It is a common knowledge that modern elections came into practice after many centuries of various methods for electing people into public office, like Monarchical or parliamentary systems of government elections provide an avenue by which the popular or electorate are expressed and realized. That is while Goubada (1993) postulated that:
Election naturally is an act of electing or choosing the viable person or persons for political office through voting.
Election then provides a means for orderly and smooth political secession since government that have not performed creditable are shown the way out, while those political parties that are felt to have better things to offer to the electorate are voted into government.
In this manner, ultimate ruling power resides in the masses who elect and control their representative, establish mode of accountability.
In Nigerian or Afikpo North local government, however the institution of elections have not served the laudable function which it does in other democratic system of government found in the advanced countries of Western Europe and the United State. Election have not proved to be any avenue for orderly and smooth political transition in Nigeria political history, since 1922, the hope of the electorate have always been shattered because of electoral malpractices, proud, ringing and even eliminating opponents.
The ideals of free and fair election stated malpractice in Nwakwo (1990: 140-141) as proper elections, good supervision public counting and announcement of results at once etc. were significantly lacking in the conduct of the election.
It is because of the ugly nature of the election that Chukwu at all see it as what is not dependable for a growth oriented society.
“Thus they reacted to they election as what lacks
adequate moral foundation upon which to justifiably
build on acceptable and respectable government
The election having shown the colour of high bright malpractice, tension, violence, insecurity and molestation” Chukwu et al (2003: 07), has it that it is a bad omen for the growth oriented country.
This careful effort is expected to eventually hatch out sustainable solution measures that will help the country and her populace to re-trace her steps back to the ideals of democratic regime
The continuation of this interesting research exercise from where this introductory point ends will be followed by statement of problem.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM.
Electoral malpractices has become a pronounced social ill that has setback or delayed the development of democratic process in Nigeria.
In view of ode 2007, he stated that:
“The politician have turned the politician elections into
a kind of civil war where young people are devised all
descent opportunities and are conscripted into the
burgeo mind and money spinning industry of
political thuggery, where they kill and suffer the so
called political opponents”.
When an election is held in this manner, it promotes intimidation and denial of civil right and duties of the people in the society, as it is common in Afikpo and Nigeria at large, while the attendant result is apathy bitterness and ramcour. Conducting peaceful election should not be on the fear of arms and intimidation or the liberty of a few ruling political class to choose for the people, because it will not be free from crisis. To avoid enosis, the votes of the people which is the true reflection of their choice and aspiration toward a better society and guaranteed future must not be upturned for selfish and personal interest.
Peaceful election, and substance of democracy is by mobilizing of security operative, the police and the soldiers to wipe off opposition, subdue the people and commit electoral malpractices which will end up spelling doom for the nation according to juobadia (2007)
The enthronement and sustenance of democracy in
any Nation is predicated on the ability of such a nation
to conduct a peaceful free and fair election.
For the politician with the mandate stolen, hardly work or render services that positively reflect the economic well being of the people. These have as a matter of fact, that the electorate loose confidence on the politicians who forcefully kept themselves in sensitive political post, based on these maxims, no Nigerian politician goes into the “war” of politics ill equipped. In them, the end shall surely justify the means. The view of this Amimu (1978)states that:
In Africa party leaders extorted money from
government pocket in other to purchase electors and
voters when the time comes people would do anything
to stay in power forever.
To them politics is business and national issues and the welfare of the ordinary man were scarcely mentioned.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY.
The purpose of the study is to deliberate over electoral malpractice and democratic consolidation in Nigeria as a whole starting from the year 2007 General election up to date.
With the above in mind, the research aims achieving the following objectives:
(i)To find out weather sectionalism and Ethnicity bred electoral malpractice in Nigeria democratic system
(ii) To find out if inter-parity misunderstanding promote electoral malpractice.
(iii) To find out if there is a relationship between political elites and practitioners in electoral malpractices in Nigerian
(iv) To find out if the practices/activities of independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the conduct of the election prompted Electoral Malpractice.
The geo political entity known as Nigeria was not created by God rather it was brought together by amalgamation in 1914, which now made it possible to be united with teaching of togetherness but as case may be the differences which brought about the wrong impression of tribe and ethnicity group for the hypothesis of this work is based on the real fact that triumphant of electoral malpractices and crisis have brought a lot of confusion in Nigeria more especially in Afrikpo North local government area where envy, selfish, killing and elimination of innocence soul has been their own culture of daily election the culture of electing people into the office.
In Nigeria / Afikpo North Local Government area we are shouting that we are one of the country that is practicing democracy system of government, but in a real sense it is autocracy.
By main looking at 2007 election you need no prophet to prophesies for you on issue of whether Nigeria is a democratic country or not a system where if you bring any opinion for the goodness of the state you will be instantly killed by Sam Egwu’s agent if you talk about democracy you will be equally killed by them and this is all over the whole state in Nigeria. In Afikpo North many people where killed because of the imposition of democracy and rigging of election caused by PDP by these reason you have to understand that electoral malpractice has taken a or lot occupied many place in our country called Nigeria.
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY.
Those study is signify in it’s focus and training, coming at a time when Nigeria is transiting from one democratic government to another.
It is important in the sense that it would further illuminate the path to democracy by pin-pointing some of the pit falls on the path since 1923 that Nigerian had her first election.
The study will be signify to the fact that a political framework that fosters a feeling of alienation, discrimination, marginalization and pen-up grievances, leaves room for mutual suspicious and sporadic out break of disorder, lead to chaos anarchy in the society.
Another significance is that the study will reveal how best to go about a peaceful free and far election in any society. Which depends largely on the political class, the people and the government. The study will also reveal that to avoid election crisis necessary structures, such as a neutral electoral body, law enforcement agencies. An independent judiciary and agree press, must be given free hand to operate towards ensuring the success of the exercise.
1.6 SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY.
In the course of embarking on the onerous fast of writing this project my hands were tied in so many places as to have deprived me of securing materials and pieces of information the way I wanted for this work.
Financial constraints played its own part though ,embanked on a number of traced is search of materials, the factors of limited money availability posed could not allow me to visible certain states in Nigerian as I would here wished to do.
There were accusation and counter accusations on electoral malpractice matters. That are still in many law court which I will find interesting to use in this work not allow me to wait and have the result on these matters.
Accusation of similar nature were made in contain individuals of having abetted malpractice during the election but proof of such could not be established, although they have happened.
There was also encountered setback in availability, of access to some of recruited workers that served as electoral officers for pieces of information gathering though this was able to be surmounted to a considerable degree.
There was also limitation in the access to contain items of information from some political party big-wigs. The one’s I interviewed were unwilling to open on matters that transpired within their political parties possible for fear of personal safety or fear for the image dent of their political party, and so on.
According to Okpaleke (2004:13) prior to the election the people (Nigerians were quite apprehensive Concerning the election given the concerning the random political association, menace, of things and soon on that.
Atmosphere was tensely charged with fumes of fear and uncertainty. Most people even took the option of dissent faradizing themselves haring reached the confusionthat their votes would not count anyway. Establishing this trod stand of the phenomenon will enhance good understanding of the origin and nature of electoral malpractice that work place in the conduct 2007 election in Nigeria.
1.7 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK.
According to OKPARA (1998), he stated that
“Election is an act of acceptance or rejection by the
people an offer by a candidate to serve them”.
Conducting a peaceful free and fair election in any society depend legally on the political class, the people, government necessary structures, such as a natural electoral body, law enforcement agencies and independent judiciary and free press, must be given a free hand to operate towards ensuring the success of the exercise. According to Ojo (1984).
It is an orderly process of leadership succession and
change which guarantees political accountability to
Democracy which is the bedrock of election is formed, by two Greek works “Demo” and “Kratia” joined together, according to Abraham Lincoln one time U.S president, defined democracy as Government of people by the people and for the people.
It is outrageous that our political actors have misinterpreted it to “government of money” a sale of conscience and right, may also call it “A rape of democracy since true democracy in my own perspective is the upliftment of the rule of low and the empowerment of the people.
Obviously, it is not yet Okay for democracy in Nigeria and Afikpo North local government. Our inability to organize free and fair elections has become a recuring decimal it has become a perpetual national stigma as we pass from one retrogressive electoral process to another. One may rightly ask, of what use is urging the hanging masses to come out in-mass and exercise their franchise, when their collective will be subverted political campaigns were formalities, estensivly done to create the impression and hoodwink the people into believing that politician needed their votes. But in reality, they banked all their hopes on trigger happy thurge who they have paid and armed to ensure artificial victory for themselves according to Nwachi (2007).
Operation in the Afikpo sector of the war election were
unfortunate but ridiculous as even those who higher
were looked upon with reference by “Ndi Ehugbo”
threw Caution to the decorum, and integrity to the
wind because they wanted to deliver their area, not by
People’s will but by force of arms.
The 2007 election was a test of superior fire power and Machiavellian bravado in the name of politics.
1.8. OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
The terms that will be explained or defined here are the central ones that form the foundation to the project topic emergence such effort is necessary as this effort will enhance easiest comprehension and operation of this work in its entirely.
Election: Election can said to be that political behaviour that embodies the exercise of free will by electorate in choosing or selection of an individual or candidate by vote to fill certain political offices.
Monarchy: this is earliest forms of government where the king or queen is the absolute authority in the state. He has all the power of the state vested on him and also absolute authority within the state.
Democracy: An Author like Abraham Lincoln defined it as government of the people, by the people and for the people. This is based on his own way of perception; democratic system of government is the system by which the masses have equal right in decision taking in the state.
Creditable: This is the act of being good and even deserves praise. Creditable somebody, is that person that has the quality of goodness.
Sectionalism: This simply means too much concern for the good of one’s own section of the state or community.
Absence of generation of concern to everybody.
Pragmatic: This is the act of doing things in a reasonable way or treating things in a sensible and realistic way to produce result.
Electoral Brigand: This situation where people make or turn election to their avenue of robbing and killing people looting government money and property.
Outrageous: This is an attitude or act that is shocked and bring fury to the people which you can come across in the politics.
Franchise: This is simply means the right to vote and to be voted for at this area of election.
Viability: This is simply means the possibility of the activity that some one carried out in other hand a possibility of a proposers.