Gregory Emeka Chinweuba (PhD), Barr. Matthew Obumneme Arum


The recent signing of the electoral act into law gave Nigerians hope of free, fair and transparent elections. This is as the electoral act not only mandated the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct elections via electronic voting machines but to transmit election results from the polling units via electronic machines. This led Nigerian INEC to introduce Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines. This innovation was enthusiastically welcomed by the Nigerian voters as effective means of reducing human meddling with the electoral results. Despite the enthusiasm surrounding this electoral innovation, Nigerian elections as witnessed in February 25 and March 18, 2023 became fraught with greater challenges. These are the challenges of violence and thuggery, INEC partisanship, purposely negligence, disenfranchisement of voters, glitches and poor logistics. This paper analytically reviews these conspicuous challenges persistent in Nigerian elections. With these challenges glaring in the 2023 general elections, the study also examines the legitimacy of Nigerian electoral outcomes characterized by irregularities, voter disenfranchisement, malpractices and riggings. The study then finds that the Nigerian peoples’ exercise of their franchise in their yearning for a new and better Nigeria is thwarted by politicians and cabal who subvert the popular sovereign will of the people by causing violence at the polling units and manipulating electoral results to their own advantage. Sadly, at the centre of these anti-democratic practices is INEC which appears to have compromised the 2023 general elections through its neglect of the constitution, electoral act and her own election guidelines. This paper therefore notes that gross voter apathy may characterize subsequent Nigerian elections while subsequent governments would lack legitimacy as long as INEC appears partisan, dependent and negligent of its statutory responsibility of conducting inclusive, free, fair and transparent elections in the country. 


Election, Challenges, Critical Review, INEC, Nigeria.

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