A Hard Look At Nigeria’s Bifurcated Elections

By Ikenga Chronicles March 9, 2019

A Hard Look At Nigeria’s Bifurcated Elections

–Vitus Ozoke

I can’t for the life of me understand why both national level and state level elections can’t hold the same day in Nigeria. It is utterly ridiculous and indefensibly wasteful to bifurcate those elections. It is completely irresponsible of anybody who came up with that very asinine idea.

Billions were spent last two weeks to conduct the presidential election. Even more billions will be spent today to conduct state gubernatorial elections. Who makes these stupid decisions? It just doesn’t make an iota of sense! The cost is huge from both governmental and citizen electorate standpoints. Let’s change it.

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But I recognize that change doesn’t come easy in Nigeria, so let’s work with what we have for now. For a system in which the federal government sets policy direction and serves as paymaster for the states, presidential election should be treated as being more significant and consequential than state gubernatorial elections.

That being the case, the order of the elections should be reversed. State gubernatorial elections should come first. Presidential election should come later. We can use the state elections as a test run. We identify areas of problem and fix them before the more consequential presidential election.

If the system is rigged at the gubernatorial election, we see how it is rigged and guard against it in the presidential election. If there is card reader issues in the gubernatorial elections, we find a fix before the presidential election. That makes sense.

The Anathema Of An Anthem

Besides, holding the presidential election first has a chilling and bandwagon effect. The party that wins the presidential election, even when the victory is rigged, gains an upper hand going into the gubernatorial elections. If people believe that the presidential election was not a free and fair process, they will be demoralized and may refuse to participate in the gubernatorial elections. I can predict that the turnout for today’s gubernatorial elections will be terribly down, a far cry from last two week’s numbers.

Nigeria’s entire electoral system needs an urgent reform. It’s rigged!

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