Towards Free and Fairness?: Regional Variances in Democratic Elections in Nigeria

by Chinyere Kimberly Ikegbunam

The research seeks to answer the question of whether or not Nigerian elections are becoming more free and fair over time, and to determine which regions experienced the greatest amount of progress or digress during the period analyzed. Levels of electoral fraud and electoral violence in Nigeria were collected by region for the 2003, 2007, and 2011 elections in Nigeria. I hypothesize that where a past history and/or new occurrence of  1) ethnic/religious tensions; 2) lower income/increased poverty rates; and 3) long history of electoral violence exists, the amount of violence and fraud reported will increase.

The research found that over time, elections in Nigeria have become more violent and fraudulent. All four regions in Nigeria were consistent with this trend except for Southwest Nigeria, which experienced reduction in violence levels from 2007 to 2011. Other interesting findings include highlighting Southeast Nigeria as the most violent and fraudulent region in both the 2003 and 2007 elections, and finding that the Northwest experienced unprecedented levels of fraud in the 2011 election, which is most likely a result of the rise of Boko Haram attacks. The thesis concludes with suggestions towards improvement for the 2015 election.