Conclusion and Recommendations

  • Mohammed Nurudeen Akinwunmi-OthmanEmail author


The world has changed considerably in the last two decades as a consequence of various technological innovations, cross-boundary socio-political decisions, and the ever-increasing changes in socio-economic demands. The world has become much smaller and more (inter) connected than ever before, therefore bringing uncertainties and more complexities to its inhabitants. To depict these changes, the term ‘globalization’ was introduced, which rapidly became a major personification of our time. Yet, globalization is not a linear process with clear rules and certainty of outcomes.

The world has changed considerably in the last two decades as a consequence of various technological innovations, cross-boundary socio-political decisions, and the ever-increasing changes in socio-economic demands. The world has become much smaller and more (inter) connected than ever before, therefore bringing uncertainties and more complexities to its inhabitants. To depict these changes, the term ‘globalization’ was introduced, which rapidly became a major personification of our time. Yet, globalization is not a linear process with clear rules and certainty of outcomes.

On the contrary, the globalized world is highly networked, unstructured, and fractured—all at the same time. These demonstrate its homogenization and its particularism. 1 This is the system where actors compete vigorously, but yet, collaborate at the same time, thus changing our traditional perceptions of the world as it was known previously. From our discussions, analyses, and the various expositions presented, we well know that globalization—through its intense constraints—is constantly changing the ways in which major institutional actors think, work, operate across and within nations.

Globalization is incessantly changing the determinism of the state and its resulting actions, reactions, and inaction. It affects what cooperative firms and people have a tendency to do, where and how they tend to achieve their objectives; how they perceive themselves (i.e. their distinctiveness); and what they desire (i.e. their preferences).

Therefore, globalization has turned the world into the ‘massive village’. This, in turn, has led to an intense electronic corporate commercial war to catch the attention and the nod of the customer globally. This war for survival can only become more intense. Further, its accompanying financial transactions, the increasing volume of trade, decreasing costs, as well as the reduction in public-sector expenditure, have put strong competitive pressures on governments worldwide to reduce their role in the determination of who gets what, when, where, how, and why.

This is significant, particularly as it affects the delivery of public goods within political systems. It is connected with the fact that world developments have been increasingly characterized—not essentially through their growth dynamics—by their links to the process of globalization. The overwhelming character of globalization has made it compelling for some scholars to use various aspects of the global economy as their units of analysis.

Regardless of the various criticisms levied against this phenomenon, as opined by Thorbecke (1997) amongst others, African governments seem to have lost control of the policymaking process, and are under great pressure to accept dictates from creditor nations and financial institutions. 2 African governments now tend to discuss development issues less often with their own nationals, and more often with benefactors and creditors. These discussions are more about debt repayments, debt relief, payments rescheduling and, paradoxically, assistance towards further development in others areas of the society.

Consequently, globalization refers to the process of the intensification of economic, political, social, and cultural relations across international boundaries. It is principally aimed at the transcendental homogenization of political and socio-economic theory across the globe. It is equally aimed at making being global present on the world stage or global arena. It deals with the ever-increasing breakdown of trade barriers and the ever-increasing integration of world markets (Fafowora 1998) that tend to stabilize the socio-polity. 3

That the forces of globalization have contributed immensely to the enthronement of democratic government widely across the African continent since the 1990s is not astonishing. The fact that it is also responsible for the sustenance of democratic governance in Nigeria during the period under review is not amazing either. According to the predictions of Fukuyama (1992), since the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, free democratic government would continue to spread to more and more countries around the world. 4

Of course, the scholar did not detail specific methods that would be used to achieve this aim, or all of the modus operandi involved in the process. He however opined that global information technology and instant communications have promoted democratic ideals, as in the case of the CNN’s worldwide broadcasting of the occupation of the Tiananmen Square in 1989, and the revolutions in Eastern Europe later that year. 5

With the end of the Cold War, and the subsequent exponential growth in information technology and its availability, particularly across Africa, it became apparent that citizens began to demand from their leaders a shift from authoritarian rule to democratic rule. People are better organized than ever before in pulling resources together in order to enforce their human, civil, and socio-political rights; using the legal instruments found in transnational law, while engaging with their global-network partners for support as well. The series of socio-political events that resulted in the ongoing Arab spring revolution is testament to this assertion. Globalization has a great impact on promoting democracy, as argued earlier.

Other evidence of this impact is seen in the infusion of democratic values and human rights into regional and international institutions. For instance, only democratic governments can apply for membership of the EU. The EU promotes democratic values and norms through its foreign policies and those of its members. Similarly, the OAS and the AU have both inserted more human-rights codes into their conduct and constitutions. They are constantly working with their respective member states to ensure compliance.

The globalization of transnational civil society and non-governmental organizations helped in promoting democracy, as well as in the protection of human rights. The growth of those TNGOs and CSOs which originated in Western democratic states helped to spread democratic values by strengthening and advocating for the protection of human rights in authoritarian and in democratic regions across the world.

In arriving at conclusions, it is necessary to inquire about what globalization has done to the democratization project in Africa. Has it given strength to democratic reforms? On the other hand, has it merely become a useful façade for the democratization of tyranny? 6 There are vigorous and ever-increasing ongoing debates about every aspect of globalization. There is no agreement as to exactly where its conceptual boundaries should begin, or end; or what its impact on social, political, and economic forces should be. Increasing interest is, however, being paid to the implications of global interdependence, the revolution in communications technology, homogenization of values, and the deepening entrenchment, worldwide, of market relations for the democratization project. Questions continue to arise as to the democratic credentials of the democratization project pushed by transnational economic and political forces. 7 The perception that globalization poses an imminent threat to democracy is widespread too.

Generalized evidence of these threats is noticeable in the activities of transnational corporations (TNCs) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). These organizations are seen as interfering with the autonomy and sovereignty of nations, while promoting a global corporate agenda. Some are of the opinion that it is an extension of colonial imperialism to the modern age. 8 This notwithstanding, there is a consensus that globalization, its inherent forces, and influences have indeed brought various diverse parts of the world closer, for the better. These divergent perspectives provide important insights into the interaction of social forces promoting democracy within the context of a globalizing world of industrial capitalism.

To bridge these two literatures, it is argued that democracy has at least two normative charges. It should promote civil and political liberties (its liberal dimension), and it should promote social and economic equality (its social democratic dimension). When viewed from these perspectives, it appears that globalization does indeed promote democracy, albeit a particular form of democracy in which the maintenance of civil and political liberties takes precedence over the realization of socio-economic equalities.

Further, these perspectives suggest that globalization can simultaneously promote democracy in some parts of the world (i.e. by encouraging authoritarian countries to adopt civil and political liberties), while undermining it elsewhere (i.e. by impeding political actors seeking to promote socio-economic equality). 9

Scholars who see positive consequences for democracy do not necessarily ignore or deny the contradictions inherent in the globalization process that have spawned what Falk (1999) referred to as ‘exclusionary practices’, and what Tandon (1997) called the ‘logic of exploitation’. They merely explain and prescribe solutions to these problems within the framework of required adjustments. They call for an intensification of the globalization process, rather than its deconstruction. The logic is that, it is the imperfections of the process of homogenization, rather than the very idea itself that spawn the contradictions. It is argued that the intensification and widening scope of free-market logic directly encourages political liberalization.

According to Richard (1995), for the private sector to grow, there must be a free flow of information, transparency of state institutions, an end to corruption, and the application of the rule of law. 10 In the end, therefore, economic liberalization creates growth and the level of affluence required to promote and consolidate democracy. 11 Huntington (1991) concurred when he noted that privatization places more economic resources in private hands. This, in turn, provides more individuals with economic power that can be transformed into political power. He noted the transnational linkages that globalization inevitably imposes, introduces, and solidifies. These are the ideas of transparency, good governance, and democratization. 12 Many other scholars 13 writing on the subject share this view.

Another important view is that globalization increases the demands of international capitalists for democracy. The reasoning is that business prosperity requires the peace and political stability which democracy may best guarantee. The interests of international capital are best served by democratic regimes. Globalization provides a platform that both deepens the need to insist on democracy, and strengthens the capacity to pressure states into accepting it. 14

A corollary is that globalization strengthens domestic institutions that support democracy, because the market requires an enforceable and largely predictable system of property rights, and impartial courts to allocate resources effectively in the economy. The increased involvement of transnational capital in the domestic economy intensifies the pressure on the state to introduce and consolidate a measure of democratization; and to popularize norms respecting the rule of law, civil, and human rights. 15

Globalization ‘pushes’ the authoritarian state to decentralize power. As globalization deepens, states progressively relinquish or lose control over economic and social choices to market forces which are inherently democratic. The rollback of the state ensures the entrance of other social forces into the political arena; deepens contestations for power; and increases participation in the political process. 16

Similarly, Keohane and Milner (1996) contended that intense struggles that result from emerging local realities of international-market integration increasingly radicalize the voices of marginalized groups, and enhance the fluidity of assets and investment capital, thereby intensifying the competition for state power and forcing democratization as a strategy for the maintenance of stability. 17 The state is thus weakened, and authoritarian governments are unseated for preventing rent-seeking activities and increasing the bargaining power of business. 18

This globalization era has coincided with an increase in the number of countries that have had some sort of political liberalization. There is increasing devolution of power from central to regional and to local governments that seems to validate the positive correlation of democracy and globalization. Increasing transnational linkages have advanced the idea of a global civil society that contributes to political plurality. The idea that suggests a positive correlation between democracy and globalization is based on the assumption that economic liberalization cannot be sustained without liberalizing the political structures of the state. These changes are understood as multi-party elections, respect for fundamental human rights and the rule of law.

Kaviraj (2005) suggests that modernity should not be perceived as a single process, but rather as a conjunction of several processes of social transformation, such as the rise of the nation state, individuation, mass democracy, and capitalist industrialization. 19 The sequence in which these processes occur differs from one society to another, and their specific histories determine the particular form that modernity takes. The argument about the sequential features of change enables us to understand why the relationship between democracy and development differs across the globe. 20

Globalization as a phenomenon dates back to the time before the era of the nation state when it existed in the shape of cultural, economic, and social exchanges without hierarchies between the societies. 21 Moving into a second phase, with the emergence of the nation states in the West, globalization was reshaped due to the impact of imperialism. The following phase of post-imperialist movements for independence in the former colonial world halted globalization, and replaced it with the move towards national development and self-reliance.

Since the twentieth century, the third phase of globalization has accelerated the pace of corporate capitalist industrialization. Both the deterritorialized capital and the nation state are retreating from the social sector and from development responsibilities, while simultaneously being reconstituted as agents of global capital. Nevertheless, globalization remains a contested subject amongst scholars, policymakers, and activists. Its enthusiasts offer promises of free trade, deregulation, and flexibility, while its detractors emphasize the problems of inequality, unfair trade relations, political domination, and militarism.

Globalization has created both grievances that motivate protests, and opportunities for mobilization. The contemporary era of globalization is marked by a distinct set of economic policies, worldwide dissemination of cultural products, and a political-military project of domination. It has engendered competition and contestation—even amongst its main agents and supporters—and grievances and resistance from its detractors.

Amongst its detractors are transnational activists who promote an alternative kind of globalization. Globalization brings new resources to mobilization efforts and movements which can frame their claims in terms that resonate beyond territorial borders. Indeed, there is a two-way relationship between globalization and democracy. This opens up opportunities for further exploration into these areas.

For globalization to continue to stabilize democratic rule in Nigeria beyond the period stated for review, the following four major requirements are recommended.

10.1 Development of a Robust Conflict Management Mechanism

One of the main challenges underlying the relationship between development, democracy, and globalization is in the form of the never-ending and sporadic inter-ethnic and intra-ethnic conflicts that have been poorly managed during this period. There are several ongoing conflicts in various parts of Nigeria, which continue to threaten and weaken democratic stability.

Recently, the President of the Federation declared a state of emergency 22 in some northern states in order to combat the menace of the Boko Haram Jihadist separatist group. 23 According to the President, ‘these terrorists and insurgents seem determined to establish control and authority over parts of our beloved nation, and to progressively overwhelm the rest of the country’.

At present, there seems to be a lack of consensus and direction in the various arms of government on how to deal with these groups, which have spread all over the country in different guises. While some political leaders have called for amnesty for the group, others have requested a trial in a court of law.

According to Fagbohungbe (SAN) 24 :

The objective of Boko Haram is to Islamise the whole nation. That is what they said they want. Therefore, as long as that objective has not been made, if you introduce amnesty, they are not going to surrender, because you have not done what they want you to do. They have come out to reject amnesty. They categorically said they do not want amnesty because they have not done anything wrong. You can then see that this situation cannot be reconciled. Therefore, the amnesty programme has failed from the beginning. 25

The seasoned lawyer concluded that the issue is more of political agitation than a legal question. He compared it to a plague, which no law can cure. There are enough provisions in the Nigerian constitution to combat a menace such as these, if the government is actually determined about putting an end to it.

For instance, the Nigerian government promulgated the Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2011 to combat the menace of this group and other similar organizations that have continued to threaten stability since the country returned to democratic rule. It was stated that one of the motivations for the enactment of the statute, amongst several others, was the necessity to implement Nigeria’s treaty obligations on terrorism and matters related thereto.

Further, the Act seeks to provide measures for the prevention, prohibition, and combat of acts of terrorism, as well as the financing of terrorism in Nigeria. It also prescribes penalties for violating any of its provisions. The Act contains 41 sections, arranged into eight parts, with a schedule listing relevant statutes. Part I defines acts of terrorism and related offences, while Part II contains provisions relating to terrorist funding and properties. Part III is on mutual assistance and extradition. Part IV deals with information-sharing on criminal matters. Part V and Part VI set out investigative and prosecution processes, respectively; Part VII deals with charities; the last part contains miscellaneous provisions.

These militia groups are not necessarily new institutions in the Nigerian society. They were silenced, perhaps completely, during those long years of authoritarian and repressive military rule. They only resurfaced under new names and guises as soon as democratic rule was established. The terrorist group has caught the attention of the international community. The US government recently declared the Boko Haram to be a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). The Nigerian government for its part has been seeking help from everywhere to combat these threats. The ECOWAS, the African Union (AU), and the UN have all been expressing concern on the deteriorating security situation in Africa’s most populous nation. 26

One could ask what globalization and transnational law have done to help Nigeria curb this menace. The answer is not far-fetched, as there are enough relevant counter-terrorism conventions in international law, which can be employed in addition to local laws. These include the following:
  1. 1.

    Convention on Prevention and Punishment of Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons, including Diplomatic Agents, 1973;

  2. 2.

    International Convention against the Taking of Hostages, 1979;

  3. 3.

    Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombing, 1997;

  4. 4.

    Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, 1999;

  5. 5.

    Convention on Offences and Certain Other Acts Committed on Board Aircraft, 1970;

  6. 6.

    Convention for the Suppression the Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft, 1970;

  7. 7.

    Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil Aviation, 1971;

  8. 8.

    Protocol for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts of Violence at Airports Serving International Civil Aviation, 1988;

  9. 9.

    Convention on the Making of Plastic Explosives for the Purpose of Identification, 1991;

  10. 10.

    Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation, 1988;

  11. 11.

    Protocol for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against Fixed Platforms Located on the Continental Shelf, 1988;

  12. 12.

    Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, 1980.


However, the lack of a strong political will on the part of the responsible arms of government has made the prosecution of culprits’ problematic. It would be an error, therefore, to place all the blame on the courts for their inaction.

Terrorism and ethnic clashes are threats to the stability of democracy, because they undermine the rudimentary purposes of the state, its security and integration. The state’s reaction, however, in managing the violence is important in influencing the outcome of continued democracy or its failure. This is because when citizens’ confidence in the state decreases, democratic instability increases and vice versa.

10.2 A Strong Determination to Combat the Menace of Corruption

The extent to which corruption has penetrated every facet of the Nigerian society has been discussed in relevant sections earlier. As per the editorial of Nigerian Guardian newspaper:

If Nigeria was serious about fighting corruption, by now the institutions established to fight the scourge, the EFCC and the ICPC, should not have to wait for a former president or any former government official to ‘offend’ the ruling government before serious allegations or suspicions of fraud are investigated and prosecuted. Obasanjo should also not have to dictate to the institutions, or advise President Jonathan on who to probe and when to do it. President Jonathan or his officials should also not have the power to pre-emptively declare that no one will be probed over corruption cases, even if they are former presidents. 27

Additionally, commentators stressed that widespread corruption stunts economic growth, undermines political legitimacy, demoralizes public officials and ordinary citizens. 28 These sentiments were echoed by the former South African Minister of Education, Kader Asmal at the 9th International Anti-Corruption Conference in Durban that; corruption, maladministration, and poor governance do more than merely undermine economic stability. They undermine government in the eyes of the people. They lead to a pervasive cynicism about politics and politicians, which is disastrous for democracy. 29

From the few investigations that the Nigerian legislature has successfully undertaken, it is evident that they possessed and demonstrated the capability to expose, as well as fight corruption. Further, the task set for the legislature under the 1999 Constitution is not out of reach for the body, since the constitution has been given adequate safeguards for effective performance of the legislative duties in this respect. Largely, the inability of the legislature to perform this task is connected with the absence of the necessary strength of political will to become involved and bring to justice erring officials and their associates.

In the same way, the inability of the legislature to hold the executive branch accountable stems less from the fact that, the ruling party controlled the dominant majority in the two-chamber federal legislature of Nigeria. The legislators—who are of varying political persuasions and different sides of the ideological divide—simply lack the moral courage to bring the constitutional prescriptions fully to bear on their legislative activities.

It is evident in Nigeria that since the return to democracy in 1999, particularly within the period under review, the executive has somewhat been a ‘sole steward’ and perhaps the only major visible anti-corruption crusaders amongst the various organs of government. The legislature has failed in providing serious commitments to the anti-corruption campaign of the executive.

This is because individuals’ motives appear to contrast with the service and responsibilities which their office demands; and, which indeed, the public expect of such office holders. The absence of institutional and functional support from an important institution such as the legislature can only continue to weaken the attainment of a corrupt-free society. What does corruption or poor governance have to do with globalization and stability of democracy, it may be asked.

First, research has shown that corrupt and poorly governed countries receive fewer of the benefits of globalization. 30 One form of such benefits, amongst several others, is direct international investment. For international investors to have to pay inducements and kickbacks to corrupt government officials, is equivalent to them paying extra taxes. For this reason, foreign firms may well be reluctant to pay enticements in order to obtain business advantages or to set up businesses.

Second, due to the new economic interdependence of countries, corruption has itself become globalized. It is therefore argued that greater levels of economic integration have increased the chances that corruption in one region of the world will have an impact on economic and political activities in other parts of the world as well. 31 Mbaku (2007) further argues that developments in communications technology have revolutionized international financial systems, and have further enhanced the ability of traders to engage in corruption.

The emergence of electronic networks for the transfer of funds has made it quite difficult for countries (particularly developing ones) to deal effectively with corruption. In recent years, many anti-corruption organizations have argued that the ease with which funds can be transferred implies that, corrupt civil servants can effectively hide their illegitimate incomes from the public. Therefore, making it quite impossible for such funds to be recovered in the event of a conviction.

For instance, the Nigerian government is yet, despite various efforts, to recover the several billions of dollars looted from the state, which were hidden in several foreign bank accounts by the Abacha family and their cohorts. The same applies to other officials who have been convicted of corruption by the EFCC in the same period.

Finally, it has been argued that in a globalized economy, corruption and poor governance significantly raise the likelihood of macroeconomic instability in addition to reducing economic growth. This is particularly true in the African context where several other factors such as crime, unemployment, low levels of education, and poverty are rampant. 32 Consequently, if the legislature must demonstrate an acceptable level of effectiveness in the anti-corruption crusade, the process must ensure that there are means by which the legislature itself could be made accountable.

The legislature, under the present legal framework, is vested with powers to sanction erring members of the executive and any of its officers as well as officials in the judiciary. However, there is no specific institution to control the legislature, except the weak and impoverished populace, to which the legislature is theoretically accountable. The question then is this: who monitors the monitor?

The EFCC has been evidently cautious in handling issues or allegations relating to or affecting members of the legislature. This, perhaps, is because the EFCC as a body was the creature of the legislature and appointment into its Committee is highly political. One of the leading newspapers in Nigeria commented that it has become painfully obvious that the Nigerian anti-corruption watchdogs possess only politically-fitted teeth, which are kept in the pockets of their paymasters. They are only worn when the former want political rivals bitten. 33

For the fight against corruption to succeed, therefore, the legislature must indeed show honesty and be totally committed to the anti-corruption war. Perhaps, the first steps in the anti-corruption battle are a vigorous promotion of the rule of law, better investigative machinery, sanitization of an infected judicial system, and a strengthening of the institutions for fighting the scourge.

Further, the African Union Convention on Prevention and Combating Corruption entered into force in 2002, when the AU became concerned about the negative effects of corruption and impunity on the political, economic, social, and cultural stability of African States, and its devastating effects on the economic and social development of the African people. It includes measures which should be taken to curb the menace amongst member states. This further strengthens the ability of the Nigerian democratic establishments in their fight in this area.

However, the absence of the necessary political drive has made them all ineffective. Other international instruments which are available to the Nigerian government include: The United Nations Declaration Against Corruption and Bribery in International Commercial Transactions, and the United Nations Convention Against Corruption.

10.3 A Strong Determination to Reduce Poverty Visibly

The current theme throughout the world has shifted from ‘poverty eradication’ to ‘poverty reduction’. The reason adduced for this is simple—policymakers all over the world have now accepted that all efforts to eradicate poverty in developing countries have been unsuccessful. Therefore, it is now necessary to modify the theme in order to reflect the current state of world affairs.

Absolute or extreme poverty has been described as entailing never having enough money for the necessities of life, malnutrition during childhood, little or no medical care that often leads to low life expectancy, scarcity of potable water and fuel, eking out a miserable livelihood, and feeling insecure and helpless. 34 According to Stiglitz (2006), life for people as poor as this could be very brutal. This why the issue of poverty has become not only a national, but also a global concern.

The impact of globalization on poverty alleviation became an ardently debated and intensely researched subject in economic literature. A categorical response to the question of whether globalization is positively correlated with poverty alleviation is that, ideally, it should be logical. A basic and plausible argument could be that if growth of the real economy is spurred by globalization, then the poor (who make up a higher percentage of the populace) benefit from higher growth by having better housing, nutritional levels, education, employment, and access to other essential social services.

A study of low-income developing economies by Hoekman et al. (2007) concluded that globalization by way of liberalization and reforms of trade and financial markets has both macro-level (the economy) and micro-level (household) favourable impacts, which in turn improve the plight of those absolutely deprived. This empirical study emphasized the value, relevance, and wisdom of the adoption of complementary policy measures for these low-income developing economies when they are implementing their liberalization measures, and trying to integrate globally.

Its logically supporting argument was that globalization does not take place all by itself. It is a policy-induced process. While production activity expands because of globalization-induced expansion of manufacturing and service sectors, it has a direct and positive effect over employment opportunities for the poor. They leave behind the grinding rural poverty and move to urban areas where they find far more employment opportunities. This relocation has a structural effect over the economy. It increases labour productivity in the economy.

Besides, if globalization leads to higher income, a more equal income distribution can be achieved from a higher level of income than from a lower one. 35 The scope of our discussion does not lend itself to a detailed discussion on the causes of poverty in Africa, or in Nigeria specifically. Suffice to say, as mentioned earlier, poverty is one of the greatest challenges in Africa in the face of globalization. Indeed, Africa is generally described as a continent of extreme poverty. It is estimated that about 315 million of the 700 million people who live in sub-Saharan Africa survive on less than one dollar per day. 36

Statistics also show that one-third of the African population (about 184 million people) suffers from malnutrition. Less than 50% have access to hospitals or doctors. The average life expectancy is 41 years; while one in six children die before the age of five. 37 The total gross domestic product (GDP) of sub-Saharan Africa amounted to US$978 billion in 2008 (less than that of Australia or Mexico), of which about 50% was contributed by South Africa and Nigeria. The levels and extent of poverty and its effect on the African people, and Nigerians generally, cannot be over-emphasized. In that regard, it has been argued that the structural imbalance at the global level and the antiquated social and economic structures in developing countries, such as those on the African continent, interact to exacerbate poverty in those countries. 38

In the Nigerian context, the country was ranked as the 141st poorest nation on the Human Development Index of the UNDP. In the 2006 report (UNDP-HDI 2006; Ekugo 2006), it was ranked as the 20th poorest in the world, with 70% of the population classified as poor, and 54% classified as living in absolute poverty. Statistical evidence shows that the level of poverty has increased linearly since Independence.

In 1960, for example, the poverty level was recorded at 15, 28% in 1980, and 43.5% in 1985, an average of 45% in the 1990s and between 84.5 and 87% in the 2000s. The constant increase in the level of poverty in Nigeria can be attributed to a number of factors, of which corruption and mismanagement of resources are regarded as the primary ones.

Although globalization has exposed Nigeria to unequal economic and financial relationships, which have further exacerbated the extent of deprivation and poverty in the country. This astronomic level of poverty cannot be blamed on the impact of globalization alone; perhaps the government of Nigeria should own up and become more accountable.

Broadly, globalization has in various ways contributed to the extent and impact of poverty on the African continent when analysed from a singular prism. This is because most of these countries do not possess the required level of technological expertise and the workforce required to allow them to compete successfully with highly industrialized nations who, in turn, take full advantages of this. 39

In addition, African countries depend on the developed countries for the economic assistance that aids development and the provision of infrastructure, health care, and education. This unequal relationship of economic and political union between LDCs and the developed countries often influences the poverty situation of the former negatively, which the latter use to their advantage by introducing unfavourable terms to credit arrangements and other external debts requests.

A final example is the so-called Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs) to which reference was made earlier. As was mentioned, SAPs are usually imposed by the World Bank and the IMF on developing countries in order to ensure debt repayments and economic restructuring. These programmes normally require poor countries to reduce spending on health, education, and development in order to prioritize debt repayment and other economic policies.

The main effect, in essence, is to damage the interests of the already deprived citizens in such developing countries, and to lower the standards of living of their people generally. This is because the SAPs are designed to dismantle the role of the state in economic development, liberalize trade and investment regimes, and privatize economic activities. 40

It must be noted that only very few African governments have poverty-reduction policies that are separate from the donor-poverty frameworks. The donor countries have unsuccessfully attempted to step into the breach and make policies that are sustainable for the recipient countries. Thus, one of the aid-delivery reforms agreed in the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness is to encourage aid-recipient states to take more control of their poverty agendas and their aid policies. How effective this is yet to be researched fully.

The links between poverty, human rights, democracy, and development are the basis of a complex but extremely important relationship. At the heart of that relationship is the recognition that poverty is not only a denial of human rights, but it also undermines democracy and reverses the gains of development. In the age of globalization, that relationship is not only complex and important, but is potentially contradictory. Nowhere is this more real than on the African continent. 41

10.4 A Strong Commitment to Federalism

As noted in the earlier chapters, since the 1914 amalgamation and the subsequent promulgation of the Federalism Act prior to Independence in 1960, ethnicity has been, and it still continues to be a major problem in Nigeria. Citizens view each other as natives who owe their allegiance to their respective states of origin, rather than to the federation. This is one of the many reasons for perennial conflicts on various rights. These include employment, residential, health care, and admission into tertiary institutions outside prospective applicants’ state of origin.

As observed earlier too, it is also very difficult, if not impossible, to contest and win elections outside one’s state of origin. This is so even if the prospective candidate has been resident in such a state for years. For instance, a Hausa man is extremely unlikely to win an electoral seat in Lagos, or in any of the other states outside the north of Nigeria, and vice-versa.

Elazar (1987) described federalism as a combination of ‘self-rule’ and ‘shared-rule’. He defined federalism in its broadest sense as the linking of individuals, groups, and polities in a lasting, but limited union in such a way as to provide for the energetic pursuit of common ends, while maintaining the respective integrities of all parties. 42 Federalism allows for unity within diversity through a process of dynamic equilibrium between centrifugal and centripetal forces in a polity. It entails continuous adjustments between the federal government and the governments of the component units. 43

The Bryce (1913) metaphor on federalism is relevant to this analysis. Federalism aims at keeping the centrifugal and the centripetal forces in equilibrium, so that the planet states shall fly off neither into space, nor the sun of the central government draw them into its consuming fires. Essentially, the ‘inescapable federal principle’ is that matters of national or common interests should be vested in the national government, while matters of a local or particular interest should be left to the constituent governments.

Indeed, federalism presupposes a relative autonomy and interdependence of component units. Justice Sarkaria (1983) of India explained that the classical concept of federation as parallel governments of coordinate jurisdiction operating in isolation from each other in watertight compartments is nowhere a functional reality nowadays. Federalism has come to be understood as a dynamic process of cooperation and shared action between two or more levels of government. 44

Many years before the attainment of Independence, Nigeria’s constitutional-development experiences were concerned with the principal goal of managing ethnicity, which had shown clear signs of subverting the nation-building project. Federalism, the creation of regions, states and local governments, the shift from parliamentary to a presidential form of government, the institutionalization of quota systems, the prohibition of ethnic political parties, consociation politicking, and the adoption of the Federal Character Principle were some of the approaches that Nigeria has taken to manage ethnic diversity. 45

These mechanisms have enjoyed the intellectual backing of institutionalists who posited that there is a connection between ethnic conflict or peace, and the nature of political institutions. Several works on ethnicity in Nigeria have been committed to examining the impact of these approaches to the management of ethnicity. The verdict of scholars who have examined the issues from different theoretical standpoints is that, while these initiatives have solved some old problems, they have generated many unintended consequences that have exacerbated the management of ethnicity.

What is more is that they have been destabilizing for the Nigerian state system. As noted by Suberu (2001), given the sheer multiplicity and fluidity of the territorial and cultural cleavages that can be used to justify the demands for new states and the federal resources they bring with them, there is no certainty that the states-creation and agitation process will ever be concluded in Nigeria.

Analysts have attributed the limitations of the ethnic-management policies to improper implementation, distortion of vision and lack of a strong political will. 46 Some, however, doubt the possibility of a state that generates fissiparous tendencies, and a predatory class that is endlessly looking for formulas to divide the Nigerian peoples, while claiming to implement policies that promote ethnic peace and harmony. 47

The book set out to explore the consequence of globalization and transnational law on the sustainability of the longest period of democratic rule in Nigeria’s history, since the return to civil rule in 1999. For the reason of globalization, the world has become more interconnected and much more interdependent through complex simultaneous and multiple interactions. Consequently, the availability and accessibility of the Internet, mobile phones, Internet-based social-networking websites, and unrestrained access to news contents around the world have all made it easier for Africans in general, and Nigerians specifically, to agitate for better protection of their socio-political and human rights, which are the basis for democratic stability.

These advancements in technology and its ubiquity at a marginal cost have further empowered the populace, by giving them access to information and resources that they were denied in the past. Likewise, CSOs and their global-network partners are better able to coordinate their activities, and as well mobilize the masses in support of public opinion to required changes, when the need arises.

These factors and events have significantly changed the shape, boundaries, and borders across the world—we are now referred to as living in a ‘global entrapment’. The theoretical literature in this area generally, and in the Nigerian context specifically, did not answer several vital questions in this discourse. The book set out to answer the following questions:
  1. 1.

    How have the forces of globalization and transnational law influenced the stability of democratic governance in Nigeria?

  2. 2.

    Of what significance are the activities of civil-society organizations and their global-network partners on the protection of socio-political and human rights, which are the basis for democratic stability?

  3. 3.

    How has the concept of judicial activism influenced Nigeria’s constitutional jurisprudence in stabilizing constitutional rule?

  4. 4.

    What explanations can be advanced for the resistance to globalization, which Nigeria still suffers in certain socio-political areas?

These were in agreement with the theoretical framework outlined in the introductory section. Other areas not covered in the book include:
  1. 1.

    Minority Rights

  2. 2.

    Gender Inequality

  3. 3.

    Same Sex Marriage


In order for Nigeria to take full advantage of the inherent benefits and the contributions of globalization and transnational law in the development of her resources, the menaces of corruption and inter-ethnic violence must be combated. Particularly, if the country wishes to survive the next century as a post-1914 geopolitical entity. Since democracy offers the best chance for interchange on sensitive socio-political issues, this era provides the opportunity for policymakers and political leaders in Nigeria to determine which political arrangement is best suited to the country.


  1. 1.

    Davinic, M. (2005) ‘Globalization and Governance: New Challenges for American Leadership’. The George Washington Center for the Study of Globalization (GWCSG). Available at: (accessed: 10 January 2011).

  2. 2.

    Thorbecke, E. (1997) ‘Whither Africa?’ Africa Notes, (April) pp. 4–6.

  3. 3.

    Fafowora, O.O. (1998) ‘Management Imperatives of Globalisation’, Management in Nigeria: Journal of Nigerian Institute of Management, 34(2–4), pp. 5–9.

  4. 4.

    Fukuyama, F. (1992) The End of History and The Last Man. USA: Free Press.

  5. 5.


  6. 6.

    Iwilade, A. (2009) Globalization and Democracy in Africa. Available at: (accessed: 10 January 2011).

  7. 7.


  8. 8.

    Madunagu, E. (1999) ‘Globalization and Its Victims’, The Guardian (July 26) p. 53.

  9. 9.

    Kollmeyer, C. (2010) ‘Globalization and Democracy: The Triumph of Liberty over Equality’, in Wejnert, B. (ed.) Democratic Paths and Trends. Research in Political Sociology, 18, pp. 177–198.

  10. 10.

    Richard, A. (1995) ‘Economic Pressures for Accountable Governance in the Middle East and North Africa’, in Norton, A. (ed.) Civil Society and the Middle East. Vol.1. New York: E. J Brill.

  11. 11.

    Diamond, L. (1999) Developing Democracy: Toward Consolidation. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

  12. 12.

    Huntington, S. (1991) The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century. Oklahoma City: University of Oklahoma Press.

  13. 13.

    Held, D. (1996) Democracy and the Global Order; Im, H. (1996) ‘Globalization and Democratization: Boon Companions or Strange Bedfellows?’ Australian Journal of International Affairs, 50, pp. 279–291; Rudra, N. (2005) ‘Globalization and the Strengthening of Democracy, American Journal of Political Science, 49(4), pp. 704–730.

  14. 14.

    Bhagwati, J. (1994) ‘Globalization, Sovereignty and Democracy’, in Hadenius, A. (ed.), Democracy’s Victory and Crisis: Nobel Symposium. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; O’Neal, J. and Russet, B. (1997) ‘The Classical Liberals Were Right: Democracy, Interdependence and Conflict, 1950–1985’, International Studies Quarterly, 41, pp. 267–294; O’Neal, J. and Russet, B. (1999) ‘Assessing the Liberal Peace with Alternative Specifications: Trade Still Reduces Conflict’, Journal of Peace Research, 36, pp. 423–442.

  15. 15.

    Boli, J. and Thomas G. (1999) ‘INGOs and the Organization of World Culture’, in Boli, J. and Thomas, G. (eds), Constructing World Culture: International Nongovernmental Organizations since 1875, Stanford: Stanford University Press. pp. 13–50.

  16. 16.

    Sheth, D. (1995) Democracy and Globalization in India: Post-cold War Discourse, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 540, pp. 24–39.

  17. 17.

    Keohane, R. and Milner, H. (1996) Internationalization and Domestic Politics, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  18. 18.

    Maxfield, S. (1998) ‘Understanding the Political Implications of Financial Internationalization in Emerging Market Countries’, World Development,26(7), pp. 1201–1219; Maxfield, S. (2000) ‘Comparing East Asia and Latin America: Capital Mobility and Democratic Stability’, Journal of Democracy, 11(4), pp. 95–106.

  19. 19.

    Kaviraj, S. (2005) ‘An Outline of a Revisionist Theory of Modernity’, European Journal of Sociology, XLVI (3), pp. 497–526.

  20. 20.

    Menon, N. (2008) Democracy and Development in a Globalized World, Sweden: International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA).

  21. 21.


  22. 22.

    Section 305 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) empowers the President of the Federation to proclaim a state of emergency, with an order to the Chief of Defence Staff to deploy troops immediately to the affected states for more effective internal-security operations. Similarly, Section 305, sub-sections I and 2 of the Nigerian Constitution empower the President to issue a proclamation of a state of emergency in the Federation or any part thereof by way of an official gazette which must be transmitted to the National Assembly for approval. Also, sub-Section 3 of this Section lists the conditions under which the President shall have power to declare emergency rule to include (c) ‘when there is actual breakdown of public order and public safety in the Federation or any part thereof, to such extent as to require extraordinary measures to restore peace and security, and (d), when there is a clear and present danger of actual breakdown of public order and public safety in the Federation or any part thereof requiring extraordinary measures to avert such danger’.

  23. 23.

    Botelho, G. (2013) Nigerian President Declares State of Emergency. Available at: (accessed: 15 May 2013).

  24. 24.

    SAN: Acronym for Senior Advocate of Nigeria. An equivalent of a QC in the United Kingdom.

  25. 25.

    Binniyat, L., Ayansina, C. and Adefaka, B. (2013) ‘Boko Haram: Collapse of Amnesty May Lead to Civil War’. Available at: (accessed: 20 May 2013).

  26. 26.

    ‘AU Council Wants Support on Fight against Boko Haram’. Available at: (accessed: 15 July 2012).

  27. 27.

    The Nigerian Guardian (2013) ‘The Anti-Corruption War’, 22 May 2013, p. 5 (The Nigerian Guardian2013).

  28. 28.

    Klitgaard, R. (1991) ‘Political Corruption: Strategies for Reform’, Journal of Democracy, 2(4), p. 86.

  29. 29.
  30. 30.

    Wei, S.J. (2001) ‘Corruption and Globalization’, Brookings Policy Brief, 79(4, 2), p. 8.

  31. 31.

    Mbaku, J.M. (2007) Corruption in Africa: Causes, Consequences and Cleanups. Lanham: Lexington Books.

  32. 32.

    Mubangizi, J.C. (2009) ‘Democracy and Development in the Age of Globalisation: Tensions and Contradictions in the Context of Specific African Challenges’, Asia Association of Global Studies (AAGS) Conference on Globalization and Human Rights in the Developing World. University of Calgary, Canada, 21–22 March, pp. 1–16.

  33. 33.

    Ibid. 27, p. 212.

  34. 34.

    Das, K. (2008) ‘Winners of Globalization’, CSGR Working Paper, 249(08), pp. 25–40.

  35. 35.


  36. 36.

    Dare, S. (2001) A Continent in Crisis: Africa and Globalization. Available at: (accessed: 1 February 2012).

  37. 37.


  38. 38.

    Mubangizi, J.C. (2009) ‘Democracy and Development in the Age of Globalization: Tensions and Contradictions in the Context of Specific African Challenges’, Asia Association of Global Studies (AAGS) Conference on Globalization and Human Rights in the Developing World, University of Calgary, Canada, 21–22 March 2009.

  39. 39.

    Ibid. 30, p. 213.

  40. 40.

    Shah, A. (2011) ‘Structural Adjustment–A Major Cause of Poverty’, Available at: (accessed: 28 May 2013).

  41. 41.

    Ibid. 30, p. 213.

  42. 42.

    Elazar, D.J. (1987) Exploring Federalism. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press.

  43. 43.

    Eliagwu, J.I. and Galadima, H. (2003) ‘The Shadow of Sharia over Nigerian Federalism’, Oxford Journals, 33(3), pp. 123–144.

  44. 44.


  45. 45.

    Ukiwo, U. (2005) ‘On the Study of Ethnicity in Nigeria’, Centre for Research on Inequality, Human Security and Ethnicity (CRISE), June (12), pp. 1–21.

  46. 46.


  47. 47.




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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.DagenhamUK

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