1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Democracy which has multiple of variant of definitions and meanings is believed to have a worldwide acceptance as the best form of government. And if one may argue, the concept has been either imposed or largely accepted as the best form of governance. However, this system of government is characterised by certain shortcomings which are either external or internal. i.e domestic causes and or foreign influences. In the case of Nigeria, the concept of democracy has become difficult to define and this is because, the very factor which qualifies a democracy (free and fair election) has been difficult to achieve in Nigeria.
Since independence the country’s democratization processes had witnessed massive electoral fraud followed by violence which has compromised the very ethics of liberal democracy inspite of several electoral reforms that have no positive effect. And this predicament to democratization process in Nigeria has rather been on the increase and there is no evidence of any serious and sincere effort made to stop it from reaching an unwanted level. Virtually, these have been breeding all sorts of violent scenarios to the possible feature of a total anarchy, a situation which some consider Nigeria moving towards a failed state.
These predicaments have been a worrisome episode as many politicians particularly those in government resort to the use of threat and violence to pursue their political goals, eg Obasanjo’s “do or die” statement in 2007. Since return to civil rule in May 1999, the country has witnessed more violence with an estimated loss of life of more than 10,000 people (Jega, 2007:255) mostly during the period of elections with some 700 violent election related incidents between November 2006 to March 2007 (Herskovits, 2007:115) and as well more than 300 killed during the 2007 elections alone (Human Right Watch 2007). Thus, bringing the question to what exactly is democracy in Nigeria. Because, democracy in the ideal sense, offers the ordinary citizens the best chance to live under a regime of fair laws enacted in the national interest as opposed to a tyrannical or despotic regime.
Furthermore, a democratic system provides a conducive atmosphere for the evolution of a culture of debate, exchange of ideas, an environment with a traditionally vigorous and out spoken free press that promote peaceful coexistence. A democracy is supposed to provide the best condition for economic development, employment opportunities, and conducive atmosphere for individual citizens to go ahead with their business. In essence, for democracy to succeed, a free, fair and credible elections are rightly considered as significant hallmark of a democratic system (Thorpe, 2007), and not coincidentally election rigging which has triggered the demise of Nigeria’s earlier attempts at democracy since independence. (Herskovits, 2007:115, Jega, 2007:56-71)
1.2 STATEMENT OF RESEARCH PROBLEM
This study examines the extent to which election riggings pose a threat to national security and democratic governance in Nigeria using the 2007 presidential (general) elections as a case study.
1.3 JUSTIFICATION/OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The objective of the study is to explore or investigate the possibilities of changes and fears associated with political or electoral frauds in a democracy. It is equally to show that election rigging is a threat to national security and democracy. Hopefully this will increase our knowledge about the necessity for fair and free elections.
Justification to debunk the claim of those who see election crises as a product of ethnic politics as all three major contenders of the 2007 presidential election were from the north and are also of the same (Islam) religious faith. Etc. This study is significant in the sense it will improve our understanding of the damage that election rigging and violence pose to our National security.
The study is based on a number of assumptions thus:
- The Involvement of security agents and election officials to rig election undermine democratic governance and thus a grater threat to national security.
- Poverty and corruption are responsible for the inability of the population to fight rigging.
- Election rigging and violence has a negative consequence for national security.
1.5 SCOPE AND LIMITATION
The study focus on the democratization process covering the period of 2007 general (Presidential) election which are considered to be a transition from civil-to-civil rule with no interruption. In addition to why the researcher choose 2007 presidential election as focus of the study was that, the three major contenders of the 2007 presidential election are all of the same religious faith (Muslims) thus, minimizes the chances of bias. Northwest was chosen for easy accessibility, limited cost and as well home to the two major contenders in the 2007 presidential election.
1.6 CLARIFICATION OF KEY CONCEPTS
In our conceptual definitions we look at the following terms as basic to the study.
- Ø Democracy and Democratization
- Ø Electoral Rigging and Violence
- Ø Threat and National Security
The struggle to define democracy today has become a major ideological battle as noted by Gills and Rocamora (1992:501). In other word definition of democracy vary from institutional changes to socioeconomic emancipation and the development of democratic culture. Democracy include the right of people to live their own aspirations and programmes, not only in political life, but also in economic, cultural, religious and other aspects of life including the right of people to participate fully in decisions that affect their life. (Imam 1991:5-6)
“Democracy is about local people being in charge of their lives, being able to take charge of their resources and making power flow from them and not the other way around” (cited in IDEA, 2001:7). Democracy is a process …. Elections are just an important event in that process … under my leadership; we shall strengthen democracy by deepening and widening the democratization process through dialogue…” (Obasanjo in IDEA, 2001:4). For Buhari “A consensus has emerged for democracy as the choice of the people worldwide – provided there will be free and fair election”. He went further to assert that; “Democracy does not take root easily, and is full of short comings but it remains still the least evil of many forms of government in our time” – (in Adamu Adamu, 1999:260)
Democracy, like beauty, is in the eyes of the beholder (Shafritz, 1988:162). This is to say, like all other concepts in the social sciences, the term is subject to various conceptions and conceptualization. Historically, democracy is said to originate from Ancient Athens some hundreds years B.C. and later adopted in Western Europe following emergence of revolutionary movements, American war of independence, French revolution of 1789 and much later through colonial expansion to most of the third world countries, and Eastern Europe following the collapse of Soviet Union in the early 90’s. As time goes on, specifically after the World War II, two dominant perspectives on democracy emerged. These are: Western Liberal democracy and Socialist democracy. With the former gaining upper hand over the later. However, no matter how democracy is understood, interpreted or practiced, it has a generally agreed upon philosophical justification premised on certain universally cherished human values and ideals: freedom; equity, and justice (Nnoli 1986:166). Nevertheless, there is no single recipe for implementing these values in all societies. For instance, Rousseau in opposition to French monarchy among other obstacles to human freedom maintains that “man is born free, yet every where he is in chains”. In other word, Man is by nature free, equal and independent (Locke 1952 :5) The American Declaration of Independent in 1776 was also justified on similar ground: “we hold the truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty and pursuit of happiness” (Whisker, 1980:247).
Democracy is therefore a continuous process and struggle towards the actualization of these values. No country has ever attained the peak of this democratic historical evolution as to warrant “The end of History” (Fukuyama, 1993). Democracy, according to (Ubah 2001) has two principal elements – political freedom and social justice. (Akomolafe 1993) it spells respect for the rule of law, freedom of speech, opinion, expression, association, religion and free enterprise. While (Guttman 1987) view democracy as the ability to deliberate and participate in a conscious social – reproduction, and should be devoid of discrimination and repression (cited in Kwanashie 2003:159).
David Held is of the view that liberal democracy in its contemporary form includes a cluster of rules and institutions permitting the broader participation of the majority of citizens in the selection of representative who alone can make political decision. In other words, the cluster includes elected government; free and fair elections in which every citizen’s vote has an equal weight; a suffrage which embraces all citizens irrespective of distinctions of race, religion, class, sex and so on; freedom of conscience, information and expansion on all public matter broadly defined; the rights of all adults to oppose their government and stand for office; and associational autonomy – the right to form independent associations including social movements, interest groups and political parties (Held 1993:16).
Heater’s own conception of democracy is essentially a method of organizing society politically. He suggests five basic elements without which no community can call itself truly democratic thus: equality, sovereignty, and respect for human life, rule of law and liberty of the individual. Heater’s definition underlines the cardinal contents of liberal democracy. However, Diamond pointed out that democracy entails meaningful and extensive competition among individuals and organized groups (especially political parties) either directly or indirectly for the major positions of governmental power, In addition to the popular participation in the electoral process and respect of civil and political rights of the people (Diamond 1988:4).
Theoretically, democracy in the context of Nigeria is the government by the people as a whole rather than by any section, class or interest within it. It also means system of government whereby the right of the individual person – political, civil and economic are respected and protected by the state. It is also a political system where the citizens determine their mode of rule through participation either direct or representative democracy by electing officials to whom they grant a mandate to rule. (Scruton, cited in Kwanashie 2003:159).
In summary, democratic practice reflects the following ideas:
i. Popular participation in the decision that shape the lives of individuals in a society.
ii. Government by majority rule, with recognition of the right of minorities to try to become majorities. These rights include the freedom of speech, press, assembly, and petition and the freedom to dissent, to form opposition parties, and to run for public office.
iii. A commitment to individual dignity and the preservation of the liberal values of life, liberty and property.
iv. A commitment to equal opportunity for all individuals to develop their capacities (cited in Dye and Zeigler 1996:7). And all these could be achieved through a credible free and fair elections.
1.6.2 ELECTORAL RIGGING AND VIOLENCE
According to Amadu Kurfi (2005:101) rigging is the manipulation of the electoral process to the advantage of a particular candidate or political party, which can be perpetuated at any level of the electoral process from the delimitation of the constituencies to the adjudication of election disputes and that even the promulgation of the electoral law could be subject to abuse by partisan administration or bureaucracy as witnessed during the enactment of electoral act 2001 and 2002. This electoral manipulation remains inevitable without the connivance of election participants such as: candidates, polling agents, security agents, polling clerks, election/returning officers, presiding officers and the electorate at large.
The objectives of electoral rigging are mainly to frustrate the democratic aspiration of citizens who have voted, or would have voted into office someone other than the rigged individual – (Ibrahim 13th -14th February 2007). These forms of electoral fraud in Nigeria according to Ibrahim include:
i. Compilation of fictitious names on voters registers.
ii. Illegal compilation of separate voters’ list.
iii. Abuses of the voter registration revise exercise.
iv. Illegal printing of voters cards
v. Illegal possession of ballot boxes.
vi. Stuffing of ballot boxes with ballot papers.
- Falsification of election results.
- Illegal thumb – printing of ballot papers.
ix. Under aged voting.
x. Illegal printing of the forms used for collation and declaration of election results.
xi. Deliberate refusal to supply election materials to certain areas.
- Announcing results in places where no elections were held.
- Unauthorized announcement of elections results.
- Harassment of candidates, agents and voters.
- Change of list of electoral officials.
- Ballot box-switching and inflation of figures. etc.
For Umar (2003) in the realm of politics, rigging of election is the worst form of political violence thus, undermining a democratic process and endangers the security of the state, the stability of the economy and provokes life threatening subsidiary physical violence. In the context of Nigeria, election rigging is an act or conduct of subverting an entire electoral process through massive organized fraud to take over governmental affairs in violation of section 1 of the 1999 and 1979 Constitutions. – (Umar 2003:40-42).
On the other hand, electoral violence is used inter-changeably with political violence. While political violence is much broader in nature, electoral violence on the other hand is a limited aspect of political violence which is often associated with the process of election (Ogundiya in Jega 2007:247). Electoral violence remains the greatest challenges to many democratizing societies like Nigeria. Examples of electoral violence are: Murder, arson, abduction, assault, violent seizure and abduction of electoral materials (Jegede in Jega 2007:248). With purpose and or intention by individual or groups to influencing the outcome of an election to their own interest e.g. recent events in Kenya and Zimbabwe carried out by world Medias are of clear examples of how dangerous electoral frauds are. In essence, political violence is both a curse in itself and an obstacle to accountable and legitimate government. It is one variant of the struggle for powers- (Collier, 2009:1-3).
Ogundiya defined electoral violence thus: “Electoral violence includes all sorts of riots, demonstrations, party clashes, political assassinations, looting arson, thuggery, kidnapping, etc. spontaneous or not, which occur before, during and after elections. It could be regarded as elections motivated crises employed to alter, change or influence by force or coercion, the electoral behaviours of voters or voting patterns or possibly reverse electoral decision in favour of a particular individual, groups or political party” – (cited in Jega 2007:248). Thus, electoral violence is a product of electoral malpractices or rigging. In general terms, all forms of violence that emanates at any stage, from difference in views, opinions and practices during the process of elections, could be regarded as electoral violence. Electoral violence is the employment of force by political parties or their supporters to intimidate opponents and threats to a democratic regime, and has often accounted for seizure of political power by the use of undemocratic means such as force – (Balogun, 2003). In some instances, such violence are aimed at intimidating opponents to deny them freedom of expression and choice and at times the violence arise in reaction to rigging of elections. In other words, (Nweke, 2005:387) said electoral violence is “any form of physical force applied at disorganizing [The] electoral process, destructions of electoral materials, and intimidating of [The] electorate to vote against their wishes” (cited in Odofin and Omojuwa 2007:46).
These forms of violence according to Yusuf Bala Usman are what characterized the history of election in Nigeria since pre-independence period to date (Usman 2002:1-134).
1.6.3 THREAT AND NATIONAL SECURITY
A threat according to Imobighe represents anything that can undermine the security of a nation, or anything that constitutes a danger to its survival as a corporate entity, as well as undermines the prospects of the harmonious relationship of the various communities that make up a nation, or the peaceful co-existence of its people. Any act or intention that has the potential of undermining peace, stability and progress of a nation could be regarded as a threat. – (cited in Ekoko & Vogt 1990:224). Thus, anything that can undermine the progress and stability of a nation both socially, politically and economically is termed as threat. Imobighe also sees threat as a declaration of intent to injure, harm or punish an opponent usually with a view to restraining his freedom of action or changing his future behaviour along a desired direction (Imobighe 1992).
In the context of national security, a threat can be described or viewed from the internal and external perspective, ranging from military confrontation, political upheavals, economic decay, terrorism, subversion, sabotage and all other forms of instabilities that may cause or harm a society. According to Imobighe, Nigeria suffers much of these forms of threats within (internal source) among which are: religious and political intolerance and as well as gross resources mismanagement which can best be termed as corruption (Ekoko & Vogt 1990:226). In other words Ukpabi (1986:147) was of the view that, there is hardly any country which does not have one form of threat or another and there is hardly any state which can claim to provide or overcome all types of threat associated with it. Thus, the need for a careful study and measures needed to prevent it.
Ensuring security is among the fundamental responsibilities of any government as set forth in the constitution and that one of the primary objectives of any nation is to ensure the security and economic well being of its people … (A Draft of the Armed forces transformation committee report April 2008). The concept of national security once meant military power which consists of:
i. Defence of the realm
ii. Prosecution of war
iii. Disposition of armed forces
iv. Nuclear weapons
v. Activities of securities and intelligence services. etc.
However, the purpose of National Security is to safeguard national values, and the most fundamental value of any nation is survival, self preservation and self perpetuation. According to Matthew (1989) “global development now suggests the need for another analogous, broadening definition of national security to include: resources, environment and demographic issues (Mathews, 1989:162-177). For Torulagha (2004) National Security must also include: “good governance … anything short of the totality of good governance minimizes the meaning of national security …” (www.gamji.com accessed on 12/02/2004). The rest of the world has now come to recognize economic imbalance, environmental issues, terrorism and proliferation of weapons, international health concerns, international migration, natural resources etc. as part of national security – (Tickner, 1994:180-193, Ullman, 1993:153, Ayoob, 1991:261; Ketzenstein 1996:9). In other words, national security is about national interest and defence, thus, the defence and security of any nation is predicated on certain philosophical foundation without which it will definitely lack focus and direction. In this respect, any country’s defence and security – must necessarily place premium on national interest and values, protect the integrity of state and protect the interest that makes this integrity meaningful – (Vogt 1990:31).
In other words, the major goal of any civilized society is to ensure the maintenance of law and order as well as to guarantee the general security of lives and property of the citizens and to ensure public tranquillity (Balogun, 2003). Thus, in the context of Nigeria, National Security in its broader sense, implies the absence of threat to lives, property and socio-economic well being of the people – (Memorandum submitted to the Presidential Committee on National Security in Nigeria by Citizens Forum for Constitutional Reform, February 8th 2002).
Despite the foregoing definition, yet there is no agreed single or universally accepted definition of the concept of National Security because the concept can be viewed from different perspectives i.e. conventional and non-conventional aspects. For example, according to Fage (2007), the concept can best be defined based on two schools of thought:- namely the minimalist and maximalist perspectives. The minimalist school of thought rests on a strong military system to deter force aiming at changing the society and also provides a means of fighting if the attack is not deterred (Galtung 1982:25). Minimum conditions which must be met are state’s territorial integrity, basic level of well-being for its citizens and maintenance of both. Thus, according to this school of thought material well-being have to do with military capability which is necessary to protect the physical territory of a state against external aggression, subversion, sabotage, etc. and as well, all other issues that will enable the nation to marshal its military might, a healthy economic growth, national resources and cohesive population (Husbands, 1981). There are also the intangible elements of national power such as the nation’s self-confidence in its capability as well as having a national will to use its assets in pursuit of its interest.
The maximalist on the other hand rejects the idea of military system as the key to national security. It bases its argument for a more holistic and integrated approach to national security. Although while some scholars within this school of thought argued in favour of a broad and all encompassing definition of national security, others argued for an indivisible definition of national security. They maintain that national security is not only for the protection of the citizens and the territory from aggression but it is also concerned with economic and political interests of the nation which remain the fundamental values of a nation (Jordan and Taylor 1981). While for Oberg and Wilberg (1984), they rejected the conventional narrow militaristic view of national security. They argued that security measures must be directed towards immaterial objects like life-style, culture, freedom, identity and the protection of nature. There must be individual satisfaction of the basic needs like food, clothing, housing, health, education and work. No matter how much weaponry an individual may have at his disposal, they posit that an individual lacking in basic rights to speak, travel, meet and communicate is also not secured human being.
Other scholars insist that security is also not indivisible but that all nations have collective interest in preserving it. For example Fage, quotes Buzzan as saying “the concept of security binds together individuals, states and international systems so closely that it demands to be treated in a holistic perspective. Although some sense can be made of individual security, national security and international security in their own right a full understanding of each can only be gained if it is reflected to the other two attempts to treat security on any single level invite serious distortions of perspectives.” Fage therefore defines National Security “as nations ability by (whatever means) to create a conducive environment (domestic and external) that ensures the social, economic and political well-being of the nation and its people and or promotes the nations values. Thus, “it must be realized that the security of the individual is as important as the security of the state and that human security is for all and not for just a few. Accordingly, security is an essential element of democracy as the insecurity of individuals, usually the result of poverty, deprivation and social injustice, is a threat to democracy since one of the major reasons for individuals to form states is security” (International IDEA, 1996:59)
In the words of Takaya (1989) the concept of national security is used in its widest sense to include not only the measures relating to the preservation of a country’s physical entity, but also the preservation of its political stability, its economic and national interest as well as general protection of the safety and well-being of its citizens.
LITERATURE AND THEORETICAL FRAME WORK
2.1.1 LITERATURE REVIEW
An important element of modern representative government is the process of election. Free and Fair Elections have been so closely tied to the growth and development of representative democratic government that they are now generally held to be the single most important indicator of the presence or absence of democratic government. This is because elections belong to the people and the principles for a democratic elections are usually traced to the wishes, aspirations and the right of citizens to take part in government and in the conduct of public affairs of their countries, through elections and or mandate as enshrined in article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Right and article 25 of the international covenant on civil and political right (ICCPR) (Patrick, 2008). Elections are the institutional technology of democracy. They have the potential to make government both more accountable and more legitimate. Election should sound the death knell to political violence- (Collier, 2009:2).
An election may be defined as the manner of choice agreed upon by a group of people which enables them to select one or a few people out of many to occupy one or a number of authority positions. This manner of choice usually involves rules and regulations designed to ensure a certain degree of fairness and justice to all concerned. It is the most modern form of recruitment of personnel into public offices, and is deemed to be a very crucial aspect of the democratic process; irrespective of the type of democracy that is practiced (Nnoli, 1986:144).
2.1.2 BASIC ELEMENTS OF CREDIBLE ELECTIONS
It should be noted that in whatever context the process of election is used, certain basic elements must be present. An election usually entails the selection of a few people by a larger number to fill predetermined political vacancies. Elections also imply an element of choice in that the electors have an option to select either from a number of individuals or a political parties range of programmes. Lastly, election also implies the fact that each elector exercises his or her right to choose independently of or without consultation with other electors. This is because a genuine democratic election remains the vehicle through which the people of a country freely express their wishes, on a basis establish by law, as to who should have the legitimacy of governance (Thorpe, 2009).
For election to be genuinely democratic other internationally recognised human right must also be broadly exercised in the electoral context among which include right to associations, expression, opinion and peaceful assemblies and freedom of opposition (Patrick, 2008). In a nutshell, elections not only typify the democratic process, but it also gives legitimacy to those in power. In this context, given the crucial role of election in democracy, a nascent democracy either just emerging from authoritarian rule, or a state trying to “re-democratize in post-military politics” (Hague, et.al, 1992: 470) as in the case of Nigeria must find a means of ensuring creditable elections as basis for democratic consolidation.
Consolidation of democracy has been defined as “the process by which democracy becomes so broadly and profoundly legitimate and so habitually practiced and observed that it is very unlikely to break down” (Diamond, 1988: 69 as quoted in Oche O. (2004) (edited) by Salihu). Juan Linz and Alfred Stephan have identified three interrelated developments that signal a movement towards consolidation, these are: behaviour; attitude and the constitution.
i. Behaviourally, when no significant national, social, economic, political or institutional actor in the country spends significant resources attempting to achieve his objective by creating non-democratic regime or by seceding from the state;
ii. Attitudinally, when a strong majority of public opinion holds the belief that democratic procedures and institutions are the most appropriate way to govern collective life in a society such as theirs, and support for anti-system alternatives is small and isolated; and
iii. Constitutionally, when government and non-governmental forces become habituated to the resolution of conflict within the specific laws, procedures and institutions sanctioned by the new democratic process.
Focusing on democratic consolidation in Africa, Claude Ake is of the opinion that democratic consolidation suppose to make a positive impact or improve the existential realities of Africa i.e. economic empowerment; developmental concerns; state building; and lastly, reduction in the power of the Presidency coupled with a greater balance of power between the three arms of government.
As election is central to democracy, so is credible elections is central to the survival and consolidation of democracy. In other word, a stable political environment with a sound political will and a solid electoral legal framework, based on internationally recognised electoral system, are prerequisites to credible elections and democratic governance, that can contribute to peace and stability of a nation and without which a fraudulent election may lead to chaos and anarchy (Thorpe, 2009). In other word according to Paul Collier (2009), the method of organising election among the bottom billion (backward countries) pressured by United State and Europe is not truly democracy rather it can be seen as democrazy, this is because elections among these countries is mostly a matter of life and death- (Collier, 2009:15).
2.1.3 SURVEY OF ELECTORAL CONDUCTS 1959-2003
A survey of Nigeria’s political history to date with specific reference to the federal elections has shown that the absence of credible elections threatened the existence of the first and second republics in the country. As noted by Oyediran, “election in Nigeria, with the possible exception of the 1959 and 1979 elections have been a recurring source of disputes, strong arm twisting tactics, crises and conflict. Electoral crisis characterized by abuses of the electoral process …. have had deleterious effects on democracy in Nigeria” (Jega: 2007: 1-2). Thus it can be said that a critical challenge of democratic sustainability and consolidation in Nigeria, is that of getting both the electoral process and election administration right” (Jega, 2007:2).
In the words of Anthony Enahoro, Nigeria became the only country “in the entire history of the anti-colonial struggles of our time in which those who fought for independence were not those who had the privilege and the historic duty of meeting the challenges of independence”. In effect, the allegation is that the run up elections of 1959 that were conducted under the Electoral Commission of Nigeria (ECN) were rigged by the British to ensure that they retained control over the life of society in Nigeria (Iyayi, 2006:2).
Similarly, Ademoyega (1981:19) who participated in the January 1966 coup has suggested that: “The elections of December 1964 turned out to be a farce. It was completely boycotted in the Eastern Region, where the NCNC Government used its powers to ensure that no election was held. It was also partly boycotted in the West and North East, The Mid-West and Lagos, with the effect that the election results lacked credit and was nationally unacceptable; however, while the UPGA rejected them, the NPC and its allies of the NNA, which single-handedly carried out the elections, accepted them. There followed a national stalemate. This election and others at regional levels especially the West in 1965 set the stage for the first military coup in Nigeria on January 15, 1966.
In the 1983 elections, the NPN government perpetrated all sorts of electoral atrocities. The voting process, voter registration, and actual vote’s casts were all grossly distorted. To produce the so-called landslides or was it moon slides and bandwagon effects: the order of elections was reversed and voters’ registers inflated. For example, whereas the order of election provided that the presidential elections are held last, the NPN government decided that these elections would come first. In Modakeke, a suburb of Ife, voter registration jumped from an original 26,000 voters to 250,000 voters thus making the voting population there more than the voting population of the whole of Ife. Indeed at the national level, the Federal Electoral Commission (FEDECO) announced that voter registration had increased from 48, 499, 1097 in 1971 to 65, 304, 818 in 1983. Not surprisingly, the results of the elections were rejected by the opposition parties and the ensuing crisis provided the context for the military to stage another coup on December 31, 1983. (Jinadu, 1990:110-112, Ajayi, 2007).
The worst picture of the federal elections came in 2003. A typical example is what Alkasum Abba described as ‘single party victory’. According to him, a new element in the Nigerian electoral politics has been introduced. This is the absolute victory of a single party in a local government area. This is found in Bayelsa State, where the PDP won with wide margins against its rivals at both the gubernatorial and presidential elections. The result of the elections in these Local Governments, namely Brass and KoloKuma/Opokuma shows that every person who voted, voted for the PDP. This is unusual in a plural democracy. Bayelsa is the only state to produce such result in Brass, at the gubernatorial election the PDP obtained the votes of all the 73,706 people who voted on that day. The same number of people voted for the PDP presidential candidate. The same story goes for the KoloKuma/Opokuma Local Government, where the 43, 329 valid votes cast in both the gubernatorial and presidential elections went entirely to the PDP candidates ( Abba, 2003:9).
Moreover, the Justice Development and Peace Committee of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, in its official report on the 19th April presidential and gubernatorial elections, categorically reported boycotts and low voter turnout in Ebonyi, Rivers and Bayelsa State, among other states in the South-East and the South-South (Analysis 2003:9). However, the result of the election shows that there were not only hundred per recent voter’s turnout, but that the ruling party won the elections in all the states (Human Right Watch, 2003).
2.1.4 ELECTION MANAGEMENT BODY
Nigeria has witnessed various electoral management body since 1959 pre-independence election to date. These include:
- electoral commission of Nigeria (ECN) which conducted the Pre-independence election of 1959.
- Federal electoral commission (FEC) established in 1960 which conducted Post-independence federal and regional election of 1964 and 1965 respectably.
- Federal electoral commission (FEDECO) which conducted the 1979 2nd republic and 1983 general election.
- National electoral commission (NEC) which conducted the controversial June 12th election of 1993.
- National electoral commission of Nigeria (NECON) established in December 1995, which conducted a set of local and National Assembly elections that were never inaugurated.
- Independent National electoral commission (INEC) which conducted the 1999, 2003 and 2007 general election in the country. (INEC website)
INEC is claim to be an independent electoral body compare to all the previous electoral body in the country, yet that ‘independency’ has been criticize to exist only by the name. While the government and the INEC leadership claim the body as independent of governmental control and most efficient. (INEC website). Critiques and international observers have accused the body as non independent and it remain the worst of all previous electoral bodies, considering the negative roles it play in all the previous election of 1999, 2003 and 2007 general election. Was more, the 2007 presidential election in Nigeria was rated to be the worst ever election to be conducted in history. (Foreign Affairs, October 2008). A report of the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) indicate partisanship of the electoral body and the security agents. (TMG report, 2007). Thus one may argue from the foregoing submission that non of the electoral management body in Nigeria can claim independent. This is because, for an election management body to be fully independent, it must be completely independent of the contesting parties and their candidates, and as well pocessed within it a legally enforceable mandate and a well defined jurisdiction, composition and term. It must also be fully empowered regarding the performance of it functions. (papoola, 2006).
Most electoral management bodies in the bottom billion (developing world) are not independent, impartial or competent (IFES, 2005:25. Collier, 2009) to be able to conduct a credible election. However, five basic models to an independent electoral body capable of conducting credible election were outlined by the International Foundation for Electoral System (IFES) and they include:
- election office within the Government. This approach works satisfactorily in most advance countries where respects for civil services is maintain but, it is rarely achievable in transitional democracies.
- Election office within a Government ministry but supervise by a Judicial body.
- An independent election commission manned by experts and directly accountable to the parliament. Such a commission can remain credible when the parliament is not one-sided but, can not work with a single party dominating the legislature and silencing the opposition.
- A multiparty electoral commission with a non partisan leadership and composed of representations by the political parties may be a good model that ensure full participation of all. However, too many political parties in a parliament may course the commission unworkable.
- A non partisan election commission composed of distinguished individuals from a list proposed by the presidency and the legislature reduced by a veto by the political parties and selected by a group of judges could have an autonomy and authority depending on the credibility of the body leadership. (IFES, 2005).
Despite all these and other several recommendations on electoral issues in Nigeria, the major predicament is implementation. A good and recent example is the Uwais electoral reform committee report which has been kept hanging with a lost certainty to it implementation, despite an earlier promised made by “Yar’adua in his inaugural address.
2.1.5 SANITIZING THE ELECTORAL PROCESS
A number of scholars in Nigeria have suggested various means by which they think the electoral process could be sanitized and credible election in particular be conducted. Festus Iyayi is of the opinion that this is “the problem of mindsets in general and election mindsets in particular”. He noted that the problem of elections and in fact, the factor that provides the dynamic elections as a problem in Nigeria is the mindset about politics and power in general and election mindset in particular and that unless we change this mindset about elections, power and politics in Nigeria, our elections will continue to be violent, chaotic, and controversial and in the end threaten the very survival of Nigeria as one nation. (Iyayi 2006:6). Although economic factor play a significant role to a successful democracy as argued by Paul Collier. That contrary to the high income world, democracy in the low income world (which he described as the bottom billion) rather increases political violence- (Collier, 2009:49).
However it is not an impossible task to have free, fair, credible and popularly accepted elections if only we can nurture the right attitudes and mindset to create the proper legal frame work through reformation of the electoral Act, and get in place well trained, motivated and conscientious personnel to handle election administration, we would go very long way towards achieving the desired objective. And that we seem to be practicing democracy without democrats. By and large, discussion about means of sanitizing the electoral process and especially election in Nigeria revolves around emphasis on either the desire of appropriate political culture of Almond and verber’s fashion and more recently Larry Diamond’s representation on the one hand, and the constitutionalist or legalists emphasizing the need to reform the electoral institutions and mechanism through the legal framework (Jega 2004:14). Gaetano Mosca’s “circulation of elites” measured the maturity of a political system by how that system can peacefully remove one group of political leaders and replace them with another group of political leaders without posing a direct threat to the existence of the system. (Moore, 1981:62).
The democratic system in Nigeria’s political history failed in foregoing regard. It is therefore the observation in this thesis that although imbibing and inculcating democratic culture and proper electoral institutional reforms are important in ensuring credible election for democratic consolidation; the way election is approached, organized and carried out could not be independent of the character and interests of the political elites who control state power and the condition of the existing social struggles taking place in Nigerian society. Those who control state power in Nigeria see the state as a ‘spoil system’ the control of which guarantees their continued accumulation of wealth, sustain their existence, survival, and reproduction through primitive accumulation and political clientelism.
The pattern and type of politics which political clientelism breeds is essentially extractive. With the capture of political power, patrons perceive themselves to be in charge of an arena that serves as a source of wealth, benefits, and the disbursement of patronage. This perception of politics encourages a zero sum approach to politics in which the winners take all in order to appease their backers, and to make use of their positions before other patrons take control and divert resources to their own ends. (Oche, in Salihu, 2004).
Now the question is, as far as we see it, what institution or mechanism do we put in place to prevent the party in power especially at the Federal level from rigging the election and continuing in power? The electoral bodies against the popular choice of Nigerians throughout Nigeria’s political history have not been able to be non-partisan. The worst is the present Independent National Election Commission (INEC) in which the chairman of the body is alleged to be the card carrying member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Whether INEC has been independent in 2003 election or not, Nigerians and foreign observers were living witnesses, it has been a terrible disgrace. (Ajayi, Ibrahim, Umar, 13th-14th February 2007)
2.1.6 THE PROBLEM WITH THE JUDICIARY
The judiciary, by and large, has also not been independent of the federal government from the point of view of all previous federal elections petitions in the country. When the ANPP presidential candidate, (the largest opposition party in the country) Muhammadu Buhari complained of malpractices in 2003 election, the ruling party was confident in demanding that he should go to court.
The Nigerian judiciary is saddle with the responsibilities of upholding the principles of social justice, interpretation of the law as well as protection and guidance of the constitution. However, recent activities of the judiciary or weaknesses as a result of certain factors associated with corruption have made the public not only within the country but also the international community to doubt about the independent nature of the Nigerian judiciary.
The recent controversial verdict by the Court of Appeal in upholding the elections of Yar’adua, came with shock in the minds of many Nigerians and election observers who witnessed the April 2007 polls. The ruling was welcome with wide criticism as many lost hope for the success of democratization process in the country. Balarabe Musa called it a “compromised Judiciary” that the Nigerian Judiciary is against all expectations, proving to be a handmaiden in the nefarious stratagem of the ruling government and leadership. That it remains the only conclusion that can be arrived at by any reasonable person from the unpatriotic, patently corrupt, dishonourable and contradictory judgements that have so far engulf the 2007 general election (CNPP 17th June 2008).
An investigation by Sahara reporters based in New York, reveals that, the panel of judges were not only massively bribed by operatives of Yar’adua government but that the circle of compromised actors reached wide – to top editors and columnist, traditional rulers, politicians and religious leaders. (www.saharareporters.com New York 01/03/08). In his bitter remark, reacting to the ruling, the counsel to Buhari, who earlier argue for fear of an ambush due to a gentleman agreement made between the counsels and the panel, Mr. Mike Ahamba (SAN) said “the tribunal erred in law when it failed to valuate the plethora of evidence legally admitted in the proceedings before arriving at the conclusion that he did not prove his case”. It is widely believed that the controversial verdict undermines democratic process in Nigeria as many people have lost hope for the judiciary in promoting Democracy and justice in the country.
2.1.7 GODFATHERISM AND CREDIBLE ELECTIONS IN NIGERIA
One other factor that greatly undermines democratic governance and threatens national security in Nigeria is the issue of ‘god fathers’ and ethnic militias thus:
The concept of godfatherism is firmly establishing itself as a guiding principle in contemporary Nigerian politics. The question is whether such guiding principle is a positive one, encouraging democratic consolidation, stability and development most earnestly desired by a nation starved of hope. The activity of godfathers, their use of violence to achieve control of government machinery make clear that the contrary is the case that the godfathers is the boss of an organised political crime outfit against the Nigerian people (Ololade in the Constitution vol.7 No.2 June 2007:33).
Godfathers are “men who have the power personally to determine both who gets nominated to contest election and who wins in a state”. (Ibrahim 2007). Generally, in the context of power relations in politics, godfathers are the persons who direct the affairs of politics. They are seen or termed as the king-makers. However, available evidence suggests that the concept (godfatherism) in the past was not merely for personal gains, it was never a personal investment, rather the major concerns of godfathers was to ensure good governance. But the concept in contemporary Nigeria has become a dangerous phenomenon simply because of greed, resulting to all sorts of violence and throwing most of Nigerian state into anarchy. The case of Oyo and Anambra is a good example.
The most absurd display of the power of godfatherism in Nigerian politics took place in Anambra state, where the bitter fruits of Nigeria’s 2003 electoral sham came to harvest. This bitterness virtually threw the state into anarchy, where ethnic militias took control of the state, in a factional form rather than the instrument of legitimise violence causing the state to lose public property estimated to the tune of 10billion Naira to various atrocities and arson (cited in The Constitution vol.7 No.2 June 2007:18-26).
The most disheartening and heart rendering story is the evidence which shows presidential connection to the crisis in Anambra state, in which the president (Obasanjo) in a media chart remarked that “the breach of agreement between the (conflicting) parties in Anambra crisis was beyond constitutionality and legality”. The president was also alleged to have openly identified himself with one side of the conflicting group (Tel, Lagos, 13/12/04: 22; 20/12/04: 13-14). Was more, in both cases of Anambra and Oyo state, presidential, security and judicial backing was alleged to be behind the removal or dismissal of the respective state governors (Victor 2008:68), “simply because they breach the agreement made earlier between them and their godfathers”.
It is pertinent to note that the role of godfathers in Nigerian politics has impacted negatively on democracy and political development of the country. Their activities have eroded the electorate’s belief and confidence in the electoral process, the notions of consent, popular mandate and sovereignty are devalued and the basis of democracy grossly eroded. The discovery of six voter registration machines in the house of one of the so-call godfathers in the South-West city of Ibadan is a clear sign of democratic failure with no single action taken by the government. These scary scenarios put the question of integrity on the 2007 general election, which clearly portends the danger for the survival of democracy. (Thisday news online, 28th 01 2007). In other word, Sidel (2007) remarked that:
these ‘local strongmen’ work to achieve position of local monopoly, in which the term of exchange between ‘patron’ and ‘client’ lean heavily in their favour, and in which control over economic and coercive resources facilitates the preservation and manipulation of the scarcities and insecurities experienced by the local populace (The Constitution vol.7 No.2 June 2007:39).
Thus, the major source of threat to Nigeria’s democracy and under development is in no doubt traceable to the door steps of godfatherism. Election in Nigeria at political level shows all the characteristics that correspond to economic structures, particularly visible in what is termed as primitive accumulation of votes. By this Okechukwu Ibeanu means the wining of vote both through objectives and structural violence, and disregard for the rule of law. And it is justified in the name of communal interest, religious and other interests by legitimizing political office through stolen mandate (Ibeanu in Jega and Ibeanu 2007:6).
Ibeanu went further to blame the Nigerian politicians for their failure to play a role in national integration, rather placing much emphasis on voting behaviour along ethnics, religious and other cleavages including corruption and misadministration of election by electoral and judicial bodies as well as ideological confusion among the voters and the political parties. He went further to suggest for an electoral reform, and the need for voters who believe in the process of election and not voters who just cast votes without knowing its importance.
He seem to have forgotten or missed the point that Nigeria does not lack voters who believe in the process of election; more especially given example with high participation of voters during the 2003 election; and whose mandates were believed to be denied as remarked by many foreign and domestic election monitoring groups (BBC news hourly of the 2003 election eve). Other evidence can be linked to 2007 election, a situation which shows a high turn up of voters with no adequate provision of voting materials, with several report of intimidation by the instrument of legitimise violence to deny voters participation.
The lingering issue behind electoral development can be traced to the origin and development of election during the colonial period, where emphasis was more on selection and nomination by the colonial authorities than by popular mandate with restrictive election principles on an income-based adult male suffrage. More specifically the problems with election in Nigeria include ethnicity, leadership crisis, and the census crisis leading to electoral violence and malpractice among political opponents (Nnadozie in jega and Ibeanu 2007:45). Ethnicity and sentiments have remained the major platform of the election campaigning up to 1983 election. A situation were the leaders of the major political parties were known to have made slips during the campaign by calling their parties by the names of the former parties in the 1st Republic as noted by Uba (1989:72) and such actions with the emphasis of maintaining status quo by the incumbency triggered a massive rigging and all sorts of electoral fraud. As well, ethnic identity has been the basis of most voting in the bottom billion (Collier, 2009:26).
It is very clear that the Nigerian election of 1983 is a sham election. It was massively rigged and nobody can honestly, trustfully and scientifically state that Shagari and his lieutenants in the state capital were democratically voted into office. A massive collusion involving the NPN, the FEDECO, the Police and some section of the judiciary had produce government that could not claim legitimacy by dint of even the most rudimentary requirement of bourgeois democracy. (Kyari,1986 cited in Jega and Ibeanu 2007:65)
Similarly the 1993, 1999 and 2003 elections were rather an up shoot of the previous elections characterised by ethnicity, political thuggery, threat and intimidation, kidnapping and assassinations; manipulation of electoral bodies as well as the use of security personnel against political opponent with particular reference to the 2003 general election which witnessed a civilian to civilian continuation.
Falola and Ihoumbere while making a Marxist critique of Nigerians 2nd Republic, they were able to highlight the economic reasons for the catch-as-can-catch tendencies of political elites…as a major factor to 1983 electoral disaster. That attempt by status quo to maintain power has been a major source for electoral malpractices and electoral violence (Junaidu 1990:110). Thus, he blamed the political elite as selfish class, blinded by the lust of power and the spoils of office are ready to violate the constitution, democratic institutions and the electoral process. As well as pointing at persistence of ethnic politics and religious as well as administrative and security problems, associated with lack of adequate personnel training.
2.1.8 ABSENCE OF LEVEL PLAYING FIELD AND ELECTORAL VIOLENCE
The apparently unprecedented nature of non- transparent party primaries… and its resultant colour of politically motivated killings were alarmingly worrisome. That while assassination may seem “a leadership problem in Nigeria”, its exacerbation before, during or after an election share a significant correlation with undemocratic ploys by kingpins and godfathers of the political class to forcefully exclude others from supposed widely open political space (Garba in Jega and Ibeanu 2007:99)
Garba went further to link the chronological event of the 2003 election, characterized by several instances of political thuggery and violence as well as exchange of harsh wording among political parties with intent to personal attack. There is also the implication of the questionable fund raising dinner particularly by the ruling party in the 2007 general election as noted by (Garba in Jega and Ibeanu 2007:97) undermine the culture of democratic value arguing that such behaviour will create a battle ground for, or provide opportunity for money-bags to hijack the parties and make other members bystanders. Such attitude also provide the opportunity for the former incumbent to gleefully sow seeds of corruption while sitting back to its shady harvest as noted by (Nwana in Jega and Ibeanu 2007:101). But fund raising dinners are an integral part of raising fund for democratic elections world wide.
For example, fund raising in US election at most determines the chances or capability of a candidate winning the election. (US election analysis on BBC Hausa programme 7:30hrs 3rd, Nov. 2008).
The 2003 general elections witnessed a complete absence of a level playing ground for popular participation, a situation which the ruling party used to manipulate the instrument of legitimised violence as well as the electoral body to work towards their re-election at all cost against the popular mandate as noted by Garba (2007), an exercise characterised by vote buying and bribery, result falsification, intimidation and harassment, violence and killing of voters, hijacking and snatching of electoral materials, ballot stuffing, under-age and multiple voting as well as forgery and satisfying of fake election results by the electoral officials (CASS 2003:64). Similar event is what characterised the 2007 general election, as reported by many dailies and international media a day after the general election.
The electoral fraud and crisis in the 2003/04 election commenced with the desire and ambition of the vast majority of the office holders within the legislatures at the federal and state level to get a second term at all cost. Similarly the political office holders utilized their power of incumbency to intimidate opponents and that the campaigns before election were characterized by political violence, including assassination of prominent political figures as well as disruption of campaign rallies of the opponents (Oddih in Jega and Ibeanu 2007:166).
He also pointed at the problems with the electoral law and the voting system which was discovered to have some problems that need urgent attention thus:
When there is massive electoral fraud and manipulations so many things result from it. Elections are avenues for concrete expressions of the citizen’s right to choose, participate and engender accountability. These are salient features of democratic government processes. When an election is rigged, choices of the citizens are invariably annulled and the government that emerges cannot represent, protect, and affect the interest and aspiration of the people. A government that takes over power through fraudulent electoral process cannot claim to be democratic or legitimate. The net effect of this development can lead to apathy, leadership crisis, political violence, assassination galore, poor political culture, and insensitivity to the needs of the people. This has been the case in Nigeria since 1999 (cited in Jega and Ibeanu 2007:179)
Oddih went further to assert that, although there is civil rule, but electoral fraud has provided the absence of civil democracy and such a situation has invariable led to virtually, all the social, political, economic and cultural problems the country is battling with. For him, the unemployment, ethnic-religious conflict, armed robbery, cultism, assassination galore, corruption, abuse of the rule of law are all features of the contemporary Nigerian democracy.
Electoral fraud is the single most potent threat to democratic transition in Nigeria. Rigging is perpetrated by all political parties relative to their strength. However, it is the party with “incumbency factor” that can rig to make the differences between winning and losing an election. Incumbency, particularly at the federal level guarantees access to and control over election materials and the electoral commission, security agencies and limitless state resources (Kyari in Jega and Ibeanu 2007:209). For Kyari, the lack of free and fair elections will ultimately lead to total loss of faith in the system and that, though the court may make a difference in few cases but, the building and sustenance of democratic culture is beyond the capability of the judiciary. In other words, factors precipitating electoral violence in Nigeria includes poor electoral administration, rigging, ethnicity, religious sentiments, poor security system during election, political intolerance, lack of well define ideology by the political parties, chronic economic crisis and poverty (Ogundiya in Jega and Ibeanu 2007:260). Such violence is characterized by wanton destruction of lives and property in what scholars like (Ake, 2001; Nnoli, 1984) term it as warfare.
For Ogundiya (2007), elections in Nigeria since independence have become a political liability and source of instability and that various experiences regarding elections in Nigeria have brought the worst of political thuggery and brigandage as well as unmediated and unrestrained violence. For Adebisi in kwanashie (2003), while making a comparative study with the Ivorian democratic crisis or development, the main reason behind democratic instability in Nigeria can be attributed to the absence of democratic culture, a situation which can push a country to civil war.
For him any other option apart from committed enthronement and practice of democratic principles is an invitation to anarchy (Kwanashie 2003:16-28)
With the possible exception of the 1959 general elections, which were acclaimed as very successful on the grounds, perhaps that they were organised and conducted by the out-going British colonial administration, the other elections planned and executed by Nigerian administrative officials have been blighted by all kinds of “illegalities, irregularities and malpractices” (Okwechime in Jega and Ibeanu 2007:275). In other words Nigeria has never recorded any successful election exercise (political bureau report 1987:139, Onyeka 2003:6).
Rigging of election is the worst form of political violence which endangers the security of the state, and the stability of the economy and there is no doubt that the billions of naira used to fund the rigging of the 2003 general election in Nigeria came from the treasuries of local, state and federal government (Umar, 2003:54). According to Umar (2003), the involvement of traditional rulers, electoral commissioners as well as the cohesive agents of the state as prime factor to election rigging, citing examples with the 2003 general elections constitute subversion of the constitution which is the source of the legitimacy of any government in Nigeria. With Umar’s (2003) assertion on the illegal use of public funds by the political office holders in order to win or rigg an election, it shows that political offices holders focus on looting the money purposely for physical project into their private pocket in order to use such to violently force themselves back to power in an election period as captured in editorial comment of (Analysis August 2002:8) thus:
…this dangerous precedence, with far-reaching implications, is that a politician can get elected; he will systematically loot the public treasury, pocket most of the allocations, and other revenues… to violently force himself back into power…
These remain a continuous process and practice all over the country and that resource supposedly for building up infrastructures are diverted to personal pockets, thus creating institutional weaknesses or decay, and the end result is state failure to establish security. In other words, institutional vote- buying breeds official hostilities towards the people who have legitimately won election. This is one of the factors responsible for electoral violence in Nigeria (Victor, 2008:68) just as votes buying and violence that characterises the Nigerian 2007 general election in which over three hundred (300) people were killed in the course of it (Collier, 2008:1). It is in line with these democratic predicament that Umar suggest for a war against the evil forces that undermined democracy in Nigeria. According to him:
It must be understood that fighting against election rigging in Nigeria is not just fighting for democracy. In the circumstances of Nigeria of today, this war is a war of liberation from passive influence of corrupt money power which is seeking to replace the constitution as the nation’s grand norm. It is, in addition going to be a war for the heart and minds of the Nigerian people who suffered humiliating and dehumanizing experiences even on Election Day. There can be no fences sitters in this kind of war and it is a war that will have to continue even after victory. It is going to be total war using every available democratic weapon….
Umar also gave a profile of an election rigger as:
- He is a dictator and does not believe in the electoral process
- He cannot consider life outside the corridors of power
- He is an emperor and must live in palaces
- Because of the money he paid to rig election he feels he owns the country, the state or the local government
- To him the business of government is a private enterprise with him as the sole proprietor
- He believes every man has his price and to win an election all he needs to do is to ask: how much does it cost?
- To him God has nothing to do with it, as it is just a naked power given to him which there are no rules
- He is a corruption – motivated terrorist with no inhabitants. (Umar, 2003:59)
Although Umar sees an election rigger as those who belief themselves as above the law however, his definition profile of an election rigger has went extreme in the sense that an election rigger does not only involves the high personalities alone but, also those who one way or another participate in election rigging i.e under age voters and multiple voting are all considered as election riggers and some of these people may have engage into this act because of puberty.
So also fear of losing their job, in the case of election officials under a given instructions as well as the lower security personnel’s who take directives and failure to obey may spells a mutiny.
So much blame regarding electoral violence have been attributed to the prolonged military rule and that many see such as greater threat to national security, though it could be, but one may argue with reference to pre independence election violence, the first republic election period as well as the eventual out break of civil war. One can argue that the main source of insecurity lies on the negative attitude of the political elites toward struggle for power and self enrichment in other words, “None of the military Governments came of their own volitions. They were pushed, cajoled, encouraged and welcome by the civilians both those in active politics and out of it” (Buhari, 1998). He went further to argue that:
Nigerian politicians are not true democrats; they are democrats of convenience extolling the virtues of democracy when they campaign, rigging the election when they vote, crushing the opposition when they win, and betraying public trusts when they rule. That is not democracy; that’s rule of the jungle, with the added burden of having to vote for it. Conversely, when they lose, politicians refuse to accept the verdicts and invite the military to return (cited in Adamu, 1999:297-298)
In other words Nigerian politicians never accept defeat or failure (Kukah, 2003:3). Kuka points to the fact that politicians who won election spend so much time, energy and resources building barricades to defend their newly conquered fiefdoms that by the time the electoral wheels turn’s, the gap between them and the losers becomes insurmountable. For Kukah (2003) the quest for blind, naked power and the drive for primitive accumulation are the driving forces for politics in Nigeria. Thus, politics is an end Game. More specifically election in Nigeria remains inevitable without massive electoral fraud partly due to refusal of parties in power to surrender power to others (NIPSS, 1983:3). It has been observed or believed that rigging is almost synonymous with Nigerian elections (Kurfi, 2005:101). These chronologies of electoral fraud in Nigeria have often been associated with political tension and indeed violence and crises (Adekanye, 1990:2) thus, compromising the basic conditions for the survival of democracy and this is because major political conflict have emerged around rigged elections (Kurfi, 2005:97). It is observed that:
the notion that a coup could lead to democracy may seem counter intuitive, but if nothing is done to redress the 2007 electoral travesty, many Nigerians would welcome a short-lived military regime whose goal would be to arrange legitimate election (Herskovits, 2007:130).
The 2007 general election were a terrible setback for democracy, a process marked by wide spread irregularities such as administrative chaos and critical delays, ballot stuffing, hijacking and snatching of election materials, violence, thuggery and all sorts of frauds (The Constitution, 2007:119). A report by the international crisis group (ICG) on the Nigerian failed elections argued that: “Nigeria is in crisis. The April 2007 polls were supposed to move the country to a higher ring on the democratic ladder create a more conducive environment to resolve its much international conflict and strengthen its credentials as a leading peace maker. But, instead it generated very serious new problems that may be pushing it further, toward the status of a failed state” the process was deeply flawed, with name and photographs of many contenders omitted from the ballots.
The elections themselves were disastrous, with even more rigging and violence than during the previous presidential election in 2003, with an estimated 700 violent election related incidents and assassinations between November to March, with a clear evidence of ‘devil may care concern’ attitude on the part of United States partly due to certain interests and benefits which Washington derived from the Obasanjo led government (Herskovits, 2007:115-125)
According to the transition monitoring group (TMG) report of the 2007 general election, noted and documented that the election is characterized by numerous lapses, massive irregularities and electoral malpractices, that on the whole, the election were a ‘charade’ and did not meet the minimum standard requirement for democratic election. That the electoral body have failed woefully in its responsibility to conduct a free, fair and credible election. And that the elections were not just flawed, but followed the down ward trajectory of Nigeria’s sad electoral history, in which millions of people who want democracy are betrayed by their leaders. TMG went further to mention among the features of the event which include:
- intimidation of voters and election observers
- partisanship of INEC and security agents
- under age voting
- diversion of electoral materials
- theft and snatching of ballot boxes and papers
- All sorts of violence etc.
Despite the said deployment of security personnel in most part of the country (for the conduct of 2007 election), politicians using their trained and heavily armed thugs, unleashed violent attacks on the voters (Felix Alaba 2007). In a statement made by the president of the Catholic Bishop conference of Nigeria on the finding of the Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC) of the Catholic Observers Mission of the 2007 general election was that the reports indicate a total failure in conducting a free, fair and credible election. The reports show the abuse, traumatized and brutalization of the popular mandate. There were indications of blatant rigging and falsification of election results with the connivance of some electoral officials, security agents and political thugs in favour of incumbency that the police in particular lost its traditional role and engage itself in partisan and electoral irregularities during the election.
The interim report of observation of the 2007 general election by the Action Aid revealed that the 2007 election was marred by very poor logistics and electoral malpractices like rigging and snatching of ballot boxes, and therefore, lack credibility (Action Aid, 2007).
Also the preliminary finding of the International Republic Institute (IRI) revealed that the 2007 general election fall below acceptable standard. The standard of the National democratic Institute (NDI) regarding the 2007 general election was that the electoral process failed the Nigerian people and the exercise represents a step backward in the conduct of elections in Nigeria (IRI, 2007).
In its finding the ECOWAS observer’s mission of the Nigerian 2007 general election claimed the elections where relatively free and peaceful but deplore the serious logistics problems and sporadic violence and thugery that marred the smooth conduct of the polls (ECOWAS, 2007). The EU election observer’s mission preliminary finding and conclusion of the April 2007 general election also confirmed that the elections failed to meet hopes and expectations of the Nigerian people and fall far short of basic international standards, for democratic election that the election was marred by serious irregularities and violence (EU, 2007).
Although, various literature have indicated or relate electoral malpractices to the nationality question regarding ethnicity, religious sentiment as well as elitism. While others, looked at it from the competition for the accumulations of wealth among the political office holders, some scholars looked at it from the general point of view in struggle among the regimes to dominate political power, while marginalizing others creating the feelings that they do not belong, hence a threat to national existence as a corporate political entity. However the issue of election rigging has not been impressively problematized, let along juxtaposed within the historicity of the issue as it relates to the failure of democracy and threat to national security: For example in First Republic the issue could not be divorced from the first and second coup and also the civil war; (Tedheke 2007) the second Republic and the 1983 coup, the June 12th, the 2003 threat of mass action etc. Although political courses constitute the most significant percentage of all threat to Nigeria’s national security. Imobighe (1984:41) argues that:
Any detailed study of law, order and security during the first four years of presidential rule in Nigeria will present a number of striking paradoxes; the first paradox is that those who are saddled with the responsibility of managing the affairs of the country turned out to constitute the greatest danger to the security of the country. This observation is based on the fact that a people’s security must start from the level of meeting what is basic to human life before moving into the area of providing security against physical violations. In this sense, by robbing the nation of the means of meeting the basic necessity of human life, either by mis-management or outright looting of the treasury, the political elite of the second republic and their bureaucratic collaborators have created a climate of insecurity in the country to indisputable mark of which is general frustration and discontent. The second paradox is that of faithlessness on the part of the political elite in the survivability of the system they are given the responsibility to manage. By implication, it is also a manifestation of a lack of confidence on their ability to ensure the survival of the system.
Thus, one may argue that Nigeria’s main sources of threat are largely internal and political, by mere looking at series of events that occurred and are continuously occurring. For example in the First Republic when a state of emergency was imposed in the Western Region in the year 1962 as a result of political crises between rival parties, the Tiv uprising in 1964 (Danbazau, 1991:16) and the 1966 bloody coup, its reprisal and the resulted civil war all testify to the internal and political consequences of threat to Nigeria’s national security. The second republic also recorded series of crises from violent conflict to economic instability. For example the ‘Maitatsine’ disturbances in Kano which spread to Borno and the defunct Gongola States (Danbazau, 1991:29-30) has a political consequences as was alleged by some individuals that the leader of the crisis (a self acclaimed Islamic religious preacher with extremist ideology) had the backing of the then Kano State Governor who was said to have taken no earlier action to stop the violence from escalating.
There was also a clear inability on the part of the central government to arrest the situation as admitted by the president that it “fell below…expectation” (Shagari, 2001:323). In other words, because of the perceived danger of growing insecurity in the country due to allegations of corruptions against the politicians and other characteristics of electoral irregularities, thuggery and violence (Yar’adua Foundation, 2004:170) the military toppled the then ‘Democratic Government’ in order to overcome the perceived dangers to national security and as well to clean up the system for a stable democratic system (Yar’adua Foundation, 2005:172).
Another area which most of the literatures have not discussed, and which seems to pose a greater threat to our national security, is the attitude or role played by the politicians in diverting public funds that were supposed to be used for the executions of physical and capital projects (infrastructural development) such as health, education and agricultural development, and as well, general social security of the citizenry. These funds are in most cases diverted to personal pockets of the political office holders and it is the same money which they use in providing youth with hard drugs and weapons, in- sighting them to carry all sort of violence act in defence of their personal interest above national interest.
These implications rendered democracy useless and as well shows the economic implications and threat to national security because lack of education coupled with the increasing nature of unemployment and as well as rising population of restive youths in the country, posed a greater threat to national security. Virtually from the very day politicians are sworn in into office, that is when they begin strategising on how to win or rig the next election using public funds supposedly for infrastructural development there by showing a devil-may-care concern upon responsibilities of the mandate given to them.
From whatever angle it may be, it is certainly known that electoral malpractices pose a greater security threat to a nation considering the amount of violence, destructions of life and property it breeds. A clear example of effect of electoral fraud can be seen in many African countries such as Kenya, Zimbabwe and in particular Somalia that have not seen peace for over a decade. With these predicaments here and there, we can therefore strongly agree with the argument made by Paul Collier (2009) that democracy has not yet produced an accountable and legitimate government because incumbent politicians have won elections by a method that requires them to misgovern. And that the rich liberal democracies have basically missed the point (Collier, 2009:49). Partly because the West has been unrealistic in ensuring the basic steps to which the bottom billion should take similar to their own process and or a system compatible to their culture and religion.
If one may argue, this missing point earlier mention by Collier, was the genesis behind the ideological uprising (conflict) that recently emerged in some parts of Northern Nigeria, were thousands of youths despair of unemployment and poverty, under the influence of a 39 years old self- acclaimed Islamic cleric denounce the legitimacy of Western culture, claiming it rather help to breed injustice among our society, into the system than promoting social peace. This ideological battle between these groups (Boko Haram) and the government forces lead to destructions of property and loss of hundreds of lives. Therefore, it is important posing the question to what exactly liberal (Western type) democracy mean to the bottom billion (the low income world). As argued by Jean Herskovits that the United State Government was party and behind the Nigeria’s 2003 and 2007 rigged elections because of certain percentage of oil benefit which President Bush enjoyed from the Nigerian Obasanjo (Herskovits in Foreign Affairs, 2007:116-128).
2.2 THEORITICAL FRAMEWORK
The study is conducted within the analytical framework of the social contract theory as propounded by Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and Rousseau. The choice of the theory is informed by its adequacy in explaining the origin of nature, and operation of democratic systems, out of which periodic elections are organized to ensure regular turnover of leadership.
Although, a violent conflict is a complex social phenomenon with many dimensions, ethical, humanitarian, economic and political all of which are highly controversial and much debated. Conflict is a fact of everyday life. Everyday, people embark on negotiation and settle their differences on a peaceful way without threatening or resorting to violence, while others may refuse the peaceful means and commit to violence. These may surely be not unconnected to the violation of social contract as argued by Gandhi in his book The Story of My Experience with Truth; where there is violence, there could be no truth.
According to Hobbes (1588 – 1679) “A state of nature makes life poor, nasty, brutish and short. This is because of certain features associated with human conditions thus: equality of need, scarcity, essential equality of human power and limited altruism”. For Hobbes, these state of nature lack basic human needs because the social cooperation needed to produce these things doesn’t exist and for man to avoid this state of nature (anarchy) there must be a guarantee that people will not harm one another and thus, the concept of social contract.
The term social contract is an old concept in political philosophy famously expounded by the philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau in his book The Social Contract published in 1762, so also the work of John Locke who before then, expounded on contract between the ruler and subjects, in which the latter could rightfully repudiate in the event of mis-governance by the sovereign. Thus, the need for a viable social contract, because when a society operates in accordance with widely accepted rules of the game, we say that it has a viable social contract. The theory was built upon the premise that the ‘basis of legitimate legal power is in the idea of contract’. In organized societies, contract had been formed between the citizen and the sovereign power. As a result of this contract, power is vested in government which is represented by an individual or groups of individuals. The theory opposed the ‘divine right of the kings’ and posits that individuals accept a common superior power to protect themselves from their own brutish instincts and to make possible the satisfaction of certain human desires. Hence, “Sovereignty resided in the people for whom governments were trustees and that such governments could be legitimately overthrown if they failed to discharge their functions to the people” (Katzenelson, 2001:1).
Even though critiques argued that there is nothing like contract in existence and that, it is base on a fiction. However, there may not be a physically signed contract yet, a contract exist when we willingly participate in society and enjoys it benefit. For example, Democracy is base on social contract between the government and the govern in which citizens elect few individuals to represent them in running the affairs of government and in return most be accountable to the society they represent.
The concept of social contract, if well established, creates an avenue that increase benefits between the party to the contract in areas such as economy, moral values and the political. In other words, social contract has a strong temporal dimension such as the willingness of people to work together to maintain the social contract is strongly influenced by how they view the future. If the future starts to become very uncertain and citizens doubt the safety of their lives, then they can see little worth in cooperation with their rulers to keep the social contract in order. This is because democracy is based on social contract between the government and the governed. The citizens willingly surrender their mandate to the elected or chosen officials to represent them and to govern based on collective interest of all, for a common goal (societal well-being) thus, failure to fulfil the agreement spells a betrayal of the social contract and thus, may lead to withdrawal of allegiance by the citizens.
For example, it has been suggested that the risk of internal war is at its lowest level during matured democracy (Hegre et.al, 2001). Thus, with what is happening in Nigeria, there is tendency for the collapse of the transitional system, as argued by (Collier et.al., 2003) that poor nations are at greater risk of civil war; low income and poverty are the most important factors when measuring civil war risk and such development failures are often linked to a failing state, with institutional decay and disintegrating social contract. These predicaments may as well not be unconnected with colonialism as argued by Collier et.al, (2003:66) that “Colonialism left a particular difficult heritage for many new states. The colonial powers never intended these to be independent countries, so they did not build appropriate institutions …” Thus a weak state has been a contributing factor to many African countries’ insecurity where a viable social contract is malfunctioned.
However, social contract gives the society neither natural right nor a permanently fixed. Rather it is a means towards an end. The benefit of all and according to some philosophers such as Locke and Rousseau, the contract is only legitimate to the extent that it meets the general interest and that is why Buhari argued that: “A consensus has emerged ‘democracy’ and these can work only when there is free and fair election (Adamu, 1999:260).
In a study by Addison and Murshed in Helen (2006:83) opined that richer countries with most established democracies have fewer civil wars. Beyond that, studies suggest that even relatively poorer countries with strong democracy provide a protection against civil war – probably because individual and group rights are respected and because the relationship between the state and citizens is strong enough to allow grievances to be dealt with. Democracy is one of the conditions that make civil wars less likely. In other words and or alternatively, a partial democracy allow political opposition, but do not give the opponents real influence (Collier et.al, 2003:64). In a legitimate state argued the theorists, authority must be derived from the consent of the governed. According to philosophers such as Locke and Rousseau, political authority is only legitimate to the extent that it meets the general interest and when failure occurs, in a social contract thus, imperative for renegotiation to change the terms for example, in a democratic setting using methods such as elections and legislation. Locke theorized the right of rebellion in case of the contract leading to tyranny.
In other words, John Locke stated that the relationship between people and government that rules them has to be based on certain rules. If at anytime, the government does not value their right, such as life, liberty and property, then it can be overthrown. Conversely, if the people make unreasonable, irrational choices, then the people can lose their right. For example, if people sell their votes for a pittance, then they should be prepared to pay for it and if a government cannot guarantee the life and property of citizens as well as their right to vote for whom they want to rule them, then the concept of social contract may be broken and the society may revert to the state of nature when life will become solitary, poor, brutish and short.
In summary, these propositions give an overview on how governments are formed, maintained, changed, or overthrown in organized societies. Social contract explains why people come together to avoid living a “brutish, nasty, and short” lives that characterize the state of nature where political authority is absent. In doing so, they subject themselves to political authority which in liberal democracies is obtained through periodic elections. The elections that meet the requirements of the contract are termed legitimate and vice-versa. Violations occur when these contractual provisions are tempered with through electoral malpractices. In this case, the rest of the society can be expected to protect itself against such violations. Consequently, society is exposed to serious threats that could lead to break down of law and order due to rebellion (Skinner, 1978:301-343).
FIELD SURVEYS AND RESPONDENTS’ PROFILES
3.1. The first part of this chapter discusses the research method employed which include instrument and method of data collection, the target area and population, sampling method, method of data analysis and series of problems encountered on the course of the research.
3.1.1 INSTRUMENT AND METHOD OF DATA COLLECTION
The study generated both primary and secondary data that enabled the researcher to analyze the complex relationship between election rigging and national security. The secondary data was distilled from newspapers, magazines, journals, and record of electronic media etc. A systematic qualitative content analysis was applied to these materials that enable the researcher to develop the linkages between election rigging and national security.
The primary data was generated through the administration of a structured closed ended questionnaire to the electorate, active politicians, and security personnel and the electoral officials, with the last question given an opportunity to the respondent for any comment, that may likely assist the researcher for other knowledge unknown to him and may as well be useful in the research recommendations (see Appendix for Questionnaire). In addition, an interview was granted by some notable personalities and the information collected was used to support the research argument and or analysis.
The calibre of people that responded to the questionnaire were mainly the educated class, this was for a reason of their knowledge to electoral processes and the fact that, the questionnaire need people with Western educational background. Moreover, explanation to some of the questions are made by the questionnaire administrators as some of these questions seem confusing as argued by some respondents thus, with guidance by the questionnaire administrators success was achieved.
The questionnaires were administered with the help of some Research Assistants, friends and relatives who devoted their time to ensuring that aims of the project are realised. The process was a success as more than the targeted numbers of questionnaires were returned, with a clear interest by the respondents despite the fact that it is time consuming due to too many questions and long sentences on some questions. The subject matter at the introductory page drew people’s attention and encouraged them to have interest and devoted their time to respond to the questionnaires.
3.1.2 AREA AND POPULATION
The area of the study is the North West region of Nigeria. A total number of, or minimum target sample of 1000 respondents were thought to be adequate and a total number of 1500 questionnaires were administered. This was to take any short fall in the return rate. However, a total of One thousand three hundred and twenty six (1,326) questionnaires were successfully completed and returned, because of the interest and co-operation given by the respondents. Three States namely Kano, Kaduna and Katsina were randomly selected as location for the target population. Below are the local government areas selected from each of the Senatorial zones of these three states for the administration of the Questionnaires, using INEC atlas – see Appendix. The States and Local Governments Areas were selected by writing the names of the states and Local Government Areas and then put them in a box and shuffled before picking a State or Local governments respectively.
North Senatorial Zone
- Dawakin Tofa
Kano Central Senatorial Zone
- Kano Municipal
Kano South Senatorial Zone
- Tudun Wada
North Senatorial Zone
- Sabon Gari
Central Senatorial Zone
- Kaduna North
- Kaduna South
South Senatorial Zone
North Senatorial Zone
Central Senatorial Zone
South Senatorial Zone
Below is a table representing questionnaires, that where returned and analyzed.
Table 3.1 Number of respondents per State
Essentially a multi-stage cluster sampling was used to select the locations, for example, States, Local Government Areas, and Wards, Streets and then houses. At the houses a simple random was used to select the respondent among the household. This is most useful because, even though the researcher was able to use the atlas consisting of number of registered voters, constituencies and population, it was imperative to employ a cluster sampling and to use Random method in the distribution of the Questionnaires as some voters may have been absent, relocate or even dead after the election and before the period of this research.
The three states selected namely Kano, Kaduna and Katsina were further divided into three senatorial zones and three local governments were selected from each of these senatorial zones, in which a number of 50 questionnaires were administered in each totalling 150 per senatorial zone with the exception of Central Senatorial zone of each of the states where a total number of 200 questionnaires were administered because of the large concentration of population in the metropolitan city of each state thus, giving us a total number of 500 questionnaires per state.
3.1.4 PROBLEMS ENCOUNTERED
i. The exercise was successful because of the interest people showed on the study, and more than the expected number of questionnaires were returned, although accompanied by many complains that there were too many questions.
ii. Other reports received from the questionnaires administrators were as follows:
- Lack of cooperation and commitment by some people approached. This may not be unconnected either to their own political ideology or inclination or due to the fact, that they hold the view that their mandate was stolen in the 2007 elections and as such they have made up their minds not to be involved in anything that has to do with election in the country.
- Secondly, inability by some respondents to understand some of the questions has been a problem. Although a clear explanation to these questions were given by the administrators before handing over the questionnaire to the respondents, yet some people still err by ticking two different boxes.
- Thirdly, some of the administrators have encountered the problems of unnecessary delay and failure in submission of the questionnaires by some of the respondents.
3.1.5 ADMINISTRATION OF THE SURVEY INSTRUMENT
The questionnaire was administered with the help of research assistance in the various states and local government areas. In Katsina state the research was conducted under the leadership of a sister who is a university lecturer with the Katsina State University, under her are several other persons who went round to distribute, guide and collect the questionnaires.
In Kaduna states, the distribution of the questionnaire was also conducted by many research assistants, students, lecturers and civil servants inclusive. This was under the supervision of the researcher and the same process applies to Kano State. However, interview granted by some notables was done only on a verbal or face to face interaction and with no any recording facilities. This was done in order to give confidence to the personalities granting the interview as there is nothing sinister for the interview, as one of the personalities aid claimed that people now cannot be trusted and thus, no recording facilities will be used.
3.1.6 METHOD OF DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS
Descriptive statistics of frequency distributions supplemented by a chi- square test of independence were used were necessary to add clarity to the general trend observed.
3.2.0 RESPONDENTS PROFILES
The second part of this chapter presents an analysis and or description of the data set, base on frequency distribution of the respondents on key variables. The analysis mainly involved personal data on the respondents and to whether the respondent has the knowledge of the topic and as well as the respondent the extent to which he/she has been an active participant on the subject of discussion.
This second part begins with question number one and ends with question number six A and B which is an open ended question which gives us a summary and in some instance a direct account of many reasons behind the inability of those that did not vote.
Table 3.2 Gender of the respondents
Table 3.2 and the chart above represent gender. It indicates 25.3% respondents were female while 74.7% were male. The male percentage where higher because of the culture and religious influence associated with Northern Nigeria, which sometimes prove difficult for accessibility to women, because not all men may allow a stranger an access to their house hold.
Table 3.3 Respondents Age
Source: Respondents’ to Researcher’s Field work 2008/2009
|48 AND ABOVE||
Table 3.3 represents age as shown in the table and chart. In terms of age the data sets present a rather youthful respondent. This in fact is the most active group in politics especially in the Northwest. Those in the age bracket of 18 -23 have 17.4%, while 24 – 29 have 32.2% and 30 -35 constitute 26.1% and 36-41 12.3% indicating the older a person gets the less involved in partisan politics. In fact those above ages 42 are only 12%.
Table 3.4 Respondents religious background
Source: Respondents’ to Researcher’s Field work 2008/2009
Table 3.4 and chart represents religious distribution of the respondents. As is expected the majority of the respondents are Muslim because Islam is the dominant religion in this zone, those belonging to the Christian faith constitute 19.6% and a small number of .3% indicating neither of the dominant religion.
Table 3.5 and 3.6 Respondents Educational Qualifications
Source: Respondents’ to Researcher’s Field work 2008/2009
Source: Respondents’ to Researcher’s Field work 2008/2009
Table 3.5, 3.6 and chart 3.5 above presents educational qualification of the respondents. While 3.9% elementary education 17.0% had secondary and 79.0% have tertiary level of education. The educated class have been deliberately over sampled because the lower educated persons tend not to respond to issues of rigging as we discovered during the pre-test stage, either because they are afraid or have some inducement. So we have deliberately over sampled this group who are willing to speak truly about issues of elections irregularities. If need be the proportion can be equalized through statistical procedures.
Table 3.7 and Chart 3.7 Respondents Profession and or Occupation
Source: Respondents’ to Researcher’s Field work 2008/2009
Civil servant 37.6
The above table also has the same biase of over sampling which we will equalize when the need arises. Thus 44.0% are people over 18years of age and undergoing educational training from those doing SSCE to those pursuing Postgraduate studies up to the Ph.D. Civil servants and other high level professionals constitute 37.6% people engaged in business are 12.8% and all other groups make up about 6%.
Table 3.8 and Chart 3.8 Number of respondents that vote in the 2007 General Election
Source: Respondents’ to Researcher’s Field work 2008/2009
The above table and chart which requests the respondents on whether he or she voted in the 2007 presidential elections shows that 73.4% with ‘Yes’ and those who did not vote with ‘No’ of 26.6%. This clearly indicated that the questionnaire reaches and was responded to by those who took part actively in the exercise and have full knowledge of the event and therefore can give account of what transpired in the exercise. This gives a clear indication of the success of the study.
Although we did not specifically asked all the respondents about their knowledge of the political events. However, the follow-up questions for those who did not vote show clearly that the voters are quite enlightened about political issues. For example when asked in the open ended interview why they did not vote majority of them cited excuses relating to irregularities. Many felt that the election was going to be rigged especially when the outgoing president said openly that the election was a “do or die” affair. Another issue often mentioned was the snatching of ballot boxes by political thugs and security agents; to the extent that many of the respondents said voting did not actually take place in polling units in their locations.
Other serious reasons cited by the respondents were the lack of adequate materials and time. Time because often voting started very late due to late arrival of election materials.
RESPONDENTS ASSESSMENT OF THE 2007 ELECTIONS
This chapter presents the analysis of the questionnaire administered, beginning with question No. 7 and ending with question No.26. It represents the main analysis of data received. However, in the course of our analysis some questions have been supported and complimented with content analysis and as well as responses from the open ended interviews granted by some notables for richer analysis of the data.
The result of the questionnaire administered is presented both in tabular and chart form as well, to enable the reader have a full understanding of the result.
Table 4.1 The credibility of the 2007 Election
Source: Respondents’ to Researcher’s Field work 2008/2009
The foregoing table and chart show that 84.5% of the respondents felt the election was not the best. Only 15% agreed that it was the best election. When this is examined against the background that two of the major presidential candidates came from the same state, and in fact one of them became president, it can be inferred that the election was indeed horrible.
The above submission or point can be supported with many criticisms earlier made by respected persons, pressure groups, electoral observers etc. According to Human Right Watch group in their October 2007 final report on the Nigeria’s 2007 elections titled “Criminal politics, violent godfathers and corruption in Nigeria” admits that: Nigeria’s April 2007 elections were widely regarded as crucial barometer of the federal government’s commitment to some meaningful notion of democratic reform. But the polls marked a dramatic step backward, even measured against the dismal standard set by the 2003 election” (Human Right Watch 2007:p15).
The European Union Election Observation Mission also admits in their preliminary finding reports that the election “failed to meet hopes and expectations of the Nigerian people and fall far short of basic International standards” (23rd April 2007). In addition to the Transitional Monitoring Group, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria on the finding of Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC), the Action Aid, and the International Republican Institute (IRI) as well as the National Democratic Institute (NDI) all admitted the failure of the 2007 Presidential election.
Table 4.2 Respondents rating of the 2007 Election Exercise
Source: Respondents’ to Researcher’s Field work 2008/2009
From the table above it is clear that the vast majority, 62.5% consider the conduct of the 2007 presidential election as poor only 5.1 thought the exercise was excellent even though the eventual winner of the presidential election- Umaru Musa Yar’adua of the Peoples Democratic Party is from the Northwest zone. Thus, the 2007 general election exercise was far below the standard of an election. In her article “Nigeria’s Rigged Democracy” published in the 2007 July/August edition of the Foreign Affairs Magazine, Professor Jean Herskorvits admitted that “Nigeria’s elections last April were among the most seriously flawed in the country’s history…”
Even Mr. Yar’adua in his inaugural speech admitted the lapses and shortcomings in the electoral process and promised in his inaugural address to look into future elections in order to meet the International standard in future elections. A report of the financial time (FT.com) published July 12th, 2007 mentioned that during the election, observers – reported that ballot boxes had been stolen and stuffed, often with the complicity of the security agents. Insufficient ballot papers were provided and result sheets went missing in many cases. No voting took place in some of Nigeria’s 36 states, while officials in some cases reported turnout greater than the number of registered voters with many casualties who lost their lives on the course of violence during the exercise as reported by many media on the eve of the exercise.
More specifically, the report made by International Crisis Group on its Africa Report No. 123 – 28 March 2007 justified the failure of the exercise with the problematic voter’s registration. According to the report the voter’s registration exercise has raised questions over INEC’s capacity to deliver credible election. Among these problems are: logistical deficiencies, lack of proper information on the location of registration centres, and as well, bad practices and lack of transparency in the acquisition of the Direct Data Capture Machines used for the voters card registration. Was more, the discovery of six (6), of the DDC machines in the house of one of the ruling party leaders in Oyo state, generated controversies that convinced many to lack confidence in the entire exercise. – See page 14 (International Crisis Group March 2007:14). No wonder, most of our respondents thought like wise and it’s also some of these reasons observed by international observers hindered many prospective voters from casting their votes.
Table 4.3 Respondents acceptance to whether the 2007 Election was free and fair or not.
Source: Respondents to Researcher’s Field work 2008/2009
The above table and chart clearly indicate that the 2007 election was not free and fair, with 86.6 percent saying no, while 13.4 % agreed to the fairness of the elections. According to Paul Collier and Pedro in their survey of the 2007 elections titled “Votes and Violence the Experimental Evidence from Nigerian Elections”, the election was deeply flawed through violence, bribery and ballot fraud. Their assessment follows with presentation of an evidential assessment of three well known independent organizations that participated actively as observers during the 2007 general election, thus:
Rigging, violence and intimidating were so pervasive and on such naked display that they made a mockery of the electoral process. (…) where voting did take place, many voters stayed away from the polls. They were frightened off by a pre-election period that saw more than 100 people killed in election – related clashes. By the time voting ended, the bodies counted had surpassed 300. – Human Right Watch.
“The irregularities were so numerous and so far-reaching that the election was a charade and did not meet the standard required for democratic elections”(Transition Monitoring Group, (TMG) Report 2007).
Nigeria’s elections were not credible and fall far short of basic International standard. (…) Elections for president, state governors and legislatures were marred by violence, poor organization, lack of transparency, significant evidence of fraud, voter’s disenfranchisement and bias. – European Union Electoral Observation Mission. (Cited in Collier, 2008:11-12).
The above statement clearly speaks that the 2007 general election was neither free nor fair.
Table 4.4 Respondents Comparison between 2007 Election and that of 2003 and 1999 Election
Source: Respondents’ to Researcher’s Field work 2008/2009
|IT WAS THE WORST||60|
|IT WAS THE BEST||
|ABOUT THE SAME||
When asked to compare the 2007 presidential election with those of 1999 and 2003, 60% of the respondents said the election was the worst of the three. Only 11.2% felt it was the best, while 28.4% thought it was about the same.
In its October 2008 edition, the Foreign Policy Magazine published the list of the world’s ugliest elections in which Nigeria ranked first with the conduct of the 2007 election. Thus admitting Nigeria’s 2007 election as the world’s worst ever election. – (Foreign Policy October 2008) In addition, despite the controversies surrounding the Nigeria’s Court of Appeal over its handling of elections cases yet, the president of the court of appeal admits that Nigeria’s 2007 election, as the worst ever, revealing that a total of 1,527 petition arising from the 2007 general elections were filed before the appellant Court, ranking the highest ever in the history of the country and that these may not be unconnected with the manner the 2007 general election was conducted (Leadership, Feb. 10 2009:4).
The Human Right Watch report of October 2007 also revealed that “Nationwide polls in 1999 and 2003 were systematically rigged. (…) And to the dismay and shock of many Nigerians who had hoped for signs of progress, the country’s widely anticipated 2007 polls proved to be another violent farce. Many seasoned observers stated that the 2007 polls were among the worst they had ever witnessed anywhere in the world”. (H.R.W., Oct. 2007, Vol. 19 No. 16(A) pp: 2).
Conclusively, the foregoing submissions and the respondents result indicate that the 2007 general elections were marred elections at best. In comparison, to the 1999 and 2003 general elections, it remains the worst ever in the history of elections in Nigeria.
Table 4.5 Respondents ratings on voters commitment/participation at the 2007 General Elections
Source: Respondents’ to Researcher’s Field work 2008/2009
FULLY COMMITTED 17.4
|POORLY COMMITTED 44|
The above table and chart indicated 17.3% of the respondents accepted voter’s commitment and or participation as fully committed while 38.3% indicated partial commitment, 43.8% agreed on poor commitment while 0.5% did not express their opinion. This therefore justifies the poor commitment to, and or participation of the voters’ in the exercise of the 2007 general election. But going back to question No. 6B in the questionnaire which remains an open ended question and as well by a day to day verbal interaction with individuals on the course of the research study, many argued of voters intention to be fully committed but were not given the chance to do so, as indicated by number of those who lost confidence in the system because of the previous experiences and growing violence and insecurity attached to the system. However, our next table on question 12 will reveal more of reasons behind the non-commitment and or participation of voters in the 2007 general election.
In fact, the Guardian News Online of April 22, 2007 reported that voters apathy, characterized by low turnout, marked the April 2007 presidential and National Assembly elections across the country and this was attributed to the various hitches and violence that accompanied the April 14 Gubernatorial and State House of Assembly elections a week before the presidential polls (www.guardiannewngr.com). According to Human Rights Watch Report of October 2007, the pervasiveness of violence that characterised the 2007 general elections was the main factor that discouraged many Nigerians from coming out to vote. For many voters who did came out to vote, faced precisely the sort of violence that forced others to stay at home (Human Right Watch Oct. 2007:20-21).
Table 4.6 Respondents reasons for the poor commitment/participation of voters at the 2007 Election
Source: Respondents’ to Researcher’s Field work 2008/2009
|DENIAL OF PARTICIPATION||
|FEAR OF VIOLENCE||
|NON -SUPPLY OF SUFFICIENT ELECTION MATERIALS||
|ELECTION COULD BE RIGGED||
|ALL OF THE ABOVE||
When asked to give reasons, those who were poorly committed towards the political process, as the table above shows, 4.1% of the them attributed the lack of commitment of voters to denial for participation, 3.5% indicated fear of violence and 10.0% admitted the non-participation to non-supply of sufficient election materials while 12.2% argued that the election could be rigged, 35.1% simply linked the problems to all of the above, which justified that reasons behind non-commitment and or participation of voters in the 2007 general election. In short, it was simply as a result of denial of participation due to intimidation and other electoral fraud strategies employed, fear of violence as was witnessed in the previous polls, non supply of sufficient election materials. In other words a good percentage lost confidence in the credibility of the polls.
The fact that most voters have attempted to vote clearly indicated that voters were willing and committed to participate in the political process, but certain predicaments associated with the process were responsible for their inability to participate.
Table 4.7 Respondents reflections on the out come of the 2007 Presidential Election result
Source: Respondents’ to Researcher’s Field work 2008/2009
The above table and chart shows 26.2% respondents indicating ‘yes’ that the presidential candidate they voted for was declared winner, while for those who indicated ‘No’ has 62.9% with a 10.9% did not responded to the question. Obviously some think it is strange to have, but not so, when the entire responses are taken into consideration. There is the clear likelihood that the candidate who ought to have won in the North West zone was not the one who was declared the winner of the 2007 presidential election. It is these kinds of results that probably, despite subtle pressure the Supreme Court ruled in hair split decision of 4 against 3 to uphold the elections.
However, despite the declaration of a winner by the electoral body and the controversial judicial ruling yet, many observers, within and internationally, have criticized and questioned the credibility of the entire electoral exercise 2007. More specifically, the announcement of a landslide victory over the opposition leader who became runner up with just 18% of the vote was received with disbelief.
This was because both the domestic and international media reported that ‘Nigeria’s poll was marred in controversies’. The chief of the European Union Observers Mission Max Van Den Berg remarked that “these elections have not lived up to the hopes and expectations of the Nigerian people and the process cannot be considered to have been credible” (BBC News 24/4/07). Even the opposition parties, specifically the two major presidential contenders challenged the electoral victory of the ruling party in court claiming that the results were announced before most of the results were received. They also challenged the electoral body of committing fraud for non-serialization of the ballot papers, which violate the 2006 Electoral Act. The utterances made by the outgoing president on February 10th, 2007 that “this election is a do-or-die affair” (cited in Collier 2008:27) and as well, the submission in court of two identical results with different dates and signatory of the INEC chairman, one indicating a day before the election. All these and many other issues questioned the credibility of the 2007 general polls.
Table 4.8 Unemployment and poverty in society influence Election Negatively
Source: Respondents’ to Researcher’s Field work 2008/2009
Another interesting issue investigated is the issue of poverty and election rigging. When respondents were asked whether unemployment and poverty facilitated election rigging, a whopping 72.8% agreed. Only 22.7% thought that unemployment and poverty did not influence the elections negatively. Similarly, Human Right Watch report of October 2007 linked mismanagement of public resources to funding of political violence as it was in the case of Rivers and Katsina States just to mention a few. In particular, Human Right Watch reported that the Katsina State government under the governorship of Umaru Yar’adua 2003 -2007 used public resources to pay allowances of N5000 to unemployed youth who were accused of carrying out widespread political violence and multiple votes cast during the election, all in return for the payments. In other words, it is well known that majority of voters in the rural areas and semi-urban areas compromised their votes or mandate just for a small prize either in cash or kind. All these are as a result of deepening poverty and unemployment, because if people are employed and with good living condition, they are not likely to compromise their mandate.
At the other level, politicians in power and all other political office holders are busy enriching themselves in preparation for the next election since the issue of election to them is to acquire money with which to buy ballots and control political power through the use of private militias popularly known as political thugs that can unleash violence to deter opponent. Just as Human Right Watch interviewed a cult member recruited by one of the parties in rivers who boldly said that “my duty was to send you to hell”.
The concentration of wealth in the hands of the few, especially politicians in Nigeria, impales many others to resorting to whatever means to get into some position. Just as the BBC Hausa Service embarked on a 3-week program on the rural areas interviewed an elementary school boy that ‘what will he like to be or do in future?’ The boy simply said he would join politics and become a chairman. When he was asked why he want to be a chairman and nothing else, the boy furiously replied with a word in Hausa “money”. This shows that the children of tomorrow can employ all the strategies good or bad to escape poverty and unemployment by becoming elected officials of their respective societies, if the issue of unemployment and poverty is not properly addressed.
Table 4.9 Occurrence of Violence on the 2007 Election Period
Source: Respondents’ to Researcher’s Field work 2008/2009
The above table and chart indicate that 67.5% of the respondents witnessed different forms of violence during the electioneering period. While 31.3% of the respondents admitted not to have seen any violence. 67.5% with the highest number witness indicate the existence of different forms of violence both in pre and post election period.
The researcher can also testify an eye witness account of violence on the eve of (21st April 2007) the election day where several lives, mostly young children between the age of 9 and 16 years were killed as a severe result of sporadic shootings by the security personnel to deter protest and confrontation between rival sympathizers in the city of Daura in Katsina state.
According to Human Rights Watch report, “Rigging, violence and intimidation were so pervasive and as such in naked display that they made a mockery of the electoral process. ( …) Where voting did not take place, many voters stayed away from the polls. They were frightened off by a pre-election period that saw more than 100 people killed in election-related clashes …” (Collier Feb. 2007:12). The report of Human Rights Watch of October 2007 admitted that at no point was the impact on human rights of Nigeria’s violence epidemic as stark as during the country’s April 2007 general elections. There were an estimated minimum number of 300 related deaths with thousands of injuries linked to the 2007 general elections (Human Rights Watch Report October 2007:19).
Virtually, both domestic and international media reported several instances of violence during the exercise with a number of assassinations and kidnappings. However, our next table will show the different types of violence perpetrated during the 2007 general election.
Table 4.10 Types of violence that occurred during the 2007 Election exercise
Source: Respondents’ to Researcher’s Field work 2008/2009
|FIRE ARMS VIOLENCE||8.6|
|ALL OF THE ABOVE||45.2|
The above table and chart which are continuation of the previous table, that show the presence of violence during the 2007 general election, shed more light on the various types of violence witnessed. Thus, the table and chart indicated 6.6% of the respondents witnessed a fire arms violence, 21.6% for physical combats and 12.5% of the respondents admitted to have witnessed violent demonstrations, while those who witnessed all of the above types of violence have the greater number with a total of 33.6%, which shows relationship between all the above mentioned types of violence linked to the 2007 general elections.
Table 4.11 Respondents reflections of those involved into various violence’s on the 2007 election exercises
Source: Respondents’ to Researcher’s Field work 2008/2009
|PARTY SYMPATHIZERS, ETC||18.5|
|ALL OF THE ABOVE||49.7|
As to the party to the violence, table 4.11 shows that 6.9% believe that security agents were party to the violence while 18.9% of the respondents linked the violence to politicians and 15.0% to party sympathizers. But most respondents 40.9% believed that all of the above, security agents, politicians and their sympathizers were all equally responsible and party to the violence. This clearly shows that violence was rampant and wide spread during the 2007 general elections.
Table 4.12 Factor behind the various violence’s that occurred during the 2007 election exercise
Source: Respondents’ to Researcher’s Field work 2008/2009
|INSUFFICIENT VOTING MATERIALS||8.5|
|RIGGING OR MALPRACTICES||24.6|
|ALL OF THE ABOVE||59.8|
At this point it is very clear from respondents, election observers, both local and international that violence, rigging and other electoral malpractices were wide spread during the 2007 general election in Nigeria especially in our case study area of the North West zone.
Table 4.12 and Chart above give the reasons for the violence observed 7.4% of respondents give the reasons as the insufficient supply of materials that led to protest by prospective voters who blamed it on being denied the opportunity to vote, 6.1% attributed the violence to the delay in the arrival of voting materials to the voting locations. Another 21.3% attributed the violence to election rigging and other irregularities that would change the verdict of the voters. But in fact the majority 51.8% attributed the violence to the entire act which are illegal and denial of the ordinary voters their true voice- that is for their votes to count.
As enumerated by Kurfi (2005:103), among the many methods that could be employed for possible malpractices on the polling day are:
- Delay in the opening of polling stations to frustrate voters and prevent them from casting their votes.
- Short supply or non-supply of voting materials especially ballot papers.
- Allotting voters to distant polling stations which would be difficult for them to locate (as claimed by many respondents being the genesis for their inability to vote in 2007election).
- Disappearance of polling clerks at the polling stations for most of the period allowed for voting.
- The use of security agents especially police or military to chase away voters to prepare way for the manipulation of the ballot and
- Ballot boxes snatching, expected mishandling of election petition by the judiciary to mention but a few, and other forms of malpractices which the ingenuity of Nigerians can invent, all caused violence in an election either as a result of committing the evil of it in defence or protest against it.
ELECTION RIGGING AND NATIONAL SECURITY
The next set of tables present respondents understanding of the linkages between election rigging and various forms of national security.
Table 4.13 Relationship between Electoral irregularities and Political crisis
Source: Respondents’ to Researcher’s Field work 2008/2009
When asked whether electoral malpractices lead to political crisis, 80% of the respondents answered in the affirmative. Only 6.7% said No, and 11.8% said electoral malpractice partially, results in political crisis meaning these along with other issues lead to political crisis. Political crisis of course is a major threat to national security. It was the political crisis of the 1st Republic that led to the first military coup. And it was the inability of the Ironsi regime to resolve the political crisis that eventually led to the attempt to dismember Nigeria and the subsequent civil war of 1967-1970.
A clear example from other African countries of the dangers of election rigging or malpractices can best be related to the Kenya and Zimbabwean election crisis that nearly brought the two countries to anarchy, although media was unable to cover the much atrocities perpetrated in Nigeria coupled with the ‘devil may care’ concern by the Western powers regarding Nigeria’s election of 2003 and 2007 as claimed by some critics. More specifically, the crisis in Somalia can best describe the possible dangers associated with electoral fraud.
Table 4.14 Respondents remarks on the role of security agency in the conduct of the 2007 Election Exercise
Source: Respondents’ to Researcher’s Field work 2008/2009
All over the world security agents are crucial in the election process especially, democratic elections. When respondents were asked about the role in the conduct of the 2007 general elections, 54.3% of the respondents rate the security agents’ performance as poor. Only 11% thought their role was good with 28.7% rating their role as only fair.
This is significant especially when the ruling party’s candidate was declared winner. If the majority of the people voted for him why would they turn round and rate the role of the security agents as poor.
An investigation by the Human Rights Watch report revealed that the Nigerian police who are saddled with the responsibility of establishing orderliness, lack the capacity to work effectively due to certain corrupt practices and as well as institutional shortcomings that undermine them from carrying out effective job as all issue are being compromised and politicized. These predicaments according to Human Right Watch were clearly evidential during the months surrounding the 2007 election exercise, for lack of response by the leadership of the police to tackle incident of political violence incited by leading politicians and influential members of the ruling parties. In addition to some media report during the election, observers report ballot boxes snatching, and stuffing often with the complicity of the security agents. (Financial times July 12, 2007) (Human Right Watch, October 2007:45:46). The results from our survey agree with these international observers of the Nigerian electoral process.
Table 4.15 Political instability has a negative influence to society’s growth and development
Source: Respondents’ to Researcher’s Field work 2008/2009
The above table and chart show the extent to which respondents perceive how electoral malpractices weaken state’s institutions through corruption and mismanagement as well as decline in infrastructural development. Thus, 78.5% of the respondent agreed on the affirmative that electoral fraud prevented the favoured candidate from committing state resources into basic infrastructural development, 11.8% of the respondent disagreed with the notion, while 8.8% of the respondent admitted neither of the factor.
In its October’s 2007 report, the Human Rights Watch revealed that despite a record setting government revenue in recent years, corruption, and resources mismanagement have been the hallmark of Nigeria’s failure to deliver a meaningful improvement in both the social, political and economic development that may positively touch the lives of its ordinary citizens because public funds are not only stolen and misused, but are often paid for the services and weapons behind the political violence. This is because violence and corruption make political competition a very expensive end. In the Nigerian polity, most politicians are far more accountable to powerful and violent political godfathers who sponsor them than they are to their constituencies. The case of Anambra between Chris Uba and Chris Ngige is a good example.
More specifically, in Katsina the state government under the governorship of Umar Yar’adua between 2003 – 2007 paid individuals a monthly allowance of N5000 directly to gangs of youth who were accused of unleashing widespread political violence in return for those payment. (Human Rights Watch 2007:38-40). In other words, the table (4.15) indicated a direct linkage between corruption and election rigging or political violence in which many politicians in power use public treasury to pay for political violence in order to or to support their ambition. Human Rights Watch interviewed an academic in Rivers State who testified that “Most of those politicians are linked to cult groups – they finance them, they maintain them, they sustain them. And all that is out of the use of government fund”. (Human Rights Watch report October 2007:31-89).
The possible dangers can best be explained by using Kennedy’s (1988) assertion in which he argued that “imperial overstretch” has been the cause of the decline of super powers, that super powers of the past poured so much resources into military power that ironically they weakened their country’s strength by siphoning off resources that should have been devoted to maintaining and improving infrastructure (cited in Rourke, 2003:338). Therefore, if political office holders engage and or continue to loot or divert public treasury into their own personal use, that will no doubt, ruin the country and weaken it institutions as a result of underfunding and infrastructural collapse or decay and thus, a greater source of threat to Nigeria’s national security.
Table 4.16 Unlawful conduct of security agents and electoral officers into electoral issues undermine democracy and pose a threat to country’s national security
Source: Respondents’ to Researcher’s Field work 2008/2009
The above table and chart show 84.7% of the respondents agreed that involvement of security personnel and the election umpires to aid rigging election undermine democracy, contribute to bad governance and thus, pose a threat to a country’s national security. Only 8.7% of the respondents disagreed with such assertion or and 6.4% of the respondents see no relationship by standing on neither.
Similarly, Human Rights Watch reported that one police chief acknowledged that security personnel are sometimes deployed by people in power to commit or act on what political thugs normally do. According to the report, prior to April presidential poll, the police in Gombe State detained dozens of opposition supporters and when Human Rights Watch asked one of the policemen, he simply acknowledged their detention purely for political reasons. (Human Rights Watch Oct. 2007:27 and 101). The dangers behind these predicaments, is that a nation that selects or elect it representation through a fraudulent process undermines the sanctity of public office and as well compromises the integrity of those who exercise sovereignty on behalf of the people. People will no longer give allegiance to the state which could breed anarchy with devastating and sometimes terminal political implications.
Table 4.17 Respondents confidence on a legitimate Government
Source: Respondents’ to Researcher’s Field work 2008/2009
On the other hand when respondents were asked if “free and fair elections give them confidence in the government elected as well lead to societal development, social security and individual innovation”, a large majority, 85.6% agreed. Of course in politics perception is very important. If people can have the illusion that the government is theirs and accountable to them, they are more likely to cooperate with
and support the government of the day thereby providing for peace and stability.
It has been argued that psychologically people, if allowed to make choice of their leaders without imposing such on them, would make them to mind their own business, even if the leadership tend to perform poorly, because people have it in mind that they can change the leadership when election turns around. And that reduces tension in the polity whereby people go about their normal business because they know it was a leadership of their own choice. In addition, a leadership that has truly been elected by the people try as much not to fail its people that brought it to power.
Table 4.18 Elements of anarchy and Election rigging
Source: Respondents’ to Researcher’s Field work 2008/2009
When asked further if election rigging is allowed to continue, 78.1% indicated that there would be anarchy and or violence. Only 9.0% thought nothing would happen and 12.7% said they wouldn’t guess what will happen. Therefore, the result in the table above shows if future election is allowed to be rigged, it will continue to create more tension in the polity which serves as a greater threat to security existence of the country. The case with Kogi and Plateau states serve as an example. The crisis in these two sates gives a red light as characteristics leading to anarchy.
A good example of these anarchical features was captured by Human Rights Watch in its October 2007 report while interviewing some militias across the country whose aim is to unleash violence to the tune or satisfaction of their political godfathers and without facing any penalty by the authority. In most cases these gangs are provided with modern sophisticated fire arms properly armed more than the security agencies as testified by Atake Tom that “the weapons that are with us, we can use them for any fight”, (Human Rights Watch Oct. 2007:87). That is punitive measures must be taken in order to deter others from the breaking down of law and order otherwise, it will remain a source of threat to the country’s security.
Table 4.19 Political Instability as a source of threat to Democracy and National security
Source: Respondents’ to Researcher’s Field work 2008/2009
Still on the linkage between election rigging and national security, most (89.1%) respondents agreed that political instability caused by electoral irregularities poses a great threat to democratic governance and national security as it will make people loose hope in the system. Only a negligible number 5% disagreed.
In fact according to Human Rights Watch “Nigeria’s fraudulent 2007 elections provided a vivid illustration of the unshakable confidence many Nigeria public officials and politicians have in their own impunity. Just as remarkable as the massive scale of the fraud that characterized the polls was the openness with which violence, vote theft and other abuses were carried out”. The body and other election observers reported ballot boxes stuffing, intimidation and other abuses carried out in the most public manner possible, and in some cases political leaders often bragged about their plans to rig election and unleash violence to deter opponent from carrying their basic responsibilities or right – Human Rights Watch Oct. 2007: 44-45).
Table 4.20 Politicians who rigged elections are responsible for the Incitements of violence and intimidation in societies
Source: Respondents’ to Researcher’s Field work 2008/2009
Finally we examine how youth were mobilized through the use of money to act as thugs and the table and chart above indicated 90.6% of the respondents accepting the notion that restive youth were encouraged by politicians to unleash violence, rig election and as well intimidate opponent through incentive measures. Only 6.3% of the respondents disagreed with the notion and 3.1% of the respondents choose neither. Thus, the results support the argument that violence, rigging and intimidation of people by restive youth during election exercise are motivated by politicians.
According to Human Rights Watch report of October 2007, “political violence in Nigeria is most often carried out by gangs whose members are openly recruited, financed and sometimes armed by public officials, politicians and party officials or their representatives. These gangs, composed primarily of unemployed young men are mobilized to attack their sponsor’s rivals, intimidate members of the public, rig elections and protect their patrons from similar attacks.
Often sponsors of political violence turn time and again to the same criminal gangs, violent campus – based “cults” and other sources to recruit agents of political violence. Those recruited are paid, often very little, and sometimes armed for the sole purpose of carrying out violent abuses on behalf of their political sponsors” (Human Right Watch October 2007:23).
The report argued that in some cases the link or relationship between these hired thugs and their sponsors are openly formalized to some degree. For instance, in Katsina State, under the governorship of Umaru Yar’adua, the government maintained several thousands of unemployed youths on a monthly stipend of N5000 that was paid to them through government treasury. According to the report, a credible source allegedly accused the perpetrators that the process was a preparation and linking it to the 2007 election. These predicaments can be found virtually in all states each with its method of maintaining the gangs just as happened in Gombe the famous known gangs as “Yan Kalare”. Similar episode can be found in Oyo state. (Human Rights Watch October 2007:23 – 29). These report have therefore went contrary to Paul Collier and Vicente Pedro’s assertions to their finding of the Nigeria’s 2007 elections ‘votes buying and violence’ in which they attributed more violence strategy to the opposition as a means of gaining votes. While attributing votes buying and misallocations or result falsification to the incumbent.
In Nigeria, it is well known that any act of election violence is commonly associated to the ruling party because of its access to the public treasury which they use to finance and or motivating restive youths as well as the security agents to unleash violence and or to intimidate voters from coming out to vote. It became, therefore, a strategic means for the incumbent to carry out vote misallocations, announcement and falsification of result, as happened in several elections in Nigeria.
RELATIONSHIPS AMONG KEY VARIABLES
The aim of this chapter is to fine tune the research work and draw a conclusion in a statistical manner by explaining relationships among some key variables using cross tabulation and Chi-square test. Thus, a cross tabulation often known as cross tab displays a joint distribution of two or more variables, which are usually presented as a contingency table in a matrix format. Whereas a frequency distribution provides the distribution of one variable, a contingency table normally describes the distribution of two or more variables simultaneously, with each cell showing the number of respondents that give specific combinations of responses, that is, each cell contain single cross tabulation.
On the other hand, a Chi-square is a family of distributions commonly used for significance testing, and the most common variants are the Pearson Chi-square test, the likelihood ratio Chi-square and as well the linear by linear association Chi-square. However, Pearson is by far the most common type of Chi-square significance test and thus, in our study we make use of or rely on the Pearson’s Chi-square test.
The Chi-square test was designed for use with a nominal or categorical data, but it can be used with continuous variables if the data are first converted into frequency ranges. Chi-square test is used to see whether two distinct variables have a relationship or are independent. It creates a table thereby examines to see whether values are randomly distributed into cells or there are some kind of pattern. Most specifically, one purpose of a Chi-square test is to compare observed result with expected result and see if the result is likely.
The study however selects a number of variables by presenting them in a cross tabular form in order to see if there exists any relationship among the mentioned or presented variables through a Chi-square test, which are presented below.
Tables 5.1 Relationship between types of violence and those involved in the 2007 presidential Election
Cross tabulation table one tries to identify a relationship between who are party to the violence and the type of violence. The table shows respondent with “all of the above” on both variables are with the highest number. In other words the chi-square test in the table above shows the value of P = .000 and since the P.value is most definitely small hence we conclude that, there is a relationship between the variables. Thus, indicating that all parties to the violence engaged in the various types of violence that occurred during the 2007 general elections.
Tables 5.2 Relationship between the various State involved and the credibility in the conduct of the 2007 Presidential Election
State * How do you rate the exercise?
The above table try to see if any relationship exists between the rating of the exercise and the various states. The cross tabulations show similarities and the chi-square test result spells a negative relationship because the P.value indicate = .119 thus higher than the expected value, indicating there is no difference in relationship between the rating of the exercise and a particular state. Therefore, as presented in the table it shows all the states grades the 2007 general elections exercise as poor.
Tables 5.3 Respondents reflections on relationship between the various States involved and a comparison on the conduct between the 2007 presidential election and that of 2003 and 1999 Presidential elections.
State * Compare 2007 election to 1999 and 2003
The above cross tab and Chi-square test which presented a relationship between the various states and comparison between the 2007 elections and the 1999 and 2003 elections show a strong relationship by indicating all the states rating the 2007 general elections as the worst. So also the result presented by the Chi-square test which indicate the P.value as = .000 thus signifying a relationship.
Tables 5.4 Relationship between voter’s commitment or participation and the various States involved in the 2007 Presidential election
State * Rate voter’s commitment or participation at 2007 general election
The above table identifies the performance of voter’s commitment and or participation in the 2007 general elections thereby linking it to the various states. The result shows a significant relationship between the various states and the level of commitment because the P.value is = .000 which means there is a relationship.
Tables 5.5 Relationships on Occurrences of violence and the various States involved
State * Did you witness any violence during or after the 2007 election exercise?
The Chi-square test result of the above cross tab indicate a P.value of .000, signifying a relationship between the occurrence of violence in each of the various states during the 2007 general elections exercise.
Tables 5.6 Relationship between Causes of the violence’s and the different States involved
State * what was the cause of the violence?
The above cross tab and Chi-square represents or try to identify a relationship between the causes of the violence in each of the various states and the result shows no relationship and that each of the states has a particular factor that is higher in nature as indicated by the respondent, which contributed to the violence. And our result from the chi-square test shows a significance P.value of .376.
What this chapter has revealed is that the whole processes of organizing the 2007 general elections were faulty. These irregularities either through omission or commission had the same end result, which it provides wide avenues for election rigging which according to our findings were wide spread. As a result, even in the North West where the President comes from the results were not satisfactorily, thus heating up the polity unnecessarily and thereby posing a threat to national security.
SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
This study tried to examine the extent to which election rigging is a threat to national security from the perspective of ordinary Nigerians.
At the core of all democratic systems is the notion of the supremacy of the people which translates into government by the consents of the ruled. This consent is given through a free and fair election. It is this that makes the elected officials accountable and sensitive to the needs of the population which in turn results in a stable polity.
The 2007 elections in Nigeria however were not free and fair as indicated by responses to our specific questions in this regard. Chapter three second part of the study which focuses on the description of respondent’s profiles and political efficacy reveals their knowledge of the political events of the 2007 general elections exercise. The findings indicate peoples willingness in political participation but were denied by certain shortcoming among which are voter intimidations, violence’s and administrative ineptness and all other forms of electoral irregularities and malfunctions.
Chapter four of the study presents respondents assessment of the 2007 general elections also indicates that the 2007 general election was far from being good and is full of shortcomings. The result of our analysis of the respondents remarks show 2007 general election as the worst ever in the country compare to 1999 and 2003 general elections. The results also indicate willingness of voters’ commitment, but denial through intimidations, violence as witnessed by many respondents and other forms of electoral irregularities are factors behind poor participation of voters. The findings also indicate election rigging as been facilitated by the large numbers of unemployment because of poverty pervasiveness.
Other findings in our analysis of the responses show role played by security agents as poor and that electoral malpractice led to political crisis such as violence and unwarranted destructions of lives and property and that undermine democratic governance and pose threat to national security because rigging, if allow to continue in future, will result to anarchy in the system.
Chapter five fine tunes the research work and draw conclusion in a statistical manner by explaining relationships among some key variables using cross tabulations and chi-square test. What the chapter revealed is that the whole processes of organising the 2007 general elections were faulty. There were clear irregularities, violence and intimidations; as such the entire exercise was unsatisfactorily.
Electoral fraud which undermines democratic governance generates an enormous insecurity in societies that tremendously has a negative impact on individuals, groups and the nation in general. Impact among which include: disruption of family and communal life, hostilities between indigene and settlers as the case of Plateau state, social tension, loss of lives and property, an atmosphere of mistrust, increasing hunger and poverty, and all sorts of human rights abuses as well as creating an atmosphere of political insecurity that can lead to declining confidence in the political leadership and the entire system. These and many more lay the key source of threat to Nigeria’s democracy and national Security.
Currently, politicians have already jumped into strategizing on how to control and win or retain power by the year 2011 and beyond. Culturally these strategies are what result to inter and intra-party conflicts, political assassinations, threat and intimidation as well as looting of public treasury by those in office to be enabled to finance their political needs. These and more, and with governmental inability to combat widespread impunity of abuses orchestrated by politicians and government officials, are what constitute or remain features of a failed state because they characterized institutional weaknesses thus, a greater threat to a country’s national security.
In other word, the fact that the concepts of “peace in war” means an interlude were peace is observed for a certain period to give a room for possible negotiation that may lead warring parties to attain permanent peace settlement. Thus, one can simply argued that democracy in Nigeria and its violent activities can best be describe as “war in peace” simply because the concept of Democracy preach peaceful coexistence among societies and were democracy is deny peace, then a violent democracy is nothing but war in peace.
The recommendations of the study is aimed at targeting the Academics; Civil societies and pressure groups and the legislatures. These groups are belief to be champions and or the main figures towards Democratic consolidation.
The main factor to national security threat regarding democracy and election are identified as political violence that has its root cause through: electoral irregularities, intimidation and denial of right for political participation involving the right to campaign, vote and be voted for; partisanship, and other bureaucratic bottle necks, and as well as all other forms of electoral malpractices being perfected by those involved. Thus, imperative upon the political system to address these issues through the carrot and stick philosophy. For those who do good be rewarded with their good deeds as an encouragement for future events and for those who violate the ethic, a punitive measure be applied on them where necessary.
A complete restructuring of the electoral body in preparation for future elections is necessary because, good planning before hand was identified as a major lesson in implementing the Sierra Leone Electoral Commission that led the country to achieve a successful electoral exercise in the 2007 elections and it is a fact that poor or late planning in an election operations such as recruitment and training, timely procurement and delivery of election materials, etc can severely impinge adversely on the process. It also has the potential of undermining the entire process thus the need for:
- Ø Staff capacity development;
- Ø Infrastructural development for the commission to maintain its permanent buildings, warehouses and all other facilities that will make the commission to be independent including an effective, efficient information technology system.
- Ø An unbiased, yet a natural source electoral reforms laws and regulations based on equal opportunities. A reform that will break the electoral body dependence on government by empowering the body to recruit its own staffs and give it authority over its finances.
- Ø The need for the establishment of an electoral offences court that will apply punitive measures on all parties involved in electoral fraud. These could involve dismissal, banning and imprisonment of both individuals and groups with no immunity backing on any person of whatever status or position he or she represents.
- Ø The capacity building of the electoral body should be that which will provide all eligible voters to have the choice of voting irrespective of their locations either out of the country or on sick bed and this could be achieved through the improvement of information technology system.
Looking at the roles played by the security agencies in previous elections exercises in the country which has negatively made impact on the security of the country and as well as tarnishing the image of both the security personnel and the country on the eye of both it citizens and International body, in terms of human right abuses thus imperative for security reforms measures which may include:
- Ø The need to establish a national security policy that will incorporate actors involving academics, civil societies, youth and students unionism, serving and retired security personnel’s, political parties representatives, etc. that will oversee the entire electoral exercises and offer solution to the electoral body where necessary.
- Ø The need to commit the security agency into the professional ethics through adequate provision of welfare packages that will give them no reason to taking of bribes; provision of adequate and modern hardware and other facilities that will make them to meet up with their professional demands as well as general re-orientation of the system that will restore their images and establish a free and honest relationship with civilians and their duties.
- Ø Security agencies must remain neutral and non partisan thus, a punitive measure that may include dismissal from service and imprisonment be applied to those found guilty of politically related offences.
- Ø The constitution must give the security agencies independency from taking orders from political office holders regarding matters of elections and should clearly state their roles in handling matters arising from electoral conflict by given them power over immunity to arrest and charge ever y one guilty of electoral offences.
Political parties and civil society’s reforms, for the promotion of peaceful coexistence among all members of the society before, during and after election exercise.
- Ø It is well known that electioneering in a transitional democracy like Nigeria can spark off political violence and insecurity to party leaders and their supporters thus, the need for a collaboration and consultation among political parties and civil societies to embark on public sensitization and voters education activities through holding of peace rallies nation-wide that will comprise of political parties representatives, civil societies groups and the religious institutions, such can make a positive impact during political campaign and the election exercise at large.
- The political parties, civil societies and security agencies and the court as well, must collaborate to stop the concepts of “godfatherism” and its practices in the country, otherwise no meaningful solution can be achieved. This could be done through the applications of punitive measures and if necessary may lead to capital punishment by the security agencies through the court order, while for the political parties and civil societies should shun all persons associated with the evil act by banning them from politics and inciting the public not to associate with them for they are the enemies of Nigeria’s unity and progress.
- Ø Internal democracy among the political parties is a vital and most important factor toward true democracy, political development and national security of the nation. Therefore, the need for political parties to ensuring a free and fair elections during primaries and must be transparent in all their doings.
Finally, for a successful democracy our institutions namely the law makers, judiciary and the executive arms must be free from corruption and unprofessional conduct in handling national issues. In other words, there should be an equitable democracy building that will free the minds of voters of sentiments. Our elite must accept national interest above every other interest and the need also for a sporadic, spontaneous but violent free revolution, through our academia and Medias in order to fight against all ills deeds so as to promote national unity and create political awareness and participation in the mind of Nigerians.
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