Nigeria Becoming Less Democratic - Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso Ahead - Report

Photo: Wikimedia
Nigeria on map.
10 January 2019

Nigeria has dropped 18 decimal points since 2015 in the Economist Intelligence Unit's Democracy index.

The country, which was scored 4.62 in 2015 scored a not-so-impressive 4.44 in the recently released 2018 study.

The Democracy Index reviews the state of democracy in 165 independent countries worldwide using five parameters: process and pluralism; civil liberties; the functioning of government; political participation; and political culture.

Based on the performance of the countries in the five categories they are then classified into four regimes namely: full democracy", "flawed democracy", "hybrid regime" and "authoritarian regime".

A full democracy is the best rating while authoritarian regime is rated the worst.

The country, which is Africa's biggest democracy, scored the same point it in 2017 and was ranked 20 out of the 44 sub-Saharan African countries and 108 in the world.

Nigeria was classified a hybrid regime, meaning it is a combination of democratic traits such as regular elections and autocratic ones, such as political repression. Nigeria was left languishing behind countries such as Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Uganda (which has had the same ruler for 31 years), and Sierra Leone, who were ranked 19th, 18th, 17th, and 16th respectively.

In fact, in the West African sub-region and among member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Nigeria was among the poorest rated ranking only better above Togo, Guinea, Gabon, Niger, Côte d'Ivoire, and Gambia.

Cape Verde is the highest ranked ECOWAS country ranked second in Sub-Saharan Africa and 26 in the world with a score of 7.88. Ghana, with a score of 6.63 is ranked 6th in Sub-Saharan Africa and Senegal is ranked 8th with a score of 6.15 while neighbouring Benin is ranked a close 9th with a score of 5.74.

Other West Africa countries which ranked better than Nigeria, are Mali and Liberia.

This year's report is the 11th edition of the Democracy Index.

"For the first time in three years, the global score for democracy remained stable. This result disguises some movement across regions and across categories," the report, which rated Costa Rica as the most improved country last year, stated.

On the other hand, the report, rated Nicaragua poorly performed country, slipping from a flawed regime to authoritarian regime

"A total of 42 countries experienced a decline in their total score compared with 2017; 48 registered an increase in total score. But as a percentage of the world's population, fewer people lived in some form of democracy (47.7%, compared with 49.3% in 2017).

"Very few of these (4.5%) were classified as living in a full democracy. Just over one-third of the population lived under authoritarian rule, with a large share represented by China," the report claimed.

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