Publisher: Lead City University

Election Crisis and Democracy In Nigeria: Implications For National Security

Murana, Asimiyu Olalekan, Salahu, Moshood Olayinka, Ibrahim, Basirat Omotayo
KEYWORDS: Election, Democracy, Development, National Security


There seems to be a debate on the validity of democratic peace theory. While some scholars argued that democracy engenders peace, others argued exactly the opposite. In the Nigerian context, democracy appears to have been characterized by violence. This paper examines the recurring election crises under the current Nigerian democratic system and the threat it poses to national security in Nigeria with a particular focus on the Nigeria’s Fourth Republic. One of the key instruments for choosing political officeholders is election. It serves as a means of ensuring accountability and mobilization of the citizenry for political participation. Yet, elections in Nigeria have always been characterized by mal-practices such as: election rigging, snatching and stuffing of ballot boxes, political intimidation, political thuggery and assassination prior to, during and after elections. This has often brought unpopular governments to power with the resultant legitimacy crisis, breakdown of law and order and general threat to security. The paper, through the use of the Structure-Agency analytical framework, discusses the hyphen and buckle between elections crises and democracy as well as the implication they have on national security. It is argued that elections in which “the winner takes it all” is unsuitable for a plural society like Nigeria. Adaptation of the liberal democratic system to suit the country’s cultural values and peculiarities should lay the basis for people-centered development strategies that will empower them to be active participants in policy making and implementation under a political climate characterized by the rule of law and constitutionalism. Unless these clear-cut steps are taken, the country may experience another democratic breakdown that will spell doom for the nation-state. 

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