Election, International Election Monitoring Groups and Nigeria’s Fourth Republic
Keywords:Election, Election Observers, Fourth Republic, INEC, Nigeria.
AbstractA representative democracy can be achieved through a free and fair electoral environment. It is at the instance of ensuring free and fair election that observation has emerged as a fundamental principle in restoring people’s confidence, trust and appraising electoral integrity for democratic development. The participation and involvement of international election observers in electoral matters aim to ensure that elections are conducted in accordance with conventional democratic ethical standards across the globe. Premised on this background, this paper seeks to examine the role of international election observers in major elections conducted in Nigeria’s fourth republic. Six international election observation bodies were sampled: National Democratic Institute (NDI), The Commonwealth Secretariat (CS), European Commission (EC), International Republican Institute (IRI), Human Right Watch (HRW) and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The study unravels the essential roles of international election observers in 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2011 elections in Nigeria. The paper therefore avers that international election observers have performed more than expectation in correcting previous electoral malfeasances through their dynamic reports and recommendations. Their monumental roles discerned the 2011 general election from the preceding 1999, 2003 and 2007 elections which were marred by miscellaneous electoral flaws in Nigeria. Thus, the paper recommends ultimate cooperation of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), civil society, security agency and electorate with International Electoral Observers for the realization of sustainable democracy in Nigeria.
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