1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Election is an integral part of a democratic process that enables the citizenry determine fairly and freely who should lead them at every level of government periodically and take decisions that shape their socio-economic and political destiny; and in case they falter, still possess the power to recall them or vote them out in the next election. This was Obakhedo, (2011) aptly defined election thus: Election is a major instrument for the recruitment of political leadership in democratic societies; the key to participation in a democracy; and the way of giving consent to government (Dye, 2001); and allowing the governed to choose and pass judgment on office holders who theoretically represent the governed Obakhedo, (2011).
In its strictest sense, there can never be a democracy without election. Huntington is however quick to point out that, a political system is democratic ‘to the extent that its most powerful collective decision-makers are selected through fair, honest and periodic elections in which candidates freely compete for votes, and in which virtually all the adult population is eligible to vote’ (Huntington, 1991). In its proper sense, election is a process of selecting the officers or representatives of an organization or group by the vote of its qualified members (Nwolise, 2007). Anifowose (2003) defined elections as the process of elite selection by the mass of the population in any given political system, Bamgbose (2012).
Elections provide the medium by which the different interest groups within the bourgeois nation state can stake and resolve their claims to power through peaceful means (Iyayi, 2005). Elections therefore determine the rightful way of ensuring that responsible leaders take over the mantle of power. An election itself is a procedure by which the electorate, or part of it, choose the people who hold public office and exercise some degree of control over the elected officials. It is the process by which the people select and control their representatives. The implication of this is that without election, there can be no representative government.
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THE ELECTORAL PROCESS AND NATIONAL SECURITY IN NIGERIA: A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF THE 2011 AND 2015 ELECTIONS