From John Silas and Cyriacus Nnaji, Lagos
Former Minister of Education and co-Convener, Bring Back Our Girls, Dr Oby Ezekwesili, has stated that a monopoly democracy cannot correct itself.
The ex-Vice President of the World Bank, took the position at #FixPolitics Conference which was held at the Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos on Monday.
Speaking on her Research Findings ‘Illustrating Africa’s Broken Political Structure through Nigeria’s Condition’ Ezekwesili said “A Monopoly Democracy is fundamentally much more dangerous because of the multiple causations and correlations it has to a Country‘s performance. Evidence abounds that ‘Monopoly Democracy’ reigns unchallenged and lacking of any credible threat in Nigeria, nay Africa. A monopoly democracy cannot correct itself,” Ezekwesili said.
Comparing Competitive Political Structure and Monopoly Democracy, she said that a competitive structure is where utility is most maximized for the consumers saying that a Competitive political structure is where the welfare or wellbeing of Electorate is maximized. She maintained that for a market to be perfectly competitive market, it would have the features such as free entry and exit into the market; large number of buyers and sellers; adding that Sellers are price takers.
On the other hand, she said that Monopoly exists where a single supplier controls the product or service available in the market. She postulated that a monopoly has dominant power to set or curtail supply or raise prices to increase profits.
“A Monopoly is characterized by a lack of economic competition to produce the good or service, a lack of viable substitute goods, a high barrier to entry and a high monopoly price that is well above the seller’s marginal cost which then leads to a high monopoly profit.”
Other features of Monopoly according to Ezekwesiri include a lack of incentive on the part of the supplier to offer consumers value in Quality or Price; a lack of incentive for innovation for efficiency gains and in rare cases when innovation happens, to retain the gains to self; a lack of incentive to ever change or give up the state of things.
Speaking on how Nigeria can refer to a Democracy in which there are several political parties and diverse politicians seeking to vie for elective offices from the local to nation, from legislative to executive, she said
“It is the Characteristics of the Product the political class supply that is more relevant than their number. Although the politicians may be many and are members of different parties, their dominant political
culture is the same. In the theory of market structure, Monopolies are illegal and are generally harmful for the economy and consumers’ welfare
“It is why anti-trust laws and effective regulation steps in immediately a monopoly situation is detected. It is why functional markets prevent the staying power of Monopolies. A Democracy Can Be A Monopoly Democracy! This is what happens when a Democracy is evaluated to have the same features of Economic monopoly.
“A Monopoly Democracy is fundamentally much more dangerous because of the multiple causations and correlations it has to a Country‘s Performance. Evidence abounds that ‘Monopoly Democracy’ Reigns Unchallenged and Lacking of any Credible Threat in Nigeria, nay Africa. A monopoly democracy cannot correct itself.”
She went further to state that Nigeria’s Monopoly Democracy has no incentive to yield the distortionary damage it does to Governance. In the absence of an effective regulatory system to reduce the powers of the monopoly, a few citizens can step up and take responsibility for correcting the distortion in the political system. The Monopoly Democracy is a structural defect. Every problem that is structural demands Structural Solutions.
Ezekwesili illustrating further on her research said her Research is proposing a 3 – pronged concurrent measures: “Rai