THE ELECTORAL PROCESS AND NATIONAL SECURITY IN NIGERIA: A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF THE 2011 AND 2015 ELECTIONS
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Election is an integral part of a democratic process that enables the citizenry determine fairly and freely who should lead them at every level of government periodically and take decisions that shape their socio-economic and political destiny; and in case they falter, still possess the power to recall them or vote them out in the next election. This was Obakhedo, (2011) aptly defined election thus: Election is a major instrument for the recruitment of political leadership in democratic societies; the key to participation in a democracy; and the way of giving consent to government (Dye, 2001); and allowing the governed to choose and pass judgment on office holders who theoretically represent the governed Obakhedo, (2011). In its strictest sense, there can never be a democracy without election. Huntington is however quick to point out that, a political system is democratic ‘to the extent that its most powerful collective decision-makers are selected through fair, honest and periodic elections in which candidates freely compete for votes, and in which virtually all the adult population is eligible to vote’ (Huntington, 1991). In its proper sense, election is a process of selecting the officers or representatives of an organization or group by the vote of its qualified members (Nwolise, 2007). Anifowose (2003) defined elections as the process of elite selection by the mass of the population in any given political system, Bamgbose (2012). Elections provide the medium by which the different interest groups within the bourgeois nation state can stake and resolve their claims to power through peaceful means (Iyayi, 2005). Elections therefore determine the rightful way of ensuring that responsible leaders take over the mantle of power.
An election itself is a procedure by which the electorate, or part of it, choose the people who hold public office and exercise some degree of control over the elected officials. It is the process by which the people select and control their representatives. The implication of this is that without election, there can be no representative government.This assertion is, to a large extent, correct as an election is, probably, the most reliable means through which both the government and representatives can be made responsible to the people who elect them.
Eya (2003) however, sees election as the selection of a person or persons for office as by ballot and making choice as between alternatives. Ozor (2009) succinctly gives a more encompassing and comprehensive definition of election when he noted that the term connotes the procedure through which qualified adult voters elect their politically preferred representatives to parliament legislature of a county (or any other public positions) for the purpose of farming and running the government of the country. Thus Osumah (2002) elucidates what the basic objective of election is which is to select the official decision makers who are supposed to represent citizens-interest. Elections, according to him extend and enhance the amount of popular participation in the political system. However, elections in Nigeria has always been marred by violence and heightened sense of national insecurity because of the level of tribal and religion sentiments showed by the country men.
Nigeria’s 2015 general electionsthe fifth since 1999, was scheduled for 14thand 28thFebruary 2015respectivelyand later changed to 28thMarch and 11 April 2015respectively. All 36 states held presidential, federal parliament and House of Assemblies(state parliaments) elections. Gubernatorial polls were held in 29 states. General elections in Nigeria have always been turbulent and violent affairs. Indeed, the 2007election polls waswidely condemned as the most violent, poorly and massively rigged inthe history of Nigeria’s electoral history. Even the winnerof the presidential pool, a person of late President UmaruMusa Yar’Adua,conceded flaws. Some analysts and observers considered the April 2011 elections as themost credible since the return to democracy,unlike 2007 elections where over 1,000 people were killed in post-election protests.Nigeria has had a checkered electoral history with successive elections being marred by serious irregularities and controversy- particularly in the conduct of its electoral commission. This has led in some cases to the collapsed of democratic experiments as occurred in 1966 and 1983. The 2007 general elections in Nigeria provided a good opportunity to occasion a break with the past and rekindle public confidence in the electoral and democratic process of the country. However, this was not to be as the elections, according to several local and international observers turned out to be the worst in Nigeria’s political history (European Union: 2007, Human Rights Watch: 2007, Transition Monitoring Group: 2007). Like its predecessors, INEC was accused of not being able to engender public confidence in the electoral process or organize transparent and credible elections. Unfortunately, this position has scarcely been demonstrated in a systematic manner.
March 28thand April 11th2015 election marked another turn in Nigeria’s democratic history as registered voters took to the polls to elect the next set of leaders into the Presidential and National Assembly positions. Theelections,conductedin the thirty six statesofthecountryand theFederalCapital Territory,witnessed theemergenceoftheopposition party, theAllProgressivesCongress(APC)and its candidate. This outcome was also the first time an opposition partywouldunseattheruling party, People Democratic Party (PDP) since Nigeria’s transition into civil rule in 1999.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The cornerstone of competitive elections and democracyisfreeand fair election. The credibility and legitimacyaccorded an election victory is determined by theextent to which the process is free and fair (Garuba, 2007;Bogaards, 2007). Free and fair election serves the purpose of legitimizing such government. In fact, the quality of elections is part of the criteriafor assessing the level of consolidation of new democracies. Elections are therefore considered as vital and indispensable for determining the democratic nature of apolitical system and ensuring national security. When election is not managed quite satisfactorily, it can pave the way for deeper ethnic and regional divisions, lost of legitimacy ofelected authorities, protest, violent contestation, social explosion, and doubt about institutions, violence, and instability or even threaten the entire democratization process. In fact, poor management of elections is a real and prolific source of conflicts, violence, insecurity and instability (Hounkpe & Gueye, 2010).Low turnout in the 2015 compared to 2011 may be attributed to some factors. First, it might be an indication that previous election results were inflated.Second, there was a heightened sense of insecurity.among Nigerians, with causes such as the Boko Haram insurgencyinthe North, the possibility of the incumbent not willing to accept the outcome of theelection should it not be in its favour, the effects of the election postponement, Also, there is the perception that ‘votes do not count’ and that theoutcomeshavebeen pre-decided by an elite minority.However, this study is examining the electoral process and national security comparing the 2011 and the 2015 general elections.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The following are the objectives of this study:
1. To examine the relationship between electoral process and national security in Nigeria.
2. To examine the differences and similarity in the 2011 and 2015 general elections processes in Nigeria.
3. To examine the factors that promotes national security in an electoral process.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What is the relationship between electoral process and national security in Nigeria?
2. What are the differences and similarities in the 2011 and 2015 general elections processes in Nigeria?
3. What are the factors that promote national security in an electoral process?
HO: There is no significant relationship between electoral process and national security
HA: There is significant relationship between electoral process and national security
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The following are the significance of this study:
1. The outcome of this study will educate the general public on the relationship between electoral process and national security. It will also educate on the differences and similarities in the 2011 and 2015 general elections in Nigeria.
2. This research will be a contribution to the body of literature in the area of the effect of personality trait on student’s academic performance, thereby constituting the empirical literature for future research in the subject area.
1.7 SCOPE/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This study will cover the issues of electoral process and national security with focus on comparison between 2011 and 2015 general elections in Nigeria
LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work
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Bogaards, Malhijs (2007) “Elections, Election Outcomes, and Democracy in South Africa.” Democratization.Vol. 14. No1. Pp. 73 – 91.
Dye, R. T. (2001) Politics in America, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle Rivers.
Eya, Nduka (2003) Electoral Process, Electoral Malpractices and Electoral Violence. Enugu: Sages Publications Nigeria Ltd.
Garuba, Dauda (2007) “Transition without Change: Elections and Political (In)stability inNigeria.” In Jega Attahiru & Ibeanu, Okechukwu (eds) Elections and the Future ofDemocracy in Nigeria. Nigerian Political Science Association (NPSA).
Hounkpe, Mathias & Gueye, Alioune Badara (2010) The Role of Security Forces in the Electoral Process: the Case of Six West African Countries. Abuja: Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung.
Huntington, S. (1991).Democracy’s and third wave, Journal of Democracy, 2(2).
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Ozor, Frederick Ugwu (2009), “Electoral Process, Democracy and Governance in Africa: Search for an Alternative Democratic Model.” Politikon,36(2), pp:315–336.
This chapter contains the literature review and the theoretical framework of this study on the electoral process and national security. The theoretical framework will be made up of theories that explains the relationship between the election process and national security with emphasis on the proponent, assumptions, strengths, limitations/weaknesses of the theory viz-a-viz the relevance of the theory to this research. The literature review will also present a general overview of electoral process and Issues of security. It will also contain information about electoral process and national security in Nigeria with reference to 2011 and 2015 general elections and in Africa as a whole.
2.1 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
The study is conducted within the 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 electoral processes and democratic systems, out of which periodic elections are organized to ensure regular turnover of leadership while ensuring national security.
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 poor governance by the sovereign through the process of elections. 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 through the election process if they failed to discharge their functions to the people” (Katzenelson, 2001).
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, Election process created the basis for social contract between the government and the governed in which citizens elect few individuals to represent them in running the affairs of government and in return must be accountable to the society they represent to ensure national security..