Democracy and Social Welfare Services in Nigeria: A Perspective of the Forth Republic

Hassan Said Umar, Ahmed D. Tafida


The concern for Social wellbeing of a nation’s citizens is one of the top policy priority areas for any responsible government across the globe. This concern places a heavy burden on not only the national government but also attract international interest and interventions. Social welfare programmes emanating from this concern for wellbeing is one effort that is often used as criteria to measure the developmental interest of a government about its citizens. Given the fact that social welfare programmes remain people-oriented efforts, it is expectedly a close acquaintance of a democratic leadership. Democratic governance, having been experimented and accepted in Nigeria as the only people- oriented leadership process makes it an obvious sine qua non for an improved social welfare service delivery. This paper therefore explores the two separate but interrelated concepts of “democracy and social welfare” with a view to establishing the link and/ or extent to which democracy enhances qualitative social welfare services and improved living standard. The paper obtained data principally from field survey and documented opinion on the on the Nigerian governments’ developmental and intervention policies and implementation strategies from 1999 to 2013. Aligning the paper to social democratic theory, it is maintained that  democratic government provides premise for social welfare services and remains a veritable platform to identifying and /or providing  transformational interventions that satisfy social needs at the grass root. The paper identifies some challenges for an effective and sustainable welfare service delivery to include inter-alia; lack of conducive environment for social welfare, inadequate demonstration of political will by the leadership to ensure wellbeing of citizens and whole scale corruption in the entire service delivery process. It is concluded that, the Nigeria government has well- articulated functional programmes that could address specific social needs but marred by the aforementioned challenges. Hence, social welfare services are operationally not effective to ensure wellbeing. There is need for a strong legislation to compel the provisions of necessary infrastructure for such interventions to be meaningful, prompt disbursement of funds, stiffer penalty on corrupt officials of service agencies, amongst other recommendations.  

Keywords: Democracy, Welfare, Wellbeing, Corruption

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5731 ISSN (Online)2225-0972

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