History Of Elections In Nigeria
Nigeria has a rich history of political affairs that changed the direction of the country. Not many people know about the first general election in Nigeria that happened 96 years ago.
Elections in Nigeria can be traced to as far back as the year 1923 when the country faced first general elections ever. They happened on 20th of September, and and people were supposed to choose who would win seats in the Legislative Council.
These were to be 3 representatives from Lagos and 1 from Calabar. The event was of huge importance due to a number of reasons. Firstly, democracy was introduced into Nigeria only 4 years earlier. Secondly, the new constitution was implemented in 1922, which made it possible to create seats for the Legislative Council. Interestingly enough, only four seats out of 46 were elected, others were only provided or appointed, among which were: 23 ex-officials; 4 nominated officials; 15 unofficial members.
Nigeria has faced massive changes throughout the time of its modern existence. Thus, having undergone a civil war in 1967-1970, it witnessed a military control till 1999. A lot of damage was caused to the people of Nigeria at that time, and there is still a lot to be done now to develop the county.
The country has had a rough and complicated political history. Being a democratic country only for the past 20 years, it still has a long way toward a truly democratic system. The first general elections happened in a democratic Nigeria in 1999 and they brought to power the former military head of state Olusegun Obasanjo.
The following elections in 2003 kept him in the position, though both of the electoral processes were claimed to be unfair. In 2007 the leader from PDP came to power, Umaru Yar’Adua, however, he didn’t last till the end of the term and passed away in 2010. His successor was Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and in 2011 on the next elections, he officially won.
Again the international media noticed violations in the electoral process. Since 2015, it was Muhammadu Buhari who won the election. Today, he is calling people of Nigeria to re-elect him again, claiming that his achievements during the time of his ruling are worth giving him a chance to continue developing the country. On 16th of February, people will vote to elect the 5th President and the National Assembly.
Origin of Electoral Bodies in Nigeria
The origin of Electoral bodies in Nigeria can be traced to the period before Independence when the Electoral Commission of Nigeria (ECN) was established to conduct 1959 elections. The Federal Electoral Commission (FEC), established in 1960 conducted the immediate post-independence federal and regional elections of 1964 and 1965 respectively.
The electoral body was however, dissolved after the military coup of 1966. In 1978, a new Federal Electoral Commission (FEDECO) was constituted by the regime of General Olusegun Obasanjo. FEDECO organized the elections of 1979, which ushered in the Second Republic under the leadership of Alhaji Shehu Shagari. It also conducted the general elections of 1983.
In December 1995, the military government of General Sani Abacha, which earlier dissolved NEC in 1993, established the National Electoral Commission of Nigeria (NECON), which also conducted another set of elections; Local Government councils to National Assembly. These elected institutions were however not inaugurated before the sudden death of General Abacha, on June 1998 aborted the process. In 1998 General Abdulsalam Abubakar’s Administration dissolved NECON and established the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The body organized all transitional elections that ushered in the 4th republic on May 29 1999. It has today repositioned itself to deliver credible elections that would sustain Nigeria’s nascent democracy.
As a permanent body, INEC comprises the workforce recruited since 1987 under the defunct National Electoral Commission (NEC). Its presence has been established in all the 36 states, the Federal Capital Territory as well as in the 774 Local Government Areas of Nigeria.