INEC AND THE 2019 presidential ELECTION IN NIGERIA: A PROGNOSTICATION
INEC AND THE 2019 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION IN NIGERIA: A PROGNOSTICATION
The INEC, as a tool for processing democratic values and structures, is supposed to be a truly independent organisation that embodies the ideals of transparency, impartiality, accountability, and responsiveness. The global movement known as democratisation has made the subject of election a critical political priority.
Nigeria's electoral politics experience has been marked by a high incidence of electoral malaise, as evidenced by the prevalence of electoral rigging, violence, and other forms of malpractice that erode established electoral standards and undermine the country's prospects for free, fair, and credible elections.
The methodology and procedures utilised for this research primarily consist of a description of the study areas, types and sources of data used in gathering information on the subject matter, data collection techniques or instruments, sampling procedures, and data analysis methods.
The findings of this research agreed with the assumptions upon which this study was premised that INEC and some political office holders in Nigeria create circumstances that make the realisation of free and fair elections problematic,
the character of people in government in Nigeria's electoral politics detracts from democratic essence and merit, and political office holders impacted negatively to predict whether INEC will conduct free, fair, and credible elections.
Finally, the study was undertaken to estimate if INEC will hold free, fair, and credible elections in 2019, using the results of two elections held in Ekiti and Osun states in 2018.
Based on the findings of this study, the following recommendations are offered to help address some of the difficulties raised during the research process.
Politicians in Nigeria should adopt a genuine democratic culture and learn to prioritise the supreme national interest of peace, political stability, and economic development by allowing popular expression to determine who should control political leadership during election campaigns.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is an institutionalised governmental entity formed by law to oversee the nation's electoral process. The INEC, as a tool for processing democratic values and structures, should be a truly independent organisation that embodies the ideals of transparency,
impartiality, accountability, and responsiveness (Udu, 2015). This may have influenced the common opinion that the body is immune to partisan politics and is fully empowered to carry out its professed functions without any influence (Nkwede et al., 2014).
Violence in elections, which is a serious problem in Nigerian politics, has become a basis for indecisive results. According to Human Rights Watch, election-related casualties and communal violence in northern Nigeria
following the April 2011 presidential elections resulted in over 800 deaths, despite the fact that the poll was deemed one of the most free and fair in the country.
Soon after the presidential election, alleged supporters of President Mohammadu Buhari, the then-presidential candidate, began protesting in most parts of the north.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is an entity mandated by the 1999 constitution to conduct elections in Nigeria, and as an umpire, it is expected to be fully independent in order to ensure a free and fair election.
However, over time, the commission has demonstrated to the people that it is incapable of organising a free and fair election, as evidenced by the series of elections held in the fourth republic.
INEC has always betrayed the electorate by following the instructions of its boss. The commission cannot organise a credible election in the current circumstances unless the mechanism of appointments and finance are modified.
The majority of the issues we have with INEC stem from the fact that these people are members of the ruling party, and their mandate is to protect the interests of their political party in accordance with their party constitution,
while also instilling trust and loyalty in those who appointed them to the commission. Nothing good can come from a corrupt mind, and as the saying goes, a spade is always a spade.
Nigeria's 2019 presidential elections will be the sixth since 1999, when the country transitioned to democracy following a long period of military dictatorship. Most of these elections have been marred by incidents of violence, including attacks on politicians, and vote manipulation, which frequently swayed the results.
Elections in Nigeria have long been fraught with problems. Ironically, Nigerian elections have lacked democratic ideals while also being marred by unfortunate circumstances. According to Ibeanu (2007:3).
The Nigerian electoral process, as it is, is psychologically alienating to the vast majority of people, who are primarily outsiders and are only inserted into the process when they vote.
At the same time, this alienation is heightened by the fact that, even after these vote casters have finished the ritual of voting, the results bore little resemblance to what they picked on their ballots.
Furthermore, there have been issues with election violence and fraud, the majority of which may stem from politicians' excesses in their frantic bid to consolidate, capture, or control state power.
In light of this, Nigeria's electoral experiences thus far have left much to be desired. Against the foregoing, this study paper focuses on the INEC and the 2019 Presidential elections.