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Nigerian voters are well aware that the elections will not be won solely by votes or popular consensus. There are several other variables that influence election results. From then on the country experienced a series of coups. Between and , when the country made a decisive break with military politics , Nigeria experienced eight military coups.

In that same time period three general elections were conducted. The years outside of military rule were comparatively brief and arguably overshadowed by the spectre of the military. When elections did happen they were plagued by strong allegations of electoral fraud. Since , when the country broke with military rule, five elections have been conducted all of which have been tainted by controversy.

Looking back things have often gone wrong, but are there instances where things have worked out well for the electorate? I would argue that there have at least two instances when voters got what they asked for. One is the June presidential election , which is considered to have been relatively free and fair in its conduct, its eventual annulment notwithstanding.

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Another is the presidential election of May when the incumbent Goodluck Jonathan, gracefully accepted defeat by conceding to President Muhammadu Buhari. The country has been ruled by military administrators more than it has by democratically elected leaders. This is compared to just 20 years of democracy. Since , Olusegun Obasanjo and Muhammadu Buhari, both of whom were previously military dictators spent a combined 12 years in power.

President Buhari is now seeking a second term.

Nigerian Historical Studies, Book by E.a. Ayandele (Hardcover) |

The executive arm, for example, still maintains certain authoritarian characteristics that are reminiscent of the military era. One of these is the use of the armed forces to manipulate election processes. For instance, during the recent gubernatorial elections in Ekiti and Osun states voter intimidation by the security forces was rife. This was done to scare away opposition voters and give the ruling All Progressives Congress an edge. Another factor to consider is the supposed independence and impartiality of the Independent National Electoral Commission which is in charge of running the elections.

Critics point to the fact that the commission chairperson and others in the commission are nominated by the president. This calls into question the credibility of the entire electoral commission. Further, Buhari has just appointed Amina Zakari as the new collation officer.

John Romer.

History of Nigeria

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Assault on the teaching of History in Nigerian schools at Lagos @50

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