ELECTION RIGGING IN A DEMOCRACY: A SOURCE OF THREAT TO NATIONAL SECURITY IN NIGERIA


ELECTION RIGGING IN A DEMOCRACY: A SOURCE OF THREAT TO NATIONAL SECURITY IN NIGERIA (A CASE STUDY OF THE 2007- PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION IN NORTH WEST ZONE OF NIGERIA)

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CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION

1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Democracy which has multiple of variant of definitions and meanings is believed to have a worldwide acceptance as the best form of government. And if one may argue, the concept has been either imposed or largely accepted as the best form of governance. However, this system of government is characterized by certain shortcomings which are either external or internal i.e. domestic causes and or foreign influences. In the case of Nigeria, the concept of democracy has become difficult to define and this is because, the very factor which qualifies a democracy (free and fair election) has been difficult to achieve in Nigeria. Election Rigging

Since independence the country’s democratization processes had witnessed massive electoral fraud followed by violence which has compromised the very ethics of liberal democracy inspite of several electoral reforms that have no positive effect. And this predicament to democratization process in Nigeria has rather been on the increase and there is no evidence of any serious and sincere effort made to stop it from reaching an unwanted level. Virtually, these have been breeding all sorts of violent scenarios to the possible feature of a total anarchy, a situation which some consider Nigeria moving towards a failed state. Election Rigging

These predicaments have been a worrisome episode as many politicians particularly those in government resort to the use of threat and violence to pursue their political goals, e.g. Obasanjo’s “do or die” statement in 2007. Since return to civil rule in May 1999, the country has witnessed more violence with an estimated loss of life of more than 10,000 people (Jega, 2007:255) mostly during the period of elections with some 700 violent election related incidents between November 2006 to March 2007 (Herskovits, 2007:115) and as well more than 300 killed during the 2007 elections alone (Human Right Watch 2007). Thus, bringing the question to what exactly is democracy in Nigeria. Because, democracy in the ideal sense, offers the ordinary citizens the best chance to live under a regime of fair laws enacted in the national interest as opposed to a tyrannical or despotic regime. Election Rigging

Furthermore, a democratic system provides a conducive atmosphere for the evolution of a culture of debate, exchange of ideas, an environment with a traditionally vigorous and out spoken free press that promote peaceful coexistence. A democracy is supposed to provide the best condition for economic development, employment opportunities, and conducive atmosphere for individual citizens to go ahead with their business. In essence, for democracy to succeed, a free, fair and credible elections are rightly considered as significant hallmark of a democratic system (Thorpe, 2007), and not coincidentally election rigging which has triggered the demise of Nigeria’s earlier attempts at democracy since independence. (Herskovits, 2007:115, Jega, 2007:56-71). Election Rigging

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