AN EXAMINATION OF THE PROSECUTION OF ELECTORAL CRIMES AND ITS EFFECT ON DEMOCRATIC DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA
Author: SAM-OLIGIDA Jereoma
Nigeria is a secular state with diverse social cultural and ethnic division. The political process of the present political era came to a reality on May 29th 1999 after thirty years of military entanglement. Since 1999 till date the political land scope has fallen below par, from violence to greater violence. The electoral process has been alternating power between ruling party and opposition parties. The usurpation of power incumbency has relegated good governance to the background in Nigeria, this has deprived the electorates their franchise in the electoral market due to aggressive quest for political power among political actors. This research examines prosecuting electoral crimes and its impact on democratic development in Nigeria, in relationship with the concept of electoral process and good governance, the evolution of elections and challenges affecting electoral process and good governances as meted by some political class to jeopardize the political system. The 1999 constitution (as amended) bestores the right on the citizen to freely elect Government of their choices for Federal, State or Local Government, Individuals in whom they have confidence, but this has not been the case in the various past elections, where all manner of electoral crimes were brazenly committed by most of our politicians through the act of violence, rigging and snatching of ballot boxes, which has led to the subversion of the will of the people. The objective of this paper is to examine the various electoral malpractices and problem it poses to 13 democratic development in Nigeria. Furthermore the paper examines the electoral process vis-a-vise the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) together with the attendant problems of the functions. The paper found out that electoral offences / crimes in Nigeria is closely related to the type and form of historical system practiced by each society, social stratification, ethnicity and religious differences. It is concluded that until a liberal political process is put in place, electoral offences / crimes will continue to persist. In the contribution to knowledge the work was able to identify the best ways to tackles arrest and prosecute electoral offenders. Gave suggestion as to the Independence of the National Electoral Commission who should have their own Legal Practitioners to oversee legal matters regarding election, integrating of electoral offences as part of crimes provided in the various state laws.
Supervisor: Dr. (Mrs.) Beauty .O. Alloh