Lessons from Nigeria’s 2011 Elections
"With the April 2011 general elections, Nigeria may have taken steps towards reversing the degeneration of its previous elections, but the work is not finished. Despite some progress, early and intensive preparations for the 2015 elections need to start now. Voter registration need not be as chaotic and expensive as it was this year if done on a continual basis. Far-reaching technical and administrative reforms of, and by, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), notably internal restructuring and constituency delineation, should be undertaken and accompanied by broad political and economic reforms that make the state more relevant to citizens and help guarantee an electoral and democratic future. The deadly post presidential election violence in the North and bomb blasts by the Islamic fundamentalist Boko Haram sect since President Jonathan’s 29 May inauguration indicate the enormous challenges facing the new government. It must show more determination to contain violence in society. Addressing chronic poverty and the North’s underdevelopment – major grievances – would strengthen its hand."