Mar 16, 2019 | 01:59 am | 21
1.1 Background to the Study
In the contemporary world to today, elections have become the most acceptable means of changing leadership in any given political system (Abubakar, 2010). Elections ordinarily, in most democratic states, are usually conducted by an institution set up by law. Representative government is often referred to as democracy where the authority of government is derive solely from the consent of the governed. The principal mechanism for translating that governmental authority is the holding of free and fair elections (Abubaker, 2010).
However, Ajayi (2010) argued that in the case of developing countries, holding a free and fair election has become a reoccurring problem. Recent studies have revealed that transition from one regime to another is often the problem in most African states (Duru, 2010) Nigeria for instance, since independent, has experienced both electoral violence and irregularities, these has brought about , in several cases, the breakdown of democratic consolidation under civilian and the forceful intervention of military in politics. In this light, Ajayi (2010) asserts that it is known from past history that turbulent elections have been a source of political Nigeria.
Since the independent election, it can be argued that Nigeria has been on a rollercoaster of military regimes and civilian rule a part from surviving civil war which has affected the growth of democracy in Nigeria. The political elites at the helms of power were in fact not mentally ready for the rigors of holding a credible election; hence the election was far from being successful. Since the type of government practiced in Nigeria is democracy, a basic tenet of democracy is periodic election and since independent Nigeria has witnessed few elections which include 1960,1979,1983,1989,1999,2003,2000, and 2011 general election, which is the most recent and the basic concern of this study. In the recent year’s elections in Nigeria have been reported to be marred by irregularities, by both foreign and local observer (Abubakar, 2010). In 999, Nigeria made a definitive break with a post-independence history dominated by three decades of abusive and unaccountable military rule. That year, the country returned to civilian government under the leadership of President Olusegun Obasanjo and since then has enjoyed its longest stretch of uninterrupted civilian rule since independence. Unfortunately, the transition to civilian rule has not delivered democratically accountable government for Nigerians. The state has not held a free and fair general election since the end of the military regime, polls in 1999 and 2003 were characterized by widespread violence, intimidation, bribery, vote rigging and corruption. In the history of Nigeria election June 12 general has been characterized as most free and fair election that is, it was most credible poll was ever conducted in Nigeria soil by foreign and local observer but 2011 general election have changed the observation of foreign and local election observer due to the ways the election have been conducted in Nigeria without any irregularities. Therefore, the 2011 general election have been considered most credible election in fourth republic. Election’s, its effect on the democratic consolidation and the role of the electoral commission in strengthening democracy in Nigeria.
With population of over one hundred and fifty (150) million, many expatriate communities across the globe, the largest economy in West Africa as well as great political importance in the African continent and the world, events that affect the stability and future of Nigeria affects the entire world. Also, including over two hundred and fifty (250) ethnic groups and several interest groups, it would be arduous undermine the great importance election and by this, a great deal of attention should be paid to the electoral system (owen,2003), Given the distribution of ethnic groups are not homogenous, have had a pre-colonial history of rivalries and it is frequently resurrected by political and economic competitions (Aborishade and mundt,1999). Therefore given the dynamics of ethnic conflict in Nigeria at present, it is evident that some of these conflicts are being shaped by both political and economic factors that threaten the political stability of Nigeria (Obasa, 1998). Elections, interrupted as they have been by periods of military dictatorship, have always contained potential for civil unrest, and so the good conduct of the forthcoming polls is a matter not only of international concern but like most African countries, the state continues to struggle with what seems to be an elusive goal of political and economic integration even after fifty years of political independence. Therefore, the burning desire of this research work is to make an evaluation of the Independence National Commission of Nigeria under Chairman Professor Attaihru Mohammed Jega.
1.2 Statement of Problem
One of the major setbacks of developing countries is its inability to have political stability associated with credible elections which is a major milestone in political development. The major factor in the electoral administration is the electoral body that ushers in democratic dispensation; there thorough management of election is very important in the success of a free and fair election. Ineffective electoral administration impedes democratic sustenance in Nigeria; hence, this study seeks to looks into the prospects and constraints of electoral administration in Nigeria, determine how effective its dependence and its neutrality is and provide possible recommendation to the problems these issue have created.
1.3 Aims and Objective of the Study
The general objective of the study is an assessment of the independent national electoral commission INEC in the conduct of electoral processes under Professor Attairu Jega. However, the specific objectives are;
To access the impact of INEC in the sustainability of Nigeria’s democratic process;
Review the role and impact of electoral bodies in the conduct of election in Nigeria;
Evaluate the independent national electoral commission in the conduct of free and fair election in Nigeria;
Make possible recommendation toward elections in the future;
The Hypothesis for the research are;
The efficiency of the electoral commission affects the conducts of general election;
The effectiveness of an electoral agency depends on its autonomy;
1.5 Scope and Limitations of the Study
The research will largely look at the activities of electoral commission in Nigeria from 1999-2011. The study will basically focus the electoral role of the independent National electoral commission this is in relation to electioneering process in Nigeria. The basic limitations of this study are time constraint and finance. There is no adequate time and finances to carry out this research, it would be difficult to conduct a comprehensive study of the subject of the subject matter hence the quality of finding may be affected.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The role of INEC has become a contextual issues both in Nigeria and in the international scene; the study seeks to provide a limelight on the study would be useful for policy makers, government parastatals, citizens of the country and even INEC in order to understand the commissions role in conducting free and fair election, by bringing out their weakness, help to offer recommendations to issue challenging the commission therefore making the future elections a success.
1.7 Operational Definitions
Election: Election can be defined as a formal decision making process by which people choose individuals or people choose individuals or people to hold public offices. Elections has been the usual mechanism by which modern representative democracy operate on, since 17th century. There several types of election which include the following; local election, bye election, primary election and general election.
Electorate: The citizens which are the major impetus toward a successful election in a country as they elect candidate of their choice into power for the governance of the state.
Electoral System: Electoral system according to the Wikipedia dictionary may be defined in the context of this research as a process through which the people of a given country elect their representatives into different political offices or positions in government; it includes the conditions and process for the nomination of candidates for elective posts including procedure and rules of elections.
Electoral body constitutes a group of individuals appointed by the president with the approval of the senate, to conduct election into elective offices of the federation. The electoral body of Nigeria is known as the independent national electoral commission (INEC) which is saddled with the responsibility of conducting election at both the federal, state and local level.
Democracy: Democracy according to Plato (Encarta, 2010) is a political system in which the people of a country rule through any form of government they choose to establish. It is also the free and equal right of every person to participate in a system of government, often practiced by electing representative of the people by the majority of the people. A democratic government is a system of government based on the principle of majority decision making.
Organization of Study
The study would be divided into five chapter one comprises introduction, statement of research problem, objectives of the study, research hypothesis, methodology of the research, scope of study, significance of the study, limitation of the study and operational definition. Chapter two contains the literature review; chapter three would evaluate INECs chairman professor Attairu Mohammed Jega for Nigeria consolidation of democracy, chapter four would evaluate the independent national electoral commission (INEC). Chapter five would provide summary, possible recommendations and conclusion.