n Journal of African Elections - Democracy Deferred : the effects of electoral malpractice on Nigeria’s Path to Democratic consolidation

Volume 15 Number 2
  • ISSN : 1609-4700



The conduct of free and fair elections provides a yardstick to measure the quality of democracy in a country. Credible elections are the platform on which the populace partakes in democracy by electing representatives of their choice as public office holders. This process enhances the confidence of voters in democratisation, and rekindles the prospect of consolidating democratic institutions, particularly in democratising states. The conduct of elections in Nigeria since 1999 has been inundated with spiralling malpractices in the electioneering process. The trend has worsened with each round of elections, as typified by the 1999, 2003 and 2007 polls. During these three elections, rigging, violence and intimidation flourished. How do such malpractices affect the quality of Nigeria’s democracy? How do electoral malpractices affect the outcome of elections in Nigeria? Can democracy be consolidated in Nigeria in the face of elections that do not reflect the will of the voters? How can Nigeria chart a credible path towards stabilising the country’s democracy? This paper presents qualitative data and an analysis of the above questions. I argue that it is not the regularity of elections that can strengthen democratic heritage in Nigeria, but how transparent the country’s electoral process is.

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