THE CREDIBILITY OF FOREIGN ELECTORAL OBSERVERS IN ELECTION A STUDY OF 2015 GENERAL ELECTIONS
1.1 BACKGROUND OF STUDY
Nigeria, like most post independent African states is mired in the crisis of under development. The crisis manifested itself in economic, social and political terms. The nation’s politics has become characterized by a winner takes all attitude resulting in violence, corruption, and the entertainment of what is known or called antidevelopment politics. Agreed that military and successive civilian administrations have contributed to this parlous state of affairs, yet the behaviour of Nigerian politicians leaves much to be desired. (Babatunde, 2007:53). Indeed, it can be emphatically asserted that between 1999-2015, there has been an absence of the politics of relevance in Nigeria. That is, politics geared towards the development of the nation and improvement in the material well-being of the generality of the people. This led to clarion call for change instead of continuity of the Peoples’ Democracy Party that ruled the country for sixteen years. The change can only come about through free and fair election under the watchful eyes of local and international observers. The 2015 general is very important because of the global ramification which will be discussed in the cause of this essay. It is interesting to know that elections which normally is a scheduled routine event in which citizens select those who take decisions on their behalf, have become almost the defining events in the Nigeria national life. That is, elections in Nigeria today are defined in terms such as do –or die, the capture of offices by all means. Yet, this is not unique to Nigeria. Globally, elections have acquired an iconic character and elections have become one of the most visible occupations across the global village. (Attahru.J. 2011:4) International election observers criss-cross the world today and increasingly intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations are actively engaging in election activities.
The need to study the 2015 general election in Nigeria is important because of the position the country occupies in Africa and the interest and respect which the international community have for the state. Also, the need to ascertain whether the independent national electoral commission has improved on the lapses that occurred during the last 2011 general elections. The 2011 election provoked massive anger, condemnations and allegation of electoral fraud of the polls. The study of 2015 general election is very vital in the sense that, it is proper to know whether the measures like card readers machines, permanent voters card, and computerized voters registered list (updated) actually reduced the incidence of electoral fraud in Nigeria. And to what extend the election was free and fair and conforms to the international standard as adjudge by the international observers. Above all, the role, action and assistances which the international observers rendered toward the success or failure of the election.
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