1.1 BACKGROUND OF STUDY
In every democracy, election is the essential ingredient that allows transition from one regime to the other. It is the means and process by which the electorate decides who and which group administers the affairs of the country based upon their perceived conviction on the agenda and programme presented by the group (Aniekwe and Kushie, 2011). In today’s world, election is serving great purpose both in war torn, authoritarian as well as democratic societies.
It serves as a means of transition from bitter experiences of war to civility in former war torn states. It provides opportunity for freedom in previous authoritarian regimes and offer citizens the space for free expression. It offers a government a unique opportunity for legitimacy and is a recognized way of building trust in former authoritarian states and also a way to validate negotiated political pacts (Brown, 2003; Sisk, 2008). Election also serves as a transitory process in stable democracies and a way of strengthening an already assumed perfect system (Majekodunmi and Adejuwon, 2012: 44). However, the history of elections in Nigeria has been characterized by threats to statehood based on the manipulation of ethnicity as divisive mechanism for the acquisition of political power by political actors; the fragile nature of political cum democratic institutions is acquainted with poor democratic culture among Nigerian citizens (Omodia, 2012; Ojukwu and Oni, 2016).
Nnamani (Cited in Onu, 2005) and Suberu (2007) assert that the fact that elections in Nigeria since inception of the fourth republic have continued to recycle in a ferocious violence and unthinkable manipulation especially from the political elites has attracted the attention of both local and international community.
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THE ROLE OF CREDIBLE ELECTION ON THE CONSOLIDATION OF DEMOCRACY, NIGERIAN FOURTH REPUBLIC: ISSUES AND PERSPECTIVES