THE ROLE OF CREDIBLE ELECTIONS ON THE CONSOLIDATION OF DEMOCRACY
The study examined the link between credible elections and the consolidation of democracy in Nigeria, with focus on the 2003 gubernatorial elections in Anambra state. Specifically, the study evaluated the political and other settings for the 2003 gubernatorial elections in Anambra state. It also examined the political, legal, economic and other problems created by the 2003 gubernatorial elections in Anambra State. Utilizing the theory of post colonial state which, focusing on the Nigeria State as a creation of imperialism and as such, has followed a development strategy dictated by the interest of imperialism and its local allies, highlights the inability of the Nigeria State, as it is presently constituted, to mediate political conflicts in form of conducting credible elections, resolving peacefully post-election disputes and above all consolidating democracy in the country. Relying on observational technique, relevant qualitative data were generated for the study. These were analyzed using qualitative descriptive analysis. On the basis of this, the study unraveled that the conduct of the 2003 gubernatorial election in Anambra State and the events thereafter threw up a number of legal, economic, political and other problems. The study also exposed that political crises that engulfed Anambra state in the aftermath of the 2003 gubernatorial elections in the state posed some implications for the emergence and sustenance of democracy in Nigeria. In view of this the study maintained that power and all resources should be decentralized away from the central/federal apparatus to the constituent governments and ethnic segments. The study also argued that INEC should be granted fiscal autonomy; its funding, rather than being channeled through the presidency, should be charged to the consolidated revenue fund.
1:1 Background of the Study
Modern democracies, the world over, take electoral practice as one of the major fundamental pillars in democratic governance. This is simply because flawed electoral practice has the capacity to mar democratic process. Again, man‟s capacityp for political fraud, intrigues and display of authoritarian/totalitarian political behaviour makes also open or transparently competitive electoral exercise for the purpose of constituting a government extremely inevitable, if society is to experience relative political and socio-economic equity based on the principle of collective accommodation of public will.
Therefore, to checkmate man‟s inordinate disposition to acquire and exercise absolute political power, which is a major bane of national/territorial sovereignty, democratic framework and sustainable development. It is imperative that electoral contests be made open and transparent especially now that periodic elections have gained global acceptance in the contemporary liberal democratic dispensation (Omelle, 2005:69).