Nigeria has path-dependently or even habitually allowed bad leaders and kakistocrats to enter positions of power and govern it either by means of coup d’etas or fraudulent ballots with relative ease and the resultant dissatisfaction is left to be managed by even worse leaders. The cycle of bad leader to bad leader to worse leader has thus become a solidly stable equilibrium in the nation, escaping it seems unlikely. Most Nigerians wonder endlessly how this habit can be broken or bad elections ended in order for good leaders to come into power and foster best governance possible in the society. All by itself this is a very mistaken expectation.
Numerous factors are acutely responsible for the persistence and worsening of the phenomenon of corruption in many so-called democracies. These factors include regulatory capture, lack of transparency, inappropriate political systems, vertical policy transplantations, the weak rule of law, harsh economic conditions, the absence of political legitimacy etc. All these factors tend to be invisible to the general public and require scandal to be known. Another critical factor in the growth of corruption is the much less talked about “guilty accuser syndrome”. The guilty accuser syndrome is a sophisticated political selection strategy that ensures that only politicians with “dirty hands” can get into positions of power that are both strategic and lucrative. Such a syndrome is more associated with new and transition democracies than mature liberal version. The guilty accuser syndrome is a significant weapon of corrupt political patrons since it can ruin strong institutions and render institutional reform useless.
Never underestimate the wisdom of the old saying, “what Britain needs is another good war”. Peace, jobs, wages, NHS are boring and appear to be responsible for the national malaise in British politics. Or are they? The May 5th local elections are over, and the June 8th general election is on its way.
The “Saraki crisis” is making Nigerians and some foreign spectators of the three arms of government to rethink their understanding of the design and processes of democracy in the real-world, particularly the legislature. Surely, democracy is not a dirty word in Nigeria… yet. Continue reading