The Role of 2007 General Election in Meeting Nigerians’ Socio-Economic Aspirations

Dr. O. J.  Imahe and Prof. F. E.   Iyoha

The 2007 General election is the people’s hope, and it is up to the parties and their elected candidates to see that it ensures a peaceful co-existence and provides an enabling socio-economic environment that will favour all-round human development. It is pertinent to mention that elections in the country so far have not been able to adequately reflect the manifestoes/programmes and the promises of the parties/elected public officers. As a result they had always failed to meet the socio-economic aspirations of the Nigerian people. We are all aware of the general apathy on the part of the electorate following the previous experience of past elections where the elected and their parties were not able to fulfill their mandate or even meet the basic socio-economic demands of the people.

However, there is no doubt that the poor records of performance of past elected public office holders can be attributed to the inherently pervasive corruption, lack of public accountability, diversion of public resources to private use, priorities that are not development oriented, absence of transparency in decision making, top-down method of policy formulation among others. The effects of the aforementioned manifestations are obvious. They create an environment that does not make for socio-economic development, undermine government’s authority over the citizenry, and raise economic costs of utilities of projects. A common place experience of Nigerians in the past administration were large fiscal deficits (spending more vis-à-vis dwindling revenue) reduction in savings, investment and output of public investment, yawning income gap and more Nigerians becoming poor, poor incentives for hard work, low attraction of foreign investors, poor incentive to local entrepreneurs, and poor delivery of essential public utilities (Bello – Imam and Obadan, 2004). The above-mentioned problems have brought unwarranted socio-economic deprivation and setback among Nigerians despite the vast and rich natural and human resources of the Nigerian state.

Nigerians’ Socio-economic Problems
It is very glaring that despite the fact that Nigeria has great natural and human resources, it is poor and limited in the level of socio-economic development. Given Nigeria’s trend of socio-economic growth and development, it is already being foreseen that it is among the countries that are not able to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

(a) Poverty
Poverty is a deadly socio-economic phenomenon that manifests in a people’s inability to acquire the basic necessities of life (such as food, clothing and shelter) needed for a decent living (Nigerian Economic Society, 1997). It has progressively remained a major socio-economic problem in Nigeria for decades now.

About 2/3 of Nigerian population is poor. Available statistics show that poverty rate moved from 27 percent in 1980 to 66 percent in 1996 and from 1999 to 2005 it has remained in the neighborhood of 70 percent. (National Planning Commission, 2004)

Other indicators of poverty in Nigeria reveal that:

  • Only 10 percent of Nigerians have access to essential drugs
  • Physician/Nigerians ratio is not as much as 30: 100.000;
  • About 5% have HIV/AIDS and are dying without probable cure and affordable suppression drugs’
  • About 30% of the Nigerian children are underweight;
  • About 40% of Nigerian children have never been immunized;
  • About 29% of Nigerians live in areas prone to flooding every year.

The main cause of poverty among others is inadequate economic growth. The inadequacy is further compounded by the fact that the economy depends on crude oil for its major revenue generation. Even when there were (are) windfalls in oil revenues, the government(s) always failed to manage the accruing earnings in a manner that would ensure sustainable socio-economic development.

(b) Unemployment
Unemployment is another hydra-headed socio-economic problem in Nigeria. Unemployment among the higher-grade workers (such as professionals and executive cadre) and lower grade workers are on the increase in the country. In the report of the Central Bank of Nigeria (2004) the number of registered unemployed in the professionals and executive cadre rose significantly by 443.5%. There is no doubt that the general retirement, retrenchment of workers due to public enterprises downsizing, privatization, restructuring and Bank Recapitalization/Restructuring are major contributors to the increased volume of unemployment in Nigeria. A further desegregation revealed that unemployment rate are highest in the rural areas, among age group 15-24 years, and among secondary school leavers. Unemployment leads to untold social vices in the country; such as robbery, youth restiveness, “419” and sharp practices.

(c) Consumers Prices/Inflation
The inability of any one to pay for his basic needs in life constitutes poverty. The prices for non-food and food components of the Nigerian price indices are on the increase with that of the latter more than the former. The Central Bank of Nigeria (2005) reported that inflationary pressure has been moderated in 2004, but the effect did not trickle down to the Nigerians in such a way as to positively impact on their socio-economic development. The non-food produce is also responsible for the increasing rate of inflation. The increasing demand for non-food components such as kerosene, cooking gas, petrol, motor cars, furniture and fittings, clothing, telephone services, education and leisure and recreational activities is associated with rising inflation in Nigeria.
The sustained double digits inflation has resulted in sharp rises in the level and cost of living, which in turn reduces the general standard of living of Nigerians. Low standard of living in Nigeria is a causal factor for low life expectancy.

(d) Purchasing Power of Nigerians
Statistics reveal that the purchasing power of Nigerians has been largely eroded. The income of lower (GLO1), middle (GLO8) and upper (GLO15) wage earners in the public sector dropped by 64%, 55% and 63% between 2004 and 2005, respectively. Given the fact that the government is the greatest employer of labour in Nigeria, the human development risk of the low wages is very high for the citizenry. Another issue worthy of note in the worsening purchasing power of Nigerians, is the devaluation of the Naira vis-à-vis other international currencies particularly, the American dollar, British pound and the Euro.

(e) Savings and Investment
Poor saving in Nigeria is the bane of socio-economic development. It has been acknowledged that Nigerians have low marginal propensity to save which in turn leads to, low level of investment (National Planning Commission, 2004). The low level of saving/investment relationship provides explanation for the low productivity growth in Nigeria since the 1980s, which has deprived the nation of both the tools and technologies that help to promote human development.

(f) Political Instability and Internal Security
In Nigeria, this issue has caused international disaffection to the extent that it has often led to sanctions from developed economies of the world (Imahe, 2000). One would have taught that with the disappearance of military governance devoid of democratic processes, the country would start to enjoy some favour from international communities with the cooperation of the domestic front. Even with our experience of the successive democratic governments in Nigeria, the low image of Nigerians in the international communities still subsists as a result of pervasive corruption, lack of accountability, lack of transparency, socio-religious crises, ethno-political violence, youth restiveness, kidnapping of foreign oil workers, arm robbery, fraud and activities of “419”, canalization of oil pipe lines, fake drugs, drugs trafficking, etc.

The fall – out of the above are:
Low trust for political office holders,
The country became vulnerable to the control of power play in the international communities.

The overall policy thrust of the present administration with respect to education seeks to increase enrolment in all tiers of education, improve the quality of education; use education for human capital development etc. and the stated strategies to achieve them are laudable in context. However, governments over the years have not been able to demonstrate a consistent commitment to the cause of education they were trying to champion. A cursory look at the present state of affairs in the three levels of education in Nigeria reveals shocks of acute shortages of infrastructural facilities, equipment and materials, and manpower, which are the bane of the poor financial commitment to education system. The significant role of education in overall socio-economic development in Nigeria is very unique, and as such the right approach to achieve the best result should be adopted. Quality in education has been compromised at all levels due to dearth of necessary input, infrastructure, and poor commitment to it.

Health / Water Services
The Federal Government seems to have recorded improvement in health sector in 2005. Government commenced the construction of 200 model healthcare centres across the country. Also, the National Immunization of children against polio and other killer diseases recorded appreciable success. Apart from these improved performance, Nigeria’s General Hospitals, Health Care Centres, Maternities and Healthcare outfits are starved of essential drugs and materials, radiographic equipment, functional mortuaries, screening equipment, requisite number of nurses, chemists, laboratory technicians, doctors, midwives, and administrative staff. The shortcomings of our health sector outlined above make the preference for private hospital commonplace. In Nigeria only about 60 percent of the people have access to safe water in the urban areas, and it is far less in the rural areas (50 percent).

In 2004, the number of people injured in road accident increased by 4.1 percent coupled with 5.8 percent increase in the number of persons killed in road accident. There is no gainsaying these facts if we think of the deplorable conditions of Nigerian roads presently.

On the other hand, traveling by air became hazardous, given the repeated disasters in domestics airlines. In 2005, there was a phenomenal decrease in demand and it fell by 58.6 percent over the previous year. In the same vein, foreign airlines service demand also suffered the same phenomenal decrease. Further more, railway service demand also depicted a very poor performance in Nigeria to the extent that the passenger carriage dropped by 81.5 percent. It is worthy of note that rail transportation is supposed to be the cheapest, and hence, should have attracted the highest patronage among Nigerians. The problem of railway service is of two folds in Nigeria, namely; the smallness in coverage and poor development of the system.
The 2007 General Election will be an acid test on public office holders as to whether they wish to sustain the evolving democratic governance in Nigeria or not.  Nigeria will not be patient with any other regime that will toil with or compromise their socio-economic aspirations. The solution to the identified socio-economic problems will directly impact on the quality of life of Nigerians.  The election should result in a government that holds welfare, health, education, employment, accountability, transparency, political empowerment, and narrowing of income gaps, sacrosanct.

Recall that the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS) is replete with defined approaches of attacking each of these socio—economic problems discussed above.  This paper deposes that the NEEDS document will be of paramount importance (given its policy thrust) in proffering solution to the socio-economic problems in Nigeria. However, the selected public officers will go a long way in meeting the socio-economic aspirations of Nigerians if the following are given serious consideration:
People must decide or participate in any policy formulation   and implementation on issues affecting their socio-economic aspirations.
People must participate in choosing who occupies any position of service. People must be involved in deciding how the scarce resources are allocated and utilized.

Whereas during past administration, it became increasingly difficult for public office holders to appreciate accountability and transparency, the case must be different this time. All public office holders must be accountable to the people in spending public funds. The role of Civil Society in policy formation and implementation should be recognized and taken advantage of at any time.

The 2007 General Election should raise Nigerians’ confidence that the implementation of parties’ agenda reflects the electorates’ demand for their socio-economic emancipation at the point of voting. It is possible for the 2007 General Election to meet Nigerians’ socio-economic aspirations if elected public officers work to restore the eroded trust in government as a facilitator of human development.


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  • Imahe, O.J. (2000) “Economic Perspective: National Economy ,Economic Activities and National income.” Readings in General studies in  G.K Oyanna, V.O.Aghayere and Fred. Emordi (eds) Benin City: Imprint Services. Pp 82 – 99.
  • Nkem Onyekpe J.G. (2004) “Issues in Development: Nigeria.” Governance: Nigeria and the World, in Sylvester Odion-Akhaine (ed). Lagos: CENCOD.
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  • National Bureau of Statistics  (2006) Social Statistics in Nigeria.
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International Journal of Governance and Development – Volume 3 No. 1

International Journal Of Governance And Development

 Volume 3 No. 1, March, 2007
ISSN 1597-1740

Published by
Institute for Governance and Development,
Ambrose Alli University,
P. M. B. 14, Ekpoma, Edo State,

(With funding from The Ford Foundation, New York, USA)
International Journal of Governance and Development

(C) Copyright 2007 by Institute for Governance and Development

All Rights Reserved.
No part of this journal may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or means, electronic or mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher or copyright owner.

Prof. F.E. Iyoha
Director, Institute for Governance and Development,
Ambrose Alli University,
Editorial Board

Prof. J.O. Ihonvbere,
President, African Center for Constitutional Development,
Former Special Adviser to The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on Project Monitoring and Evaluation.

Emeritus Prof. Dilys M. Hill
University of Southampton,

Prof. George Klay Kieh, Jnr.
Morehouse, Atlanta,
Georgia, USA.

Prof. B.E. Aigbokhan,
Ambrose Alli University,

Prof. S.O. Uniamikogbo,
Ambrose Alli University,

Prof. J.B. Longe,
Ambrose Alli University,

Prof. V.O. Aghayere,
Ambrose Alli University,

Prof. P. O.  Agbese,
University of Iowa,
Cedar Falls, USA.

Prof. S.O.J. Ojo,
Ambrose Alli University,

Dr. A.U. Omoregie,
Ambrose Alli University,

Dr. A.S. Adagbonyin,
Ambrose Alli University,

Dr. Rajalakshmi Mishra,
Institute of Public Enterprise,
Osmania University, India.

Dr. P. Eya,
Enugu State University of Science & Technology,
(ESUT), Enugu.

Dr. E.E. Oyibo,
Delta State University,

Dr. A.O. Oronsaye,
University of Benin,
Benin City.


Dr. J. U. Azelama,
Department of Public Administration,
Faculty of Social Sciences,

Hon. Wilson Ogieva,
Commissioner for Local Government and
Chieftaincy Affairs,
Ministry of Local Government and
Chieftaincy Affairs,
Benin City

Dr. O. J. Imahe,
Department of Economics,
Faculty of Social Sciences,

Prof. F. E. Iyoha,
Department of Public Administration,
Faculty of Social Sciences,

Dr. S. K. Omorogbe,
Department of Sociology,
Faculty of Social Sciences,

Dr. M. E. Orobor,
Institute of Education,

Prof. V. O. Aghayere,
Department of Public Administration,
Faculty of Social Sciences,

Prof. (Mrs.) C. A. Agbebaku,
Faculty of Law,

Dr. P. E. Agbebaku,
Department of Political Science,
Faculty of Social Sciences,

The Role of 2007 General Elections in Meeting Nigerian Democratization and other Political Aspirations – Dr. J. U. Azelama and Hon. W. Ogieva    …
The Role of 2007 General Elections in Meeting Nigerians’ Socio-economic Aspirations – Dr. O. J. Imahe and Prof. F. E. Iyoha

The Role of 2007 General Elections In Meeting Nigerian Democratization and Other Political Aspirations

Dr. Julius Uduimho Azelama and W. Ogieva

This article adopts descriptive analysis in the identification of Nigerian democratisation and other major current political aspirations. It adopts the same method in examining the role of the 2007 General Elections in meeting these aspirations. The analysis recognizes the impracticability of a watertight compartmentalization of this election as the only one that is aimed at meeting the identified aspirations. It recognizes the past and future general elections as equally expected to attain the goals or consolidate the ones already attained.

The second segment after introduction clarifies the terms, democracy and democratization and it discusses democratization as a major current Nigerian political aspiration. It also identifies and discusses other prominent current Nigerian political aspirations. The third segment focuses on the role of the 2007 general elections in meeting the Nigerian major political aspirations. Democratization is derived from the term democracy. An explanation of the meaning of democracy therefore may facilitate understanding of democratization.   

Democracy is a system of governance in which, through elections and persistent checks, the people utilize their political power to choose who occupy the various political roles or positions; remove any political office holder from office at will, determine which law or public policy gets made, unmade and reviewed; and determine as well as control every governmental practice including the spending of every kobo of the public funds or the people’s money.

Democracy is a reversal of dictatorship.  In dictatorship the power to play the roles identified here as played by the people is held by the dictator who may be a colonizer, military ruler, monarch, religious leader, elder, or civilian ruler imposed through corrupt electoral process, etc. Many Nigerian pre-colonial societies practiced African democratic centralism, which did not include elective principles, constitutional development, increasing adequate people’s participation in politics and increasing the role of civil society to make the legislature, executive and the political parties answerable to the people. Democratization is a systematic change from dictatorship to democracy resulting in political empowerment of the people. Ogbonnaya and Ofoeze (1994) attempted a theoretical explanation of sources of democratization forces in Africa.

The direction of democratization forces may be bottom to top when led by the civil society; top to bottom when conflicts among the political elite weaken dictatorship; and externally introduced when forces within the international community weaken dictatorship. These three directions have been experienced in Nigeria.

Democratisation in form of attempts to empower the people by establishing liberal democracy has had three major types in Nigeria. These are decolonisation, demilitarisation and efforts by the people to cease power from post-military “elected” civilian oligarchy. The role of the 2007 general elections in Nigerian democratisation aspiration is to be located primarily in the efforts by the people to cease power from elected civilian oligarchy. It is also relevant in the sustenance of decolonisation and demilitarisation. A good attention is paid to this aspect after discussing other major Nigerian political aspirations. Other major current Nigerian political aspirations will now be brought under focus.

Other Prominent current Nigerian political aspiration
Nation building is a prominent current Nigerian political aspiration.  It is different from national development. It is the second stage of the segments of political development experienced by political systems as put in place by Almond and Powell (1971). These writers argued that many states, in their process of political development experience major problems or challenges in stages. The first is state building that relates to putting in place a state.  In Nigeria, it entailed bringing different nations or ethnic groups under one political umbrella, which the apologists of colonialism argued, was facilitated by colonialism by the western powers. It culminated in the Nigerian state in 1960 with the attainment of political independence.

The second stage is that of nation building.   It relates to building a nation out of the multiplicity of nations or ethnic groups brought together to form a state or a nation-state. Nigerian political development viewed through the lens of these writers is in the stage of nation building. The challenge within this stage is a focus on the minds of the citizens. It entails strategies to make them love their state more than they love their sections of the state or society they belong to. It places macro-nationalism or Pan-Nigerian nationalism over and above micro-nationalism. The challenges relate to how to subsume or accommodate separatist social identities under overriding collective interest. Put simply, it has to do with how to make a Yoruba man, or Ibo man or a Christian, or Muslim, or a party member, member of the military, a professional, an academic, etc. love Nigeria more than he/she loves the sections he/she belongs to.

The third stage in the process of political development is that of managing mass desire of the citizens to participate in working for the state reflected in the desire to occupy political roles. It may be observed that these three stages are not mutually exclusive. So although Nigeria is regarded as being in the stage of nation building it still has state building and mass participation to contend with. These also form, though in a lesser degree, Nigerian current political aspirations.

How to overcome the frightening problem of corruption is one of Nigeria’s current political aspirations. Joseph (1991), Salami (1994), Lewis (1996), Bello-Imam (2004) and Akanbi (2004) have identified corruption as frustrating various facets of Nigerian developmental efforts, including meeting Nigerian political aspirations.  So it is a major Nigerian political aspiration to redeem Nigeria from the slavery of corruption.  For the political institutions, political processes, policy making and implementation bodies, the judiciary, etc to function adequately corruption must be reduced to the minimum level possible.

Weak civil society is a major political problem in Nigeria.  So it is a major Nigerian political aspiration to build a virile civil society.  Civil society refers to the autonomous groups spread over the space between the private life of the family and the public life of the state.  Bayart (1986), Sales (1991), Narsoo (1991) and Ikelegbe (2001) have emphasized the indispensability of virile civil society in Nigerian democratization.  Inspite of the fact that there are numerous groups within civil society like labour unions, professional bodies, primordial associations, community based associations, students union, etc these bodies fail to actively play their role in establishing democracy in Nigeria.  So the state and many dictators, politicians, etc, have a field day in imposing rules, enacting lawlessness, spending public funds without accountability to the people, enacting various forms of electoral corruption, etc.

Making and implementation of Socio-economic and political public policies to provide solutions to different problems facing Nigerians come under Nigerian political aspirations.  Politically determined structures, processes and policies are required to provide solutions to Nigerian problems of poverty, low standards of living, poor health facility, grossly inadequate social amenities, and crisis in our value system, poor education system, high level of crime, etc.

In recent times, Nigeria has suffered from different forms of internal conflict and some with a high level of hostility.  Prominent among them are religious conflict, electoral violence, political conflict, violence due to cultism, resource conflict like the Niger Delta conflict, ethnic conflict, etc.  There have also been in the past, a high level of extra-judicial killings, political thuggery, politically instigated assassinations, and other forms of political violence.  Perhaps Benin City has occupied the inglorious first position in superstition instigated lynching of the poor accused of witchcraft.  There have also been rampant cases of the poor losing their lives due to pipeline vandalization spearheaded by the political and economic elite.  There are armed robbery and other forms of violence.  It is the political aspiration of Nigeria that these violence and hostilities should end by the state playing its primary role of providing adequately for people’s security and welfare.

Rapid federalization may also be regarded as Nigerian political aspiration. Regionalization was introduced in Nigeria with operation of the 1946 Richards Constitution and it was maintained in the 1951 Marcpherson Constitution.  It led to establishment of colonial federalism when the Lytleton Constitution came into force in 1954.  At independence, Nigeria adopted federalism.  Since then, apart from Ironsi regime, which flirted with the unitary system, Nigeria, even under Military rulerships, has regarded itself as a federal state.  Yet the federating units operate with a high level of mutual suspicion.  A sluggish pace of federalization characterizes this.  Rapid federalization is required to develop from a dual-federalism to a co-operative federalism or interdependent federalism, (Watt, 1979).  The irrepressible and unending calls for a sovereign national conference may represent dissatisfaction with Nigerian federalism.  Both constitutional redesign of such federalism and allowing a process of evolution of co-operation among the federating units are continuous development of federalism.  They both constitute a Nigerian political aspiration.

It is a Nigerian political aspiration, as a member of the international community, to enjoy mutual benefit and respect from other members.  In the past decades, Nigerian national prestige in the international community has suffered.  This has been due to Nigerian dwindling economic fortunes at home, indecent behaviour of many Nigerians who go abroad in an effort to meet the basic necessities and the unflattering reports about socio-political practices of many Nigerian public office holders.
The 2007 General Elections and Nigerian Political Aspirations
The Nigerian democratization and other major political aspirations have been identified.  This segment concerns itself with the relevance of the general elections to meeting these aspirations.

The 2007 general elections are relevant to meeting Nigerian democratic aspirations in many ways.  The most prominent of them are summarized here.  A successful conduct of the election particularly when Nigerians and the international community expects to see it as free and fair means a continuation of the process of democratization.  It follows then that the elections are a parameter for measuring the extent of Nigerian democratization.  The elections offer an opportunity for strengthening, developing and testing Nigerian democratization institutions, process and activities.  The legislatures, executives, the judiciary, the press, the political parties, the civil society, the constitution, the public service, the traditional rulers, the various security bodies, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), academia, etc are on duty and show-cased during the elections.  Also on duty and show-cased is the electoral process.  This includes registration of voters, delimitations of constituencies, voting, counting of votes, release of results, handling of election petition, etc.  The elections help to develop these institutions and processes and also show their level of development.  The elections offer an opportunity for and are measures of interest aggregation, interest articulation and responsiveness of the Nigerian political system and subsystems.  They also reflect the level of democratization of the political environment, political communication, political education, political mobilization, political socialization and internalization of democratic values.  They gauge the maturity of the three major roles of politics, consultation, negotiation and consensus.

In the area of political development the 2007 general elections have vital roles to play.  The elections offer opportunities for stimulating and facilitating nation building.  Electoral activities reduce ethnic, religious, sectional and north-south mutual suspicion and prejudices.  Positive desire to win elections and allocation of values aid inter-sectional and intra-sectional consultation, negotiation, consensus building, conflict resolution, internalization of national values, outlook and pan-Nigerian nationalism.  Although, the Nigerian sovereignty has been put in place, the elections offer an opportunity for strengthening the fabrics of the Nigerian state as a result of practices already mentioned in relation to nation building.  The elections themselves encourage political participation by politicians, non-partisan politicians, the electorates, the civil society, etc.

The elections offer an opportunity to combat corruption.  Political campaign usually criticizes corruption particularly involving political opponents.  When politicians and political office holders canvass for people’s mandate during elections they declare their stewardship to the people.  They are on trial as they seek to impress and convince the people.  They have to explain allegations of corruption that may be made against them.  Consciousness of stewardship required during the general elections may lead to some politicians exercising restraint in indulging in some corrupt practices.  It is true that Nigeria has experienced a practice of a high level of corruption during elections in the past.  This does not mean that electoral activities have not checked corruption in some areas.  Where elections are free and fair, the civil society plays the role of checking dictatorship and the people are not corrupt, then the general elections become more potent in checking corruption during and after the exercise.  The government knows that the degree of electoral corruption associated with the general elections is a reflection of the honesty of its anti-corruption drive.

Ordinarily the general elections are supposed to galvanize the Nigerian docile and dormant civil society into playing its indispensable role in ensuring good governance, facilitation of democratization, checking corruption and thereby facilitating Nigerian socio-economic development.  The civil society itself is weakened due to non-release of Nigerians from their primordial ties to the public, apathy within the civil society, ignorance of its political role, poverty, corruption and the ease with which it falls prey to politicians.  Every general election is a pull factor, which encourages the civil society to play its role.

The general elections are an opportunity to ensure that appropriate public policies and laws are made to facilitate provision of solutions to Nigeria’s social-economic problems.  When a politician campaigns, he appeals to the people to allow him serve them in a political position.  He is at the same time supposed to offer his party’s manifesto in an exchange for the people’s mandate.  Manifestos are proposed policies and laws to be made to provide solutions to the problems in the society.  A current problem in this facet, however, is that in Nigeria, general elections focus predominantly on recruitment into political roles and positions.  Little attention is paid to manifesto or how to provide solutions to the various Nigerian socio-economic problems.

The 2007 Nigerian general elections are relevant to providing solutions to the problems of conflict, different forms of violence and insecurity in Nigeria.  In the first place, democracy is an instrument of conflict resolution.  This is because it offers an opportunity for contested interests in conflicts to be discussed.  Secondly, politicians know that for them to penetrate different sections of Nigerians for electoral gains they have to adopt effective conflict handling techniques.  During electoral campaigns, parties in conflict are interested in the ways politicians and political parties would like to handle their conflicts if elected.  Electoral political activities include consultation, negotiation and consensus.  These facilitate peace in conflict areas.  Popular governments are suitable conflict handling agents.

Similarly, manifestos of political parties and candidates are expected to include how to provide solutions to problems of insecurity such as armed robbery, cult violence, religious conflict, electoral violence, ethnic conflict, etc.  They are also expected to handle problems in the society that breed insecurity, violence, hostilities and conflict.  It may be observed that the electoral process itself has been characterised by thuggery and violence.  It is expected that the appropriate state institutions and security operatives are adequately prepared to check political violence and hostility in the electoral process for its credibility.

In the area of rapid federalization and development from dual federalism to interdependent or co-operative federalism, the role of the elections in facilitating nation building already discussed in this paper also applies.  Review of constitutive and regulative rules of the game in Nigerian politics can be facilitated by appropriate party manifesto.  Administrative federalism may not even mean changing the rules.  A committed leadership can stimulate it through encouraging the critical groups such as the bureaucrats, political parties, etc to facilitate the process of federalization in Nigeria.

In the area of international relation, no political party can produce a manifesto and leave out this important segment.  So contending manifestos on how to provide solutions to the problems in this area are made available to the electorate to choose from as they vote.

One other important area in which the 2007 general elections relate to Nigerian national prestige in the international community is that the whole world is watching Nigeria.  When we successfully conduct a free, fair and credible election, the Nigerian prestige receives a boost.
The major Nigerian political aspirations as the nation state approaches the 2007 general elections are democratization, nation building, strengthening the Nigerian sovereignty, encouraging political participation and combating corruption.  Others are stimulating the civil society to play its unique role in Nigerian developmental efforts, making appropriate and people led policies to provide solutions to Nigerian socio economic and political problems, conflict handling and strengthening security of life and property. Rapid federalization and enhancing Nigerian benefit from its international relation and diplomacy are parts of the aspirations.

To meet these aspirations, the state institutions, political parties, the civil society, the electoral body and other relevant bodies must play their roles adequately.


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