In the Series: This is the first part of a series called Electoral Malpractices: Bane of Nigerian Politics.
From the first political party in 1922 (NNDP) to the latest political merger of ACN, ANPP, CPC, and other factions of some parties in APC, the issue of politics, political parties, and elections has availed the political world a rich history of political hegemony in a heterogeneous black society of nations.
The history of elections in Nigeria is vastly robust, from the colonial through the democratic independence of a promising country to the military ransom-holding of only two parties to the present day called civilian democracy.
At this junction, it is highly important to bring to forbearing the important ‘know-hows’ of this topic:
ELECTORAL: is from the word election and elect, which can be seen as ‘relating to elections (electoral system) and composed of electors (electoral vote).
Politically speaking, the concept of election is the core of democracy: government of the people, for the people, and by the people, which is simply the representative government of Greek origin as practiced by the Greek city-states of Athens, Corinth, and Sparta, etc. From here, the Romans adopted democracy, thereby causing a global embrace of the widely accepted best system of government. An election is simply the act of selecting (the best) candidate of all contesting aspirants for a particular political office under an electoral system overseen by an electoral body, sponsored by the government but independent through an act of parliament and widely accepted by the people.
MALPRACTICES: on its own can be said to be improper or unethical conduct carried out by a professional or official person. Considering the Spanish word for malpractice, ‘Negligencia’ in English will mean ‘Negligence’ then, let us view malpractice as an act of deliberately neglecting the right thing and opting to do the wrong thing. For the matter concerned, electoral malpractice is any act of carrying out a professional and standard election in an unacceptably-compromised manner.
Forms of electoral malpractices
Electoral malpractices may involve and are not limited to the following activities during and after an election:
- De-registering a political party illegally.
- Rigging: may be primary (within a political party) or main (among political parties).
- Falsification of results.
- Deliberately omitting the name, picture, or logo of a candidate or political party from the ballot slip.
- Multiple voters registration, registration of underage, dead, and non-citizens
- Creation of illegal polling booths.
- Extreme favoritism for a candidate, political party, or incumbent who is also contesting.
- Barring some political parties or candidates from using state-owned facilities.
- Improper ‘propagandas’.
- Vote manufacturing.
- Unwarranted violence, stealing or snatching election materials like ballot boxes, ballot papers, etc.
The list can go on and on because of the magnitude of corruption that has eaten into our electoral-political system and has defied adjectival qualifications.
Bane of Nigeria politics is another topic to be discussed on its own as there are three notes worthy of special appraisal here: ‘BANE’, Nigeria and politics. But I will not define one after the other. The bane of Nigeria politics; electoral malpractices, will be our guide here.
An election is more of a spiritual exercise than people view it. The bible says in the book of Hosea 4:6
my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy childrenHosea 4:6
Critically analyzing this scripture, the destruction of Nigerians results from our lack of political knowledge. Elections in this country are being conducted for democratic-negating reasons like control of the state, control of state funds and wealth, and a way of changing the government. Romans chapter 13 talks about obeying state authority, but Isaiah 7:7 states that
‘Thus saith the Lord God, it shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass’,
because it is not of the Lord. Elections in Nigeria are being organized by the government of the day (incumbent), which is headed by a man hoping for a second term ticket or protecting his party’s interest.
To address the issue raised by this topic, the write up has to be segmented into the following parts:
- The origin of electoral malpractices in Nigeria
- The adoption and widespread election malpractice
- At the time, it became the bane of Nigeria politics (all under analysis) and,
- Proffer solutions to socio-economic and political challenges like corruption, nepotism, youth unemployment, and bad leadership.
This wraps up the first part of the story. In the following article, we will discuss the origin of electoral malpractices in Nigeria.