• Afolabi Olugbemiga Samuel Obafemi Awololwo University
  • Usman Solomon Ayegba Obafemi Awololwo University
Keywords: Elections, Nation-Building, Democracy, Ethnicity/Tribalism


The conduct of elections remains one of the most tortuous and sensitive exercises in Nigeria’s political history. Undoubtedly, it has impaired the nation’s aspiration in building enduring peace, unity, and stability that will engender mutual coexistence of its disparate ethnic groups. The expectation that elected public officers would deepen democracy and provide transparent and accountable leadership through good governance and the creation of an avenue for people to freely participate in the decision-making process of the country have not been met. Rather than produce leaders and followers that would bring about national cohesion and patriotism among the citizenry, elections have tended to expose fault-lines among ethnic/tribal, regional and religious cleavages at the expense of national interest and nation-building. Although this is the prevailing trend in the annals of the electoral contestation in Nigeria’s history, it is the authors’ contention that recent events, especially the 2011 and 2015 elections, have put the country’s unity on the slippery slope of disintegration. This view is reinforced with the emergence of several centrifugal forces like the Boko Haram terrorist agitations in the country’s Northeast, and separatist activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in the South-eastern region on the grounds that are not unconnected with electoral contest or loss by political elites along ethno-religious and regional lines. While these incidences may not be totally orchestrated by the conduct, contest, and outcomes of elections alone, the consistency of coincidence of resurgence of violence after the conduct of elections in the country is notable. Therefore, using secondary and survey data, we explore the issues, problems, and prospects of elections and nation-building in an emerging democracy like Nigeria. This is with the hope of providing policy priorities on how to use elections for nation-building.
How to Cite
Samuel, A., & Ayegba, U. (2020). ELECTIONS AND NATION-BUILDING IN NIGERIA: ISSUES, PROBLEMS, AND PROSPECTS. ZANGO: Zambian Journal of Contemporary Issues, 32, 43-58. Retrieved from https://journals.unza.zm/index.php/ZJOCI/article/view/295