JAE Volume 11 Number 1, June 2012
Special Issue: Nigeria's 2011 Elections

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Editor: Peter Vale
Guest Editor: Emmanuel Remi Aiyede

Contributors: Emmanuel Remi Aiyede, Dauda Abubakar, J Shola Omotola, Gbenga Aiyedogbon, Antonia Taiye Okoosi-Simbine, A Irene Pogoson, Osisioma B C Nwolise, Omo Aregbeyen, Olubukola Adesina.

Key terms: Politics, Electoral Reform, Nigeria, Legal, Constitutional, Framework, Federalism, Power Sharing, Presidential, Election, Participation, Voter Turnout, Gender, Political Parties, Patriarchy, Democratisation, Security, Cost of Elections, Monitoring, Observing.

Open Forum:

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Kole Omotoso is a citizen of the world but is, especially, a citizen both of Nigeria and of South Africa. A university professor, dramatist, novelist, movie star - but chiefly, intellectual - Omotoso is passionately interested in politics and public life in both countries. In late April, Peter Vale, sat down with Omotoso and asked him about his views on Nigerian elections and politics.

Editorial: The Politics of Electoral Reform in Nigeria, 2007-2011

Emmanuel Remi Aiyede

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Dr Aiyede is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Political Science and Coordinator of the Leadership and Governance Programme at the Centre for Sustainable Development of the University of Ibadan, Nigeria

The Legal and Constitutional Framework of the 2011 Elections in Nigeria

Dauda Abubakar

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Dr Abubakar is Assistant Professor in the Department of African Studies & Political Science, University of Michigan-Flint

ABSTRACT: The electoral topography of the Nigerian postcolonial state reveals that contests for the control of power degenerate more often than not into elite driven violence that undermines the nation-building and democratic projects. In interrogating the legal and constitutional context and the outcome of the 2011 election in Nigeria this paper draws on Foucault's notion of governmentality, along with the concept of garrison politics, to unpack the central role that techniques, practices and strategies of governmental power play in the domination of the social, economic and political space, to the detriment of the citizenry. I argue that although the 2011 election was regarded as relatively 'free and fair' its aftermath, nevertheless, reveals the way centralisation of power is recurrently deployed through neopatrimonial networks to entrench elite pillage, which undermines the ethos of participatory democracy and constitutionalism. I contend that in order to avert corrosive decline and civic disengagement it is imperative to rethink and urgently reconstitute the institutional logic of the Nigerian state in such a manner that it will enhance the empowerment of the citizenry and the enthronement of a transparent, inclusive, developmentalist and responsive system of governance.

Federalism, Power Sharing and the 2011 Presidential Election in Nigeria

Emmanuel Remi Aiyede

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Dr Aiyede is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Political Science and Coordinator of the Leadership and Governance Programme at the Centre for Sustainable Development of the University of Ibadan, Nigeria

ABSTRACT: Power sharing has become a prominent feature of post-election conflict management practice in Africa in recent times. A study of the Nigerian experience provides useful lessons about the theory and practice of power sharing in a divided society with a federal system. Nigeria instituted the ‘zoning with rotation' principle to shore up the affirmative action/federal character principle earlier devised to manage the inter-ethnic tensions that followed the crisis thrown up by the annulment of the presidential elections of 12 June 1993. This article examines the challenges and debates over power sharing in the build-up to the 2011 elections as a result of the entrance of Goodluck Jonathan (a southerner) into the presidential race, made possible by the death of President Umar Musa Yar'Adua (a northerner) in a clear upset of the power-sharing arrangement. It argues that while the ‘zoning with rotation' principle remains useful for stability and representation in Nigeria its sustenance depends on its flexible application and the creativity of the elites as they negotiate and manage the power disequilibrium that results from perceived access or lack of access of segments of Nigerian society to top political office. The Nigerian case shows that the ‘zoning with rotation' principle is problematic as a long-term solution because it constrains the notion of free political competition and the uncertain outcomes that are central to democracy.

Political Participation and Voter Turnout in Nigeria's 2011 Elections

J Shola Omotola and Gbenga Aiyedogbon

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J Shola Omotola is a lecturer in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration, Redeemer's University, Ogun State, Nigeria
Gbenga Aiyedogbon is Programme Officer, Governance Renaissance Movement (GRM), Kwara State, Nigeria

ABSTRACT: This article explores political participation as one of the most important indicators of the democratic quality of elections and a prime criterion for defining democratic citizenship. It places specific emphasis on voter turnout as the most important form of political participation, but also as an important indicator of the state of health of any democracy, old or new, consolidated or in transition, where high voter turnout is usually associated with a healthy democracy. More specifically, the article explores voter turnout in Nigeria's 2011 general elections and the factors underlying the turnout. Following brief theoretical postulations on political participation and the history of voter turnout in Nigeria, the article analyses the turnout in 2011, reflecting on its underlying forces and spatial dimensions. It also covers generally discernible trends and notable variations across geopolitical zones. Overall, the growing deployment and influence of the social media, the electoral reform process, which boosted public trust in electoral institutions and processes, President Jonathan's oft-repeated assurances to the local and international community that he would not interfere in the electoral process, the active engagement of civil society, violence before and during elections, the northsouth divide over the rotational presidency and zoning all had an impact on turnout. The findings hav important policy implications for improving turnout in future elections.

Gender Politics and the 2011 Elections

Antonia Taiye Okoosi-Simbine

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Dr Okoosi-Simbine is Research Professor at the Nigeria Institute of Social and Economic Research, (NISER), Ibadan

ABSTRACT: This paper provides an analysis of the results of the 2011 elections by gender and offers an explanation for the trends noted. It observes that since the 2011 elections there has been a slight fall in the number of women in elected positions. Nigeria is still a long way from meeting the international standard of 35% representation for women. Factors accounting for the situation include structural issues of religion and culture, women's lack of access to funds, godfatherism in the political parties and the undemocratic disposition of party leaders, political and electoral violence and vote buying. Arguing that increased participation of women will improve the quality of decision-making by enriching the harvest of ideas to inform policy, it maintains that the poor participation of women in politics casts doubts on Nigeria's democratic credentials. Democracy relies on the principles of liberty, equality and full participation of all citizens in government activities. The 2011 election results show that the needs and interests of women will remain peripheral and that the presence of a critical mass of women in decision-making processes and leadership positions will be achieved only in the long run.

Gender, Political Parties and the Reproduction of Patriarchy in Nigeria: A Reflection on the Democratisation Process, 1999-2011

A Irene Pogoson

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Dr A Irene Pogoson is a lecturer in the Department of Political Science, University of Ibadan

ABSTRACT: This article examines issues of women's involvement in party politics in Nigeria against the background of the 2011 general elections. It explores the influence of patriarchal disposition on women's participation as well as the extent (or otherwise) to which women are respected and accepted as equal stakeholders in democratic politics and party decision-making organs. It shows that the marginalisation of women defies legal and constitutional guarantees and must be tackled simultaneously with patriarchy by the following means: establishing continuous dialogue between women and men leaders, increasing women's participation in local elections, endorsing and entrenching a quota system/mechanism in national and political party constitutions, reviewing electoral systems and adopting those most conducive to women's participation (for example, proportional representation). Political parties should establish legal funds to enable women politicians to challenge electoral malpractices in court.

Security Arrangements for the 2011 Elections

Osisioma BC Nwolise

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Dr Nwolise is Senior Lecturer and Acting Head, Department of Political Science, University of Ibadan

ABSTRACT: This article reviews the security arrangements that undergirded the relative peace and order that characterised the 2011 general elections. It explores the security guarantees for the various phases of the election and argues that the elaborate security arrangements not only ensured relative peace but contributed to the credibility of the elections. It argues, further, that the neutrality of the security agencies reflects the commitment of the president to ensuring free and fair elections and therefore the uncompromised use of security agencies. The agencies were therefore able to cooperate with each other and with the electoral management body to support the electoral process. The article also suggests possible improvements in the security arrangements for future elections.

The Cost of the 2011 General Elections in Nigeria

Emmanuel Remi Aiyede and Oma Aregbeyen

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Omo Aregbeyen is a lecturer in the Department of Economics, University of Ibadan

ABSTRACT: This article examines the cost of the 2011 general elections in Nigeria in real and financial terms. It reviews the regulatory framework for financing the elections and attempts to estimate the costs, drawing on figures and reports published by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and reports relating to the financial activities of political parties, candidates and other politicians. It estimates the cost to have been about N566.2-billion, representing about 2% of the gross domestic product. This figure does not include party and campaign financing. The article explores other, nonmonetary, costs, including the loss of life and property in the violence that followed the elections, and concludes that the cost of the elections was too high for the sustenance of democracy. Hopeful that future elections will cost less, it offers suggestions about ways of reducing costs without impinging on the integrity of elections.

Monitoring and Observing Nigeria's 2011 Elections

Olubukola Adesina

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Dr Olubukola Adesina is a Lecturer in the Department of Political Science, University of Ibadan, Nigeria

ABSTRACT: Nigeria's 2011 elections marked a watershed in the country's democracy. Before then elections conducted there had been marred by controversy, with monitors and observers who assessed the quality of elections consistently questioning their integrity. The 2011 elections, however, received resounding approval as an improvement. This article examines the monitoring and observation by international and local groups of the 2011 elections. It underlines the qualified credibility of the elections considering the level of irregularities and violence noted by observers and monitors and argues that the declaration of the elections as credible must not detract from the need to be mindful of their inadequacies if Nigeria is to reap the benefit of election monitoring and observation in future elections.


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