Nigeria Electoral Trends

Nigeria has witnessed five general elections conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) since the return to civil rule in 1999. Each of the successive elections has had areas of commendation and areas that need to be improved upon. The fourth republic has been the longest uninterrupted period of democratic governance in Nigeria since independence in 1960 and the founding of the republic in 1963. The successful transition – from ruling parties being perpetually in power to political alternation of power from a ruling to an opposition party – which occurred in 2015, is a sign of growing consolidation of democracy. As critical democracy stakeholders continue to engage the political process, the country’s democratic culture is deepening and the quality and level of citizens’ participation in governance continues to grow.
The electoral history of Nigeria since the fourth republic have misgivings about the significant difference between total number of registered voters and total number of voters turnout. A review of voting behaviour of Nigerians shows a decline in both voter registration and turnout. Measured by voting behaviour such as voter registration and voter turnout, there has been decline both in the long term (1999-2015) and short term (2011-2015). The number of registered voters as a percentage of total population declined from 45.7% in 1999 to 38.3% in 2015. Similarly, voter turnout declined from 52.3% in 1999 to 43.7% in 2015. Ahead of the 2019 general election, Nigeria has a total of 84,004,084 registered voters representing about 42.9% of the country’s estimated population of 195.9 million people.
What accounts for the drop in voter turnout in the long and short term? What will be the outcome of 2019 in terms of voter turnout and voting pattern? These and the historical trends in electoral violence have been meticulously examined in this report, with an eye on what to expect in the 2019 national elections, which is only a few days away.

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