Strong Institutions and the Challenge of Democratic Consolidation in Nigeria’s Fourth Republic

Julius Otaigbe UNUMEN


This article examines the challenge of democratic consolidation in Nigeria’s Fourth Republic and the role that strong institutions could play in overcoming it. It posits that against the backdrop of endemic and systemic corruption, economic crisis, manipulation of both the electoral and constitutional arrangements for personal and party advantages, political exclusion, attempts at blackmailing and/or emasculating both the legislature and judiciary by the executive, intolerance of opposition by ruling political parties and a tendency towards authoritarianism, it is obvious that democracy is under threat in the nation’s Fourth Republic. These challenges have the capacity to derail the country’s current democratic experiment and/or cause democratic breakdown. The paper argues that institutional weakness is the bane of democratic consolidation in the Fourth Republic. It concludes by recommending the strengthening of political institutions as a panacea to the challenge of democratic consolidation in the country and align with the argument that strong institutions, far more than “strong men”, are needed to overcome the challenge of democratic consolidation in a country at a developmental crossroads.


Strong; Nigeria’s Fourth Republic; Democratic consolidation; Military rule; Political institutions

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