Elections and Democratic Consolidation in Nigeria: A Study of the 2015 General Election

Posted: 7 Apr 2020

Date Written: March 12, 2020


In contemporary times, political systems are undergoing qualitative transformation from authoritarian to participatory regimes. This worldwide trend known as democratization has made the issue of election a crucial political imperative. Nigeria’s experience with electoral politics has over the years been characterized by high incidences of electoral malaise manifesting in the prevalence of electoral rigging, violence and other forms of malpractices which tend to erode established electoral standards and defy the prospects of free, fair and credible elections in the country. Prior to the 2015 General Elections, the hope for peaceful and positive outcome of the elections came to many as a surprise considering the difficult political and security environment under which the elections were conducted. Against this backdrop, this study interrogates the issues that midwifed the outcome of the 2015 general elections and its impact on democratic consolidation in Nigeria. The study adopted the purposeful random sampling technique in selecting the study area and primary method of data collection via distribution of structured questionnaires was used to gather data for the study. The Elite theory was adopted as the framework of analysis. The study argued that despite, the views of the electorates, masses, domestic and international observers that the 2015 general election in Nigeria were credible, the much expected democratic norms and values are still lacking and the requirements for democratic consolidation are yet to be in place. The study, further argued that there is still need for large scale electoral reforms. This work , recommends among other things that INEC should be unbundled into three sectors such as political parties registration and control commission, electoral offences commission and election management. Accordingly such separation of office will enable the commission to set up clear standards and enforceable regulations regarding political campaigns funding and sanctions for those who commit breach of the electoral laws and monitoring of the rate of mass defection of contesting candidates and their supporters, to another political party shortly before elections. The work opined that stakeholders must commit themselves to the task of conducting free and fair elections if the Nigerian fledgling democracy will be consolidated. The study , concludes that much has to be done if Nigeria’s democracy is to scale the second turn-over test Huntington establishes as the bench mark for democratic consolidation.

Keywords: Elections, Democracy,Democratic consolidation,, Nigeria

JEL Classification: Y4, Y5

Suggested Citation

Azikiwe, Emmanuella, Elections and Democratic Consolidation in Nigeria: A Study of the 2015 General Election (March 12, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3553426

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