BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
After fifteen years of military and authoritarian rule, great expectations accompanied the resumption of civilian rule in Nigeria in May 1999. For a country that had suffered severe deterioration in its economy and politics over the thirty years of military rule, the assumption that civilian rule would herald a dawn of peace and a deepening of democratic values and norms in society was understandable. Since the beginning of the Fourth Republic, political analysts, the academics and civil society groups have paid serious attention to the practice of democracy in Nigeria and are much more concerned about its consolidation. Nineteen years down the line, the political landscape of Nigeria is yet to show clear evidence of democratic consolidation. Political scholars, analysts and social scientists alike have been unable to authoritatively rate Nigeria’s democracy among nations heading towards democratic consolidation. With over ten thousand people dead in communal conflicts and exponential increase in societal violence, many will argue that it is too early to talk of democratic consolidation in Nigeria. Indeed, the fact that the public still doubt on the state’s capacity to manage domestic crises and to protect the security of life and property underscores primarily the depth of disenchantment with the state of things. As Nigeria drifts down the path of increasing violent conflict, perhaps we should first move away from current disappointment and ask if anything could really have been different from the current situation, given the provenance of civilian rule. Without being complacent about consolidation in the context of a democratising polity, it is important to first interrogate the notion of democratic consolidation in its variegated forms – especially in the context of transition societies. Human rights abuses, corruption, political thuggery, anti-party activities, god-fatherism, violence, ethnic and religious conflicts continue unabated. The frequency of these crimes and societal anomalies backed by the lackadaisical attitude of the political elites to restore sanity into the system makes one wonder if Nigeria’s democracy would ever be consolidated. Suffice to assert that democratic consolidation cannot be attained in Nigeria however until stability is restored. It is evident that though under the present democratic dispensation, Nigeria is still striving for consolidation. Democratic consolidation literally refers to the deliberate political process in a polity by which democracy is broadly legitimatized among its citizens that it is very unlikely to break down (Ouyang, 2009). It means a democratic stay that cannot come to an end suddenly or abruptly through unconstitutional acts such as military coups or dictatorships. It implies established stability in governance. A consolidated democratic system would mean the existence of an enhanced economic development, developed democratic culture, stable party system and a well refined political process that ensures continuous democratic practices. Gunther, Diamandurous and Puhle (2017) outlined three stages involved for a nation to achieve consolidated democracy: the fall of the authoritarian regime, consolidation and enduring democracy. In Nigeria the process has only so far witnessed the collapse of authoritarian military regimes while consolidating on that has become a serious challenge. To achieve a consolidated democracy it requires good governance by democratic regimes and it also demands upholding democratic values of popular participation, fair elections and the independence of the judiciary and respect for the rule of law, free. Essentially good governance promotes improved welfare of the people, transparency and accountability by public managers in the conduct of state affairs and reduces corruption to the barest minimum. For Nigeria to achieve a consolidated democracy, so much more needs to be done. According to Oko (2008), governments at all levels must be accountable, human rights violation must be addressed, public institutions needs to be more effective and efficient; also, create an environment where citizens can uplift themselves and pursue their legitimate goals without undue interference and restraints by government. Nigeria needs a fundamental recasting of its political environment to simultaneously entrench rule of law and create an enabling environment for democracy to prosper. In view of the above, this paper seeks to examine democracy consolidation in Nigeria since 1999-2018.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
It is a known fact that as at now, Nigerians and Nigeria as a nation have not began to experience true democracy and good governance. It is not false to say that Nigeria became democratic since 1999 but has not taken advantage of this form of government to put in place adequate measures that can ensure national security and the prevalence of good governance. The lack of good governance in the country is traceable to the absence of true democracy and even more prevalent now, the increasing threat of insecurity borne out of the presence of bombings, terrorist attacks, kidnapping, poverty and hunger, unstable power supply, lack of adequate infrastructures and particularly, poor leadership etc. This situation in the country is not only killing her efforts at democracy but portends a serious threat to national security in the country. Agekameh (2010), captures the feeling of Nigerian‘s in these words, ―the consensus Nigerians need from the politicians at this point is how to transform the country from the backwaters of underdevelopment, poverty and disease to a prosperous nation: (The Nations, 2010). The questions here thus, can we say that democratic experience has been successful in Nigeria in the last 19 years? Is there link between democracy and good governance that can be harnessed for a better future for Nigeria? This paper seeks to look at the democratic processes in Nigeria. It attempts to find out issues and phenomena that characterize the democratic processes in Nigeria, particularly, since the reintroduction of democracy in 1999. Against this background, the paper further attempts to make recommendations towards the promotion of ideal democratic culture, idiosyncrasies and behavioural patterns.
1.3. AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The major aim of the study is to evaluate democratic consolidation in Nigeria from 1999-2018. Other specific objectives are as follows;
1.4. Research Questions
1.5. Research Hypothesis
H0: Electoral governance does not have influence on the democratic quality of elections in Nigeria.
H1: Electoral governance has a significant influence on the democratic quality of elections in Nigeria.
1.6. Significance of the study
The significance of this timely and topical study is twofold: practical and academic. Practically, this study will be of paramount importance to the elections management bodies in Nigeria especially the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the registered political parties, authorities of the non-governmental organizations especially the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), the national and state governments as well as the general public for the following reasons: The study will help highlight the impact of the nature and character of the Nigerian State as well as the ruling elite on the electoral process and democratic consolidation in Nigeria. The study will enlighten the general public on the inextricable link between free and fair elections and consolidation of democratic practice, as well as the centrality of openness and transparency if free and fair election is to be achieved. With this study, it is intended that the Federal Government through, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will be galvanized to carry out a vigorous appraisal of the elections especially in view of the electoral fraud committed by the ruling party, overhaul the relevant 26 sections of the legal and constitutional frameworks pertaining to the conduct of elections with a view to removing all hiccups that pre-disposed the election to fraud, and by so-doing put the necessary machineries in place to enable the body conduct free and fair elections. Academically, this study explored the efforts of the Federal Government through the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in permanently addressing the endemic problems that are associated with the conduct of credible elections and transition to civil rule in Nigeria. Hence, by evaluating the nature and character of the Nigerian State and the ruling elite vis-à-vis the perpetration of electoral fraud in elections in Nigeria as well as the relevant sections of our legal and constitutional frameworks that assisted in the perpetration of electoral fraud in any of the elections in Nigeria, the study will not only synchronize with existing enquiries to form a dependable pool of literature in this area, but will also serve as a convenient starting point for further studies in the analysis of the interface between Electoral reforms and consolidation of democracy in Nigeria.
1.7. Scope of the study
The study is restricted to democratic consolidation in Nigeria since 1999 to 2018, a case study of selected political parties in Abuja.
1.8 LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Democratic consolidation: Is the process by which a new democracy matures, in a way that means it is unlikely to revert to authoritarianism without an external shock.
Democracy: Is a system of government where the citizens exercise power by voting. In a direct democracy, the citizens as a whole form a governing body and vote directly on each issue. In a representative democracy the citizens elect representatives from among themselves.
Political Party: Is defined as an organised group of people with at least roughly similar political aims and opinions that seeks to influence public policy by getting its candidates elected to public office.
OTHER SIMILAR POLITICAL SCIENCE PROJECTS AND MATERIALS