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Nigerian 2015 General Election: The Successes, Challenges, and Implications

for Future General Elections

Babayo Sule

Department of Political Science, Faculty of Humanities Management and Social Sciences, Federal University Kashere Gombe, Gombe State, Nigeria, +2347038653490,

Mohd Azizuddin Mohd Sani

School of International Studies, College of Law, Government and International Studies, Universiti Utara Malaysia, +60135990891,

Bakri Mat

School of International Studies, College of Law, Government and International Studies, Universiti Utara Malaysia, +60134337303,


The Nigerian 2015 General Election is one of the elections in the world that drew lots of attention and analysis as a result of its uniqueness and the many successes and challenges recorded which provide a lesson for future elections in Nigeria and other countries in the world. The aim of this work is to investigate the successes and challenges recorded in the election with a view to providing a better alternative for an improved election in future. The problem is the way many Nigerians and those outside Nigeria overwhelmingly are carried away by the defeat of the incumbent by the opposition which made them to perceive the election wholeheartedly as credible despite many challenges that it faced. The research used qualitative method of data collection and analysis. It is a qualitative particularistic case study which used primary and secondary data. The primary data was interview from different stakeholders that are involved in the electoral process, and the secondary data is the use of available literature on the subject matter. The data obtained was presented in tabular and figurative forms and analyzed using thematic analytical interpretations for findings. The research discovered that the 2015 General Election is an improvement on the previous elections especially in the Fourth Republic as a result of the techniques adopted in the conduct, but there are still challenges that must be looked into in future to make the election more credible. The research recommends that the areas that recorded significant improvement should be maintained while in the areas of challenges it should be looked into against the next election.

1.1 Introduction

The 2015 General Election in Nigeria differs from the previous elections in the Fourth Republic (1999-Date) because it recorded some significant improvements in the conduct and outcome of the election at local and national levels. It has been adjudged a credible election because of the manner and procedure in which it was conducted (Nwachukwu, 2015). Elections in Nigeria are usually bedeviled with irregularities such as violence, corruption, rigging, ballot snatching and stealing, ballot stuffing, vote buying, manipulation of results and ethno-religious politics (Isma’ila & Othman, 2015).

The 2015 General Election in Nigeria was conducted in an atmosphere of intense fear, insecurity, political alliance and re-alliance while the campaign was dominated by great issues of national concern such as: insecurity, corruption, unemployment, and poverty as observed by many scholars. These scholars also stressed that the Boko Haram insurgency, corruption, poverty, unemployment and poor economic policies compelled for the campaign process to be on matters of national interest and that has made a significant impact on the outcome of the election (Centre for Public Policy Alternative 2015, Africa Centre for Strategic Studies 2015, Ewi 2015, Orji 2015, Ayanda & Odunayo 2015, Chukwudi 2015, International Republican Institute 2015, Omilusi 2015, Ahar 2015 and Oji 2015).

There are many factors that made the 2015 General Election successful famous among them is the use of smart card reader which was believed to have drastically curbed rigging and the merger of major opposition parties to form an alliance which successfully challenged the ruling party squarely and the burning national issues of poverty, corruption, insecurity, unemployment and insurgency which made the electorates to became determined for change (Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room, 2015: 10). The above are some of the successes and factors that made many scholars as observed above to conclude that the election is credible. However, there are many challenges faced which must be addressed if the future elections are to be more credible and successful such as the excessive campaign spending unregulated (USAID/UKAID 2015), the failure to use card readers in many places during the election which allowed for manipulation, insecurity and other factors. Thus, this research studied academically these successes and challenges and provided an alternative framework for future elections in the country.

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