n African Renaissance - Five factors that influenced the outcome of 2015 Nigerian presidential election

Volume 12 Number 3-4
  • ISSN : 1744-2532
  • E-ISSN: 2516-5305


The outcome of the 2015 presidential election is well known. The elections have been deemed peaceful, credible, transparent, free and fair. Yet several assessments and presumptions about the key issues and critical factors that drove the electoral process and its eventual outcome are highly exaggerated. Such customary electoral-political drivers as ethnicity, campaign promises for jobs, development, security, fight against corruption, and delivery of basic amenities including healthcare, education and social welfare may have played a role in the elections. This paper, however, contends that there were five distinct contextual factors that influenced the outcome of the 2015 presidential election. These are the Boko Haram insurgency; inability to rescue the Chibok girls; external pressure from powerful nations; the 'integrity appeal' of the main opposition candidate; and the fear factor of national implosion. These five factors shaped the context of the elections, providing the fertile ground on which other explanatory factors were magnified. The failure of the Jonathan administration to properly handle the Boko Haram insurgency and rescue the Chibok girls, increased the appeal of the opposition party's presidential candidate, especially in Northeast region. This paper concludes that all these factors magnified the impact of external pressure on President Jonathan to conduct a free and transparent election and honour its outcome, and heightened fears that of national implosion, if he were re-elected. President Jonathan's lack of performance legitimacy led to denying him electoral legitimacy.

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