CHAPTER 1: Introduction

Election has become an important component of democracy and democratization debates in Africa. Some scholars believe that  elections,  has democratic self-reinforcing powers (Lindberg, 2006; 2009), stimulating civic activism and actions often better than free and fair elections (Bratton, 2013, p. 38). Others contend that only high-quality election can lead to democratization (Bogaaards, 2013; Lewinsky & way, Competitive Authoritarianism: Hybrid Regimes after the Cold War, 2010; Bratton, 2013). While each of these arguments holds and perhaps clarifies the extent of democratic commitments, none examined the significance of institutional capacity building of electoral management bodies (EMBs) 4 in improving the credibility of election. Moreover, the most common problems of electoral irregularities occurred in sub-Sahara Africa and are tied to logistical, administrative, and political difficulties (Norris, 2014, pp. 76-88).5 In the midst of these challenges, however, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in 

Nigeria conducted the 2015 presidential election which all domestic and international electoral stakeholders accepted as credible, including the losing incumbent. How does INEC achieve this monumental success? 

1.1            Background of the Study

The conduct of free and fair elections are the hallmark of truly democratic societies and the world has today come to witness elections in all the countries that practice one form of democracy or the other. In doing this, these countries have entrusted the task of carrying out these elections to various bodies established whether constitutionally or otherwise to conduct elections to various elective positions in their countries. In the United States for instance, the Electoral College indirectly conducts the presidential elections. Britain has in place the Electoral Commission to help conduct its parliamentary elections while in Australia, there is the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) a body charged with conducting federal elections and referendums etc. Nigeria is not left out in this practice as it has through its laws established a body tasked with the duty of conducting free and fair elections into various elective positions in the country.

The body charged with this task of conducting free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria is the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). INEC under Part 1 of the Amended Electoral Act 2011 is recognized as established by section 153 (1) (f) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and its composition and powers are seen under the Third schedule, which provides thus:

The Commission shall have power to –

organize, undertake and supervise all elections to the offices of the President and Vice-President, the Governor and Deputy Governor of a State, and to the membership of the Senate, the House of Representatives and the House of Assembly of each State of the Federation; register political parties in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution and an Act of the National Assembly; monitor the organization and operation of the political parties, including their finances; arrange for the annual examination and auditing of the funds and accounts of political parties, and publish a report on such examination and audit for public information; arrange and conduct the registration of persons qualified to vote and prepare, maintain and revise the register of voters for the purpose of any election under this Constitution;

monitor political campaigns and provide rules and regulations which shall govern the political parties; ensure that all Electoral Commissioners, Electoral and Returning Officers take and subscribe the Oath of Office prescribed by law; delegate any of its powers to any Resident Electoral Commissioner; and

carry out such other functions as may be conferred upon it by an Act of the National Assembly.

In addition to its establishment by the Nigerian Constitution, Nigeria’s Electoral law (The Electoral Act 2011) under Part 1 went on to also make more clarifications on the status of INEC as an establishment stating thus:

The Independent National Electoral Commission as established by Section 153 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria shall be a body corporate with perpetual succession and may sue and be sued in its corporate name. In addition to the functions conferred on it by the 1999 Constitution, the Commission shall have power to: conduct voter and civic education;

promote knowledge of sound democratic election processes; and conduct any referendum required to be conducted pursuant to the provision of the 1999 Constitution or any other law or Act of the National Assembly. The Electoral Act also provides for the funding of INEC, as is seen under section 3 (1). It states that there shall be established for the Commission a fund to be known as Independent National Electoral Commission Fund.

Part 1 of the Act also provides in Section 6. (1) that the Commission shall submit to the Ministry of Finance not later than 31st August in each financial year an estimate of its expenditure and income (including payments to the Independent National Electoral Commission) during the next succeeding financial year. The provisions in part 1 of this Act goes on to state under section 7 (1) that there shall be established in each State of the Federation and Federal Capital Territory, an office of the Commission which shall perform such functions as may be assigned to it, from time to time, by the Commission.

It should also be noted that Part 1 of the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution provides that INEC shall comprise of the following members: the research shall therefore appraise the roll of INEC in presidential election with a case study of the 2015

1.2            Statement of the Problem

Election constitute an essential part of democracy and its management a defining component of its integrity, determining its impartiality cannot be overlooked (Birch, 2008 & 2011; Elklit & Reynolds, 2002 & 2005; Gazibo, 2006; Hartlyn, McCoy, & Mustillo, 2008; IDEA, 2006; Mozaffar, 2002; Mozaffar & Schedler, 2002). Defining an autonomous electoral commission remains problematic in comparative politics, but some patterns are becoming crystal clear.  Thus, we operationalized an autonomous electoral commission by way of looking at its institutional setup capability, operational efficiency in terms of electoral and financial endowment. This conception is not a total rejection of the existing efforts in particular of Inec but a highlight of the relevance of electoral governance in determining election’s quality. Other unavoidable challenges the most serious had been slow manner with which the Commission printed and distributed the PVCs. It is clear that some states of the federation could not get their cards as and when due, just as some did received cards that do not belong to the receiving state. This is possible considering the challenges of logistics. With this and other challenges facing presidential elections, the research intends to investigate the role of INEC in presidential elections with a case study of the 2015 election.

1.3            Objective of the Study

1 To determine the nature of the 2015 presidential election

2 To determine the nature and role of inec in the conduct of the 2015 election.

1.4            Research Questions

1 What if the nature of the 2015 presidential election

2 What is the nature and role of inec in the conduct of the 2015 election.

1.5            Significance of the Study

The study shall provide a framework of reference of the nature and roll of inec in the 2015 presidential election.

1.6            Statement of Hypothesis

1 Ho The 2015 presidential election was a failure

     Hi The 2015 presidential election was a success

2 Ho The challenges of the 2015 presidential election was low

    Hi The challenges of the 2015 presidential election was high

3 Ho The impact of the roll of Inec in the 2015 presidential election was low

    Hi   The impact of the roll of Inec in the 2015 presidential election was high

1.7            Scope  of the Study

The study focuses on the role of inec in presidential election with a case appraisal of the 2015 election

1.8            Definition of Terms

Election defined

(Parliamentary Procedure) the selection by vote of a person or persons from among candidates for a position, esp. a political office, a public vote on an official proposition, the act or an instance of choosing


A presidential election is the election of any head of state whose official title is President.



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