The Role of Youth in Democratic Consolidation in Fragile States: The Nigerian Experience

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Oloruntoba, S. O
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The third wave of democratization flowed through the Latin American and African countries from the 1980s to the 1990s (Huntington 1991). This episodic transformation from autocratic regimes was essentially a reflection of the changes in the global political arena as well as the predominance of western values and practices over previously existing traditions and forms of government. In particular, the collapse of the former Union of Socialist Soviet Republic (USSR) following the cessation of the cold war paved the way for liberal democracy to assume a dominant position in political systems of many countries of Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific. Following the economic crisis of the 1980s, the third world countries became an economic laboratory of a sort, where different experiments such as the Washington Consensus and Structural Adjustment Programmes were tested and prescribed as palliative pills for the economic recovery of the Latin American and African economies. To qualify for these palliative pills, it became mandatory for the sick economies to democratize. In this connection, elections are conducted on a periodic basis based on constitutional provisions that guarantee respect for human rights, accountability and leadership responsiveness to the yearning ad aspirations of the people. However, after fifteen years of democracy in some of these countries that adopted it, the question arises as to whether extent has democracy been deepened or consolidated enough to preclude the search for an alternative form of government. This is against the backdrop of the understanding that while elections are a fundamental prerequisite of democratic consolidation, the presence of a functioning electoral system does not automatically ensure the existence of true democracy or rule out the possibility of authoritarian structures and practices.
Democracy , Latin America , Autocracy , Political system , Economic crisies , Cold war , Electoral system , Third world countries , Africa , Human rights
Oloruntoba, S. O. (2008). The Role of Youth in Democratic Consolidation in Fragile States: The Nigerian Experience. Paper presented at the international conference on the Nigerian Youth, Political Participation and National Development at Mambaya House, Bayero University, Kano, Nigeria