ELECTORAL SYSTEM AND GOOD GOVERNANCE IN NIGERIA CHALLENGES AND PROSPECTS. A case study of Dekina Local Government Area
This research work intends to study the impact of electoral system in relationship with good governance in Nigeria. The electoral system in this study will be approached from the pre-colonial, colonial and independence period till date. This is necessary in order to compare the level of electoral progress or otherwise since over fifty six (56) years of political libration from British colonial rule and over thirty years (30) of democracy rule since independence on October 1st 1960
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The electoral system in any independent country is the political foundation for any viable and democratic rule. The electoral system in any country serves as the parameter for determining the existence and survival of the government of the day.
Before the emergence of modern or representative electoral government, the determination of who emerges as a leader or occupies a post or hold a traditional or monarchial title, the principal of wealth, seniority or heredity is applied in order to select an individual or group of people to govern a given community or society. In this traditional elector system, certain customary standards are set to determine who will aspire for what position and what qualifies or disqualifies. These standards differ from one region of the country to another and are usually very small and effective to run.
Of special importance is the fat that women are not permitted to partake in the traditional electoral process because they are customarily and religiously required to be at home as the custodian of the home.
As a result of growth of population, grate expansion of countries, specialized art of modern government, the need for a popular consensus and responsibility responsible leader or representative etc. the direct representation or democracy grew with time and modernity in one place to decide or elect who leads them on a wider interest.
Citizen who are qualified under law to vote in an election in order to select their representatives are called electorates or voters. The election can either be direct or indirect election conducted in order to elect the peoples representatives both at the local, state and national levels.
Today, most independent and democratic nation like Nigeria in order to handle electoral matters established and electoral commission that will regularly and periodically be charged with the legal responsibility for conducting and organizing credible election into public offices as well as ensuring the efficient and effective management of the public mandate or trust.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
The electoral system in Nigeria since the pre-colonial, colonial and post independence till date is characterized by poor electoral time table, a very large percentage of politically uneducated or illiterate electorates lack of a comprehensive or up to date voters register, a traditional or regional voting culture or patter, raw/expensive election campaigns, un contemporary and in effective electoral laws, massive election rigging, under age voting/double voting, a compromise legal system, a politically influence electoral commission, falsification of election results and a worsening security system in the country among others. These myriads of electoral problem in Nigeria undermine the conduct of free, fair and credible election in the country and well deny the citizen their legal and constitutional fundamental human right to elect leaders of their choice even in a democratic dispensation.
In essence, the electoral system in Nigeria for over thirty years has been the bane of Nigeria fledging democratic dispensation on one hand and the big question of good governance.
It is against this painful background that this study is proposed to be embarked upon in a bid to proffer a lasting, sustainable democratic solution to Nigeria’s electoral failures and entrust public administration in the hand of credible, popular and responsible leader especially a Nigeria heads for another general election in 2019.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The objectives of this study are to achieve the under listed aims and objectives:
⦁ To reposition Nigeria’s hitherto porous and weak electoral system
⦁ To highlight the critical roles of the electoral commissioning in Nigeria towards conducting a free, fair and credible election.
⦁ To checkmate the negative attitudes of some electorates and electoral officials and appropriate punishment for electoral officers.
⦁ To re-orientate the electorates on their civic and constitutional duties or obligation towards determining the success or failure of electoral system on one hand of institution good governance.
⦁ To expose certain illegal electoral practice that tend to regularly and periodically hamper the conduct of free, fair and credible election in the country.
⦁ To provide solution to their numerous problems and challenges identical above.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The relevance of this research can be viewed from two (2) perspective; the political and academic importance. The academic significanc3e of this subject matter is that, it will help bring to our notice and awareness certain historical, regional and economic forces which undermines or threatens the efficacy and credibility of the electoral system in Nigeria.
Politically, the study is important to all political actors because it tends to expose salient features/forces surrounding the Nigeria electoral system as well as urging the electoral commission to re-double their mandate of periodically and regularly conducting a credible election in the country. It is a requirement for the award of higher national diploma in public administration.
The recommendations that will be proffered latter in the study will help public policy maker to formulate useful electoral polices that will improve the electoral system as well as manpower the electorates to exercise their supremacy and determination toward government choice as guaranteed by the constitution of the country. The study will also assist public administration to recognize the roles of the electoral commission in Nigeria and instituting measures to improve their independence, performance, security and financial capacity
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
In the systematic or scientific process of providing answers to the statement of problems, the research question that will guide the study includes the following listed below:
⦁ Does the system of voting in Nigeria guarantees electoral credibility or not?
⦁ What forces or factors motivate a particular electorate to vote one aspirant and not the other?
⦁ Are the electorates adequately educated or enlightenment to periodically and regularly exercise their civic and constitutional right?
⦁ What are some of the challenges faced by voters/electoral commission surmountable both at national, state and local levels?
⦁ What are the prospects or hopes for electoral commission mandate to conduct a free, fair and election credibly election in the country?
1.6 SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
The scope of the study covers the electoral system and good governance in Nigeria; challenges and prospects.
The scope of the study on the whole will encompass the following areas:
i. Historical background to electoral system
ii. Theoretical framework on electoral system.
iii. Electoral system and good governance in Dekina Local Government Area.
iv. Challenges and prospects of the electoral system in Dekina Local Government Area.
The limitations to this study include:
i. The unwillingness of some respondents to provide necessary information due to language barrier or difficulties also affected the responses. The researcher therefore relied on data collected from secondary or published sources like organization publications, magazines, internet as well as the data gathered from the field.
ii. The time allocated to the research work by the authority of Kogi State Polytechnic is very short to embark on a comprehensive or extensive research investigation.
iii. Inadequate data following difficulties in retrieving the research instrument of data collection i.e. questionnaires administered to the respondents seriously limited the scope of the study.
iv. Owing to financial constraints, the researcher could not visit all part of the local government area to gather relevant literature in order to embark on comparative analysis of the fact and figures gathered.
1.7 DEFINITION OF KEY TERMS
The basic terms to be contextually defined in this study include the following:
Electoral System: Electoral system is a system in which the people through election chose those who will represent them in parliament and other positions of government.
Electorates: Electorates also known as voters are those who are qualified to cast their votes in any election in order to elect leaders or representative
Electoral commission: An electoral commission is the official body responsible for the conduct of periodic and regular elections into various political or public offices.
Election: Election is a process whereby people vote directly or indirectly in order to choose people that will represent them.
Good Governance: Good governance is a form of government that is responsible to the need of the electorates, mange public funds to benefit the masses and account for the stewardship of the public.
Representatives: Representatives are elected individual who stand to chart the interest of the people who elected them at different levels of governmental administration.