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ADDRESSING THE CONSEQUENCES ASSOCIATED WITH THE PREVAILING ELECTORAL FRAUD PRACTICES IN NIGERIA

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ADDRESSING THE CONSEQUENCES ASSOCIATED WITH THE PREVAILING ELECTORAL FRAUD PRACTICES IN NIGERIA

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

  1. Background of the study

Elections are a fundamental aspect of the democratic process. They are a contemporary and commonly accepted technique of selecting persons to represent a group or community in a bigger organisation or government by voting. The citation is from Belloumar and Lamidi's work in (2018). Since gaining independence, elections in Nigeria have been a political liability, causing uncertainty and deterioration, rather than serving as a political benefit and legitimising authority. Surprisingly, elections in Nigeria have turned into a distressing and chaotic situation (Gbemudu and Ajabor, 2019). Nigeria's repeated experiences with competitive democratic politics have led to the emergence of the most severe manifestations of political violence and lawlessness, as well as uncontrolled and unrestricted criminal activities. Considering the information presented, the election and electoral process in Nigeria have been a hindrance to our efforts to strengthen democracy (Ojukwu et al., 2019). The crucial link between elected officials and voters, which is essential for a free democracy, has been absent throughout the election history of Nigeria. Moreover, the occurrence of electoral fraud during elections has consistently plagued subsequent elections in Nigeria (Fatai, 2018). This has made the whole process unfair, undemocratic, and risky. The outcome is that the administration that arises from such elections has a crisis of legitimacy. Nevertheless, the manner in which elections are carried out in Nigeria and the significance they have fail to meet the anticipated standards of the general populace in the community. The prevalence of electoral fraud in the conduct of elections is attributed to several factors, including vote buying, intimidation, repeated voting, inadequate voter education, ballot box theft, violence, and poor institutional frameworks. The aforementioned scenario pertains to illicit activities perpetrated by government officials responsible for overseeing elections, political parties, individuals, or collectives with the explicit intention of manipulating the election results in favour of a certain candidate (Baidoo, Dankwa, and Eshun, 2018). Nevertheless, the electoral process in Nigeria is impeded by a variety of fraudulent activities that undermine fundamental principles of good governance, including the active involvement of citizens in decision-making, adherence to the rule of law (which is even violated by the current government), fairness, accountability, responsiveness, effectiveness, and efficiency. According to Gbemudu and Ajabor (2019), good governance is characterised by a society where leaders and followers follow established procedures, adhere to the rule of law, and behave responsibly and responsively to achieve specified goals, whether in societal governance or corporate governance. According to Yu (2015) and Akasike (2016), good governance refers to the effective management of socio-economic growth in a peaceful and harmonious atmosphere, free from conflict, hostility, and contempt. The above statement suggests that if elections are conducted with freedom and transparency, it would lead to the emergence of leaders who are responsible to the people. This would facilitate citizen participation in their own matters, adherence to the rule of law, which would promote equal justice for all, and ensure that the opinions of minority groups are considered in the decision-making process. According to Aluaigba (2016), effective governance involves using power and authority to influence human circumstances in order to enhance the quality of human existence and also bring about changes in the physical environment. Nevertheless, Nigeria's democratic system of government, which is designed to uphold the rule of law and promote good governance, has unfortunately failed to eliminate various issues such as dictatorship, autocratic behaviour, mismanagement of resources, abuse of political power, corruption, lack of press freedom, and intimidation. These problems persist in our society and are directly linked to electoral frauds (Ashindorbe, 2018). Therefore, the researcher sought to addressing the consequences associated with the prevailing electoral fraud practices in Nigeria.

    1. Statement of the problem

Electoral fraud refers to the inability of electoral institutions to conduct elections in a way that ensures equal opportunity for all people to actively participate in selecting their leaders. Thus, any action that obstructs the implementation of impartial and unrestricted elections is seen as such (Avgerou, Masiero & Poulymenakou, 2019). This act of lawlessness pertains to the organisation of elections, allowing individuals to exercise their right to vote. However, this has unfortunately resulted in the people losing faith and support for Nigeria's emerging democracy (Joseph, 2020). However, in Nigeria, election fraud manifests in several ways such as vote buying, intimidation, ballot box theft, underage voting, multiple voting, result falsification/ballot box stuffing, bribery and corruption, dissemination of disinformation, and invalidation of votes (Ojo, 2019). Hence, the need to address the consequences associated with the prevailing electoral fraud practices in Nigeria.

    1. Objective of the study

The broad objective of the study is to address the consequences associated with the prevailing electoral fraud practices in Nigeria. The specific objectives is as follows

  1. Examine the prevailing cause of electoral fraud in Nigeria.

  2. Assess the electoral fraud practice ravaging in electoral system of Nigeria

  3. Investigate the consequences of the prevailing electoral fraud practices in Nigeria

  4. ascertain the strategies required to address the prevailing electoral fraud in Nigeria.

    1. Research questions

The following questions have been prepared to guide the study

  1. What are the prevailing cause of electoral fraud in Nigeria?

  2. What are the electoral fraud practice ravaging in electoral system of Nigeria?

  3. What is the consequences of the prevailing electoral fraud practices in Nigeria?

  4. What are the strategies required to address the prevailing electoral fraud in Nigeria?

    1. Significance of the study

The findings of the study will be significant as the current wave of electoral fraud is fast weakening the democratic principles in the country. This has resulted to a high level of political apathy. The study seek to call the attention of stakeholders to arise and tackle the menace with the view of reviving democratic institution and good governance in the country.

The findings of the study will be significant to the academic community as it will contribute to the existing literature.

1.6 Scope of the study

The study focuses on addressing the consequences associated with the prevailing electoral fraud practices in Nigeria. Hence, the study will examine the prevailing cause of electoral fraud in Nigeria, assess the electoral fraud practice ravaging in electoral system of Nigeria, investigate the consequences of the prevailing electoral fraud practices in Nigeria and ascertain the strategies required to address the prevailing electoral fraud in Nigeria. Hence, the study is delimited to Kogi State.

1.7 Limitation of the study

Like in every human endeavour, the researchers encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. Insufficient funds tend 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), which is why the researcher resorted to a moderate choice of sample size. More so, the researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. As a result, the amount of time spent on research will be reduced.

1.8 Definition of terms

Democracy: a system of government in which laws, policies, leadership, and major undertakings of a state or other polity are directly or indirectly decided by the “people.

Electoral fraud:  This is an illegal interference with the process of an election.


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