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GeoJournal

, Volume 60, Issue 1, pp 81–92 | Cite as

Geo-historical Trajectories of Democratic Transition: The Case of Nigeria

  • Brennan Kraxberger
Article
  • 109 Downloads

Abstract

There has been a long-term, halting diffusion of the liberal democratic state. The literature on democratization, however, tends to underplay issues of geo-historical context. This paper addresses the relationship between geo-historical context and democratization through a case study of Nigeria. Key contextual factors of transition discussed include: international pressure for democratization, geo-political dynamics of pro-democracy coalitions, and local and trans-local political economic relationships. Nigeria under the military governments of Babangida and Abacha (1985–1998) was in a perpetual half-hearted state of transition to democracy. The country's status as a major oil exporter allowed it relative immunity from international pressure for democratization. Beyond repression and neo-patrimonialism, both governments deployed a distinctly spatial resistance strategy, that of state creation. The generals tried to shift attention away from regime failures and excesses, notably the illegitimacy of military rule and economic decline. Mobilization for state creation served to divide opposition to military government because it focused attention at the local scale, as new state movements competed for access to centrally controlled resources and political recognition of their ethno-regional group(s). This transition period produced several legacies for Nigeria's Fourth Republic (1999-). These include: a dysfunctional national state apparatus; problems of national disunity; and a stagnant economy. These legacies of transition present major obstacles to national development and the consolidation of a liberal democratic state. The Nigerian case points to a broader need for an understanding of geo-historical context in assessing prospects for the spread of democracy.

Keywords

Nigeria Niger Delta Democratic Transition Military Leader Military Government 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brennan Kraxberger
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of IowaIowa CityU.S.A.

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