Publisher: Centre For Social Science Research, Enugu

Prebendalism As The Albatross To Democractic Practice and National Development In Nigeria: A Critical Discourse

Bartholomew I. Ugwuani, Ralph C. Nwokedi
KEYWORDS: Prebendalism, Democracy, Development, Democratic Elections, Effective Representation


There is, indeed, the rising crisis of misgovernance, glaring undemocratic practices, increasing cases of fraudulent elections, clear evidences of poor political representation and apparent signs of general underdevelopment in Nigeria. All these are largely, the results of the pervasive and endemic prebendalism in the country. Very worrisome is that prebendalism is ever getting more pervasive, critical and damaging as it continues to eat deeper into the political fabric of the Nigerian polity. Against this background, the study critically examined the issue of prebendalism as it obtains in the Nigerian politics and governance, critically analysed the implications of prebendalism on the nation’s democratic practice particularly as it concerns the conduct of democratic elections, effective representation and national development generally. In carrying out the study, information and data were collected through secondary sources of data collection. Consequently, content analysis technique was adopted for analysis. The findings of the study are that the prebendal intentions that induce fraudulent electoral activities and the actual use of public offices as prebends result to flagrant waste and misappropriation of national resources, hinder the conduct of democratic elections, forestall effective representation and impede overall national development. Given the fact that prebendal culture nurtures corrupt instincts and practices as well as undemocratic tendencies and should, therefore, have no place in modern democratic practice and for which it needs to be drastically controlled, the study recommended, among others, that the entire Nigerian citizenry should be reorientated to a better value system that essentially would entail seeking, occupying and using public offices purely for the interest of the citizens and for effective administration of national development. To effectively realize this, however, there needs to be a conscious and systematic effort by the government to create and preserve the growth of public sentiments and values among Nigerians that are consistent with selfless service, political democracy and overall good governance.

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