Journal of Political Sciences & Public Affairs

Journal of Political Sciences & Public Affairs
Open Access

ISSN: 2332-0761

+44 1300 500008


Representative Democracy and Advocacy for the Poor in Nigeria: Finding the Missing Link

Igbokwe-Ibeto JC

Political representation is a workable compromise that avoids both the dangers, of self-perpetuating leaders and the difficulties of participatory democracy. In a pluralistic society it would he absolutely impassible for all citizens to get together to make important political decisions jointly. Therefore, representation overcomes the difficulties intrinsic in such direct democracy without sacrificing the principle of popular sovereignty. Within the framework of theory of popular participation, the paper examined the issue of representative democracy and advocacy for poor in Nigeria with aim of finding the missing link. Since universal discussion and consent are highly impracticable, if not impossible in modem society, the concept of representative democracy rather than direct democracy is both desirable and acceptable as a meaningful adaptation of democratic theory. It argue that while representative democracy helps to avoid the tyranny that could accompany the enormous concentrations of power occasioned by inequity in the distribution of socio-economic and political resources to the disadvantage of the poor. However, our era has witnessed the emergence of gigantic bureaucracies and growing rate of the state in organizing and regulating social life. It concludes that representative democracy (centralized organization and concentrated powers) as practice in Nigeria has led to mass manipulation of the poor and the unorganized. Thus, advocacy for the poor will for long remain a mirage unless citizens activate the section of the constitution that empowers them to recall their representatives on grounds of poor representation. Presumably, this could ensure that representative assemblies - rooted in popular choice are responsive to constituency needs and interests as well as check concentrated unaccountable power and government insensitivities against tire poor.