Elections, Electoral Process and the Challenges of Democratization in Nigeria’s Fourth Republic

Nachana’a Alahira David, Yusuf Abdullahi Manu, Auwalu Musa


The most widely praised as the best system of government in our contemporary world is democracy, which allows for high level of peoples participation in decision-making and policy formulation through representatives. A major determinant of democracy is the electoral process that provides the electorate the institutional framework for choosing representatives through a competitive free and fair election. Essentially, elections are the only acceptable institutionalized process enabling some or all of the recognised members of a democratic society to choose office holders. The emphasis of this paper is on the challenges of conducting free and fair elections and its impact on the democratization process in Nigeria. Relying on secondary data on elections in Nigeria, we established that elections have been marred by unprecedented abuse of the electoral process in form of election rigging, ballot snatching, inadequate and late arrival of voting materials at polling centres, vote buying, connivance between the ruling party elites and INEC to manipulate and even declare false elections results and so on. Based on these observed abuses we emphasise representative democracy cannot be consolidated nor triumph where there is negation of democratic principles. The recommendation centres on the urgent need for a special electoral malpractice court for the persecution of offenders; for INEC to become an autonomous and really independent body, and more sensitisation of the general public by civil society organisations through seminars and workshops on voter education and democratic culture

Keywords: Challenges, Democracy, Democratization, Elections, Electoral Process, Manipulation

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5766 ISSN (Online)2225-0484

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