The louts of sovereignty by various polities that dotted Nigerian landscape at the beginning of the twentieth century and the subsequent amalgamation of 1914 that tried to create a nation out of the multi-cultural and political institutions, the evolution of acceptable government at the centre most especially through free and fair election has been a matter of concern. This has become a matter of debate for individuals, groups, professionals, politicians, academia, and opinion leaders in and outside the country. This stem from the nature and outcome of elections and subsequent collapse of the First Republic (1960 – 1966) and the Second Republic (1979 – 1983), the abortion of the Third Republic and the outcry that has followed the birth of Fourth Republic (1999) and the subsequent elections of 2003 , 2007 and 2011. The outcry, violence and the collapse that greeted electioneering in Nigeria since independence was due to inability of elections to produce outcomes mutually agreeable to all competing social groups which are politically active within a given polity.(V. Egwemi and E.K Enojo, 2011 p.116).
In a democratic setting, periodic elections if carefully, freely and fairly undertaken gives legitimacy to the government and holds the promise of stabilizing political institutions most especially in a multi-ethnic nation like Nigeria (M.L Salahu, 2003, p22). Election thus became the major acceptable means of getting to power or losing it if properly conducted and votes count. Thus king observed that;
Election may provide means of selecting between competing alternatives and thus make for the smooth transfer or transition of political power from one set of power holder to another.(M.C King 1988 p.106) Despite elections being very fundamental in installation, transition and consolidation of democratic government, it does not guaranty sustainable democratic transition and consolidation. This is so when elections are conducted but peoples’ vote does not count, or people have no choice in their representatives and leaders due to subversion or manipulation of the entire electoral process. The subversion or manipulation of electoral process either by individuals, groups, political parties or institutions amount to political corruption or rather electoral corruption. Corruption means many things to many people depending on one’s position and perception. In this paper the position of Saliu and Aremu is adopted as “a violation of the moral ethos to confer personal advantage on self or acquaintances.”(H.A. Saliv and F.A Aremu) Electoral corruption can therefore be infer as all actions or in action of individuals, groups or institutions in aiding, abating and subversion of electoral process either by use of words, media (print or not), thugs, violence, money and state apparatus to confer undue advantage on oneself, acquaintance or political party.
As corruption has the influencing power of diminishing state capacity to meet its material and welfare obligations to the citizenry, electoral corruption succinctly installed, sustained and consolidates bad governance through electoral fraud. This has characterized Nigeria system from independence, hence, this research seeks to discuss on corruption and credible electoral process in Nigeria in its electoral system using a period of 8 years from 2007 to 2015.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Corruption constitutes one of the greatest challenges and threats to the democrat consolidation in Nigeria Fourth Republic. The incidence of corruption in the country reached a crescendo in 2004 when a German based non-governmental organization called Transparency International in its 2004 Corruption Perception Index(CPI), report projected Nigeria as the 2nd most corrupt country in the world(132nd out of 133 countries surveyed)
Since the emergency of the fourth republic, with specific attention to 2007-2015,Election and democratic practice in Nigeria has been more of a force than a serious fact. Admittedly, Nigeria registered and voted at the elections that brought the ruling class into power, the candidate presented to them for selection were chosen not by them but by the political elites. Voting as observed became for Nigerians a matter of ritual performances than discharge of bounden duty.
It can be argued that elections and democratic practice in fourth republic characterized by electoral malpractices, political intolerance, economic mismanagement, using political office as gateway to personal enrichment, political thuggery, lack of intra party democracy, insecurity, manipulation of religion and ethnicity to achieve selfish political ambitions and other countless misdemeanors were order of the day.The consequence of this is that the poor masses are easily brainwashed and their right of choice terribly manipulated making an objective choice seldom to consideration.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Election in Nigeria has been characterized by absence of popular participation in the political process, corruption, lack of responsiveness and accountability by those who rule. The political class, civil society, domestic and international monitors, believed that the 2003 and 2007 general elections more than the case in 1999, suffered severe manipulation, such that elections results in some places do not present the true voting pattern (This Day, June 20, 2007, Vanguard, July 12, 2007; The week, July 24, 2007; Gani, 2007; Akande 2007; Adesina, 2006). We are currently faced with court cases resulting from infamous election procedures, charges of corruption, fraudulent enrichment of those in power and the uninspiring conduct of some legislators who are expected to provide the positive support for effective policy that will guarantee sustainable democracy. We are also faced with increasing conflict, among the capitalist class resulting from their competition for more acquisition of national wealth and this is done with clear disregard for democratic values. These situations strikes an urgent and compelling though in the heart of every dedicated Nigerian who has watched Nigeria escaped from the clutches of military dictatorship only to land into scandalous politics of professional electoral fraud. It would be recalled that one of the reasons advanced for the military intervention in 1983 was that, elections of that year were massively rigged. Nigeria masses felt out raged that something must be done by every body to save democratic institution and process from the reactionary forces.
The fundamental questions implied by the foregoing are; what electoral fraud really is and why are we concerned with its unproductive effect?, what sustainable democracy really is and why is our present democratic process appears to be unsustainable? what political values can sustain valid democracy in Nigeria and how and how can these values be cultivated?
1.3 PURPOSE / OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The main objectives of this study are as follows;
i. To investigate all the effects of corruption in the Nigeria Electoral System.
ii. To identify and examine the general causes of corruption which can be attributed to electoral malpractices.
iii. To identify the ways, through which corruption can be eradicated to facilitate Credible Electoral system in Nigeria.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
Over the years, it has become fashionable for successive Nigerian governments to embark on a grandiose public measure of combating corruption in the electoral system.
The findings of this study will be of great relevance to the federal government palatals, and research institutions.
Again, the researcher on this area will find the work very useful because it will go a long way as a good source of information for any person who may like to know the causes of corruption as pertain to electoral process in Nigeria. This study can also serve as inducement for Nigeria government in the fight against corruption and help the government in waging war against it.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The research questions formulated to guide this study are as follows:
1. To determine how corruption can be eradicated in the Nigeria electoral system.
2. To investigate how corruption affects voting system in Nigeria
3. To determine if corruption contributesto manipulation of election results in Nigeria .
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study will concentrate on corruption and credible electoral process in Nigeria. 2007-2015.
1.7 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
In the course of carrying out this research, the researcher encountered some constraint which tried to hinder the researcher from the execution of the study.
a. One of the factors was time; the time allowed to carry out the research was not enough.
b. Office protocols, one had to undergo before the key officials will be reached was almost a hindrance to the study. As there was so many
c. Areas of non discloser result of the management resolution. credible electoral process The officer referred to that information as “classified”. credible electoral process Hence the researcher with appreciate that the research was contained by as a result of not gaining access to certain document and information as disclosure is unfit for public consumption. Inadequate finance was what the researcher uncounted, they did not have money in order to photocopy document for the research pay for the transport fare, pay for the printing of question.credible electoral process
d. The non co-operation is some of the respondent was yet another factor that hinders the exaction of this research.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Immoral practices: This can be defined as an all dishonestly and unlawful behavior or patterns of a person’s life, which usually lead to the breakdown of an order in a society.credible electoral process
Population: This refers to the total number of people living in a particular geographical area in a given of time.
Constituency: – This is the people of an area district who vote for their congress person and are represented by him or her for the congressional period.credible electoral process
Democracy: – Democracy, or democratic government, is “a system of government in which all the people of a state or polity are involved in making decisions about its affairs, typically by voting to elect representatives to a parliament or similar assembly.credible electoral process
Electoral process: – This is an election is a formal decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual to hold public office.credible electoral process.
Government: – is the system by which a state or community is controlled.credible electoral process.