THE EFFECT OF INCONCLUSIVE ELECTION ON THE CREDIBILITY OF ELECTORAL PROCESS IN NIGERIA
The main objective of this study is to ascertain the effect of inconclusive election on the credibility of electoral process in Nigeria. But for the successful completion of the study the researcher intend to achieve the following sub objective in other to aid decision making; to ascertain the causes of inconclusive election in Rivers state. to evaluate the effect of inconclusive election in the democratic process, to ascertain the role of INEC towards eliminating inconclusive elections in Nigeria, to determine challenges facing INEC towards conducting credible elections in Nigeria. In view of this a population of 200 staff on the independent national electoral commission was randomly selected by the researcher and questionnaire duly administered. From the data collected, analysis was carried out and conclusions was drawn and adequate recommendations were made.
1.1 Background of the study
Inconclusive election has been a hydra-monster on Nigeria electoral process this is so due to many factors which attribute to the origination of the word inconclusive election. Prior to 2015 general election, the term inconclusive election was not a popular slogan in Nigeria. The word inconclusive election became popular during the tenure of Professor Yakubu who is the current Chairman Independent National Electoral Commission National (INEC). At this point it is pertinent to understand the meaning of election. Election is a formal decision- making process by which a population chooses an individual to hold public office. It has also been described as a celebration of democracy whereby the electorates are given the opportunity to elect leaders who will take charge of governance within a given period of time (Saminu, 2016).
Indeed, because it is a process and not an event, election management bodies worldwide deploy human and material resources in a bid to enhance free, fair and credible process; this, perhaps, underscores why the electoral cycle stipulates pre-election, election and post-election activities. In recent times in Nigeria, however, the process has assumed a new but dangerous dimension, with its history becoming replete with inconclusive polls. The Independent National Electoral Commission says it will not be ready to conclude the legislative rerun elections in Rivers State until October this year.
However; the electoral commission was still undecided about a specific date for the long-awaited rerun polls, which were first aborted on 19th of March. This abortion was due to the fact that the election was marred with violence, thuggery and kidnapping and snatching of ballot boxes, these actions by the two political parties led to INEC declaring the election inconclusive. This political battle in the opinion of the writer was a battle of supremacy between Barr. Nyesome Wike the incumbent Governor of Rivers State and Rt. Hon Rotimi Amaechi, the Minister of Transportation.
INEC National Commissioner, Amina Zakari gave this indication during a meeting with political stakeholders in Rivers State. This is no surprise when INEC declared the River state legislative election inconclusive. Saminu, (2016) stated that “we need to understand that elections are not just get up and go. It is not like going to the race track. In fact even a race track, the athletes have to prepare. So we must prepare and that is the reason why we cannot just come back to Rivers without ensuring that we are prepared and you are prepared because the election is for you”. The electorates are your electorates these are the words of the electoral commissioner.
Legislative Re-Run Elections in March 2016 in the build-up to the re-run elections there was palpable fear and tensions across the state as a result of increasing incidents of gang violence and politically motivated killings. On February 11, 2016, a former State House of Assembly member was shot dead in Obia-Akpor. On February 22, 2016, the state liaison office of one of the senatorial candidates was reportedly razed by suspected political thugs in Khana. Separately, a party ward chairman in Ogba/ Egbema/Ndoni was murdered along with his wife and 18-year old son, and a political party supporter in Asari Toru LGA was burnt to death two weeks prior to the election. While some observers attributed these killings to cult-related violence, others have suggested that these killings are related to violent politicking in the run-up to the elections (Aniedi, 2016). The tensions created by the rising incidents violence were further fuelled by the inflammatory rhetoric from major election contenders. A week out from the elections, the immediate past governor of the state who is the current Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, relocated to the state to lead the APC campaign. Amaechi, along with the incumbent governor and the PDP leader in the state Nyesom Wike, were reportedly engaged in verbal warfare where both pledged to resist any attempt to rig the elections against any of their party candidates. In an effort to ensure violence-free elections, the Federal Government, through the Inspector General of Police and the Chief of Army Staff, deployed over 6,000 policemen, 14 units of Mobile Policemen (MOPOL), and military personnel to strategic locations and hotspots of violence across the state. Despite these deployments, many violent incidents, including killings, were reported a few days before the elections (Baregu, 2009).
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The problem associated with inconclusive election is enormous ranging from financial burden, security, awareness and mass education. Inconclusive election brings more burden to the federal, state and local government, this also contribute to lack of reliability in the electoral process, this can be seen during the December 10th legislative re-run election in rivers state as the PDP were accusing INEC and APC of collaboration, the PDP believed that the APC were using the power of incumbency to manipulate the electoral commission to their favor, while the APC were accusing the government of River state of trying to bribe the electoral commission as published in the media. All these accusation and counter accusation does not augur well with Nigeria democracy as international community and independent observers are watching. Therefore, this study stresses the need to find out the causes and effect of inconclusive election in Rivers State.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The main objective of this study is to evaluate the causes and effect of inconclusive election in river state. However, the researcher seeks to achieve the following objective:
i) To ascertain the causes of inconclusive election in Rivers state.
ii) To evaluate the effect of inconclusive election in the democratic process.
iii) To ascertain the role of INEC towards eliminating inconclusive elections in Nigeria.
iv) To determine challenges facing INEC towards conducting credible elections in Nigeria.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
For the successful completion of these studies, the following research questions were stated:
i) What are the causes of inconclusive election in Rivers state?
ii) What is the effect of inconclusive election in the democratic process?
iii) What role does INEC play towards eliminating inconclusive elections in Nigeria?
iv) What are the challenges faced by INEC towards conducting credible elections in Nigeria?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
H0: INEC does not play any significant role towards eliminating inconclusive elections in Nigeria.
H1: INEC play a significant role towards eliminating inconclusive elections in Nigeria.
H0: There are no challenges facing INEC towards conducting credible elections in Nigeria.
H1: There are challenges facing INEC towards conducting credible elections in Nigeria.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
It is believed that at the completion of the study, the findings will be beneficial to the electoral commission (INEC) in their bid to conduct an itch free election, the study will also be of great benefit to the political parties who are the major players in the electoral process.
The study will also be of great benefit to the electorate in educating them on the nemesis of election violence.
Finally the findings of this study will also be immense benefit to government, academia, scholars, researchers and the general public.
1.7 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDIES
The scope of this study covers the causes and effect of inconclusive election in River state, however the research has some limitation, which are:
a) AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study.
b) TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.
c) FINANCE: The finance available for the research work does not allow for wider coverage as resources are very limited as the researcher has other academic bills to cover.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
a) ELECTION: Election is a formal decision- making process by which a population chooses an individual to hold public office. It has also been described as a celebration of democracy whereby the electorates are given the opportunity to elect leaders who will take charge of governance within a given period of time. Indeed, because it is a process and not an event, election management bodies worldwide deploy human and material resources in a bid to enhance free, fair and credible process; this, perhaps, underscores why the electoral cycle stipulates pre-election, election and post- election activities.
b) NORMINATION: Nomination is part of the process of selecting a candidate for either election to an office by a political party, or the bestowing of an honor or award. This person is called a “nominee”, though nominee often is used interchangeably with “candidate”. Presumptive nominee is a term used when a person or organization believes that the nomination is inevitable or likely. The act of being a candidate in a race for either a party nomination or for electoral office is called a “candidacy. Presumptive candidate may be used to describe someone who is predicted to be a formal candidate.
c) POLITICAL PARTY: A political party is a group of people who come together to contest elections and hold power in the government. The party agrees on some proposed policies and programmes, with a view to promoting the collective good or furthering their supporters’ interests. While there is some international commonality in the way political parties are recognized, and in how they operate, there are often many differences, and some are significant. Many political parties have an ideological core, but some do not, and many represent very different ideologies than they did when first founded. In democracies, political parties are elected by the electorate to run a government. Many countries have numerous powerful political parties, such as Germany and India and some nations have one-party systems, such as China and Cuba. The United States is in practice a two-party system, with many smaller parties participating. Its two most powerful parties are the Democratic Party and the Republican Party.
1.9 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY
This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows. Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (background of the study), statement of the problem, objectives of the study, research questions, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope of the study etc. Chapter two being the review of the related literature presents the theoretical framework, conceptual framework and other areas concerning the subject matter. Chapter three is a research methodology covers deals on the research design and methods adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.