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PROJECT TOPIC: POVERTY AND VOTE SELLING IN NIGERIAN ELECTION (STUDY OF 2019 GENERAL ELECTION)

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study With over 180 million people, Nigeria is the largest democracy in Africa (Nwankwo, 2017) and since the return of democratic rule in 1999 after decades of military dictatorships (Nwankwo, Okafor & Asuoha, 2017) one would expect that the primary features of electoral democracy would have at least germinated if not fully developed. At the moment, Nigerian democracy still exhibits features of authoritarianism. The significant difference is that while the conduct of elections might signify democracy, elections must be “free and fair” to pass as democratic. The principles of democratic self-government are irreconcilable with electoral shambles. Therefore, compliance with democratic norms in the contest signifies electoral democracy whereas the reverse is the case for electoral authoritarianism. Elections free from malpractice are therefore the springboard of democracy (Nwankwo et al., 2017), they serve as the conduit for peaceful change of government and boost and grant political legitimacy to the government (Ojo, 2008). Also, they genuinely involve the citizenry in political decision-making which engenders accountability and answerability. In most African countries, however, elections are anything but free and fair with violence and vote-buying being significant characteristics (Bratton, 2008). Ideally, in a democracy, seeking electoral support is expected to be an open debate of reasoned arguments about why specific political candidates are most competent for election to office (Heywood, 2007). Candidates are supposed to compete for popular support by presenting programs of public good to stake out competitive positions by persuading the median voter at the centre of the political spectrum (Nichter, 2008). Electorates then elect the candidate whose policy and programmes most directly reflect their own set of preference.


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