Election Observation in Nigeria: Prop or Threat to Democratic Consolidation?
In the early years of Nigeria, its democratic structures suffered a great setback as the military intervened in its political life partly on account of the rigging, acrimony and bloodletting that attended the 1964 general elections and the 1965 western regional elections. Since then and through all other subsequent elections, there have been accusations and counter accusations by the contending political parties of rigging or manipulation of the electoral process .Hence the adoption of the practice of election observation or monitoring in the 1990’s with a view to strengthening the country’s democracy. Since the practice crept into the country’s political landscape, the study discovered that, it has to some extent, further propped the country’s democracy as some voters now have confidence more than ever before, to participate in the country’s elections believing that their votes will count. However of recent, there is this allegation that some of the observers do compromise the process of observation as they tend to write biased report favoring the political parties they have sympathy for. Thus the suspicion that election observation might be a threat to the democracy it is supposed to protect. The study investigated this suspicion and discovered through both primary and secondary data that, although there might be few cases of comprise particularly by local observers, however, the cumulative effect of these is not enough yet to constitute a threat to democratic consolidation in the country. Despite this, the paper proceeded to recommend the panacea to ameliorate the grey areas in election observation in the country in order to make it a much stronger exercise and thereby exuding further salutary effect on the country’s search for an enduring democratic temper and practice.
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