The desire to research on the independent national electoral commission and democracy in Nigeria stems from the fact that most political crisis in our country since independence was due to electoral malpractices.
And as a student of Public Administration I suggest, there is the need for a free and fair election with perspective. Scholarly study in the independent electoral commission and democracy in Nigeria is necessary to proffer solution to proper and general acclaimed elections. Election is the process by which the electorates vote for contestants with the aim of closing one of them to represent their interest in the government. Election is a very important criteria and the most valuable weapon of the electorate. It is pertinent to note that the electoral process has been seen by the majority as a baby with teething problems for an electoral process to be considered satisfactory, there should be good representative for both majority and minority on issues of public interest, good constituencies of personal relationship. The polarization of Nigeria politics along ethnic, religious, ideological and parochial lines weakens the demarcation institution set up to ensure that stability was achieved.
The political institutions coupled with confusion and uncertainties which characterized show signs of lapses both on the side of the masses, the government and the electoral institution itself.
All these points to me fact that the institution of the electoral process is still at the preliminary stage in Nigeria. Nigeria became independent in I960 and attained the status of a republican state in 1963. Since then it has gone through some democratic dispensations.
Various electoral commissions had been set up by the various governments that have been in power since then.
The first electoral commission was the Federal Electoral Commission (FEDECO) followed by the National Electoral Commission (NEC) and now the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
These various Electoral Commissions were charged with the function of conducting free and fair elections. A critical look into the political situation in Nigeria portrays lapses on the side of the Electoral Commission in the conduct of elections. There have been lots of challenges for the electoral commission. Therefore, a critical look into the political situation in Nigeria portrays lapses on the side the Electoral Commission in the conduct of elections. There have been lots of challenges for the Electoral Commission in the conduct of elections especially to ensure the proper conduct of 201 general election.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Title page – – – – – – – – i
Approval page — – – – – – – – ii
Dedication – – — – – – – – iii
Acknowledgement – – – – – – – iv
Abstract – – – – – – – – – v
Table of contents – – – – – – – viii
- Background of the study – – – – – 1
- Statement of the problem – – – – 3
- Purpose of the study – – – – – – 4
- Significance of the study – – – – – 4
- Literature review – – – – – – 5
- Theoretical framework – – – – – – 15
- Methodology – – – – – – – 16
- Hypothesis – – – – – – – 16
- Method of data analysis – – – – – 17
- Scope of data collection – – – – – 17
References – – – – – – – 18
- The Nature and meaning of democracy – – 19
- Problem associated with Democracy in Nigeria – 34
References – – – – – – – 37
- The independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) – 39
- Organization structure of INEC – – – 42
- Functions of the electoral commission – – 48
References – – – – – – – 52
- Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the democratic process – – – – – 53
- INEC and challenges of 2011 general election – 57
- Party conventions/primary election – – – 58
- The 2011 general election – – – – 61
Reference – – – – – – – 69
- Summary – – – – – – – 71
- Recommendation – – – – – – 73
- Conclusion – – – – – – – 75
Bibliography – – – – – – – 77
- BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The desire to research on the Independent Electoral Commission and Democracy in Nigeria stems from the fact that most political crisis in Nigeria since independence was due to electoral malpractices. As such for Nigeria to achieve its guest for democratic and stable political system there is the need for a free and fair election.
The scholarly study on the Independent Electoral Commission and Democracy in Nigeria is necessary to proffer a lasting solution to popular and general acclaimed elections.
Election is the process by which the electorates vote for contestants with the aim of choosing one of them 10 represent their interest in the government.
Election is a very important criteria and the most valuable weapon of the electorate. It is pertinent to note that the electoral process has been seen by the majority as a baby with teething problem. For an electoral process to be considered satisfactory there should be good representative for both the majority and minority on issues of public interests, good constituencies of personal relationships. The polarization of Nigeria politics along ethnic, religious, ideological and parochial lines weakens the democration institution set up to ensure that stability was achieved. The political institution coupled with confusion and uncertainties, which characterized its shown signs of lapses both on the side of the masses, the government and the electoral institution itself. All these points to the fact that the institution of the electoral process is still at the preliminary stage in Nigeria.
Nigeria became independent in I960 and status of a republican state in 1963. Since then she has gone through series of democratic dispensation.
Various electoral commission was the Federal Electoral Commission (FEDECO) followed by the National Electoral Commission (NEC) and how the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). These various electoral commissions were charged with the functions of conducting free and fair elections.
A critical look into the political situation in Nigeria portrays lapses on the side of the electoral commission in the conduct of elections. These have been lots of challenges for the electoral commission. This research work therefore tends to look into the activities of the electoral commissions with special focus on INEC in ensuring the enthronement of another democratic dispensation in 20011 general elections.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEMS
The fact that Nigeria political system indicates some loopholes goes a long way to raise eye bows as regards the type of democracy being practiced in Nigeria. Also ones curiosity is also stimulated when one remembers that there is an Electoral Commission charged with the very important function of handling electoral matters
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The conduct of a free and fair election especially in developing countries like Nigeria has always been a very controversial issue. Politics is seen as a means of livelihood. This gives credence to many wrangling between politicians in the tussle for electoral post, hence the various lapses in the course of any transition to a democratic dispensation.
The attention of the study shall be focused on the impact of an efficient electoral commission in any transition to a new democratic dispensation. This study tends to identify the inadequacies of the electoral commission and recommend improvement on the march towards the improvement of the electoral system in Nigeria. This work shall also serve as a source of information for further research work.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The significance of the study is to suggest on enviable electoral system, which will guide the conduct of future elections. The study will also outlay the challenge encountered during the electoral processes and seek remedies. It will also try to show why the Nigeria masses usually show apathy, concerning electoral commissions in Nigeria since independence with special reference to INEC and the 2011 general election.
1.5 LITERATURE REVIEW
Democracy is a system of government involving the freedom of the individual in various aspects of political life, equality among citizens, justice in relations between the people and government and participation of the people in choosing those in government (Okwudiba Nnoli Introduction to Politics. 1968:1161). It is a nomenclature, which is used to explain a system of government where the individual takes part to a great extent in the government of his nation. A democratic government gives the citizenry of its territorial jurisdictional sense of belonging and carries them along in the implementation of its various policies.
According to Rev. Fr. John Okwueze Odey, “democracy is a system of government which allows the people to tell their government what they want, what augurs well for the common good and not a system which allows those in power to do whatever they like and which ever way they like it, even if it is contrary to the wishes of the people”. Thus a democratic government is expected to articulate the interest of its citizenry’s through the public opinion of the people. A democratic government recognizes and respects the mandate given to them by the electorate.
Democracy is based on the theory of the separation of powers. Legislation being carried out by a freelv elected parliament and executive power being vested either in the government responsible to the legislature (as in the United Kingdom UK) or in a president responsible to the people (as in the United State of America USA). This implies free choice at regular intervals between two or more parties. This also implies that any election in which the electorate can only choose or reject a single list of Candidate is not democratic in this sense.
In addition to the separation of powers and free elections other characteristics of western democracy are rule of law by which is meant to certainty that one is free from arrest unless charge with some recognized crime and that one will be give a far trial before an impartial tribunal and protection from arbitrary interference on the part of the authorities. Though the expression “rule of the people” in every democratic society
For instance, in the USSR and some parts of Asia and Eastern Europe, (i.e. prior to the crumbling of Berlin wall). In some parts of these regions the principle of separation of powers is unattainable. But in the case of the USSR, there was state ownership and central planning to increase the National Wealth. The private ownership of the means of production was regarded as undemocratic. This stipulated that in this particular country that there is no difference of class preventing people from securing the best education the country could offer the government of these erstwhile communist countries believe that the subordination of every interest and activity to the state would ensure that the common good takes precedence over all private interest. This belief that commission represents the true interest of common man which is the basic impact of democratic rule in any society.
However, democratization process in Africa continent has often been thwarted by military and some other political irregularities associated with African politics. Efforts by many African countries to institutionalized democratic government have met untimely death by predictable and unpredictable praetorian juntas. Nigeria as case study has made two to three democratic experiments in the first. Second and third republics which crashed and failed to survive another democratic succession. In Ghana also similar experiments were ephemeral and met water low in the hands of “khaki boys”.
All over Africa, almost all democratic government established at independence have either been replaced by military regimes or are still surviving in the hands of sit-tight one party authoritarian leader with consequent incessant and recurring coup attempts and mutinies which have sometime proved abortive. These is great fear being expression by scholars and political scientists in various quarters about African democracy as illusive and unattainable. This is predicted on the very noticeable problem of military and different electoral commissions that were in operative in the conduct of elections in the country. The new world order ushered in the democratic wind blowing across the entire world-courtesy of the perestroika and grassroots “revolution” has sent its warning signal to Africa. Military and civil one party authoritarian dictator, reminding them that their days arc numbered and the need for them to change or reform the status quo which is no longer useful in the contemporary word order in spite of all these realities, these still exists an amorphous mass of dictates both civilian and military. Some introducing cosmetic and distinguished change in the political process that wear little democratic look. The military with flowing Agbada or the so called militarized democracy through multi-parties but guided by homogenic parties formed by them that must inevitably win elections. Their sit-tight civilian counterparts have preferred death to seeing their party or privileged and elevated positions taken over by another person or persons whether the people wish it so or not.
“(Felix C. Asogwa and Dilichukwu Omemma. 2001”) A democratic system implies free choice during periodic election in which the electorates willingly give their mandate to the person of their choice. With this regard, it is being stated that democracy has proved to be the best form of government in the contemporary world. Whatever are the pitfalls or inhibition in Africa cannot be enough reason for the military to serve as substitute for governance. However, benevolence the military might be. It cannot be an alternative to liberal democracy. The military intervention and miss conduct of electoral commission towards the political activities is an aberration and undemocratic. There is therefore, the urgent need for the Africa Armed Forces to give the democratization wind in the continent a chance to survive and go back to their traditional duty, of defence and security of the nation.
Moreover, the existence of bad atmosphere in Africa has made political power a tag-of war among actors, contestants and competitors which continues to print a picture of dirty politics syndromes on African politics owing to this development. The military and political actors who see themselves as the guardian and custodian of national interest capitalize on this problem to fulfill their life ambition of authoritarian leadership. Hence the recurring coup attempts and mutinies unseating both military and civilian political leadership which consequent assault on the democratization process in Africa.
Nigeria in particular has practiced democratic government at intervals due to the break in the course of the system because of military intervention in Nigeria politics. The different of so-called democratic dispensation is that the citizens of Nigeria had passed through, though could be described as quasi-democracy. Going down memory lane, one sees that many democratic dispensations claimed to have been in Nigeria never passing through without deep gullies in each of them.
Hence, Dr. William, D. Grath, said that Nigeria in the second republic had a role to play if re-civilization was a function at the phased-democracy which include the restoration of political life and re-organization of political parties in sequential election.
According to him, “Nigeria must not fall in these phased activities for the eyes of the world and Africa countries in particular, are on it. With this regard, it been noticed that corruptions, election rigging, vote buying and numerous other electoral malpractices were among the factors that brought down the first and second republics.
To define the second republic as democratic and realized a government of the people by the people and for the people. It must ensure popular participation, responsible and responsive government. For majority rule to prevail, only election can act as the technical means of achieving these.
Olewale J.B. defines representative government practices in Nigeria second republic as a government in which the people exercise the governing power indirectly through their representatives, who are periodically elected by themselves. He went further to make condition for this government,
These include the existence of a democratic temper i.e. the tolerance of opinion on issues in the election. Then the aim of representative government would be defeated. The fall of the second republic could be attributed to the lack of political consensus.
Thus he showed roles of the press like radio, television and books etc of relevant issues in the electoral process. The existence of democratic institutions is to bring about efficient and confidence in providing a relaxed political atmosphere. The provision of an efficient electoral commission is to provide and see towards proper delineation of constituencies and updating of the voters register, also bringing out the real choice of the masses during periodic elections.
The history of election in Nigeria could be traced to 1923 during the Clifford constitution. According to Adigwe Francis in his work essentials to government for West Africa he wrote that the Nigeria State was characterized by colonialism. He said that various changes in the elective principles affect significantly the electoral process. There was constant conflict, which characterized the electoral process without political parties. With the introduction of the party system, the question now should be why are these several conflicts within our political system, especially during election periods. In this analysis, one might ask what are the roles of the electoral commissions in a polity. Several of such commission has been in existence one time or the other, but the problem still remains in fact. Some have argued that the political stability could never be possible in Nigeria unless the military disentangles itself from politics in Nigeria. But we have to agree also that not all election in Nigeria was conducted by the military, which is to be blamed this time. The way the electoral commission and institutions are being abuse needs to be redressed, so that trust and confidence can be restored on the system by the masses. The government should also by their possible best to provide the electoral commission with enough funds
to help them in ensuring a bitch free and credible election. Principles affect significantly the electoral commission and other electoral processes. These were also constant conflicts, which characterized the electoral process without political parties.
1.6 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
The theory to be used in this research work is the power theory. Power theory assumes that politics could be regarded as the struggle for power or the influencing of those in power.
Thomas Hobbes said that man’s life in the state of nature is solitary, poor, nasty and short. Nicolo Machiavelli also posited man as being essentially selfish. This selfish nature of man is quite clear in the examination of the Nigeria political system. The actors in the political scenario pursue their selfish interests to the detriment of the rest of the common masses on the streets. Power is now a very essential weapon, which an individual must posses if he is to be reckoned within the society. In Nigeria however, looking at the ongoing one’s in the political circle, one wonders between economic and political powers, which one lakes prominence above the other. The majority of the masses are being teleguided by the dictates of the minor political class who manipulate the election to suit their whims and caprices.
This study will make use of theoretical tools and published works of scholars. It will use the analytical approach which draws materials from secondary reports. Scholarly journals, newspaper and magazines.
- The establishment of a true democracy will go a long way to reduce the level of electoral malpractice available within the political system.
- The efficiency of the Independent Electoral Commission as the watchdog of the nation in matters of electoral system ensures the enthronement of true democracy.
- The adequate support of the Electoral Commission by government ensures on effective execution of the commission functions.
1.9 METHOD OF DATA ANALYSIS
Data analysis shall be based on content analysis. This is a research technique for making replicable and valid inferences from data to their content.
1.10 SCOPE OF DATA COLLECTION
The method of data collection in the research shall be based on primary and secondary sources. The primary data shall be on personal observation and oral interviews while the secondary observation shall be done with the help of textbooks, magazines, journals and newspapers periodical.
Adigwe Francis (1997). Essential of Government for West Africa U.P.L. Ibadan.
Asogwa Felix C. and Dilichukwu A. Omemma (2001). Modern Dictionary of Political Science. Onix Publisher Independent Electoral Commission, 1NEC – Reports and Activities, August 98 December 1999.
Odey John Okuneze (2003). This Madness Called Democracy, Election 2003 Snapp Press 1MT Hnugu,
Okwudiba Nnoli (1986). Introduction to Political Science Longman Group 1MT.
Dr. Williams O. Grath (1997). Election 1999 the Nigeria Citizens Guide to Parties Politics, Leaders and Issues, a Daily Times Publication.
Olawale J.B. (1979). Topics on Good Element Nigeria. Yola Publishers Ilesha.
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