Nigeria’s chequered political history is bedeviled with the gory tales of electoral malpractices which have significantly impacted negatively on the nation’s polity. Effective management of the electoral process has therefore, become an imperative political demand so as to ensure the sanctity, transparency and credibility of election results in the nation’s democratic setting (Akinboye, 2005). The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), is the institutionalized governmental body established, through the instrumentality of law, to manage the nation’s electoral process. The INEC, as an instrument of processing democratic ideals and structures, is hopefully, expected to be a truly independent body that personifies the ideals of transparency, impartiality, accountability and responsiveness. This perhaps, informed the popular perception that the body is insulated from partisan politics, and that, it is fully empowered to discharge its avowed duties devoid of any influence whatsoever (Udu, Nkwede et.al 2014).
In reality, there are empirical evidences over the years, that the INEC has not been fully autonomous and non-partisan; neither does it appear to be sufficiently empowered to carry out its assigned duties and responsibilities impartially. However, in the 2015 General elections in Nigeria, despite some pockets of irregularities evidenced in late arrival or non-availability of electoral materials, falsification of election results in some areas, failure of the Card Reader Machines and collusion with politicians and security personnels to subvert the process, the outcome of the 2015 general elections has been generally accepted to be transparent and indeed, an improvement on past elections in the country.
Indeed, foreign intelligence and diplomatic sources had been quoted severally since 2011 to have predicted the end of Nigeria as a country, consequent upon the outcome of the 2015 elections. A former U.S Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. John Campbell is more prominently quoted to have insisted that the country would break up in 2015 because the elections will plunge Nigeria in crisis (Yaqub, 2015).
Truly, had the result of the election turned otherwise, many believed that Campbell prediction may have been inevitable. Frankly, Nigerians have desired a change of the Goodluck Jonathan’s PDP administration which has been generally accused of inefficiency, corruption, contempt of the people, insecurity etc. Security was brazenly compromised as government security agencies, including the military conducted their responsibilities with clear partisan inclinations that left nobody in doubt that state apparatuses as important as security and military institutions became tools of political vendetta, electoral manipulations and subversion of democratic norms.
In the face of the fore goings coupled with the Nigerian economy which has been clearly dumped in the doldneum, a change of the status quo has become the aspiration of many Nigerians, particularly those not favoured by the ruling party. The question is: would the defeat of the PDP by the APC bring about the much desired change? What are the implications of the APC victory for the nagging issue of sustainable national development?
1.2 Statement of the problems
Elections in Nigeria before and since independence have faced several challenges including electoral malpractices through buying of votes, rigging of elections, violence, corruption, intimidation and harassment of voters before and during Election Day. One major obstacle to electoral success in Nigeria is the inability of successive electoral bodies to conduct a fair and credible election (Okhaide 2012).
Judging from the previous elections conducted by various electoral bodies in the past, one may conclude that the June 12, 1993 general election conducted by Professor Humphrey Nwosu is still regarded as the freest and fairest election ever conducted in the history of Nigeria in which late Chief Moshood Abiola was presumed to have won the presidential election.
It was Professor Nwosu’s commission that introduced the novel voting system of Option A4 and Open Ballot System both of which constituted to the remarkable success recorded during his tenure as the chairman of National Electoral Commission (NEC). However, a new electoral body called “Independent National Electoral Commission” (INEC) was established in 1998 to oversee elections in Nigeria.
1.3 Research Questions
The researcher came up with some questions on his topic which is:
- What is the management of the 2015 general elections in Nigeria against the backdrop of it mandates?
2. What are the causes of the defeat of the former President Goodluck Jonathan?
3. After the 2015 general election, what are the challenges facing the opposition party PDP?
4. What are the challenges of APC victory for a better National Development?
1.4 Aim and Objectives of the study
The objectives of the researcher work are as follows:
- To examine the INEC Management of the 2015 General Elections in Nigeria against the backdrop of its avowed mandates;
2.To ascertain the immediate/remote causes of President Jonathan’s defeat;
- Establish the challenges facing the PDP as now, an opposition party; and to
- Explore the challenges of APC victory for sustainable National Development.
1.6 Research Methodology
This research is primarily undertaken to appraise assessment of the 2015 general election. To do so, this section presents the research design, data collection procedure, research instruments, population, sample size, and sampling technique, analytical procedure and validation of research instruments.
The data needed for this research were collected from identified primary and secondary sources. Structured questionnaires were administered to respondents in order to illicit responses aimed at the assessment of elections and compilation of results. Secondary sources i.e textbooks, newspapers, conference/seminar papers etc, were also consulted and relevant information extracted.
The Method adopted for primary data collection are interviews and questionnaires. This is the usual method of collecting data in a social survey. Interviews are conversations carried out with the definite aim of obtaining certain information. It is designed to gather valid and reliable information through valid responses of the interviewee to planned sequence of questions. The interview can either be structured or unstructured depending on the extent to which the context and procedure involved are prescribed and standardized. This constitutes the first attempt at true scaling.
They are particularly advantageous whenever the sample size is large enough to make it uneconomical for reasons of time or funds to observe or interview every subject.
In administering the questionnaire, the major targets were politicians, INEC officials, and security men who were conveniently selected, including voters from Kaduna North Local Government Area.
The target population, as noted earlier, was made up of INEC officials, Political party agents, and the electorate in Kaduna North Local Government Area in Kaduna state.
1.9 Scope and Limitation
This research work focuses on the assessment of the 2015 general election in Nigeria and a case study of Kaduna North Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
Major problems encountered were time constraints, bureaucracy and reliability of the sources or materials. Notwithstanding, the researcher came up with findings that would be worth making reference to in future.
1.10 Outline of Chapters
This research is structured into five chapters. Chapter One, introduces the work, it comprises of the statement of the problem, aims and objectives, hypothesis and scope and limitation. Chapter Two comprises of a review of relevant literature and theoretical framework. Chapter three is the methodology of the project, while chapter four presents a data analysis and presentation of data. Chapter five discusses the findings, conclusions of the study; it also presents relevant and emergent recommendations.