Rising Election Costs, Dwindling Election Quality: Elections as the Predicament of Democracy in Nigeria’s Fourth Republic

In: The African Review
Oluwashina Moruf Adebiyi Lecturer; Department of Political Science, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ilorin Ilorin, 240101 Nigeria

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Toyin Kazeem Raheem Lecturer; Department of Political Science, Faculty of Humanities, Al-Hikma University Ilorin, Kwara State Nigeria

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Since Nigeria’s return to competitive multiparty democracy elections have been held regularly. However, the costs of conducting the elections have been increasing such that Nigeria’s elections have been described as the most expensive in Africa and one of the most expensive in the world. Despite their huge costs, the quality of elections continues to dwindle thus most of the elections have been regarded as flawed. This article examines the paradox of increasing elections cost and the dwindling quality of elections in Nigeria’s Fourth Republic. It argues that the rising cost of elections borne out of the desire to conduct quality elections has impacted negatively on the country’s electoral processes. While elections cost keeps increasing, elections quality continues to ebb such that elections held since 1999 have lost their democratic essence. The article further contends that experiences of poorly conducted elections have eroded the trust of the people in the nation’s electoral process which is inimical to democratic sustenance. The article is qualitative and descriptive drawing data from annual reports of INEC, reports of local and international election observers and extant secondary literature.

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