2006 December 01 Friday
Nigerian Elections Contested With Murder And Bribery

Nigeria contains one sixth of the population of Africa and the New York Times reports signs that democracy is failing in Nigeria.

ADO EKITI, Nigeria — Early one Sunday morning in June, a mysterious text message flashed across Kayode Fayemi’s cellphone.

“Since you continue to oppose Governor Fayose, we shall kill you,” the message read, referring to the bare-knuckled incumbent at the time, Ayo Fayose. It was signed, “THE FAYOSE M SQUAD.”

Mr. Fayemi, a candidate for governor in this tiny state in southwest Nigeria, tried to brush off the threat. But if there was any doubt what the M in the message stood for, it evaporated six weeks later, when another candidate for governor, a World Bank consultant, was stabbed and bludgeoned to death in his bed.

So lucrative is public office here that even in a backwater like Ekiti, a state of only 2 million people in a nation of 130 million, the state house and the spoils that come with it are apparently worth killing for. Of Nigeria’s 36 governors, 31 are under federal investigation, mostly on suspicion of corruption, and 5 have already been impeached, including Mr. Fayose in October. He is now in hiding.

“This is democracy at work in Nigeria,” Mr. Fayemi muttered as he drove between campaign stops in Ekiti in early November. “Murder and money, violence and fraud.”

Since the military dictatorship ended in Nigeria 7 years ago public trust in democracy has plummeted to to less than a quarter of the population.

Nigerian oil money goes to whichever politicians are brutal enough to kill, stuff ballot boxes, intimidate, and bribe to get and keep power.

Here in the state of Ekiti, that check is typically $14 million, but lately it has been more than double that because of soaring oil prices. In a tiny state like this, that money could go far toward meeting the basic needs of the population — schools, roads, health clinics, running water.

In reality, many governors steal with impunity, buying the loyalty of the legislature and using state money to erect systems of patronage that help keep incumbents in office, analysts and political leaders say.

Democracy is supposed to be a panacea according to neoconservatives and liberals. Use of the popular will to choose leaders is supposed to result in wiser government and much preferred to any other form of government. Democracy and liberal government are supposed to be the universal aspiration of all mankind (and womynkind). But reality is far from these pretty myths. The belief in myths about human nature does not make the world a better place. The mythical beliefs that lie at the foundation of the Iraq debacle have cost thousands of Americans dead, tens of thousands (perhaps more) permanently damaged, hundreds of billions of dollars wasted, and even larger human costs incurred by the Iraqis.

The evidence that makes Nigeria easily understandable has been ruled taboo by America's Leftist commissars. So the New York Times article above sketches political behavior in Nigeria while providing no insight into why Nigeria is in such a wretched state and likely to remain that way for a long time to come. Mainstream political debate now stagnates in an ignorance about human nature that the elites have imposed upon themselves.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2006 December 01 07:48 PM  Democracy Failure

Stephen said at December 1, 2006 9:35 PM:

Democracy is a cultural and social practice - overlaying it on a society without reference to the underlying culture is a recipe for disaster. Ultimately, the UK, Australia and probably Canada will be the only long living democracies.

Kenelm Digby said at December 2, 2006 4:59 AM:

Interesting that you pick on the example of Nigeria, Randall, because I believe that in the near future Nigeria will be of profound importance to the White west.
I am not saying this because of any 'potential' military, economic or otherwise the Nigerians might have, apart from oil they have nothing, but its demographics are uniquilly awful, a real train-wreck in the making - a burgeoning population that does not have the means to sustain itself and thre will be hundreds of millions of them, all eager to migrate to formerly White western lands.

Dave said at December 2, 2006 10:05 AM:

UK long term democracy, I don't think so. We are barely a democracy now, Tony Blair sells seats in the upper house for donations to his political party, and the 'opposition' are just as bad. We have out of control immigration, worse than the USA per population. One third of 'Londoners' were born outside the UK.
Infact the UK is not a proper democracy now, because it has seperate Scottish and Welsh parliaments but no equivalent English parliament giving Scots the ability to vote on English matters that they are unaccountable for because the issues are desided seperately in Scotland. The ruling labour party dominates in scotland and have taken advantage of these extra votes..

We now also have an alternative court system being setup by Muslims.
"Shocking secrets of sharia 'courts'"

We are heading for trouble, as most of the West is.

Randall Parker said at December 2, 2006 11:01 AM:


You are committing heresy against core dogmans of the liberal faith. Are you abandoning liberalism or redefining it?

djexplorer said at December 2, 2006 12:55 PM:

Kelem said--

and thre will be hundreds of millions of them, all eager to migrate to formerly White western lands.

The starting assumption of many in the West that refugees from the Nigerian and other Third World hell holes should be allowed to do so if things get really, really bad there – or at least that we have a moral obligation to bail them out at enormous and exponentially growing expense (while having no real right to control how anything is done there of course, that would be colonialism!) as the only moral alternative to that, is brand new in history.

It’s also absurd. It’s going to have to end, and fast.

Yes the developed world will have to enforce its borders with machine guns and land mines, or else become swamped by human vectors bringing their failed cultures etc with them.

We can let in a very few of the brightest (who want to come here and compete as opposed to having a fairly clean field in the hell hole back in Nigeria, Pakistan and similar places, but that’s it).

Tony said at December 2, 2006 2:27 PM:

Ireland is swamped by Nigerian 'assylum seekers'. The ratio of criminals must be about 70%. One such asylum seeker has come here beciase her autistic child wasnt getting good enough attention (free, needless to say) in Italy. She has now taken a high-court case (cost about $100k. courtesy of the government, which in effect is paying people to sue it) to remain in Ireland, with a dedicated 1:1 minder assigned (free, of course) to the child. She'll win, thanks to European Human Rights law. Seems to be no end to it.

Stephen said at December 2, 2006 6:16 PM:

Randall asked: You are committing heresy against core dogmans of the liberal faith. Are you abandoning liberalism or redefining it?

I'm not redefining liberalism Randall, maybe its your definition that is wrong??

(Vicente) Fox Hound said at December 2, 2006 7:51 PM:

So the Irish have spent how long to remove the British from the island, only to invite a bunch of third worlders to take over?instead? Yeah, that sounds smart.

Dave said at December 3, 2006 8:01 AM:

Yeah Fox Hound, and something else, a prominant member of the "Welsh nationalists" (they believe Wales should pull out of the UK) recently said (earlier this year) that he was ashamed there weren't more black faces in the Welsh parliament. Considering Wales is 95%+ white it would be quite unusual if there were..
Nationalism isn't what it used to be.


Stephen, if you are saying democracy needs an underlying culture then surely mass-immigration from cultures not respecting of democracy is a threat to our democracy, and its not very 'liberal' in the modern sense to admit that.

Omer K said at December 3, 2006 1:09 PM:

The Fulani (Northern Nigeria) went to war when the Ibos (South east Nigeria) tried to secede to form their own country of Biafra just a decade or so back. 1 million people dead (at least). Not to mention that the Western Nigerians (forgot the Tribe name) didnt lift a finger to help the besieged Ibos.

To say Democracy doesnt work in Nigeria is simply stating the obvious.

Randall Parker said at December 3, 2006 1:57 PM:

Omer K,

The obvious needs repeated stating. Therefore it must not be that simple.

Yes, some democracies fail. No, not every country has people who can - or even want to - create a successful democracy.

You can find tons of commentators and politicians who will point to successful democracies as demonstration that democracy is the most successful form of government. So it is necessary to draw repeated attention to Nigeria, Venezuela, the worsening problems with South Africa, and other failures of democracy.

Omer K said at December 3, 2006 1:58 PM:

Wasnt meant as an attack on the article randall =P

Borat said at December 4, 2006 5:13 AM:

Ethnic groups:
Nigeria, Africa's most populous country, is composed of more than 250 ethnic groups; the following are the most populous and politically influential: Hausa and Fulani 29%, Yoruba 21%, Igbo (Ibo) 18%, Ijaw 10%, Kanuri 4%, Ibibio 3.5%, Tiv 2.5%
Muslim 50%, Christian 40%, indigenous beliefs 10%
English (official), Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo (Ibo), Fulani

From CIA World Factbook

If you look at Nigeria, you will see this is a country that was never supposed to be a country. Just because I randomly draw lines and reinforce it with military power for 80 years or so (which is what France and the UK did) does not mean I can form a nationality.

Look at former Yugoslavia...it does not work in Europe either. Look at the Former Soviet Union.

If I went to East Asia, with the amazing intellect, and forced the Koreas and Japan into one state for 100 years, what do you think will happen when I give this new united state independence?? I already know, Japanese and Koreans will be killing each other in the streets just like the Japanese did with the Koreans after the Great Kanto Earthquake.


The fact Nigeria, with its diversity can remain relatively stable at all and has only had one major civil war is a testament to the peoples willingness to try to hold this country together.

In this way they are doing more than most countries in Europe have done. Typically how European nationalities were formed was by committing cultural or physical genocide on competing groups until one group became dominant, this went on from Greek times all the way up into the high Middle Ages.

Even know after centuries the UK is on the verge of breaking up...why would people have higher expectations of Nigeria.

Countries in the region that are fairly homogenous, despite being poor are fairly peaceful and have moderate economic growth, Ghana and Senegal are examples.

Dave said at December 6, 2006 9:41 AM:

Agree with a lot of what you say Borat. But what about the USA they are certainly made up of many nationalities, are they helped by having such a low population density? I suspect so.

Regards Europe I think one of the reasons some of the bigger nations are splitting up is because the EU is offering an alternative power structure. Serbia recently split with montenegro because they are chasing EU membership. Scotland wants to swap the UK for being an 'independant' member of the EU which is certainly a contradiction because they will have far less power within the EU, the big nations in the EU have never listened to the small ones on any kind of big issue.

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