Project Materials

POLITICAL SCIENCE

IMPACT OF VOTERS’ TURNOUT IN CONDUCTING FREE AND FAIR ELECTION

IMPACT OF VOTERS' TURNOUT IN CONDUCTING AND FAIR ELECTION

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IMPACT OF VOTERS' TURNOUT IN CONDUCTING FREE AND FAIR ELECTION

CHAPITRE ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of The Study

In a statement on the 2015 Nigerian General Elections, Freedom House (2015a) congratulated Nigerians on an election that appears to be one of the smoothest and least violent in Nigerian history, and hoped that the democratic transition would take place peacefully and with respect for all human rights.

Despite the good comments, Nigeria was classified as “partly free” based on assessments of political and civil rights enjoyed by citizens.1 In fact, the Organisation (2015b) classified most African countries in the same category as Nigeria, indicating that the continent made overall, if uneven, progress towards democratisation during the 1990s and early 2000s.

However, both the best performers, such as South Africa, and the more restrictive countries, such as The Gambia and Ethiopia, have regressed in recent years. What is the significance of this judgement,

and how does it relate to elections and voter turnout? The democratisation initiative is primarily concerned with the protection and enjoyment of citizens' civil and political rights.

Democracies enable these rights by allowing citizens to participate in elections and . The extent to which these rights are secured or controlled is a significant distinction between countries where democracy is consolidated (established democracies) and countries undergoing democratic transitions and consolidation (democratising countries).

It should be noted, however, that measures of which nations are free or partially free, and why, may be contentious, but these have been described and roughly depict the situation in the countries (Freedom House, 2015c).

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Based on these findings, this study contends that it is premature and wrong to declare that the successful 2015 general elections signify the consolidation of democracy in Nigeria. (For example, The Guardian newspaper (Editorial: 28/04/2014) stated that “despite some challenges, a new culture has emerged for the entrenchment of democracy in Nigeria.”

At most, we may say that the results and outcomes of the elections provided an excellent opportunity for Nigeria to embark on democratic consolidation. New policies and institutional reforms that theorists have identified as prerequisites for democratic consolidation do not exist,

despite the fact that they have failed to equally analyse the requirements that make such reforms possible or difficult, particularly for African countries, namely the level of popular support and legitimacy that enables regimes to successfully initiate the reforms required for democratic consolidation.

1.3 Objectives of The Study

The study intended to ascertain the effect of voter turnout on the conduct of free and fair elections. The study specifically wanted to;

To ascertain the prerequisites for democratic consolidation.

To learn about voter turnout and voting behaviour in Nigeria's 2015 general elections.

To determine the regional ethnic voting pattern.

What are the consequences of the upcoming administration for democratic consolidation?

1.3 Research

The following are some of the research questions:

What conditions must be met for democratic consolidation?

What was the voter turnout and voting behaviour in Nigeria's general elections in 2015?

What was the regional ethnic vote pattern?

What are the consequences of the upcoming administration for democratic consolidation?

The answers to these questions will help us decide whether or not democratic consolidation is likely under the incoming government.

1.5 Research Theories

Ho: Voter turnout and voting behaviour in Nigeria's 2015 general election were disappointing.

Hi: In the 2015 Nigerian General Election, voter turnout and voting behaviour were encouraging.

1.6 Significance of the Research

Using data from the 2015 Nigerian general elections, this study seeks to contribute to the theory of African democratisation by assessing the level of support an entering government must have in order to successfully carry out critical reforms for democratic consolidation.

It will be argued that voter turnout and voting behaviour in the elections provide a signal as to whether President Muhammadu Buhari's (PMB) incoming regime has the initial support to successfully embark on the process of democratic consolidation.

The study's premise is that the ideas of voter turnout and voting behaviour can contribute to theories of democratisation and identify ways in which a synthesis of the concepts could improve our understanding of the process of democratic consolidation in Africa. the initial popularity of regimes, they can try to promote popular engagement for more legitimacy.

1.7 Scope and Limitations of the Study

This research looks at the impact of voter turnout on the conduct of free and fair elections.

Study limitations

Financial constraint- A lack of funds tends to restrict the researcher's efficiency in locating relevant , literature, or information, as well as in the data collection procedure (internet, questionnaire, and interview).

Time constraint- The researcher will conduct this investigation alongside other academic activities. As a result, the amount of time spent on research will be reduced.

1.8 Definition of Terms

Election: a formal decision-making process in which a population choose a person to hold public office.

The percentage of eligible voters who vote in an election is known as voter turnout. (Eligibility varies by country and should not be confused with the overall adult population. Some countries, for example, discriminate based on gender, race, and/or religion. Age and citizenship are frequently used as criteria.)

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