NIGERIA’S POLITICS OF ELECTORAL REFORMS: IN WHOSE INTEREST?
Election is a major character and indispensable to modern democracy. As a means by which citizens decide their leaders and policies, it is very strategic to every democracy and its conduct and credibility determine legitimacy and success or otherwise of a political system. It process of conferring popular legitimacy on both the state and leaders involves many things which are embodied in an electoral system also as provided within a state’s legal framework. Over the years there have been calls, agitations and outcry for electoral reforms in Nigeria in addition to the electoral acts and many constitutional provisions regulating the electoral system. This article examines the politics of electoral reforms in Nigeria. Nigerian politicians’/elites have partly devised electoral reforms as means of securing public legitimacy and popularity; it has become a means of accommodating and rewarding parties allies and loyalists, patrons and clients; and a diversionary tactic to skew the public attention towards one end; there appears no little or sincere political commitment towards the enactment of some of the electoral reforms; there is no much wrong with the past and present electoral system and laws, but lack or absence of genuine political commitment to enforce those laws. Nigerians have little confidence in the reforms due to insincere political will and commitment to enforce such reforms when finally approved. The article submits that mere electoral reforms in Nigeria are not adequate or capable of restoring credibility in elections, hope in the democracy and legitimacy. Enforcement of subsisting electoral laws, positive reorientation of the stakeholders, regulated use of money, and genuine commitment of all are vital to the success and credibility of elections in Nigeria.
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