Situating Jurgen Habermas’ Communicative Rationality and Deliberative Democracy in the Context of Democracy in Nigeria

This paper discusses the relevance of Jurgen Habermas’ ideas on communicative rationality and deliberative democracy in the context of democracy in Nigeria. The paper recognizes that despites different viable efforts forwarded in terms of good policies, genuine transformative change is still a mirage. The paper critically assesses the situation and points to a gap in communication created as such by ethnic diversity. For as it appears, we are a bundled people unable to understand ourselves. As a direct effect, this has created varied agitations in the different amalgamated regions: the militant’s agitation for resource control in the Niger Delta; the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) agitation in the South East for independence and secession; the Afenifere in the South West for self-determination; and the Northern menace of Boko Haram, Killer herdsmen and farmer-header clashes. The paper argues that each of these agitations reflects a pattern of communication that embody at its core a genuine concern of the people. Using the expository, analytic and evaluative methods, the paper explores how the concepts  of ‘communicative rationality’ and ‘deliberative democracy’ as explained by Jurgen Habermas can be applied to address the aforementioned challenges that impedes democracy in Nigeria and promote more inclusive and participatory decision-making processes.

Keywords: Nigeria, Jurgen Habermas, Communicative Rationality, Deliberative Democracy, Diversity