Prior to 2007, elections in Nigeria had been discouraging and all but sham. Voters had turned out in large numbers with great enthusiasm and resolve to elect the party they reasoned would make their “promises” a reality. Unfortunately, their hopes were dampened and their efforts in vain. Elections were rigged!
Money bag politicians had poisoned the electoral officials and thugs unleashed pain on supporters of opposing parties. Corruption was the order of the day and had taken the better side of the elections. The virtues of a free and fair election had been thrown to the wind. Nevertheless, the masses kept believing and having hope. In 2007, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua (16 August 1951 – 5 May 2010) became the 13th Head of State and President of Nigeria and, through his leadership, respect for and adherence to the rule of law, became enshrined. Consequently, the level of corruption in the nation declined.
Election is a tool through which electorates make their voices known and also put their choice on paper (or electronically as executed in advanced nations). In many nations, including Nigeria, the most important elected position is that of President. However, permit me to digress in stating that the rule of government is not the same for all countries. There are nations who practice the parliamentary republic (E.g. Austria and Germany); directional systems (Switzerland); semi-presidential systems (Burkina Faso, Georgia and Lithuania); mixed republic systems (such as Botswana, Nauru and South Africa); Constitutional monarchies with ceremonial monarchs (include: Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands, Belize, and Saint Lucia); dictatorship governments; and the list goes on. However, the focus for today is elections and the political situation in Nigeria.
There are over 10 political parties in Nigeria with the three parties in the main stream being the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Action Congress (AC) and All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP). Elections in Nigeria are held every four years with the next election to take place, according to Nigeria’s governing party (PDP), in January 2011.