Society of African Journal Editors

Inkanyiso: Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences

Nigeria’s democracy: the trilemma of herdsmenism, terrorism and vampirism

Authors: Emmanuel Oladipo Ojo

Journal: Inkanyiso: Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences

Since the ‘invention’ of democracy by the Greek City States in the first half of the 5 th Century B.C. and its popularisation after the American War of Independence in the 17 th century, democracy has remained the most famous form of government. Indeed, today, the presence or absence of democracy in a country seems to be the ‘standard’ by which such a country is measured – while countries that practise democracy are patted on the back; those that do not are pelted with all sorts of negative descriptions and categorisations. This outward approval or disapproval has taken centre stage to the extent that little or no attention is paid to the analysis of the content and context of a country’s democracy. Yet, this is important for at least three reasons: one, it will help to show how people in the sidelines in a specific geo-polity perceive democracy. Two, it will most probably reveal that not all forms of government operating in the garb of a constitution properly qualify as democracy. Three, and perhaps most important, a study of the content and context of a country’s democracy would reveal the type of democracy being practised by it – whether it is surface democracy, pseudo- or quasi-democracy or the rule by many for many. This study examines the content and context of Nigeria’s democracy with specific reference to its ‘trilemma’ and argues that Nigeria’s democracy is assailed by three ‘isms’. The study concludes that Nigeria’s brand of democracy is a system which enables rule by the few for the few and that this has drained many Nigerians of psychic energy and socio-economic strength. Keywords: Nigeria, democracy, Africa, vampirism, Boko Haram, herdsmen