Electoral Process in Nigeria

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Elections in Nigeria are nothing but dramatised rituals that seek to legitimate the power structure of the ruling class

Being an M. Sc seminar presentation in the department of Political Science, Benue State University, Makurdi.

The concept of election has been defined in this work as the process by which the people choose their leaders. Nigeria’s democratic experience has been faced with the question of credibility of our electoral process and elections. In other words, our elections have been challenged as not been free and fair. This has posed serious legitimacy question for our leaders .This paper has briefly assessed elections in Nigeria with particular emphasis on the recent ones(i.e
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This definition places the people in a central position in deciding who governs and it goes to suggest that election is very crucial in all democratic settings and its survival.

1.2 Functions of Elections in Democracy and Conditions for functional elections The primary function of election as rightly observed by Olaitan in Onu (2005, p.44) is to enable the realisation of the classical requirement of involving everybody in governance under democracy. Put differently, it is only through election that the main requirement of modern democracy, which states that ‘the power of governance be vested in and derived from the people could be realised.

An Internet source, webcache.googleusercontent.com (2010) identifies three important functions of election in a democracy, as well as the conditions required to be satisfied for election to contribute positively to the making and sustenance of democracy. These include: 1) Supplying legitimacy (i.e. acceptance of the right of public officials to hold office and to promulgate policies because of the means by which they were chosen). 2) Solving Principal – Agent problems 3) Ensuring governmental responsiveness.

Elaborating on the functions, the source provides that, for legitimacy to be ensured, the following conditions are necessary: i) Acceptance of
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