Ibadan Journal of the Social Sciences
Volume 6, No. 2, 2008
Pages 154-166

DOI: 10.36108/ijss/8002.60.0250

On Democracy, Legitimacy and Accountability: Lessons for Nigeria

Ogundiya I. Sarafa

Department of Political Science,
Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, Nigeria



The paper explores the theoretical underpinnings to the questions of democracy, legitimacy and accountability. It is generally assumed that democracy and legitimacy are symbiotic, and that political accountability further enhances system’s legitimacy which in turn ensures survival of democracy. This paper simply assumes that political legitimacy connotes a relationship between rulers and the ruled which refers to the moral condition of individuals in modern political communities. Therefore, to say that citizens are loyal to the state implies that legal and political requirements of the state authority ought to be capable of justification. One important condition or ingredient for this justification is provided by democracy and accountability. This paper therefore explain the connection among these important political and social concepts. It then argues that the problem with Nigeria is that of democracy without accountability on one hand and democracy that has not guaranteed legitimacy on the other hand.  This has been the bane of legitimacy in Nigeria.
Keywords: Democracy. stability, accountability, legitimacy, corruption. governance.


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