n Journal of African Elections - Electoral reform and the prospects of democratic consolidation in Nigeria : democratisation in Nigeria

Volume 10, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1609-4700


The article analyses the ongoing electoral reform process in Nigeria and the prospects for the consolidation of democracy. Specifically, it explores the justifications for reform, evaluates the mechanisms adopted to promote electoral reform, notably the inauguration of the Electoral Reform Committee, its report, government's white paper on the report and the implementation of approved reform measures. Generally, the reforms have been targeted at instituting a strong election management body with substantial administrative and financial autonomy and at promoting a democratic political culture within parties and the populace. Drawing concrete insights from the 2011 Nigerian elections, which provided the first litmus test of the possible impact of the reform on the democratisation process, the article argues that while the reform process holds some promise of consolidation, it does not go far enough. Though institutional designs matter for effective electoral governance institutional reengineering without corresponding attitudinal and behavioural reform is not sufficient. The strategic decisions of the political actors, both senior and junior, to take advantage of the institutional reform process within legally permissible limits hold an important key to the restoration of credibility and public trust in the electoral process and its outcome.

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