New Trend In Vote Buying In Nigeria Elections; A Case Study Of The Last Edo And Ondo States Governorship Elections 

Project and Seminar Material for Political Science

New Trend In Vote Buying In Nigeria Elections; A Case Study Of The Last Edo And Ondo States Governorship Elections


The study examines New Trend In Vote Buying In Nigeria Elections; a Case Study Of The Last Edo And Ondo States Governorship Elections. Vote buying In Nigerian election is not a new phenomenon however; it has gotten a lot of spotlight as a result of its inherent ability of causing devastating effect on the body of politics and the democratic process of new democracies such as Nigeria. This is because vote buying has become an integral part of elections in Nigeria and has escalated to the point that some candidates add buying of votes as part of the political strategy, as they believe that manifestoes and integrity of candidates alone is not enough to win elections. This research therefore, aims to identify the manifestations, examine the impact, ascertain the catalyst and suggest possible mechanism to minimize vote buying in future elections. The study adopts the quantitative method been supported by the qualitative method of data collection and uses clientelism as the theoretical framework. The study discovered that vote buying largely affected the outcome of the Edo and Ondo states governorship elections and identified some factors such as poverty, lack of voter’s education and poor execution of sanctions as catalyst of vote buying. It also suggests some recommendations in the bid to curb the behavior of vote buying in future Nigerian elections. The study concluded that without tackling the catalyst of vote buying in Nigeria election, the behavior of vote buying will keep on thriving.

Table of Content

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

Chapter One:


  • 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
  • 4.5 Interpretation of Result

Chapter Five:

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

  • 5.1 Summary
  • 5.2 Conclusion
  • 5.3 Recommendation
  • References

Chapter One


1.1 Background to the Study

The research examines the new trend in vote buying in Nigeria elections, with specific focus on Edo and Ondo states governorship elections. Nigeria’s style of democracy can be linked to that of America which advocates that the absolute and supreme power remains with the people (Noah, 2006). This style of democracy in which Nigeria adopts is largely hinged on the premise that the will of the majority is done and the voice of the minority is heard. For democracy to thrive as a political system the basic features of democracy must be implemented which include periodic elections; the provision of fundamental human rights; multiply party system with candidates to choice from, amongst others (Noah, 2004). Periodic election, a feature of democracy can be said to be an indispensable characteristic of any democratic transition and the hallmark of representative democracy (Inokoba and Kumokor, 2011). This is because, it is during elections that the voices of the people are well heard and it is also recorded as an event with the highest rate of political participation by the people. Today elections are seen as the most acceptable medium by which citizens choose their leaders in an orderly, serene and peaceful exercise (Momoh, 2005). Elections could be regarded as a coin with two sides; On one side, elections give citizen’s an avenue to indicate their choice amongst candidates, manifestoes, policies, ideas and programmes presented to them by individuals vying for leadership positions while on the other side, it is also an instruments for removing unpopular and ineffective leaders as well as forcing elected officials to hearken to the plight of the people (David, Manu, and Musa, 2014). This is because the electorates hold the power to renew or cancel the tenure of every elected official. These functions of election are made possible because of the provision of the electoral process; which spells out the method to be used in selecting individuals for political offices (Nnamani, 2014).

The electoral process can be said to be the sum total of the entire operation in relations to carrying out an election from as little as performing of voter education to as great as dissolving of the National Assembly (Elekwa, 2008). It is also said to be the pre and post-election duties including guidelines put in place by the electoral officials in order for the election to run smoothly as well as for the electorates to choose representative towards catering for their interest because without such activities the election is more or less void. Activities of the electoral process include registering political parties, registering and reviewing of voters’ records, scheduling times for electoral campaigns, electoral disputes resolution, swearing elected representatives to mention a few (Nnamani, 2014). One of the activities as part of the electoral process is campaigning where candidates race to captivate the heart of the electorate with the hope of becoming the electorate’s choice. A democratic campaign is supposed to be peaceful and serene interaction. On one hand the candidates are involved in various discourse of persuasion as they vie for the most support from the electorates by presenting arguments as to why they deserve the votes of the people and on the other hand the electorates sieve through the arguments which are to become policies and select the candidate whose policy positions best or closely depicts their own set of believes, expectations or preferences (Bratton, 2008). In that vein, any action that violates the electoral process can be classified as electoral fraud or malpractice and is considered an impediment to free and fair elections. Thus, any government produced from such a marred electoral process can be termed un-democratic. In the case of Nigeria, elections is seen as winner takes all scenario, requiring a fight to the death attitude and with such high stakes in play, there is no limit a politician would not go in order to secure votes be it fair or foul (Fafchamps and Vicente, 2013). That is why a lot of elections in Nigeria are marred with diverse methods of electoral malpractices such as electoral rigging, electoral violence include vote buying (Adamu et. al., 2016).

Vote buying is the direct exchange of benefit and material goods by the political elites to propel electoral support (Carreras and Irepoglu, 2013). It also includes buying of the voting shares or payments made to voters to influence them to vote for a specific candidate (Nichter, 2014). Election outcome in which vote buying is involved is slowly becoming normal way in which politics is played in growing democracies like Nigeria, having been transitioned from the military to the civilian era (Ovwasa, 2013). This is because the civilian administration aims to present an appearance of free and fair election, implement universal adult suffrage and following the electoral processes and Nigerian politicians make use of such desires through campaigning to manipulate the electoral rules by inducing material benefit to the electorate so as to acquire mass support (Bratton, 2008).

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Election is a medium for the voice of the people to be heard. This has been norm as far back as the Greek city state where ‘show of hands” in support of a decision to be taken was carried out. Today elections have become a significant pillar of democracy and a means of legitimizing the decisions of government (David, Manu and Musa, 2014). In that vein, anything that is an impediment to elections, infringes on the ability of citizens to have their voice heard which affects an essential pillar of democracy (Adamu, Ocheni and Ibrahim, 2016). Nigeria the giant of Africa whose democracy and elections are closely watched by the international community; as a testimony of the growth of democracy and the possibility free and fair elections in the region, is still challenged with vote buying in its elections (Baidoo, Dankwa and Eshun, 2018). The presence of vote buying in Nigeria’s elections especially that of 2018 Ekiti and osun state gubernatorial election as noised by INEC has raised some critical questions about the credibility of such election and her democracy (Akinkuotu, 2018). These questions include how free or fair can elections be when some candidates have bought the votes of the electorate even before the election? How can the principle of equality exist when vote buying gives more advantages to the wealthy over the poor? How responsible will the elected leaders be to the electorate when vote buying as an electoral transaction implies that the politicians have paid for the vote of the electorate? (Neeman and Orosel, 2008; Jensen and Justesen 2014; Adamu, et. al., 2016).

The presence of vote buying in Nigeria’s elections in addition to the questions raised, gives room for concern about Edo and Ondo states governorship elections and the future of elections Nigeria. This research therefore, seeks to ascertain the presence of vote buying in the Edo and Ondo states governorship elections, how truth are the question raised against vote buying in states and what are the implications of vote buying to Nigeria’s future elections and democracy focusing on Edo and Ondo states .

1.3 Objectives of the Study

In accordance with the problem and research questions the overall objective of the research is to investigate the offshoot of vote buying on Edo and Ondo states governorship elections.

Specifically, the objectives are to:

  1. To examine the manifestations of Vote buying in the Edo and Ondo states governorship elections
  2. To determine the impact of Vote Buying on the Edo and Ondo states governorship elections?
  3. To ascertain the factors that encouraged vote buying in the Edo and Ondo states governorship elections
  4. To identify ways by which vote buying can be minimized in future elections in Ekiti State

1.4 Research Question

  1. What is the manifestations of Vote buying in the Edo and Ondo states governorship elections?
  2. What is the impact of Vote Buying on the Edo and Ondo states governorship elections?
  3. What are the factors that encouraged vote buying in the Edo and Ondo states governorship elections?
  4. What are the ways by which vote buying can be minimized in future elections in Edo and Ondo states governorship elections?

1.5 Research Hypothesis

Some hypotheses were made in the null form to guide the research. These hypotheses are as follows:

  1. There were no manifestations of vote buying in Edo and Ondo states governorship elections
  2. Vote buying had no impact on the Edo and Ondo states governorship elections
  3. There were no factors encouraging vote buying in Edo and Ondo states governorship electionss
  4. Vote buying cannot be minimized in future election in Edo and Ondo states governorship elections

1.6 Significance of the Research

This research has three points of significance theoretical, governmental and statistical. Theoretically, the research on vote buying and democratic election using Edo and Ondo states governorship elections as a case study, aids in expanding the already existing literature on vote buying and Democratic elections in Nigeria. As the present literature review shows that there are limited studies done in Nigeria such as Bratton (2008) who examines Vote buying and Violence in Nigerian election campaigns, Ovwasa (2012) who examines Money Politics and Vote Buying in Nigeria: As the Bane of Good Governance. Governmental, this is necessary and significant as the present mode of election engineering carried out by political candidate creates an impediment to democratic elections and her growing democracy. Hence, exploring the nature, extent and effectiveness of irregular campaign methods such as vote buying is geminin to future elections. This research also throws light to who are the victims of vote buying in Nigeria with Edo and Ondo states governorship elections as a case study and what are the possible voter behaviors in responses to irregular campaign method like vote buying. Bratton (2008) explains that voter’s behavior at the individual level when introduced to irregular campaign methods like vote buying can be classified into three possible course of action namely to refuse, to defect, or to comply. These three courses of actions are very important in understanding the outcome of the election in Edo and Ondo states governorship elections. The finding of the research offer valuable insight into how the government can tackle the issue of vote buying in future elections.

Statistically, the research employs the T-test which is a great addition to previous studies both in Nigeria and other countries. Other studies have done relationship between electoral turnout and candidate popularity as a function of vote buying but the t-test exposes the degree at which the menace of vote buying has largely dogged into the fabrics of democratic elections in Nigeria.

1.7 Scope of the Study

This research focuses on five (5) local government areas in Edo and Ondo states and the events leading to gubernatorial election until the the day for the gubernatorial election. The choice of Governorship election in Edo and Ondo states are significant as it possess all the characteristics at a micro level to qualify it to be used as a research as well as statements from INEC about the presence of vote buying in the election.

1.8 Limitations of the Study

The challenges encountered in this research were mainly related to primary data gathering. The human factor which cannot be totally removed in form of biases, lack of total transparency and lack of willingness to release certain information that are vital to the research under the pretext classified information.

1.9 Definition of Terms


Election a features of democracy can be said to be an indispensable characteristic of any democratic transition and the hallmark of democracy.

Vote Buying:

Vote buying is the provision of rewards to groups/individuals pre or during elections in lure of solidifying or changing voter’s choice to their favor.

1.10 Organization of the Research

The research is divided into five chapters. Chapter one introduces the entire work, identifying the problem, objectives, significance of the research. Chapter two handles the literature review and theoretical framework. On the literature focus is placed on the subject of vote buying, democratic elections and the electoral process identifying the relevant concepts, issues and themes that are central to the research and for the theoretical framework adopted was the clientalism as it relates to elections. Chapter three handles the Research Methodology involving the Research Design, population of research, sample size, instrument of data collection, validity and reliability of the instrument Chapter four mainly covers the aspect of data collection, report/analysis. Chapter five concludes the research. It attempts a summation, and makes recommendations with the benefit of hindsight and field experience. The chapter thereafter makes a number of suggestions for future research.

Chapter Five

Summary, Recommendation and Conclusion

5.1 Summary

The main aim of this research was to place the spotlight on the manifestation of vote buying, impact of vote buying, catalyst of vote buying and how to minimize or curb the growth of vote buying in future Nigerian elections. The motivation for this research came out of the review of other literature such as (Bratton, 2008; Carreras, and Irepoglu, 2013; Jensen, and Justesen, 2014) which revealed that little literature had been done concerning depicting the impact of vote buying in new democracies and societies like that of Ekiti state which was further made necessary by the unconfirmed allegation of INEC about the magnitude of vote buying in the state (Oyenigbehin, 2018). The research shows that there was ample impact of vote buying on democratic elections in the Edo and Ondo states governorship elections. The impacts of vote buying on elections have both immediate and delayed impacts. The immediate impact affect the fundamental principle of representative democracy were the true wishes and desires of the people are no longer represented through elections but are controlled through inducement of money by the different political candidates, resulting to unaccountable leaders. Vote buying further results in lack of trust in the system and institutional fragility which is ticking bomb for anarchy and increase in crime

5.2 Conclusion

Vote buying has great set back on the electoral process of Nigeria and is a threat to her democracy as it promotes corruption, poverty, decline in political participation and increase in crime. Some catalysts of vote buying include poverty, ignorance, ineffective sanction on culprits and distrust of the government. Vote buying isn’t a new phenomenon but a practice that has been old as the Nigeria. Nevertheless it still remains an electoral offence therefore; culprits should be brought to book. Vote buying isn’t done in isolation, however, for the system to work it is necessary that the perpetuators within the system be flushed out. This is because if a candidate decides to begin his/her political journey with corruption by paying for support, rather than competing for votes fair and square. It can be concluded that such candidates has no regard for democratic procedures and is open to using illegal means in his/her administration.

5.3 Recommendations

In reality the braze acts of vote-buying cannot be eradicated totally however, specific mechanism should be put in place to reduce the growth and negative effort of vote buying on the electoral process and democracy such as partnership between The Independent National Electoral Commission and the anti-corruption agencies such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission while conducting elections and afterward culprits found in vote buying should be handed over to these agencies for investigation and prosecution.

Existing electoral legislation needs to be amended and stringent punishment attached in order to mitigate the advancement of vote buying such as the addition of Capital Punishment for offenders.

Increase in Voter Education were the government does not leave it to Non-governmental agencies but be involved by including voters education to school curriculum as part of social studies and civic education, organizing talk shows and workshops about the woes of vote buying.

Improved Poverty Alleviation Schemes need to be implemented so as to counter acts its effort as a catalyst for vote buying.

Disqualification of Guilty Candidates and prosecution of culprits of vote buying should be taken seriously as criminalized by sections 124 and 130 of the Electoral Act 2010, as amended.

Scrutinizing of Party Finances through mandatory compliance from the parties according to the Electoral Act 2010 concerning submission of account statement, expenditure of the party, an audit of the books of the party before and after an election must be enforced in order to trace suspicious transactions and action of vote buying

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is vote buying a new normal in Nigeria’s politics?

Vote buying had always been part of Nigeria’s political process, albeit discretely. In the past, political parties often tried to bribe voters with gifts, such as food items and clothing materials during electioneering.

Did Ekiti voters turn their votes to commodities of trade?

In Ekiti like in Edo, Ondo and Anambra states, the electorate turned their votes to commodities of trade and boldly struck deals with political party agents willing to pay the highest price in the presence of law enforcement officers. Vote buying had always been part of Nigeria’s political process, albeit discretely.

What is vote buying and why is it bad?

Broadly speaking, vote buying obstructs the democratic process by interfering with the rights of citizens to freely decide who will represent them and their interests. “This can result in the candidate with the deepest pockets winning the election, rather than the candidate who would best serve their constituents,” Uwamahoro said.

Should vote buying be an electoral offence?

He said vote buying was an electoral offence which could undermine the legitimacy of elections and weaken representative democracy. He said that the lack of enforcement of punishments for the electoral offence had allowed the practice to persist and grow.

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