Regrettably, Nigeria, sometimes referred to as the “African giant,” still needs help developing an effective system for electing leaders. We can only restore the system by addressing insecurity, corruption, voter suppression, and inadequate electoral infrastructure.
Nigeria is a country in West Africa with more than 200 million inhabitants, making it the most populous country on the continent, according to Worldometer. Despite the country’s history of political unpredictability, corruption and irregular elections, it has worked hard to strengthen its democracy and organize free and fair elections.
Nigeria’s federal structure consists of 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), with an electoral system based on a presidential system of government. The national electoral body, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), must chair and monitor federal and state elections. This article examines Nigeria’s electoral history, the difficulties encountered throughout the voting process, and the current state of democracy in the country.
Main Types of Elections in Nigeria
There are many different elections at various levels of government in Nigeria. They include; Presidential Elections (to elect the President of Nigeria), Governor Elections (to elect the governors of each of the 36 states in Nigeria), National Assembly Elections (the Senate and the House of Representatives form the National Assembly), State Assembly Elections (the State Assembly, which is the state government Legislative branch) and local government members, including council members and vice-presidents. A simple majority of voters decides who wins the election, which takes place every four years.
However, according to the INEC, a candidate for the office of President or Governor will be declared a candidate if he receives the most votes in the election and receives not less than 25% of all votes cast in each contest with at least two-thirds of the votes cast. Winner All Federal States and Federal Capital Territory, Abuja (President’s Office) or Local Government Areas of the State (Governor’s Office).
Existing challenges and controversies
Politicians pay or give items to voters in exchange for their support. Such practices tarnish the integrity of the political process and make it difficult for candidates in need to afford votes. Many voters face suppression, which can take the form of fraudulent voter registration, voter intimidation, and polling place violence, especially in areas of high resistance.
Nigeria’s electoral system needs revision as it cannot manage large numbers of voters. As a result, long lines, looting and uncertainty at polling places are common, leaving voters feeling disenfranchised and apathetic. There have been claims of vote manipulation, ballot filling and other electoral fraud, with politicians “allegedly” using their positions to benefit themselves and their supporters.
major political parties
Although Nigeria has a multi-party system with about 18 registered political parties signing the peace agreement and participating in the elections, the Progressive National Congress Party (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) are the two main parties pulling Nigeria’s Democratic Forces due to their early Presence and talent of political members. As retrieved from the APC, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP) and a faction of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) merged to form the APC.
The APC is empowered by a resolution voted at its General Assembly and by prior unique identity. The party, whose motto “change” is based on democratic and progressive principles, has shown strong electoral strength against opposition parties since it was first adopted. The party’s emblem depicts a hand holding a broom, representing its mission to eradicate corruption, poverty and insecurity.
Established in 1998, the PDP has a large membership of traditional leaders, academics and business owners.It gained popularity in the army, adding about 100 retired senior officers, including Olusegun Obasanjo, former military ruler of Nigeria (1976–1979). Under his leadership, the People’s Democratic Party achieved dominance across the country. The PDP ruled Nigeria from 1999 to 2015. It is a center-left party with a large support base in the south of the country. While the party’s motto, “Power to the people,” is based on democratic and socialist principles, the party’s umbrella symbol represents a “defense” or “shield” against various forms of economic distress.
The Social Democratic Party (SDP) is another party that is trying to gain support alongside the APC and PDP. Founded in 1989, the party emphasizes social democracy. It has a considerable following in the southwest of the country.
Another centre-left party with a strong following in southern Australia is the Labor Party (LP), which was formed in 2002 to place social democracy at the heart of its ideology. Formed in 2018, the African Democratic Congress (ADC) is a faltering party with strong support in the south-west of the country. The party’s motto “Freedom and Unity” is based on democratic principles.
The New Nigerian People’s Party (NNPP) was founded in 2002 by Boniface Aniebonam and has consistently appeared in elections since its inception. Aniebonam assures party members and citizens that there is a better vision for the country. The famous Naija recorded a speech saying, “We are the beautiful brides of the North and we want to expand to all over Nigeria as the best party.”
Voter Participation and Turnout
Elections in Nigeria are worrisome as voter turnout continues to decline despite attempts by politicians and other authorities to promote active citizen participation through awareness-raising and political education.as revealed Premium era, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) recorded 84,004,084 registered voters in Nigeria’s 2019 general elections, but only 28,614,190 (33.81%) of them cast their ballots. The 2015 election turnout was 29.4%.
Despite its large population, the country still needs help boosting turnout, especially among young people. Most citizens, like eligible voters, sat in their respective homes during Election Day on the grounds that their votes would not be counted, while others did so out of fear of insecurity.
However, voter education initiatives are needed to increase awareness of the value of voting and educate people about the voting process to increase voter turnout in Nigeria. Political parties must engage with young people and address their issues.
[Conner Tighe edited this article.]
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Fair Observer.