1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Obviously, a credible electoral process is an absolute necessity for representative democracy, yet not every election meets this criterion. Across regions and climes of the world, it is generally agreed that elections are a hallmark of democracy. Little wonder, Anifowose (2003) refers to it as the process of elite selection by the mass of the population in any given political system. Election as a mechanism for peaceful transition of one regime to another has been a serious political event right from pre-independent Nigeria.
Since, Nigeria has practiced elective principle in 1992 in Nigeria political climate has changed and a series of elections have been conducted. However, majority of these elections have resulted in stalemate, contention, violence, legitimacy crises and has at one time or the other truncated democratic practices thereby paving way for military incursion in Nigerian politics.
Right from 1960, the challenge before Nigeria as a nation is to entrench an enduring democracy which could be facilitated through the conduct of a credible, free and fair election. The 1964/65, 1983, 1993, 2003, 2007 and 2011 elections ended in a disaster which we are still grappling with till today and if Nigeria`s continue existence is to be ensured then, we need to organize and conduct generally acceptable elections.
Electoral process in Nigeria since 1960 has been a very difficult task, to conduct a creditable, free and fair election. Some of the issues surrounding the conduct of the 2015 general elections borders on the conduct of free and fair elections, some of the factors/challenges of these are electoral fraud and electoral mal-practices in the country. Rigging is almost synonymous with Nigerians elections.
Indeed, electoral fraud pervades the political landscape. It is generally perpetrated by unproductive and criminally minded politicians who seek to frustrate the democratic aspirations of citizens who have voted or would have voted into offices someone other than the purported victor or winner.
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THE 2015 GENERAL ELECTION: ISSUES CHALLENGES AND PROSPECTS