on the West.  Nigeria has an area of about 93.765 square kilometres and is inhabited by over 200million people spread over 400 ethnic groups, speaking about 295 dialects.  In United States of America, you have only one major language, in Britain, one language, in Canada two, and in Germany only one.

The unpalatable truth however is that the colonial masters never intended Nigeria to be a nation.

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