Electoral incidents seem to be a recurring phenomenon in Nigeria, and this is believed to be the major reason many Nigerians have been left either disenfranchised or have lost interest in the electoral process. The just concluded 2019 general elections saw results cancelled in various parts of the country due to one incident or the other.
In a bid to better understand the problem, we have decided to rank some of these common occurrences based on the frequency of their occurrence.
- Post Electoral Violence: Elections in Nigeria has always been marred with various forms of pre-electoral and post-electoral violence. The 2011 elections remain fresh in the mind of many Nigerians, where more than 800 people died as a result of post-election protests which deteriorated into mob attacks on minorities in twelve northern states. The 2015 and 2019 elections which were even tagged as peaceful, witnessed scores killed during the campaigns and after elections.
- Rigging: Electoral rigging is nothing new to Nigerians, with the 2007 general election regarded by many as one of the most fraudulent elections ever seen in the world. The just concluded 2019 election is also adjudged to have had its fair share of rigging, with many raising an alarm that figures announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) do not tally with what transpired in the polling units.
- Ballot Box Snatching: The incessant occurrence of ballot box snatching prompted the president of the country, to issue a stern warning on the 18th of February, 2019, that anyone caught in the act of ballot box snatching might be doing that at the expense of his/her own life. The order, although not commendable, goes to show the volatile nature of electioneering in Nigeria.
- Under-age voting: Underage voting remains a trend in the Northern part of the country with different videos of the 2019 elections showing a number of kids who were below 18 (which is the legal voting age in Nigeria) voting.
- Intimidation: On Thursday, March 21, 2019, the United States issued a statement decrying the extreme rate of voter intimidation in the 2019 elections. Previous elections in the country have witnessed various forms of voter intimidation from harassment to even violence.
- Vote Buying: Vote buying remains a tactic that has been employed by many candidates in Nigeria, much so that the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) described it as an act of corruption in 2018, and has since then threatened to treat it as such.
- Hate Speech: Hate speech seems to be taking root in Nigeria’s politics, with many candidates resorting to such just to either discredit their opponent or instigate people against them. In June 2017, the Northern part of the country witnessed the repercussion of hate and offensive speech when a coalition of Northern youth groups issued a Kaduna declaration which gave all the Igbos in the North a three months ultimatum to leave the Northern states.
- Disenfranchisement: Elections in Nigeria has seen a number of voters disenfranchised as a result of different factors. From registered voters not being able to get their Permanent Voters Card (PVC), to card readers malfunctioning; thereby making voter’s verification difficult on the election date, to delay in the provision of electioneering materials or elections being cancelled in different areas as a result of numerous factors.
- Voter Impersonation: Voter impersonation still remains a major problem even though the use of card readers has been made compulsory during elections. The fact that most of these card readers are usually faulty makes the INEC officials have to resort to the use of manual accreditation which gives room for impersonation.
- Ballot Stuffing: Ballot stuffing is a major problem in the country due to the high rate of insecurity in the country. There have been numerous videos online where individuals have been seen making multiple thumbprints all in order to influence the outcome of different elections.