An Examination Of The Electoral Act And The Prospect Of Free And Fair Elections In Nigeria

Project and Seminar Material for Political Science

An Examination Of The Electoral Act And The Prospect Of Free And Fair Elections In Nigeria


Abstract


This study was carried out to examine the electoral act and the prospect of free and fair elections in Nigeria using Oru East Local Government Area, Imo State as a case study. The study was specifically aimed to find out the challenges in conducting free and fair elections in Nigeria, investigate the benefit of establishing the electoral Act in Nigeria and ascertain whether effective implementation of electoral Act will enhance free and fair elections in Nigeria. The survey design was adopted and the simple random sampling techniques were employed in this study. The population size comprised of INEC satff in Oru East Local Government Area, Imo State.In determining the sample size, the researcher conviently selected 65 respondents and 50 were validated. Self-constructed and validated questionnaire was used for data collection. The collected and validated questionnaires were analyzed using frequency tables, and mean scores. While the hypotheses was tested chi-square statistical tool. The result of the findings reveals that the challenges in conducting free and fair elections in Nigeria includes: ethnicity, political appathy, regionalization of the political parties, political thugs and power incumbency. Furthermore, the study revealed that effective implementation of electoral Act will enhance free and fair elections in Nigeria.Therefore,it is recommended that the INEC can learn from other countries workable strategies and innovations to make Nigeria electoral system credible and reliable. To mention but a few.


Table of Content


  • Title Page
  • Certification
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Table of Content
  • List of Tables
  • Abstract

Chapter One:

Introduction

  • 1.1 Background of the Study
  • 1.2 Statement of the Problem
  • 1.3 Objective of the Study
  • 1.4 Research Questions
  • 1.5 Research Hypothesis
  • 1.6 Significance of the Study
  • 1.7 Scope of the Study
  • 1.8 Limitation of the Study
  • 1.9 Definition of Terms
  • 1.10 Organisations of the Study

Chapter Two:

Review of Literature

  • 2.1 Conceptual Framework
  • 2.2 Theoretical Framework
  • 2.3 Empirical Review

Chapter Three:

Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Research Design
  • 3.2 Population of the Study
  • 3.3 Sample Size Determination
  • 3.4 Sample Size Selection Technique and Procedure
  • 3.5 Research Instrument and Administration
  • 3.6 Method of Data Collection
  • 3.7 Method of Data Analysis
  • 3.8 Validity of the Study
  • 3.9 Reliability of the Study
  • 3.10 Ethical Consideration

Chapter Four:

Data Presentation and Analysis

  • 4.1 Data Presentation
  • 4.2 Analysis of Data
  • 4.3 Answering Research Questions
  • 4.4 Test of Hypotheses

Chapter Five:

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

  • 5.1 Summary
  • 5.2 Conclusion
  • 5.3 Recommendation
  • References
  • APPENDIX
  • QUESTIONNAIRE

Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

The centrality of elections to democratic process and political stability can not be overemphasised. This is because elections remain the bedrock for democratic consolidation in any country. Conduct of elections has become a major criterion through which countries are rated and categorised. Free and fair elections go a long way in determining the continuous cohabiting of different ethnic groupings in any country with diverse culture.According to Ozekhome (2020:31), Nigeria has a corrupt, fraudulent and bloody electioneering history. As a matter of fact, successive Nigerian elections from pre-independence days have been characterized by one form of malpractice or the other. While a flawless electioneering process is almost impossible in Nigeria. Okafor (2013) posits that elections should be conducted in a peaceful atmosphere,, devoid of the usual violence that has come to characterize election in Nigeria. Elections should be conducted in a manner that reflects the wishes and choices of the electorates. For example, despite the wide spread condemnation of the conduct of the 2003 general elections in Nigeria, there was no attempt to improve the subsequent elections. As a matter of fact, the European Union described the 2007 general elections as a sham. The elections were marred by very poor organization, lack of essential transparency, wide spread and procedural irregularities, substantial evidence of fraud, wide spread voter disenfranchisement, and lack of equal conditions for political parties and candidates and numerous incidents of violence.

Significantly, it is impossible to place enough emphasis on how important elections are to the democratic process and to maintaining political stability. This is due to the fact that holding elections continues to be the cornerstone of democratic consolidation in every nation. The way in which elections are run has emerged as a significant factor in determining how nations are ranked and classified. In every nation that has a culturally varied population, holding elections that are free and fair goes a long way toward establishing the future of peaceful coexistence amongst various cultural and racial subgroups. In addition, it has been shown that elections that are marked by huge amounts of fraud and malpractices of varied degrees pose a danger to both political stability and sustainable development.

This perspective might be one of the reasons why many African nations are plagued by political unrest and a striking lack of progress toward sustainable development (Arowolo and Lawal, 2019). In the annals of electoral history, elections in Africa, and particularly in Nigeria, have always been a living nightmare. It’s not that elections themselves are bad, but rather that political players have decided to ignore the rules of the game while still insisting on playing it according to their own self-styled arrangements, which makes the situation rather precarious. Elections are not the reason why this is the case.

There has never been an election in Nigeria that was free of rigging and electoral fraud, with the possible exception of the election that took place on June 12, 1993, and more recently, the elections for governor that were held in the states of Edo and Ondo in 2012. The 1964 federal election, the 1965 Western Nigeria election, the General Elections of 1979, the General Elections of 1983, even the annulment of the General Elections in 1993, etc. remained the bases for violence in Nigeria and invitations to military rule. Other elections in Nigeria, such as the 1979 and 1983 General Elections, also contributed to the violence (Imobighe, 2016). Even though the general elections in 1999, 2003, and 2007 did not produce widespread violence and did not involve military intervention in political affairs, the conduct of those elections has been criticized as being extremely inadequate. According to assessments compiled by foreign and local observers, the general elections that took place in 2007 were the worst in the nation’s history.

These elections failed to meet the most fundamental international and regional requirements for democratic elections. Continuing with this habit has the potential to grow and accumulate latent anarchy, which will eventually explode into chaos if immediate action is not made to address this aberration. On the basis of this argument, any intellectual dialogue on the subject of electoral reform is appropriately suitable (TELL, 2017). The inability to have elections that are free and fair is the most significant obstacle that Nigeria must overcome. As a direct consequence of election fraud, a great number of lives have been lost and a great deal of property has been destroyed. There is a wide range of wrongdoing associated with election fraud. Instability, loss of life and property, official irresponsibility and incompetence on the part of those in charge, along with corruption, poor management, political assassination, apathy, loss of interest in governance, and challenges of legitimacy crises are just some of the things that fall under this category (Arowolo and Lawal, 2019).


1.2 Statement of the Problem

Free and fair elections are the cornerstone of every democracy and the primary mechanism for exercising the principle of sovereignty of the people. Through such elections, citizens participate in the governance of their country by choosing those who govern in the quest for development. By their choices, the citizens confer legitimacy and authority on those who govern them, making it easier for them to mobilize public support and co-operation for the implementation of development programmes. Free, fair and credible elections are therefore a crucial requirement for good governance in any democracy. According to Ozekhome (2020:31), Nigeria has a corrupt, fraudulent and bloody electioneering history. As a matter of fact, successive Nigerian elections from pre-independence days have been characterized by one form of malpractice or the other. While a flawless electioneering process is almost impossible in Nigeria. Okafor (2013) posits that elections should be conducted in a peaceful atmosphere,, devoid of the usual violence that has come to characterize election in Nigeria. Elections should be conducted in a manner that reflects the wishes and choices of the electorates. For example, despite the wide spread condemnation of the conduct of the 2003 general elections in Nigeria, there was no attempt to improve the subsequent elections. As a matter of fact, the European Union described the 2007 general elections as a sham. The elections were marred by very poor organization, lack of essential transparency, wide spread and procedural irregularities, substantial evidence of fraud, wide spread voter disenfranchisement, and lack of equal conditions for political parties and candidates and numerous incidents of violence. Ifediora (1999) and Agbu (2016) observed that, the electoral process in Nigeria is characterized by massive fraud, intimidation, assassination of political opponents, vote buying, vote rigging and outright violence. These problems necessitate the urgent need for electoral reform in Nigeria. Hence the need to look into the electoral act and the prospect of free and fair elections in Nigeria.


1.3 Objectives of the Study

The primary objective of the study is to examine electoral act and the prospect of free and fair elections in Nigeria. The specific objectives is as follows:

  1. To find out the challenges in conducting free and fair elections in Nigeria.
  2. To investigate the benefit of establishing the electoral Act in Nigeria.
  3. To ascertain whether effective implementation of electoral Act will enhance free and fair elections in Nigeria.

1.4 Research Questions

The following questions have been prepared for the study:

  1. What are the challenges in conducting free and fair elections in Nigeria?
  2. What are the benefit of establishing the electoral Act in Nigeria?
  3. Does effective implementation of electoral Act will enhance free and fair elections in Nigeria?

1.5 Hypotheses of the Study

Te following hypothesis have been formulated for this study:

  • H0: Effective implementation of electoral Act will not enhance free and fair elections in Nigeria.
  • Ha: Effective implementation of electoral Act will enhance free and fair elections in Nigeria

1.6 Significance of the Study

This study will be significant to the government as it will be exposed to the several atrocities committed by political party gents during election, thereby deploying security agents to allow for the protection of ballot papers and voters respectively.

The study will also be significant to the independent national electoral commission (INEC) as it will be exposed to the challenges in the present electoral practices been used and will put measures in place to tackle these challenges.
This study will be of benefit to the academic community as it will contribute to the existing literature.


1.7 Scope of the Study

This study will examine electoral act and the prospect of free and fair elections in Nigeria. The study will also find out the challenges in carrying of electoral reforms in . Lastly the study will investigate the benefit of electoral reforms on free and fair election. The respondents for this will be obtained from INEC satff in Oru East Local Government Area, Imo State.


1.8 Imitations of the Study

In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, language barriers, and the attitude of the respondents. However, the researcher were able to manage these just to ensure the success of this study. Moreover, the case study method utilized in the study posed some challenges to the investigator including the possibility of biases and poor judgment of issues. However, the investigator relied on respect for the general principles of procedures, justice, fairness, objectivity in observation and recording, and weighing of evidence to overcome the challenges.


1.9 Operational Definition of Key Terms

Electoral Reforms:

Electoral reform is change in electoral systems to improve how public desires are expressed in election results.

Governance:

The action or manner of governing a state, organization, etc.


1.9 Organization of the Study

The study is categorized into five chapters. The first chapter presents the background of the study, statement of the problem, objective of the study, research questions and hypothesis, the significance of the study, scope/limitations of the study, and definition of terms. The chapter two covers the review of literature with emphasis on conceptual framework, theoretical framework, and empirical review. Likewise, the chapter three which is the research methodology, specifically covers the research design, population of the study, sample size determination, sample size, abnd selection technique and procedure, research instrument and administration, method of data collection, method of data analysis, validity and reliability of the study, and ethical consideration. The second to last chapter being the chapter four presents the data presentation and analysis, while the last chapter(chapter five) contains the summary, conclusion and recommendation.


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations:

5.1 Introduction

This chapter summarizes the findings on an examination of the electoral act and the prospect of free and fair elections in Nigeria using Oru East Local Government Area, Imo State as a case study. The chapter consists of summary of the study, conclusions, and recommendations.


5.2 Summary of the Study

In this study, our focus was to examine the electoral act and the prospect of free and fair elections in Nigeria using Oru East Local Government Area, Imo State as a case study. The study was specifically set out to find out the challenges in conducting free and fair elections in Nigeria, investigate the benefit of establishing the electoral Act in Nigeria and ascertain whether effective implementation of electoral Act will enhance free and fair elections in Nigeria.

The study adopted the survey research design and randomly enrolled participants in the study. A total of 50 responses were validated from the enrolled participants where all respondent areINEC satff in Oru East Local Government Area, Imo State.


5.3 Conclusions

In the light of the analysis carried out, the following conclusions were drawn.

  1. The challenges in conducting free and fair elections in Nigeria includes: ethnicity, political appathy, regionalization of the political parties, political thugs and power incumbency.
  2. The benefit of establishing the electoral Act in Nigeria includes: it ensures a disciplined electronal process, it helps to promote the credibility of the electoral process, it promote sound democratic election processes and it minimizes the every form of electoral malpractices.
  3. Effective implementation of electoral Act will enhance free and fair elections in Nigeria.

5.4 Recommendation

Based on the issues highlighted above, the following recommendations are made:

  1. INEC should be made to be administrative and financial independent of the executive arm of the government.
  2. The use of digital security system will promote the conduct of free and fair elections in Nigeria.
  3. The use of electronic collation website will check against manipulation of election results.
  4. Security personnel such as police and civil defence officers should be given proper orientation before they are sent to election venues to maintain adequate security.
  5. All electronic gadgets provided for conduct of elections should be tested before elections are conducted.
  6. The INEC can learn from other countries workable strategies and innovations to make Nigeria electoral system credible and reliable.

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