The Politics of Poverty in Democratic Participation: Nigeria in Perspective

Lysias Dodd Gilbert, Christopher Barisi Barigbon


Our focus here is to interrogate the subject of poverty as a threat to democratic (political) participation. The decline of participatory democracy and fizzling of the euphoria that accompanied what may be described as the third wave of democratization (that threw Nigeria into what is erroneously described as the Fourth Republic and an aborted Third Republic) informed the choice of this topic. To explicate the intricacies of this discourse, we shall place reliance on the understanding of the concepts of poverty in its relation to democratic (political) participation as provided for by the political economy approach/framework. Guided by the class analysis of poverty, we expose that political apathy, one of the current emblems of our democratic experiment, is a creation of the ruling class. The political behaviour of the ruling class can therefore only be understood within the context of the contest for power as access to accumulation  other than for service and; those of the poor class understood within the context of their exclusion which has caused a mass political culture of apathy towards the political system. No doubt, the emancipation of the majority lies in their hands. Our recommendations amongst others are that, the poor must consciously rise above the mosaic of ethnic, primordial and sectional sentiment;  fight for power; and build a people democracy anchored on social justice. In essence, demanding right and achieving positive change.

Keywords: Politics, Poverty, Democracy, Democratization, Democratic Participation.

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ISSN (Paper)2224-607X ISSN (Online)2225-0565

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