Democracy on the Path to Detention Nigeria Electoral System in Perspective
4 Pages Posted: 19 Aug 2010
Date Written: August 18, 2010
Nothing seems to have held out much promise for a country that has suffered under successive military rule for many years than the return to electoral democracy in May, 1999. It was therefore, an ‘open sesame’ when the military were marched back to the barracks in change of guard for democratic governance in Nigeria. As the event unfolded, the press and many Nigerians cities went agog to celebrate this return in high hope. But unfortunately, the new ruler that emerged, as political events in the last ten years have shown, did not however satisfy the craving need for democracy despite the long wait. Political elites could hardly show that they are any better than the erstwhile military junta. Like the military before them, they could not meet the aspirations of the people for a democratic freedom and for an improvement in the material conditions of their life. It is therefore annoying, that ten years after the return to civilian rule, Nigeria still lacks adequate democratic legitimacy, as every election since then has been marred by violence, intimidation, bribery, vote-rigging, irregularities, system fraud and deliberate manipulation. Results of election primaries were altered and losers were substituted for winners while party constitutions were amended and re-amended at will in order to suit the vim and caprices of party leaders among others. Given the above development, it would appear that the political class has not learnt its lesson. If the masses are to decide and consequently take their future in their hands, they need a genuine democratic atmosphere and the evolution of an enviable and enduring electoral system becomes the critical political question.
Keywords: Corruption, democracy, electoral system, party politics
JEL Classification: D06, D07
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation