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POLITICAL SCIENCE

IMPACT OF ELECTORAL MALPRACTICES ON DEMOCRATIC PROCESS IN NIGERIA

IMPACT OF ELECTORAL MALPRACTICES ON DEMOCRATIC PROCESS IN NIGERIA

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IMPACT OF ELECTORAL MALPRACTICES ON DEMOCRATIC PROCESS IN NIGERIA

ABSTRACT

Electoral malpractice is, by definition, a violation of a country's constitution and the democratic form of governance established by it. Elections are one of the most crucial pillars of democracy.

Indeed, it is a fundamental prerequisite for democracy since it serves as a vehicle for the expression of democracy's core ideas and aims, such as citizen sovereignty, freedom, choice, and political leaders' accountability.

To accomplish these democratic aims, elections must be free and fair, free of manipulation, violence, and fraud, with impartial election administration authorities and effective voter involvement at all phases of the electoral process.

This study examined the interaction of electoral misconduct in Nigeria, with a focus on the 2003, 2007, and recently ended 2011 elections. The goal for this study was to contribute to efforts to eliminate electoral malpractices from the electoral process in order to improve democracy. The report also proposed techniques and recommendations to reduce electoral malpractices in Nigeria.

Chapter one

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study

The primary threat to Nigeria's democratic process is electoral misconduct. Electrical malpractices are typically conducted by politicians with the assistance of political parties, national election bodies, security organisations, and so on. This partnership frequently enables the manipulation of electrical outcomes for selfish reasons.

In many ways, the electoral process can be considered the lynchpin of democracy because it plays an important role in ensuring the quality of elections in a democratic state.

Democracy entails far more than having free and fair elections; nonetheless, while credible elections are not a sufficient condition for democracy, they are still a requirement for any society to be deemed democratic.

The Nigerian state suffers from high levels of corruption, poor governance, political instability, and a cyclical legitimacy crisis. National economic growth is slowing, and the political situation is unpredictable.

The country's authoritarian leadership faces a legitimacy crisis and political intrigues in an ethnically different polity where ethnic competition for resources drove much of the pervasive corruption and oligarchy,

creating a room for political gladiators to constantly manipulate the people and political process to advance their own selfish agenda while the country remains pauperized and people wallowing in abject poverty, thus obstructing political and economic

Political culture was and remains low because people perceived it as irrelevant to their lives, and in the absence of civil society support, the effective power of government was eroded, and the patron-client relationship became the order of the day, eventually taking precedence over the formal aspects of politics such as the rule of law,

well-functioning political parties, and credible electoral systems. In order to break this cycle and restore censured good governance, accountability and transparency must be guaranteed, which will boost Nigeria's political and economic development.

Claud Ake (1995) locates the genre of these problems in the incumbents' political and social conditions in developing countries, which manifest in poor planning and implementation, a lack of entrepreneurial abilities, the stiffening of market forces,

a drop in commodity prices and unfavourable terms, a lack of ideas, the dependency syndrome, corruption, and indiscipline. The absence of engagement and consensus building, referred to as a lack of a feeling of national community by Mayer et al. (1996), is a barrier to national political and economic success.

Meaningful development and political stability require citizens' collective identity, and where this is lacking, development programmes are viewed with suspicion,

indifference, or even hostility, resulting in exploitation rather than commitment. while evidenced by the wave of abandoned projects, a lack of accountability and transparency has become the norm, while corruption is disguised as efficiency.

According to Ayittey (2006), the African state, including Nigeria, has evolved into a predatory monster or gangster state that deploys a corrupt system of regulation and control to loot and rob the productive (the peasantry).

It is well known that heads of state, ministers, and high-ranking African government officials control the treasury and utilise their positions in government to extort commissions on loan contract schemes, foreign aid, and inflate contracts for cronies in exchange for kickbacks.

These are the exact people who are supposed to defend the peasants; they are once again engaged in institutionalised thievery. This governance has generated a baneful structure in an environment that jeopardises political system growth as people hunger for the elusive dividends of good governance.

Nigeria's history is characterised by a lack of moral and ethnic values in the behaviour of ruling elites, which has harmed political and economic growth by giving people a sense of insecurity and prejudice judgement over the social structure or system.

Corruption and abuse of power have long been parts of Nigeria's economic and political environment, as they have a negative impact on economic progress while also destabilising politics.

The National Planning Committee has highlighted widespread corruption, which leads to a lack of openness and accountability, as the primary cause of failure.

Scholars have portrayed Nigeria as an incomplete state (Joseph et al. 1996) and as a belligerent African in the middle of enormous human material resources, powered by a vicious cycle of poverty and authoritarianism.

Nigeria was qualified to be called the “Giant of Africa” due to its enormous wealth from oil resources and enormous economic, political, and social strength. However, Nigeria was brought to its knees by twenty years of corrupt military leadership, which left a legacy of executive dominance and political corruption in the hands of the so-called godfather, and thus governance was viewed as an instrument of enrichment.

From my point of view, I think electoral malpractices originated (started) because of social deprivation with violence as the only way to dominate power. The ruling class with little or no knowledge of politics and economies seized power via electoral malpractices because powers or offices were gained without the vote of the masses.

Office holders feel accountable to nobody but themselves; they appoint ministers, commissioners, and government parastatals who are either

Kesselman et al. (1996) attributed economic and political decline to three major causes:

1. Scarce resources.

2. Weak Legitimacy.

3. Patron Client

This is commonly known as god fatherism politics. A typical example is Chimaroke Mbadinuju and Chief Emeka Offor as his god father, which hampered Anamabra State's economic growth, civil servants were not paid, resulting in a six-month strike action, and politically,

it reduced individual participation because they felt their vote was not needed. Again, the examples of Andy Ubah and Chris Ngige demonstrates how electoral malpractices jeopardise national prosperity.

Because electoral malpractices (rigging of results) cost a lot of money, people who gain political positions through electoral malpractices would first want to recoup their losses during elections, and since gubernatorial and presidential elections,

or any other office in Nigeria where elections are the only way to select the holder, what good could such an office holder bring?, keeping in mind that he or she must pay the godfather (if applicable) before attending to the state.

1.2 of Problem

The primary threat to Nigeria's democratic process is electoral misconduct. Electrical malpractices are typically conducted by politicians with the assistance of political parties, national election bodies, security organisations, and so on. This partnership frequently enables the manipulation of electrical outcomes for selfish reasons.

In many ways, the electoral process can be considered the lynchpin of democracy because it plays an important role in ensuring the quality of elections in a democratic state.

Democracy entails significantly more than the holding of free and fair elections; nonetheless, while credible elections are not a sufficient requirement for democracy, they are still required for any society to be deemed democratic.

The Nigerian state suffers from high levels of corruption, poor governance, political instability, and a cyclical legitimacy crisis. National economic growth is slowing, and the political situation is unpredictable.

Electoral rigging and other fraudulent electoral practices undermine Nigerians' democratic ambitions, as they would have voted for someone other than the final winner. The country's incapacity to hold “free and fair” elections has made it the target of nasty jokes in the international community.

Recent political developments provide unequivocal evidence that the upheaval and volatility that have marked our fledgling democracy are far from over. Why has there been no reform in the way elections are conducted in the country?

The main types of rigging and fraud were mastered in the elections of 1964, 1965, 1979, 1983, , 2003, 2007, and now 2011. The numerous electoral bodies have conducted elections since independence, i.e. The Federal Electoral Commission (FEDECO), National Electoral Commission (NEC),

and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) have all faced severe allegations of fraud and violence. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo famously remarked that the 2007 election was a “do or die affair,” which is cause for concern because our politicians have made this a reality and will go to any length to win elections.

Claud Ake (1995) locates the genre of these problems in the incumbents' political and social conditions in developing countries, which manifest in poor planning and implementation,

a lack of entrepreneurial abilities, the stiffening of market forces, a drop in commodity prices and unfavourable terms, a lack of ideas, the dependency syndrome, corruption, and indiscipline.

The absence of engagement and consensus building, referred to as a lack of a feeling of national community by Mayer et al. (1996), is a barrier to national political and economic success.

Meaningful development and political stability require citizens' collective identity, and where this is lacking, development programmes are viewed with suspicion, indifference, or even hostility, resulting in exploitation rather than commitment. while evidenced by the wave of abandoned projects, a lack of accountability and transparency has become the norm, while corruption is disguised as efficiency.

According to Ayittey (2006), the African state, including Nigeria, has evolved into a predatory monster or gangster state that deploys a corrupt system of regulation and control to loot and rob the productive class (the peasantry).

It is well known that heads of state, ministers, and high-ranking African government officials control the treasury and utilise their positions in government to extort commissions on foreign loan contract schemes, foreign aid, and inflate contracts for cronies in exchange for kickbacks.

These are the exact people who are supposed to defend the peasants; they are once again engaged in institutionalised thievery. This governance has generated a baneful structure in an environment that jeopardises political system growth as people hunger for the elusive dividends of good governance.

Nigeria's history is marked by the absence of moral and ethnic values in the conduct of ruling elites, which has harmed political and economic growth by giving people a sense of insecurity and prejudice judgement over the social structure or system.

Corruption and abuse of power have long been parts of Nigeria's economic and political environment, as they have a negative impact on economic progress while also destabilising politics. The National Planning Committee has highlighted widespread corruption, which leads to a lack of openness and accountability, as the primary cause of failure.

Scholars have portrayed Nigeria as an incomplete state (Joseph et al. 1996) and as a belligerent African in the middle of enormous human material resources, powered by a vicious cycle of poverty and authoritarianism.

Nigeria was qualified to be called the “Giant of Africa” due to its enormous wealth from oil resources and enormous economic, political, and social strength.

However, Nigeria was brought to its knees by twenty years of corrupt military leadership, which left a legacy of executive dominance and political corruption in the hands of the so-called godfather, and thus governance was viewed as an instrument of enrichment.

From my point of view, I think electoral malpractices originated because of social deprivation with violence as the only way to dominate power.

The ruling class with little or no knowledge of politics and economies seized power via electoral malpractices because powers or offices were gained without the vote of the masses.

Office holders feel accountable to nobody but themselves, so they appoint ministers, commissioners, and government parastatals who are either their brother

Kesselman et al. (1996) attributed economic and political decline to three major causes:

1. Scarce resources.

2. Weak Legitimacy.

3. Patron Client

This is commonly known as godfatherism politics; a typical example is Chimaroke Mbadinuju and Chief Emeka Offor as his godfather, which hampered Anamabra State's economic growth; civil servants were not paid, resulting in a six-month strike action; and politically, it reduced individual participation because they felt their vote was not needed. Again, the examples of Andy Ubah and Chris Ngige demonstrates how electoral malpractices jeopardise national prosperity.

Because electoral malpractices (rigging of results) cost a lot of money, people who gain political positions through electoral malpractices would first want to recoup their losses during elections, and since gubernatorial and presidential elections,

or any other office in Nigeria where elections are the only way to select the holder, what good could such an office holder bring?, keeping in mind that he or she must pay the godfather (if applicable) before attending to the state.

Despite the numerous examples of election fraud that have resulted in the nullification and cancellation of these results, the offenders have yet to be identified or prosecuted. Concerned by this development, pundits question if election crime is a punishable offence. Are there no provisions in our laws about how to deal with those who commit crimes during elections?

Are these criminals invisible? If the courts can confirm that the irregularities that led to the nullification of these elections and the need for new elections were indeed committed,

can't they also identify the offenders and punish them appropriately to serve as a deterrent? Even when such perpetrators are detained on election day, they are immediately released when their masters, the politicians, intervene to ensure their release.

One of the most famous cases was the one against Dr. Chris Ngige, the governor of Anambra State after the 2003 election. Chris Uba admitted to subverting the people's will,

and the election was declared null and void. No one was punished. Scenarios like this make one wonder if voting misconduct can genuinely be eradicated in Nigeria.

1.3 Object of the Study

The overall goal of the research is to examine the influence of electoral malpractice on Nigeria's democratic process.

Based on the overall aims, the study will achieve the following specific objectives:

1. To identify faults in Nigeria's electoral process.

2. Investigate how electoral misconduct undermines Nigeria's democratic process.

3. To determine the role of the government and important stakeholders in preventing electoral fraud in Nigeria.

1.4 Significance of the Study

This study has the ability to educate and inform the Nigerian people about the dangers of voting malpractices. It is notable because, in addition to demonstrating academic learning and expertise, it emphasises the necessity of credible elections to Nigeria's democratic maintenance.

The report also emphasises the detrimental impact of election malpractices and the necessary steps that can be taken to remedy such issues in order for democracy to thrive in Nigeria.

1.5 Research questions.

This study raises the following basic questions:

1. What is the state of Nigeria's electoral process?

2. How does election misconduct effect Nigeria's democratic process?

3. What are the chances of credible elections in Nigeria?

4. What measures have the government and stakeholders made to combat electoral misconduct in Nigeria?

1.6 Assumptions.

Elections can be regarded as the backbone of democracy; without them, democracy cannot be worthwhile.

v Massive anomalies in Nigerian elections since 2003 –

The 2011 election has had an impact on Nigeria's democratic process.

Nigeria can hold credible elections.

These assumptions noted above are declarations of fact, which will be satisfactorily verified in following chapters. Indeed, one of the issues of African democracy, including Nigeria, is how to create a more durable and long-lasting election process in the country.

1.7 Scope of Analysis.

This study is confined in scope to Nigeria's general elections from 2003 to 2011, focusing on electoral fraud committed by Nigerians in their pursuit for power during the electoral process.

This study falls under this restriction (although additional examples were provided) because the election that occurred during this time period was heavily criticised due to malpractices.

1.8 Methodology.

The study is based on political analysis. It was thus created through the use of library research and related original sources, as well as other secondary (written record) data. The secondary sources included textbooks, newspapers, journals, monographs, online information, and previously unpublished work.

Furthermore, sampling approaches, which are surveys utilised by some of the scholars who have done considerable work on the issue in the past, have been researched to enhance the quality of this presentation and analysis

1.9 Operational Definitions of Terms

The following terms were used in the study, and their pertinent meanings are provided below:

For the purposes of this study, the definitions of Obiyan and Yamah are sufficient. Sat and Yamah (2005) described democracy as a “representative government with a competitive electoral system”.

This research examines democracy in the context of mass participation in governance, checks and balances, the rule of law, and people-oriented government that prioritises the welfare of the people over the interests of the state.

Thus, in a democratic context, access to power is determined by how much the electorate (the people) believe a specific person or organisation can advance their interests. This belief in a person's ability to improve their situation is expressed at regular intervals through the means of elections.

Elections: In this study, elections can be defined as a democratic process by which people or groups express their preference for a specific person or group who they believe can best defend their welfare.

As a result, it is clear that elections are at the heart of democracy. This is because it is the primary means by which the people exercise their sovereign right to self-government by selecting who they want to lead them for a set length of time.

Electoral Malpractices: For the purposes of this study, electoral malpractice is defined as the manipulation of electoral processes and outcomes in order to prioritise personal or political profit over public interest.

These include any unauthorised and unethical activities, attitudes, or behaviour that violates established electoral laws and regulations (i.e. violates the Electoral Act) and is typically manifested during elections.

The electoral process, which is often mistaken with election, refers to all of the actions and procedures involved in electing representatives by electorates (Akamere, 2001). The electoral process encompasses all of the operations that take place prior to and after an election, without which an election would be impossible or meaningless.

These include political party registration, voter registration review, constituency demarcation, election dispute settlement, elected representative return, and swearing-in, among others.

In addition to this, the refers to the norms that govern electoral conduct. Needless to add, elections are only one, if the most significant, of the activities that comprise the electoral process.

In this study, the term “free and fair election” refers to the absence of manipulations, irregularities, violence, and fraud, as well as the impartiality of election management authority and effective participation by the electorate at all stages of the electoral process.

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