Democracy is a system of government whereby the majority of people elect people (leaders) who rule over them. It is a government where adults/people take part in the governance of the state. It involves every citizen in a country to participate in the decision making of their country/state and society.

Abraham Lincoln defines democracy as a government of the people, by the people and far the people.


Forms of Democracy

(a) Direct Democracy: This is a type of democracy in which there is direct participation of the citizens in discussions first practiced in the Greek city. State of Athens and Sparta. It was also practiced in the Igbo land before the advent of the Colonial government.

(b) Indirect Democracy: This is another name for Representative government. This is presently witnessed in modern societies and countries. It is a system of government whereby people elect certain individuals to represent them at the different levels of government (Executive and legislature).


Examples of government that practice this type of democracy are Nigeria, U.S.A, Britain, Brazil, Ghana, South Africa, France, and Germany and so on.

(c) Constitutional Democracy: This is a form of democracy based on the constitution. The constitution provides and states rules and regulations on how a society is been governed/ruled.

The constitution states the powers, functions of the president, governors, legislators, local government chairmen, councilor and the entire citizens.


Factors that make democracy work

  1. The people must be educated and politically conscious.
  2. The leadership should be good and efficient.
  3. There must be freedom of the press.
  4. There must not be any form of discrimination in the country.
  5. The constitution of the country must respected and observed by the rulers and the ruled.
  6. There must be independence of the judiciary (without fear or favour).
  7. People should tolerate themselves and promote truth and justice.
  8. Rights of people must be respected
  9. People and government should promote and defend the rule of law.


Characteristics of Democracy or Democratic Government.

  1. There must be the existence and operation of constitution.
  2. The rule of law must be practiced
  3. Rights of people must be recognized and safeguarded
  4. There must be regular/periodic elections.
  5. There must be (in operation) political parties (party system).
  6. There should be a fixed term of office of every ruler/government.
  7. It must be a majority rule. It must be a popular government supported by the people.
  8. The government must be transparent and accountable to the people.



  • Define democracy
  • Differentiate between direct and indirect democracy
  • Mention the characteristics of a democratic government.


See also






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