Electoral Hub

TECHNICAL PAPERS & BRIEFS

The 2022 FCT Area Council elections were conducted on 12 February 2022. The chairmanship elections led to the victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abaji, Gwagwalada, and Kwali Area Councils, while the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) won in Abuja Municipal, Bwari, and Kuje Area Councils.

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The 2021 Anambra governorship election led to the victory of Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo of APGA. The Electoral Hub, an organ of the Initiative for Research, Innovation and Advocacy in Development, has prepared this paper to analyse the result sheets of selected polling units in Onitsha North, Awka South, and Nnewi South; outline the strengths and weaknesses of the election

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The 2021 Anambra governorship election led to the victory of Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo of APGA. The Electoral Hub, an organ of the Initiative for Research, Innovation and Advocacy in Development, has prepared this paper to analyse the result sheets of selected polling units in Onitsha North, Awka South, and Nnewi South; outline the strengths and weaknesses of the election

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Since Nigeria’s First Republic in 1960, various electoral commissions have been set up, including the Electoral Commission of the Federation (ECF), the Federal Electoral Commission (FEDECO), the National Electoral Commission (NEC), the National Electoral Commission of Nigeria (NECON), and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

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Elections are an important element of modern representative democracy. They
enable the electorate to select the representatives of their choice, and also hold
them accountable for their performance in office. Policies and programmes of the government can also be influenced by the people through elections and erring leaders or representatives can be removed or recalled by the people through elections. Elections therefore remain a great weapon of the electorate in every democratic society.

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Nigeria operates a bicameral legislature called the National Assembly. The two Chambers of the National Assembly are called the House of Representatives and the Senate.

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Voter registration can be defined simply as “the key process that establishes which individuals are eligible to vote”. It is a key stage in the pre-election period, as it ensures that eligible citizens have a real opportunity to vote, and prevents ineligible people from voting and multiple voting. For voter registration to be effective, it must be in line with the principles of inclusion, equality, and transparency.

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Since the Fourth Republic which began in 1999, a number of electoral reforms have taken place in order to improve Nigeria’s electoral systems and processes. Of particular note was the 2015 general election, which was judged by observers to be one of the most credible elections in Nigeria. However, the 2019 elections fell below the expectations of Nigerians, with an increase in electoral malpractices and violence. Against this background, the 9th National Assembly has instituted a comprehensive process of electoral and constitutional reform targeted at improving the electoral process of Nigeria.

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The 2020 Edo gubernatorial election held on 19 September 2020 saw the victory of incumbent Governor Godwin Obaseki of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). On 21 September 2020, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) gave an official breakdown of the results, declaring the number of votes gained by each candidate.

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The 2019 coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) has created a global health crisis that has profoundly impacted the way we live and interact. Not only has the contagion risk and propagation habits challenged our sense of identity, but the protective precautions put in place to prevent the spread of the virus often allow certain stringent measures or acts to be taken. In this regard, the electoral process and the citizens’ voting rights are also at risk in the context of physical threats, social and physical distance and public alarm1. 

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The principles of inclusion, representation, and participation are critical to the effective functioning of democracy. It is implicit in the democratic principles of universal suffrage and legitimacy that all eligible citizens of a country should be given equal opportunities to get involved in the electoral process as voters or candidates. The exclusion of particular groups therefore “violates the sacrosanct principle of equal access and universal suffrage and undermines the legitimacy and effectiveness of democratic governments”.

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The Ondo governorship election held on 10 October 2020 led to the victory of incumbent Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Shortly after the election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) gave an official breakdown of the results, declaring the number of votes gained by each candidate.

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The internet has revolutionized politics globally in the last quarter of a century. The advent of the information superhighway invigorated a certain hope for the democratization of the world with expectations that it will give everyone a voice and level the playing field in politics, business and society. The realization of this hope and its ensuing expectations has been varied from society to society depending on factors within and without these societies. 

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Elections in Nigeria date back to the colonial period, when the first elections held in 1923. Following independence, Nigeria had its first elections as a republic in 1964. However, this was short-lived as a military coup occurred in 1966. From that time, Nigeria juggled back and forth between civilian rule and military rule until 1999 when Nigeria once again returned to civilian rule and has remained so till date.

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Local administration in Nigeria predated colonial rule as each of the separate entities that make up the nation had a unique but relatively effective system. Prior to amalgamation, the pre-colonial societies in Nigeria were made up of empires, a caliphate, kingdoms, chiefdoms, city states and villages with rulers that exercised absolute authority over them. 

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While conducting regular and credible elections are hallmark of a democracy, elections conducted with integrity embodies democracy, furthers development and promotes security. The Kofi Annan Foundation explains that elections with integrity are based on the democratic principles of universal suffrage and political equality and are professional, impartial, and transparent in their preparation and administration throughout the electoral cycle.

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Today, as COVID-19 is spreading rapidly across the globe, it constitutes the most urgent and serious challenge to both the health of humanity and democratic institutions. Election stakeholders all over the world are pondering how to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic, and how to address some of the risks associated with organizing elections during the pandemic. 

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Electoral violence in Nigeria dates back to the colonial period, when the first general elections were conducted in 1959. Since then, every single election in Nigeria has seen violence in one form or another. This long history of electoral violence in Nigeria has led to political instability, sometimes paving the way for military coups as in 1966, 1983, and 1993.

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Electoral processes and elections are among several issues impacted by the COVID- 19 pandemic. Across the world, over fifty-one (51) countries have delayed their national or regional elections, while about eighteen (18) have continued with their elections as planned. In Nigeria, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) have already postponed bye-elections for the senatorial districts in Bayelsa, Imo and Plateau States.

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The COVID-19 pandemic poses an unprecedented challenge to democracies, elections and civil liberties all over the world, creating another period of crisis and uncertainty. In a short space of time, our ways of life, whether economically, socially or politically, has changed. Globally, there are over six million confirmed cases and significant loss of life since the virus was first diagnosed. 

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The world is witnessing one of the worst pandemics in the last two centuries. This
pandemic, “COVID-19”, is disrupting both the routine lives of citizens and the functional operations of government. One of the areas of governance that is affected is the conduct of elections – an integral part of citizen’s fundamental rights. Nigeria, just like many democracies around the world, is presently being faced with a predicament: how to hold different scheduled elections during this pandemic without spreading the virus further.

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