Addressing Electoral Integrity in Africa: Nigeria Case Study

The 2015 general elections was shrouded in controversy over a power-sharing arrangement between groups bifurcated along ethnic, religious and regional lines. This took diverse dimensions at different levels of government. At national level, division was along regional lines (North/South divide), while inclusive electoral system was undermined by ethnic and religious dichotomy at state level. For the presidential election, the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), a pressure group, in October 2013, declared that “the North magnanimously conceded power to the South in 1999” and that “there is no going back on the presidency returning to the North in 2015”. Moreover, the merger of major opposition parties to form the All Progressives Congress (APC) as well as the defection of five PDP governors to the APC raised the stakes higher. Intemperate hate speech, the partisanship of security agencies, the increased role of religion, and the perceived politicization in the creation of polling units were among the factors that worsened the already rancorous political atmosphere.