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EFFECT OF ELECTORAL FRAUD ON RURAL DEVELOPMENT

Thesis, Project Topic: Effect of Electoral Fraud on Rural Development -Case of Ezza South L.G.A


CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1    BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

Government in Nigeria has become so specialized that full-time office holders are needed. The only thing the average citizen can do therefore is to participate in the selection goes by the name Election, the process of election or balloting may be open such as in a show of hands or standing on one side of the room to show one’s position. It may be secret in which case, no other persons is supposed to know what side a particular person is on, this is called secret ballot. We can ensure secrecy through the use of ballot boxes. The voter indicates his desire or nomination and deposits the piece of paper in the boxes. The votes are later all counted together.

Secret ballot protects the freedom of the votary to vote as they likes. The candidates cannot be sure how any particular voter has voted. Secret ballot makes the result of the election to reflect the real public opinion, it is therefore very democratic.

In 1922, Sir Hugh Clifford was appointed the governor general, which introduced the first formal constitution that provided elective principle.

It led the foundation of political parties in Nigeria e.g. N.N.D.P Nigeria National Democratic party also with the introduction of elective principle in Nigeria led to the first general election in Nigeria.

In December 1959, Federal election to an enlarge House of representative were held. Also members of a new senate were appointed. The 1959 Federal elections were fought on party lines, no party however won an absolute majority that would have given it control of the House of Representative. Hence no party could form the government on it own.

What resulted therefore, was a coalition government composed of the N.P.C and the N.C.N.C the N.P.C, which polled the highest votes in the election became the Senior partner of the coalition. It was agreed that Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Belewa should be the prime Minister while Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe leader of N.C.N.C became president of the senate. The A.G. under Awolowo’s Leadership preferred to be in opposition.

In 1964 there was another Federal election in Nigeria, which was a significant landmark in the political history of Nigeria because of the blow it dealt on the future unity of the country. The 1964 brought many parties which include UPP, NCNC, NNDP, NPC and AG. There were irregularities in the 1964 elections, which the main cause of the trouble that eventually flared up were the nature of the electioneering comparing and the allegedly irregular method of nominating candidates for the election. Also some electoral officers hid themselves and could not be found by UPGA candidates were kidnapped in the northern and western region.

In 1979 and 1983 witnessed another general election in Nigeria were five political parties contested for the election. The parties were the NPN, UPN, NPP, PRP and GNPP. The climax of the 1979 general election was the presidential election, at the end of in August 6th 1979; Alhaji Shehu Shagari was Declared President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The president elects, Alhaji Shehu Shagari who contested on the platform of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) polled 568857 votes to beat his other opponents. The election was conducted by Federal Electoral Commission (FEDECO).

The 1993 Federal Elections witnessed a genuine effort to achieve a democratic transition of power through peaceful and orderly elections. The elements appeared favourable to a two party system was forged in order to lay the ghost of ethnic influence and North/South dichotomy in party formation and electoral behaviour of Nigeria politicians the much talked about option A4’ was carefully worked out as an antidotes to electoral mal-practices infeact, everything was well put in place. The state parliament and government elections were successfully and peacefully concluded, so too were the elections to the national assembly. The presidential elections come much later to crown the efforts. The elections were conducted with minimal mishaps and few incident frauds. As the votes were being counted early return indicated that the S.D.P’S Presidential Candidates, Moshood, Abiola was wining dramatically. The Jinx” reappeared, and the election was annulled and the journey came to an abrupt end, Nigeria, recycled to square one. The military president general Ibrahim Babangida stepped aside and appointed Chief Enerst Shonekon to hold the forte until he stepped back.

The 1999 election recorded a modest success in terms of minimal electoral fraud in the end; retined general Olusegum Obasanjo who was recently released from prison after the death of Sani Abacha Emerged the winner of the 1999 presidential election and he ruled the country for four years as stipulated in the 1999 Nigeria constitution. He then sought a fresh mandate on 19th May 2003.

The May19, 2003 elections were remarkable in some respect, first it was second attempt by Nigeria to transit from civilian to civilian government through a democratic election.

Secondly, it would reveal. The extent election rigging had been done away with during the first republic to the present’s fourth republic.

1.4    STATEMENT OF PROBLEM

It is on sarcasm to hold the view that elections in Nigeria have never recorded the hallmark of Democracy, namely fairness and equal participation. As successive elections come, the values of democracy keep warning conspicuously and completely absent in extreme cases. All these brought setback to concept of 2003 general elections especially as it concerned rural development in Local government across the country.

Electoral fraud remains central problem in Nigeria politics, as politicians no longer see politics and elections as a free and fair process of interest articulation and recruitment to public office but as a struggle for survival. This rate for survival is not regulated by societal norms or electoral rules and regulations as these are openly fluted one of the greatest problem is that he electorate are now losing confidence in the electorate process as a result of electoral fraud most people who engage in these negative political behaviour such as violence, thuggery,  victimization of voters etc. do so not because some they believe their actions will influence government polices but because some influential and powerful figures in their areas have instructed or encouraged them to undertake such activities. The level of electoral fraud is assuming and alarming dimension and several factors have been bland ranging from poverty, secret cult, tribalism class struggle, corruption, illiteracy and unemployment. It is heart warning that in spite of these problems however less attention has been geared towards identifying and solving these problems. There are doubts and fear that these problems remains of haling a stable democratic election in Nigeria would still be a mirage. The situation becomes more worrisome especially when we look at the dwindling progress in local government administration.

Hence this research seeks to answer the following question.

  1. How can democratic practice be guaranteed in the election of political officer holders?
  2. What does election fraud mean to Nigeria Democracy?

1.3    OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY

There is no doubt however that there might be some problems of electoral fraud in our political process. This studies electoral fraud and our political process. This studies electoral fraud and effect Rural Development in Nigeria, a case study of 2003 Local Government  elections examines the fraud that characterized the just concluded 2003 Local Government elections. It also interids to make useful suggestions that would help to provide solution to these problems and possible recommendation.

Most research work have been carried out much has been done on the just concluded 2003 Local Government elections. There is the need for a research of this nature to identify the problems and provide some useful information and solution that would be of help to the operators of the system (politics).

1.4    HYPOTHESIS

          Hi:     A significant relationship exists between the electoral fraud               and   the factors affecting democracy in Rural Development.

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Topic: Effect of Electoral Fraud on Rural Development -Case of Ezza South L.G.A

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