Election And Electoral Process: (A Case Study Of Secret Ballot System In Nigeria)

Election And Electoral Process: (A Case Study Of Secret Ballot System In Nigeria)

Election And Electoral Process: (A Case Study Of Secret Ballot System In Nigeria)

Elections are means of making political choice by voting. They are used in the selection of leader and in the determination of issue. This conception implies that voters are presented with alternatives that they can choose among a number of proposals designed to settle an issue of public concern.

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Elections are central to the existence stability and development of democracy. Given the distortions received in Nigeria, it is important to understand what the word Election means. The encyclopedia of social science defines election.

The process of selecting the officers or representative of an organisation or from by the vote of its qualified members. Election could be defined in a technical sense as the process by which an office is assigned to a person by an act of voting needing the simultaneous expression of opinion by many people. In a social sense Election is the process by which a person is liked to an office with due provision for the participation of the people meant to come under the officer is authority.

Accordingly, it is observed that this social aspect of election give the idea of ruling a society with the consent of the ruled, which tantamount to democracy and differentiates it from appointment. An election is meant to given the electorates the opportunity to decide who should rule them, and what the rulers polices and programmes should be. Thus, in the words mayo “the main purpose of the whole electoral process is to produce a government vested with legitimacy.

Based in this background on December 23, 1973 FEDECO announced that five political parties might contest 1979 Elections. They were UPN, NPP, GNPP, PRP and NPN. The commission decision meant the president the members of the house of Representative and that of the senate would come to power from the new breed political parties in 1979. the new president would be chosen from among politicians active in the first Republic Obafemi Awolowo, Atikwe, Warini, Kano and Sahagri. It should be observed here that, it was the same faces and names that were once again entering the political area.

On December 28, 1978, the leaders of the Nigeria five new political parties issued a S. point pledge to the nation to keep election free and fair. The leaders pledged that they leadership to the country but that also curb excesses in speech and behaviour by their party members. They would restrain their members from engaging in political thuggery and ensure that nothing was done to disturb the peace of the community or upset the Unity of the country. Above all, they would accept the verdict of the electorate in the elections which they would help to make peaceful, Free and fair.

The presidency was help out as the biggest price in the series of elections in Nigeria. This was because the constitution was specific in providing that the president should be the head of state. The chief executive of the federal and also the commander-in-chief of the armed force. By the nature of role, the president performs also the functions of the chief Diplomat the chief legislator and the chief Administrator.

All these constituted an enormous power to be bestowed on a single individual, and no double cities have shouted at the possibility of the constitution inadvertently creating a dictator to run a democratic office. And no wonder why the presidential election was fought with funny.

On August 16, 1979, Alhaji Shehu Shagari of National party (NPN) was elected president of the federal Republic of Nigeria which was announced by FEDCO. The president elect. Alhaji Shehu Shagari who contested on the ticket of the National party of Nigeria (NPN). Polled a total of 5,688,857 voted to beat out rightly his four opponent president Shahu Shagiri. Government was topped in a caup atat on 31st December, 1983 by the then head of state and commander-in-chief of the Nigeria armed forces. General Muhammadu Buhari. On his assumption of office General Muhammadu Buhari announced his intention to hand overpower to an elected civilian administration come 1990. but like the popular biblical saying “that man proposes, but God disposes little did he knows that the some Unseen forces were operating against his own intention. General Buhari’s hope of hading over power to head elected civilian administration come 1990, was dashed, when general Ibrahim Badamisi Babangida ousted his government in a military coup. The Babangida administration which ousted Buhari government on August 29, 1985 charged the data for the return to civil rule from 1990 to 1992.

It has become a tradition amongst new military administration to announce or embark on new transition to civil rule programme on assumption of office. Babangida, after displacing General Buhari from office on August 27, 1985 announced his own transition to civil rule programme, which will return power to civilian in 1992, instead of 1990 as was announced by General Buhari during his our Broadcast to the nation. Babangida’s transition to civil rule programme unfailed its packed in the following manner, first stage, to conduct the election at the local government level by 1987 in non party basis. Following the creation of two national political parties.

The National Republic convention (NRC) and social Democratic Party (SDP) by the federal government in December, 1990, a subsequent local government election took place part basis.

In a bid to introduce a new innovation in the voting in the voting system in Nigeria, the new administration under General Babangida, in December, 1990, decided to introduce the “Open Ballot System” the system of open ballot system of balloting of the local level, it was followed by the state level elections into the house of assembly and the office of the governor and finally, the federal elections which include election into the two federal legislature house (i.e. house of representative, the senate and the presidency zone 1992. due to some elected malpractices experienced during the place on 13th December 1987, it brought some ill feeling amongst some Nigeria. Although before Elections were conducted on March 26, 1988. In some head government yet the generally of the people felt that the Electoral process has been distorted. This created room for doubt on the credibility of National Electoral commission (NEC) instituted as a body to see to the smooth transition to democratic government. The generally of the people began to wonder on what might be outcome of other subsequent elections in Nigeria.

According to many political observers, democracy has suffered many set backs in Nigeria due to the farness of those who are ready and willing to defend it. This is why every electoral commission set up in Nigeria to see to the achievement of lasting democracy in Nigeria has failed.

In the front Republic the electoral commission under the chairmanship of Dr. E. E. Esau failed to achieve the purpose for which it was set up. In the second republic, another electoral commission was setup under the chairmanship of Ovie Whisky, and the commission could not also achieve desired result. When the electoral commission of third republic was set up under the chairmanship of professor Humphrey Nwosu, the commission also failed to institution and ending democracy for Nigeria. The electoral commission of the fourth republic which was established under the chairmanship of Chief Dagogo Jack was later sniffed under the chairmanship of Justice E. Okpata T. Abel Gbaiday. Many Nigeria are still jacking skeptical about the performance of this goes to suggest that the former head of state is of the opinion that democracy has no fixed characteristic or meaning is actual practice, rather it varies among countries.

However in any state where the majority is supreme in deciding their fate in relation to actual government, adheres to popular public Opinion could be regarded to be democratic.

Electoral process is an important issue in relation to political growth and democratic stability of any society.

Before any country’s electoral process is to be awarded a pass mark, some salient question requires appropriate consideration. Such questions include the following: Is the franchise restricted or Universal in a state? Are there adequate provision made by the institutions whose study is to conduct elections in such a manner to guarantee free and fair Election? Is there freedom of expression? Is there freedom of association? Is there really an independent judiciary has press given free hand to operate? Any country without these requirements is assumed undemocratic.

This research therefore takes a look at the implications of secret ballot system in Nigeria secret ballot as one of the voting system is adopted in Nigeria by different electoral bodies set-up in Nigeria both in the past and present is significant measure taking t bring democratic rule in Nigeria. But it becomes a regrettable situation when the aim or idea behind the adoption of secret ballot as a system of voting is defeated and thereby creates serious problems for the Electoral process in Nigeria.


The Electoral system of government is the process which causes political growth and democratic stability of any society or country. It is also a process by which the citizens of a democratic country select through either direct voting indirectly, those who will represent them in the parliament and other three arms or organs of government, so as to protect the interest of the general public or country.

However, as a result of the growth of population great expansion of counties specialized art by of modern government direct representation or democracy practiced in the ancient small Greek city whereby the met together in the place has given way for indirect representation. Haven defined “democracy” as the government of the people by the people and for the people. Here people or citizen chose the representative to represent their interest and opinions in the legislature and other government positions it have also been stated that despite the closing of the representatives by the citizen, the government is owned by the people and not by government.

Nevertheless, for a country to conduct election’s there meets be a parties system in such state which comprises registered political parties by that state electoral commission, such as Nigeria where we have Federal Electoral Commission (FEDECO) as it then mission has (INEC). The above motioned commission has legal responsibility to conduct organic and regulation free and fair Election. This refers to one conducted in an atmosphere devoiced of harassment, limitation and other coercive means in orders to bend the will of the voters and according to constitutional procedure. In this type of election, all election vices are eliminated the will of majority of voters prevails candidates who did not win elections are never imposed on the voters in a free and fair election.

Therefore, a body to conduct the election known as electoral commission should be made to be independent and non-purism.

Finally, hence election serves as process of changing government is a country through peaceful means electorates are educated more during election period on their political by political parties and electoral commission. As a result of the fact politics is a game of number, minority groups are not favoured by election and many technocrats are send away from government as a result buy of the events associated with elections.

It then becomes imperative to ask the following questions, which will be a guide in the work and its general consideration is our society.

(1) What are the characteristics or feature and requirement of a good electoral system?

(2) How do we specify the essential characteristic of an electoral commission, and method of ensuring the independence and impartiality of the electorate commission? Hence Nigeria is a well known democratic country (State)?

(3) Though election is the process of bringing government nearer to the people but the question there is what are the factors that should be considered before delimitation of a country into constitutions in democratic society to avoid the problems encountered in determination of constituencies in Nigeria West-Africans the case may be?

(4) What factors do you think may work against the existence of a representative system of government in your country?

(5) What are the functions of elections and why it is necessary to hold elections in a stated or country?

(6) What are the measures that should be taken by government in order to ensure free and election in a country?

(7) What are the ways by which elections are passed is free and fair elections are persecuted?


The objective of this study is to examine the issue surrounding the secret ballot system, in view of its role in the democratic process of Nigeria, the declaration of results. The research is equally aimed at pointing out all those practices which arte not part of the normal electoral process, the extent of deviation and to inform a better understanding of the nations electoral process are well as putting formed suggestion that electoral process as well as putting formal suggestion that might correct the anomalies, and the pattern of electoral process in Nigeria.


The study of elections and electoral process in Nigeria with respect to the implications of secret ballot system is very important in more than one aspect first, it identifies the various forms of electoral violence which have contributed to Nigeria’s inability to achieve a lasting democratic process, second it identifies the inability of the various electoral commission set up in Nigeria to conduct free and fair election as a impediment towards achieving an ending democracy in Nigeria. Thirdly, it analyses the problems and equally provide suggestions to enhance the future conduct of elections in Nigeria. Finally, it casts French light on the positive and negative impact of secret ballot system on Nigeria.


Few hypotheses are adapted to the questions already posed. They are the following:

1. The abuse of the secret ballot system by voter has adverse effect on the electoral process.

2. Through the adoption of secret ballot system, there has been cases of “political her lottery” among voters.

3. Due to the expensive nature in the running of secret ballot system, it has had adverse effect in the electoral process in Nigeria.

4. Secret ballot system has contributed to the lack of free and fair elections in Nigeria. The hypotheses are proved right or wrong using the relevant data collected by the researcher.


In order to find out the implications of secret ballot system we employ Elite theory as the theoretical framework for analysis. This theory is very necessary and useful as this will help to elicit and give proper reason for why elections are not being free and fair in Nigeria.

The main crux of elite theory is that is every society there exist a minority of the population which takes the political decisions in the society. These elites may not be politicians in the general content of being directly in the policy making centre of government either in the executive or legislative capacity. The most outstanding apostles of elite’s thesis are Wilfred pareta, Gaetano mosea, Roberto Michaels, Karl Barnhart C. might mills, Karl Marx to mention just a few people.

Generally, in their contributions each of them was concerned with examining the existence and nature of single cohesive elite which dominates the affaires of a society. Masco defines elite’s takes decision peraser but that they constitute the minority in the society and no matter what the majority can do they can never control the minority elite.

It is s contradiction in terms that even though democracy is said to be minority rules it is the minority that rules over the majority. There fore the purported democratic control be controlled by them, Cohen eves democratic mechanism are used. That is t say that in real situations all governments are oligarchic in nature. As Michaels puts its Historical evolution mocks all the properly lactic measure that has been adopted for the prevention of oligarely. If laws are passed to control. The dominion of the leaders, it is laws which gradually weaken and not the leaders.

There is not mechanism for ensuring the accountability of leaders to the people, there is ideology over the rest of the society. The elite are able to control the government because of their power, their organisation their political skills or their personality qualities. The elites are always potentially capable of exploiting their positions so as to preserve the elite domination. The elite constitute a coherent United and self conscious group, James Michel’s identifies the elite with three is group consciousness, coherence and unspiracy or common will to action.

The elite regard power as being cumulative. Power gives access to more power, power becomes the Untima ration and means for obtain their social goods like wealth, economic influence, social status, education advantages for their children. Both wealth and education opportunities will tend to mention the elite domination in subsequent generation converting if into a hereditary caste. This helps to increase the distance between the elite and other groups.

The elite have system of recruitment into their crude of the politically influential for example, conformity to set standards like wealth, social back groundings, educational qualification, degree of commitment, elite’s interest and ideology.

The theory shows that in a society like Nigeria, there is the existence of those who have control over the majority of the people. Thus minority group because there are well organized, they have common communication network, educational qualifications and they are wealthy, they got controlled over the electoral processes which they also manipulate to their own advantage through coercion of voters, buying of voters and use of propaganda in the selection of their candidates. In the final analysis the sovereign electoral will choose its leaders from electorate. This also implies that whether the candidates has the qualifier’s to be elected or not since hear she is an elite at the end of day; he or she must emerge as a winner. Due to the above characteristics of the elite narrated, the elite would go on doing every thing possible to make sure that their members emerge in every election. As regard this attitude this actually makes elections which a component of politics to be full of better and rancour and at the same time not free and fair in Nigeria.


The scope of the study covers various elections that have taken place in Nigeria between the periods of 1964 to 1999 and 1999 to 2003.


The methods through which the researcher carried out his research are the following:

(a) Information collected from newspaper, magazines, seminars and Journals.

(b) Oral interviews: This method is use to collect information from voters of previous or past election in Nigeria and the local Government election of December 1 1998 including the most recent of April and May 2003 teachers, traders, student and politicians and so on.

(c) The next method by the researcher is to seek information from the national electoral body.


(1) Elites: A group considered to be the best or the most important because of there power talent wealth etc.

(2) Secret ballot: A way of voting or an occasion when people vote secretly.

(3) System: As used here, is something is an organised pattern of social; life where by the entity consist or constitute parts are interrelated such that a breakdown on some part result in mal functioning of the whole.

(4) Charge: As used in this study denote the general disappearance of old order and appearance of “New” order and hence society is dialectic constantly in state of nation.

(5) Election: The action or an instance of choosing by vote one or more to the candidate for a position especially a political office.

(6) Violence: Violent behaviour intended to hurt or kill.

(7) Constituency: A district that has kits own elected representative in government.

(8) Republic: A system of government in which there is an electoral president but no hung or queen.

(9) Democracy: A system of government of the people for the people and by the people.

(10) Oligarchy: A form of government in which small group of people hold the power.

(11) Prophylactic: Tending to stop a disease.


The organisation of this work starts from chapter one which is the Background of the study to chapter two which is literature reviews, chapter three will be the historical background of election in Nigeria from 1922 to 199 to 2003, chapter four will be the implication of secret ballot system while chapter five will be Recommendation conclusion and Bibliography.


(1) Victor Anyeni Kayode Soremakun: Nigeria Second Republic (Daily Time) March 8, 1981 p. 35.

(2) James O. Ojike Nigeria: Yesterday, Today and (African Educational Publishers ltd). Pp, 25-26.

(3) Lewis Obi “curbing electoral Violence: The Nigeria case {African Concord) 1st October, 1990 p 23)

(4) John Adide “Winners as Bettewrs “(African Guardian). Feb. 10. 1989 Vol. 7, No. 69 p. 38.

(5) Tunde Adeolu: Restoring Confidence in electoral process (Sunday Guardian) July 16, 1987, p-9.

(6) Ekwueme Felix Okoli and Fedelis C. Okoli. Foundations of Government and Politics (African Feb. Pub. Ltd). P. 174.


In democratic system, elections are competitions among parties or individuals aspiring for public offices conducted according to used down-rules of the gone. These rules are embodied in the electoral laws and govern in any aspects the activities of individual voters as of the political who Rae, electoral law provide what he refers to as “Electoral law variable” which are three in number. The balloting districting and electoral formula.


This is specification of the voter’s role in deciding the electoral. This can takes one or tow forms. It comes be what is called “categorical balloting” According to which the voter most decide explicitly which the parties lie will vote for. He cannot split his preferences among two or more parties, but must takes a categorical. Unequivocal choice, indeed, categorical ballots do not demand that candidates seeking the vote’s mandates must carry a party label. The important thing is that the electorate must choose among contestants. A good example of a categorical ballot is the “simple candidate ballot” of the types used in all Nigerian Elections.

The other ballot system periods the votes to divide his mandate among two or more parties or candidates. He usually is expected to express this equivocal mandate by placing the parties or candidate in an order of preferences. He needs not option in favours of a single candidate

Division into Districts

This is the process of dividing the territory of the nation into units or constituencies that voters cast for candidates for elective four are failed and victory or depart decided. An important factor in districting is the magnitude of the district which refers to the member of seats assigned by the electoral law to any district.

Single number district are those crest of aggregation in which are seat is assigned to each district which malt-member district merry be allocated a single member districting system as daid-down in the constitution of half, chapter five (v) (71). This was also the case in both the 1959 and 1964 elections. Districting is an important electoral variable in that acts as a limiting factor in the constitution voted to seats.

Electoral Formula

This refers to the quantitative answer to key question of the number of the voter required to provide a legitimate claim on each parliamentary seat.

Douglas Race argues that Voting returns are quantitative indices of the electorate preference among the minorities (parties) who seek to represent it.

Infurtherence to his electoral analysis Douglas Race argued that: within each electoral district, the function of the electoral formularies to interpreting these numerical data. The base for the legitimate distribution of part alimentary seats among the competing parties.

Electoral formulas are of three kinds: Magorstarian, pluralistic and proportional each defines legitimate quotes as for a urban majority result, a single party must obtain more seat to result, a single party must obtain more seat than the combined opposition. Plurality emerges when a single party pools more voter that it’s nearest competition, but has not necessary generated a total higher that the combined opposition proportional representation requires that the percentage of seat non by party should equally the percentage of votes cast for it electoral formular is a very factor in the conversion of voted into seats.

Going by the past and presented democratic reviews in Nigeria and a broad election is no longer a new phenomenon. Elections began to take place some centuries ago has since then undergone so many operational charges. Past and present records have shows that world as to one best method of organizing elections.

Each society in the world chooses that electoral formular atomic, they consider as would better serve their purpose and as a result of which they encounter varying experiences. Against this back ground, it therefore becomes suitable and convergent for the researcher some available literature which serves useful purpose to the work. Such review should be for obvious reasons, form the cornerstone of this study.

The literature shall make under the following headings, what is election, better method of organizing election: the organisation of election in Nigeria.


Discussion of electoral process must be based on an understanding of what elections are. Form the analysis of parties and pressure groups. It must be easier to understanding that elections are feature of constitutional political processes and therefore are activities defining in particular circumstance processes by which political sovereign, their representatives professor major Meyobi Anoda argued that: Elections are techniques whose usefulness because of election corresponding to the organisation of political sovereignty within a society three levels in the organisation of political categorized as follows:

(a) The level of the organisation of the decision making process of the sovereignty leader.

(b) The level of the community of sovereignty leader.

(c) The level of the administration of the policy for institution the interest of the community of sovereignty leadership.

At each, the issue of representative may arise and this in turn way give rise to elections, as the mechanism chosen to make the selection of the represent dative from the above analysis, it can be inferred.

Therefore that election is a democratic imperative it is method by which qualified electorates in a society exercise their political sovereignty. This is why Seymour lip set opines that “Voting is the key mechanism of consensus in a democratic society”.

Election affords those in power the opportunity to rest their popularity among the people. Those who perform creditable are reelected for a sacred term white the instabisficatory candidates are voted out of office.

The above is applicable to the development countries of the world.


When elections are well organised, no doubt, it helps to guarantee actable and variable society when election are free and fair. It will ensure positive development of the in-coming republic. When the wished and choices of the people are elected into political or public office there would be peace and orderliness, nobody will complain, but when the minority imposes candidate related electoral malpractice like 2003 election there will be ill feeling from the majority will have a reason to take over power. In the light of the danger(s) where in badly organised elections, Professor Mayobi Amoda argued that: Because the small group that is elected the small group that gets involved in the day to day policy. Formulation business coved because Oligarchy, they should be checked by the same group that elected them.

In this own contribution and support of the argument, V. O. Anisike opines that “it is fair better not to hold an election at all than to hold one which would certainly and inevitably given rises Controversy result and their protean catastrophic sequeler” Voting his opinion leis Obi writing on the topiccarbing electoral violence, argued that”.

It is easy to see therefore that the biggest headache of democracy in Nigeria is the fewness of this that is ready to defend democracy and our national and individual liberties. Ideally, voters must be conscious of the aware of the real socio-economic and other vital issues at state. They must be able to identity who will be their worthy trustee with good credentials probity, records and exemplary life.

All these are the attributes that would matter in deciding who the ideas candidates for the vote would among people who deserve to have the DEMOCRATIC PROCESS to operate in the favour in the shoot run as well as in the future. In effort to support the view a federal ministry of information press release comment that: the task ensuring “hitch free “elections required massive effort in the areas of ensuring full pro-of-registering of voters, society printing and presentation of ballot papers and ballot basis, the establishment of water-light voting procedures to campaigns and the selections, screening and orientation of electoral officers.

This implies that the values of free and fair elections are of free and fair election is therefore a sure way to satisfy the wishes of the majority of the people in the societies. Organizing election in a free and fair manner create a sentiment of popular consensuses and participation in public affair. The people fed that they have, been consulted and have indicated their wishes in the broad field of national policy, and are therefore ruling to accept the legitimacy of the power exercised by those put into position of authority by the electoral system. “Revolution are rate in countries where the electorate is satisfies that elections are free and faire, since there is no head for such mercy announces.

Free and fair election emphasis the responsibility of the government to the people. Politician’s data not becomes too out of touch with public opinion, since they know that at the next free election. Contributing his opinion for well organised election.

Mackenzie States Some Distinguishing Feature Of Free Election

These are following:

(a) There country must have an independent Judiciary free from political influence or control which can interpret the electoral laws fairly and impartially.

(b) There must be an honest, competent, manpartism administration to run the election.

(c) There must be a developed system of political parties since, if this is not so, the vote may not be clear to what polices a candidate stand for, or which potential government he would support if elected

(d) There must be general acceptance, both by the politicians and by the general public of what might vacuously be described as the “rules of the game” candidates must play fair, they must not try to evade legal districts upon their electoral activities, such as bribery or misrepresentative, either letter or in the spirit of the law, nor must they refuse to admit defeat if the verdict or the ballot box goes against them.

In addition to what Mackenzie sees as the hallmark feature of free and fair election, the are other outstanding qualities for the recommendation of free and fair election there are as follows:

(1) The establishment of electoral commission: This is essential in the sense that the electoral commission needed impartial and must no allow interference from outside. It must be independent and keep strictly to the electoral laws. In addition to the commission must be composed of men of integrity and honour. This will enable them to discharge their duties without feature favour.

(2) The legislature must enable electoral laws this would contain how elections should be conducted politician must be given the opportunity to in candidate voter.

(3) There must be security officer presents during voting. The provision of security officer is necessary in order to prevent intimidation of voters and help to maintain law and order in the polling stations. Also security balloting minimizes undue influence and intimidation of voters.

(4) Delimitation of constituencies is another ingredient to ensure free and fair election. It is of great important that constituencies must be property delimited and revised periodically. It is also necessary that constituencies must be of some population. In additions, constituencies must not over up.

(5) Provision of electoral register which must contain all the names of the registered voters.

(6) Lastly, provision of ballot boxes, polling both as well as electoral officer. They are necessary for the conduct of elections. As soon as polling ends, counting should start and the result announced immediately.


Several regional, local state and federal elections have been held in Nigeria since 1923. It was of not that these elections which took place in the days of constitutional conference and particularly since independence in 1960 awakened and the spirit and consciousness of political analysis and other interest minds. The reason is not uncontested with the important role such elections play in the political development of Nigeria cross J. A. in his own explanation said: Elections have a kind of “mystique for they are seen as given government a legitimate states, as confessing on them accolade of bread popular approval. Elections according to him are chicial occasion when citizen makes national choices to choose, there in effect rule them at least in popular sense of what is called “democratic government”. The first republic election was organised under the platform of an electoral commission instituted by the government of Nigeria.

(a) To prepare the voters lost for the various elections.

(b) To register political parties and candidates for elections.

(c) To make the following preparations for the election.

(i) Preparation of ballot bones.

(ii) To declare the elections result.

(iii) Preparation of ballot papers.

(iv) To recruit official for the election.

(v) To conduct the elections and

(vi) To end it the accounts of political parties

It is regrettable that after huge expense made on the commission, it was unable to perform. It is assigned job creditability, the commission was found performing beyond exceptions. Olu Onagoruwa, has agued that: The failure of the electoral commission of the first republic headed by E. E. Esau contributed to the political instability in Nigeria. The commission is accused of engineering a distortion in the nation electoral process to favour some interests.

The electoral commission of the second republic which was headed by Michael Ani and Ovice Whisky respectively equally has the same of the blame.

According to the report of the National concord, it argued that; the nation was seriously let down in the past by FEDECO under the chairmanship of Mr. Justice Ovice Whisky. Infact force which the 1983 election turned out to be was largely as a result of the acts of omission and commission of FEDECO. The electoral; commission of third republic handed by promilar accusations. The West African managing report that: “NEC-compounded on already confused situation by being unable to estimate the number of possible voters it was first 55 million and later revised to 75 million. This according to the menagerie made some Nigeria to raise eye bones, by saying that the NEC could not do the Job after all.

It would be recalled that third republic with used or adopted a new system or pattern of voting the open ballot system. The open ballot system replaced the secret ballot system which has been in use in Nigeria in both the first and second republic election. This accordingly to some political analyst may not be uncounted with the short coming of secret ballot system. Although comparatively, secret ballot system according to political conscious in Nigeria remain a ballot system. According to the commission reports, the secret ballot system, though with its own short coming remained a better systematize. NECO was established on 11the December 1995. In his in a plural address, the Head of State amongst other constitutional and statutory functions charged the new commission to organise conduct and supervise all elections and matters pertaining to elections into elective office provided for in the constitution or in any other law “later NECON approved the following political parties to run for Election in Nigeria. They included the following.

(1) United Nigeria Congress Party ————- UNCP

(2) Democratic Party Of Nigeria —————– DPN

(3) Centre Party Of Nigeria ———————- CPN

(4) Gross root Democratic Movement ———- GDM

(5) Committee For National Congress ———- CNC

During that time, NECON organised the local government election in Nigeria Under the above listed political parties. Some political analysts were of the opinion that NECON, just like the previous electorate performance of it job or assignment. They had expressed doubts the situation, Sam Ikotu Deputy Chairman of the transition lump lamentation committee (T. I. C) stated in the New swatch magazine that. The credibility of NECON, as an electoral body was warning consideration. As regards the performance of NECON, Agbedo Awos, said “Nothing has charged reality the oil games continue”.

African guardian News Magazines in its won contention argued that: In Nigeria and by the time, independence was the vote in the understanding of the ordinary man, had degenerated into abuse beyond comprehension”

As a result of the death of the Head of State then General Sani Abacha, the electoral commission was charged by his predecessor General Abusalami Abubakar NECON as the electoral body was renamed INEC- Independent National electoral commission and was headed by Justice Emphrama Akpata. After the 1999 election, it was headed by Dr. Abelgoban who went a head in registering 30 political parties in 2003 election. This regime in question was secret ballot system. This system of voting in 1999 election was the electoral commission that adopted this system suffered the same problem as enumerate above also the 2003 election was characterised with all set of electoral mal-practices, such as rigging thug-erring voters carrying of ballot boxes and killing human beings above all the suffered the some problem stated above to examine the election are fairly conducted, supervised and organised or not. This is with special reference on the implication secret ballot system in Nigeria. Even though some worker of this nature might have been done, yet such contributions may not be regarded as having been enough in view of the fact that Nigeria is still unable to achieve a lastly democracy.


The method through which the researcher carried out his research is the followings:

(a) Information collected from newspaper. Magazines seminars and Journals.

(b) Oral interviews: This method is use to collection of information from voters of previous of past election in Nigeria and the most recent of April and May 2003 teacher, traders, student and politician and so on.

(c) The next method by the researcher is to seek information from the national electoral body.


1. Douglas Rac: Elections in Nigeria: “An aggregate date analysis” This Day Magazine Sept. 8, 1992.

2. Moyibi Amoba: “Choice making in not Unummons” African guardian, Jan. 6, 1987 pp 8-10.

3. Seyimori Lip Set: Political man, (the John’s Hopkine University press Bathimre Mary land) p.3

4. V. O. Awosika: A new political philosophy for Nigerian and their African Countries” African Literacy and Scientific publication ltd Ikeja p. 39.

5. Mackenzie: Comparative government, University press ltd, British p. 45.

6. Cross J. A. Modern British, Government, University tutorial press ltd, London, June 4, 1992, pp. 27-30.

7. Olu Oriagarawa: Fedeco and Tax: It is a matter of law and public Morality not politics, Sunday, Tunes, may 13, 1979, p. 12.



Elections have been understood as one of the most defined form or methods of achieving a representative government. Elections independently stand as the most essential proof of the presences of democracy in the state.

Whenever one wants to talk or discuss the history of elections in Nigeria. One particular state comes to the mind, it is 1922, 1922 was the date when the Clifford constitution introduced the elective principles by the Clifford constitution, four Nigeria were elected into legislative council one was to take disagree of Calabar and three to represent Lagos. It was estimated that the voting right (Franchise) was started to only about 5,000 adults in Lagos and Calabar. The election was contested by not more than eight candidates and it was between two quasi political parties, the Nigeria National Democratic parties (NNDP) and the people’s Union.

The conduct of the election was by the colonial government from historical findings, the elections are free and fair and devoid of bitterness and rancour. It was organise in a peaceful and orderly manner.

Another time Nigeria had election after the 1923 elections was in 1959.

The 1959 election brought the constitution settlement for an independent Nigeria. The 1959 Election encountered some many problems unlike the 1923 election. The problem 1959 federal election was only that political gansterism; chaos or violence, but also that of political marriages handing on tribal jingoism and religion extremism of all the parties that contested the election more was national religion based. The smaller parties were only treated as nonentities, but regarded as inconsequential renegades.

The Northern people congresses (NPC) National Council of Nigeria Citizen (NCNC) Action Group (GA), Northern Election progressive Union (NEPU), Mabolaja, Igata Union, Igbina Tribal Union, Niger Delta Congress were fighting and at the same time contesting on who would control the federal government. The total number of registered voters was 9,036,083.

In order to makes the election free and fair, the federal election regulation provided for some stringent provision such as: No one should threaten only voter with violence or inflict any temporal or spiritual enjoying in order to make any one, vote or refrain from voting or in any way to impede the free use of the vote by any Electorate.

Similarly, it stated that no person should give or lend or offer any money or valuable consideration to any Electoral for the purpose of influencing him or her. A penalty of 50pounds and improvement for six months awaits any person who knowingly or recklessly publishes only false statement or fact in relation the personal character or conduct of a candidate to be elected.

On December 12, 1959, Nigerian went to the pools the election went through but the fact was an example of a federal election when blacks voted and whites supervised and protected.

The government General Sir Dames Robertson even noted this in his post election speech that the orderly was in which the election took place was a major triumph for the planners: Result fore the Election showed the following figure NPC, 134, NCNC 81, AG 73, NEPU 8, mobotary 6, Igala Union 45, Igbirritoibal Union 1, and Nigeria Deltas congress 4, with their alliances. NPC rose to 142while NCN, Ag and NEPU conduct benefit from the alliance. It was not possible to form a government even with the political marriages Alhaji, Ahmadu Bello, the NPC leaders had Eelier believed that his party would from the federal government alone after the Elections. But political arithmetic and legal requirements informed him of the impossibility of his after the elections. The voting patterns were neither nation nor federal in outlook. The NPC achieved it votary through its support form the northern while the AG success was Enclosed on the Westerns through with some pockets of votes from the meddle belt. The above parties were extremely tribally based both on their objectives and structures. It was only the NCNC that was a bit national in outlook but is couldn’t make inroad in the north, only in the East and bit in West. After the Election, there was no party that had the overwhelming number of votes to takes control of the government. At the End of the day the NPC and NCNC formed alliances to control the government while the AG vecame the opposition party.

3.2 1964

Between 1960 when Nigeria gained her independent and 1965, series of Elections took place, but that of 1964 and 1965 was the first Election conducted by Nigeria and for Nigeria. It was the first Election for the first parliament on the republican Nigeria.

The were changes in party loyalties and alliance. So many things wrong with the Election. The turning was controversial.

The federal Election was never federal but regular. The 1964 federal Election was contested between two major alliances; the NPC swallowed NNPD, NDC, MDF and the Dynamic party, and became Nigeria National Alliance (NNA). Unlike the Ag, NCNC, UNBC and NEPU marriage together as the united progressive grand Alliance (UPGA). The campaign period witnessed Election intolerance, propaganda, thuggery, Non-nations and opponents could not move freely outside their constituencies. Because of that, the Zikist movement had to call of its campaign in the North mokwgbodkoye, in a statement issued on this said: there is no possibility of having a free and fair Election in the North with the present situation.

The Election actually took place on December 30, 1964. The daily time of 31, December 1964 reported polling in Nigeria first Election since independence Ended last night after a mixed response though the country ranging from brisk polling in the North to a total boycott in East.

The NNA (of NPC) won a landslide victory, the UPGA was not happy with the out come of the Election. The 1964 federal Election was a farce, which degenerated into a purely north regional Election.

On October 11, 1965 the Western regional Election took place. It was a ballot between NNDP and UPUA.

Chief Obafemi Awolowo was still in prison, but Alhaji Dauda soroyi D. S. Adgbnro led the AG, while Chi of ladoko Akintola led the NNDP, UPGA scattered 68 seats the UPGA accused the NNDP led Chief L. Akintola as had rigged the Election. Sir Odeleye fadahimsi was asked to from a new government. But another Election result indicated that the NNDP won. Akintola therefore formed a new government while the AG leader, Alhaji Adegbanro and two of his party leader were arrested and later brought to court on three-court charges of forming an Executive council and falsely assumed office. This recruited to breaking gown of law and order in the religion to that effect, the federal government in 1962 declared a state of emergency in the region.

3.3 1979

During the 1979 political era five political parties participated in the Election

The parties were the following, United Party of Nigeria (UNP) with late Chief Obafemi Awolowo as the Leader, Redemption Party (PRP). With late Alhaji Aminu, Shehu Shagari as the leader, Nigeria people’s party (NPP) with late Nnamdi Azikiwe as the leader great Nigeria peoples party (GNPP) with late Alhaji Warriri Ibrahim as the leader. All the above named parties were to contest at both local state and federal levels of Government. The federal Electoral commission (FEDCO), was to be responsible for the conduct of the Election. In its official report FEDECO declared that it registered a total of 48, 633, 782 voters.

On the Election of the state government, the analysis of the results were as follows: out of the total of Nineteen States NPN Emerged victorious in seven in seven states UPN in five states NPP in three states, GNPP in two states and finally PRP in two states.

On the presidential seat, Alhaji Shehu Sahagri of the National party of Nigeria (NPN) was declared winner with 5,698,658 votes to his credit. Chief Obafemi Awolowo (Late) of the Unity party of Nigeria (UPN) came second, with 4,916,651 votes to his credit Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe (late) of the Nigeria peoples Party (NNP) came third with 2,822,525 votes to his credit, Alhaji Amine Karo (late) of people Redemption party and finally Alhaji Ibrahim Waziri (late) of great Nigeria peoples Party came last with 1,686,499 to his credit.

Even though the NPN presidential candidates Alhaji Sheshu Shehu Shagari won the Election, it was with a measure of controversy which led to an initial court dispute at the instance of the UPN. The final judicial resolution of the controversy was in favour of Shehu Shagari.

One disappointing factor came to the surface after the 1979 Elections was the presence, to a surface after the 1979 Elections was the presence, to a substantial disgrace, of the Ethnic factor. The NPN strong attitude showed that the party was a reincarnation of Northern people congress (NPC) of the first republic. Similarly, the UPN and the NPP, on account of their strong showing in Yoruba and Igbo speaking states respectively were seen a replicas of the action group (AG) and National council of Nigeria citizen (NCNC) of the first republic. This goes to suggest that Nigeria Politicians and the Electorates were still signifying the old song; and dancing the same old tune.

3.4 1983

In the light of circumstances surrounding the 1983 Elections with widespread rigging by all the parties and other from of Electoral mal-practice, Alhaji Shehu Shagari received an Enlarged mandate, more than other contestants.

In comparison, the 1983 general Elections, had in significant difference with that of 1979 general Elections, the formation of political parties were carried out in the same marriage first as it was in 1979. The only thing was that a new political party, the Nigeria Advanced party, with OR TUNJI BRATHWAITE as its leader was included. Just as was during the 1979 Elections, in the 1983 general elections, voters voted through the secret ballot system.

As stated earlier, accusations of Electoral mal-practice during the 1983 Elections was nothing to write home about consequent to this, the Election led to determination of the outcome of the election in the court, instead of the electoral officer appointed for it.

Commenting on this disturbing development, a one time political adviser to former president, Alhaji Shehu Shagari during 1979 regime. Dr. Chukka Okadigbo noted “it has become a tradition among Electoral commission set up in Nigeria to reverse their code of conduct and wittingly or unwittingly retard the democracy growth of Nigeria”

Due to poor conduct of Elections by different Electoral commissions set up in Nigeria, Nigerians no longer have faith and trust in them.

3.5 1987

It would be recalled that Nigeria had another Election on December 12 1987. It was the Election of councilors on non-party basis. This simply explains candidates for the 1987 Election were not members of any political party. They were elected under no political platform.

3.6 1990

Another Election for government was held in Nigeria on December 8, 1990 under the newly introduced system of “open ballot system was first used in Nigeria’s Election for the first time in 1990. It attracted much debate for and against it. The system was equally applied both in the gubenaturial and presidential Elections.

Apart from the introduction of the ballot system into the remarkable development came to lime light. It was the fact, that the federal military government, came up with a decision that every presidential candidate must also win at local government areas level. He must also with at the state level. Before facing the final stage which is at the national level. They tagged this stage by stage exercise “option A4”

3.7 1992

Following the irregularities in the conduct of August 1, 1992 presidential primaries, the Armed forced Ruling council (AFRC) acting on report including the investigation conducted by National Electoral commission (INEC). It intervened to save the nation from disintegration and decided to:

(i) Cancel the primaries

(ii) Dissolve the executive committee of the two political parties, the National Republican convention (NRC) and social Democratic party (SDP) at a level.

(iii) Disqualify all the twenty three presidential aspirants from the process the National Election commission (NEC) in the bid to solve a non-conventional hitch free method of selecting presidential candidates identified eight such options from which government “adopted” option A4 “Option A4” is a process where by the presidential candidate of a political parity emerges from a stage by stage contest which involves the principle of Elimination. The process recognized 4 stages the ward the local Government Area, the stage and nation, with all winning aspirants proceeding progressively from one stage to the next one Unit every aspirant except one is eliminated.

Option A4, begins at the ward level- the critical unit of grass root democracy at the end of the contest at each stage, no ward local government Area, or state can present more than one candidate properly, the selection of the presidential parties shall begin at ward level. The contestant with the highest number of votes becomes. The presidential candidate selected for the ward and proceed to the next stage of contest at the local government area level- where there is tie among the leading candidates the Election shall be repeated Unit acormer Emerges.

As the local government level, the contestants shall be the winning president candidates from each ward which makes up the area. Those qualified to votes at this level are Elected executive members of the party at ward level and all those approved by the party constitution as delegated to the local government congress. At the end of voting, the candidates with the highest member of votes government area. In the event of lie, Election will be repeated Unit a winner emerges.

At the state level, the contestants shall be all the winning candidates from all the local government areas of the states. The candidates with the highest number of votes becomes the presidential candidates of the lower levels mill be repeated to deal with the case where there is only one candidate ort where there is a tie among leading candidates.

At the national level, only 62 candidates (31 per party) made up one candidate from each of the 30 states of the federation one from the FCT Abuja area qualified to contest the primary Election. There shall be the rounds of voting, during the Election. Each delegated is required to voter for three (3) candidates. Voting for more than three candidates shall render the voting invalid.

At the end of voting and counting three out of the thirty one (31) candidates of each party with the highest numbers of vote shall be selected to participate in the second rowed of voting. The second round of voting will be organised, and the candidate with the highest number of voting will become the party’s flag bearer for the presidential Election. Where a tie among the leading candidates, the Election is will be repeated Unit a winner emerges.

On the method of voting at the primaries shall be by the modified open ballot system. The advantage of this system is that the confidentially of the choice if the voter is incorporated into the credible features of the open ballot system.

QUEUING: There would be only be queen, thus making it impossible to identify the choice of a voter, simply through the queen one joins. Also with the use of a voting card each voter can make his choice secretly, but cast it openly. At the end of the counting the votes shall be entered in the declaration of result sheet and announced on the spot. Thereby declaring the winner of the presidential election.

With the above explanation about option A4 and its role in the 1992 presidential primaries the actual election of the third republic president was held on June 12 1993, Regrettably, the June 12 election was inconclusive, leaving none of the contestants as either the winner or the loser.

The Election was between Chief M. K. O. Abiola of the social democratic party (SDP), and Alhaji Bashir Tofa of the National Republican Convention (NRC).

Conclusively, if carefully observed one could understand that the two political parties SDP and NRC were tribally based. The social democratic party was for the Southerners while the National republican convention on the other way round represented mostly the Northerner’s interest.

3.8 1997

1997 witnessed yet another Election in Nigeria. This time it is under the supervision of a new electoral body called the National Electoral Commission of Nigeria (NECON) with Chief S. K. Dagogo Jack as the national chairman.

The national Electoral commission of Nigeria (NECON) gave its approval the following political parties to run for the Elections in Nigeria. The parties include the following:

(1) The Democracy party of Nigeria ————————— DPN

(2) Grass root Democratic Movement ———————— GDM

(3) United Nigeria Congress Party ————————— UNCP

(4) Committed for National Consensus ———————– CUC

(5) Centre Party Of Nigeria ———————————— CPN

NECON conducted the local government area election on 15th March 1997 the election was relatively a success. So far, the United Nigeria congress party (UNCP) was on the lead then.

The party won more local government areas of Nigeria than the rest of the four political parties.

It was expected that the conduct of elections for legislators, governorship candidates and that of the presidency would take place in 1998. But because of the death of the military Head of State; General Sani Abacha, the election could not hold again.

3.9 1998

Due to the death of the Head of State, General Sani Abacha the election could not hold as scheduled. General Abusalani Ababakar took over and promised to hand over power to the civilians in less than no time.

In December 1998, the councillorship and local government chairmanship elections were held throughout the country.

The voting system that was adopted was open secret ballots system.

The government of General Abusalami Abubakar renamed the national electoral body to independent National Electoral commission which empowered the body the power to handle the Elections. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was chaired by Justice Ephraim Akpata. The Election was contest under the following political parties.

(1) People’s Democratic Party ——————————— PDP

(2) All Peoples Party ——————————————– APP

(3) Alliance for Democracy ————————————– AD

At the End of the day of the counsellorship and local government chairmanship elections, a number of candidates from the peoples Democracy Party (PDP) won more than the rest of the parties.

1.10 1999

This is just a continuation of the 1998 Election. The only difference in that the local government chairmanship election together with counsellorship elections were held in 1998 while 1999, the elections for governors and the president took place.

Another remarkable difference from the 1998 and 1998 Election was that the All People Party (APP) and the Alliance for Democracy (AD) formed an alliance in January 1999. On that January out the country. The gubernatically election took place through out the country. The People’s Democratic Party won in a good number of the states in Nigeria more than the other parties. On February 28, the presidential election took place between Rtd. General Olusegun Obasanjo under the platform of PDP and Chief Obafemi false under the APP/AD alliance. General Olusegun Obasajo] defeated Chief Olafalae in the greater number of the states in Nigeria, and emerged to become the executive president of the fourth republic.

3.11 2003

2003 witnessed yet another election in Nigeria. This time it was still under the supervision of the Independent National electoral commission ()INEC) was chaired by Dr Abel Gubadia the independent National electoral commission (INEC) gave its approval for the following political partiers to run for the elections in Nigeria, which there did the parties includes the following:

1. Alliance for Democracy —————————————- Ad

2. All Progressive Grand Alliance ————————— (APGA)

3. All Nigeria People Party ———————————- (ANPP)

4. People Democratic Party ———————————– (PDP)

5. Justice Party ———————————————- (JP) etc

Also, the election contest in 2003, the highest score result in the election is people democratic party (PDP) which mean that president Olusegun Obasanjo regime the president ship; according to INEC result that gives out to all people or citizen in country or state called Nigeria.

Well remarkable for the people Democratic Party (PD) result in 2003, Election. They won a good number of the states in Nigeria more than other parties.


(1) Francis Adigwe: Essential of government for West African (University Press Ltd) p. 257.

(2) James O. Ojiako: Nigeria Yesterday, Today and (African Educational Problems Nig. Ltd) p. 297.

(3) P. k. Okoye: An Introduction to Government in Nigeria (Fourth Dimension Publishers) pp 34-52.

(4) Agboko Godwin: Pains in the National Electoral Commission (NEC), Oct. 31, 1988, pp 8-9

(5) Humphrey Nwosu “The ABC of option A4 “National electoral Commission Publication, 1992 No 19

(6) Victor Zekhosu “Party politics and Electioneering fall outs in Nigeria” March 29, 1973. p. 3

(7) Hoes O. Adigun: Outcome of the fourth republic, The week magazine, Vol. 10 no 6 March 26, 1999 pp 1-6

(8) G. Nwizu, lecture Note on GPD 221-Introduction of Nigeria Government and Politics (Unpublished work) Abia State University, Uturu.


Secret ballot system from our forgoing chapters can be seen as the best voting system that had been used in the political history of Nigeria. Not withstanding the excellent impart it had created in the political sector; the implications have both positive and negative implications.

The implications can be classified into four, namely:

1. Political Implication 2. Electoral Implication 3. Economic Implication 4. Educational Implication.

Political implication

With the coming of the wave of charge, however came the whit-wind in pursuit of power of money of the perversions of the use of vote. In Nigeria, and by the time independence was attained in 1960, Elections had been corrupted and vote in the understanding s a common main had degenerated into an abuse beyond been introduced in Lagos and Calabar in 1919. Between that time and 1947, Lagos went to the pools ten times while Calabar three voting were hardly ever the point of criticism at the carrying of the Lugard constitution in 1922. Thus, in recent time. It can be argued that our electoral practices such as, there become are a direct outcome of our have for power of greed for money indeed of our reckless and uncountable pursuit of things that even against the best interests of our country and people when therefore at the end of only five years of democracy in independent Nigeria for example, the solders came marching in their gun on the poise also in search and for themselves of power and of money. Professional solders to which society assigns that role of defense and protection now make pronouncements of theoretically complex issues of political thought.

And they assisted in most cases, by intellectually standard mediocre, at best academic of less than every intellect who conduct research with brute forces and expose ideas before thinking them out.

In whichever direction through which one draws his interest(s) on fact which is simple and which instantly at the back of our mind in spite of dims of the surrogate accdericars who dwell among us, who starve against us so that powers and potentates many stride unrifled, we know that the secret ballot even with its own demerits had proved itself northing.

Secret ballot as a popular system of voting was devised to help ensure and guarantee an unbiased and untreated exercised of popular will. But the question one would be forced to ask due to political development in recent times in this how secret is the secret ballot? The questions lies been put forward by many people as to the actual secret of secret balloting, obviously campaign fore election requires formal and informal contact between the voters and candidates dissemination of information as well as distribution of favour. In between the process of campaigning and voting, the process is motoriciously open to above. Sometimes favour shade into threat, white communication in some cases exhibits some subtle into threat, nuance of coercion and un-formation. It is needed arguable whether themselves at the times of entering the polling booth was not mortgaged his or her conscience sometimes may be threatened to vote for candidates not supported by his or her employees or religion group.


Secret ballot system greatly encourages rigging. Through the system ballot, most voters have been deliberately indirectly on how to vote. There is also the issue of impersonation of registered voter by lured political party agents, the introduction and legal use of stamped ballot papers and large side smuggling of ballot paper into counting centuries.

Also, there is the over zealousness in the part of some electoral officials to improve the features of their farmed parties and candidates.


It could be seen that the lessons of the second republic is still fresh in our mind. It is an unused truth that powerful and well connected politician cart away ballot papers, store and staff ballot papers in their homes in extreme cases hijack ballot boxes been corrleged to centralized point for counting.

These acts are made possible because the system of secret ballot (mostly among third world countries) does not encourage and encourage the practice where figure obtained after secret voting were mysteriously attired in faviour of a defeated candidate.


Secret ballot system being the most popular system of voting in Nigeria has been adopted as effective system of electing. Those who are to governor represent the totality of the masses. Generally, speaking in most countries of the world were democracy is practiced the use contributed to play a leading role Democracy of franchise inception in Nigeria was based in the tumults of secret palls. More than this people meets of the system strongly behooved that it has done more good for the achievement of democracy than any other system of voting in spite its bade after or implications in the political consider.


This is anchored on the fact that voter’s privacy is kept secret one of the good implications of secret ballot system is that it guarantee privacy to the individuals exercising their franchise during election.

According to chief Flanked silence, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN) that “secret ballot system avoids the temptations of quelling up behind candidates in pull glare of all and therefore guarantee privacy for those who exercise their franchise “chief solanke is also of the opinion that no voter will be introdudated under secret ballot the actual casting of vote is dine in secret and therefore he (the voter) is the only one the determine who he should vote for.

According to most political observers any system of voting by the electorate, which does not ensure the privacy of the voter is capable of introducing enormity.

According to former sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Ibrahim Dasuki “it is only the system of secret ballot that has the potentiates of maintaining good relationship among close associates, and avoids breeding ill, will and communities as well as the ability to avoid crises and physical violence.


Another electoral implication of secret ballot system is its “security consciousness” the system ballot considers the security avoids any act of inimical to the life of voters.

Another to the Chairman of National republican convention (NRC) during the third republic, chief turn Ikini” the political choice of individuals should remain as secret one. Going by the system of secret ballot every voters has the night opportunity of casting is voter without the second person knowing whom he or she voted for. This actually grate him or her choice of candidate to undue his or her, if the system of voting could be open ballot.


Another implication of secret ballot system is on the issue of voter’s participation. Secret ballot system guarantees or allows for popular participation. By its voting nature, virtually everyone accepts and likes to vote during elections. Because no voter is subjected to queen behind any candidates or his poster, in order to voter thereby exposing both his political chose and candidates in full share of all. In contrary, situations where voters are required t stand or compel many to decline from participating in the voting exercise.

This system according to many political conscious minds to primitive and undemocratic and does not enhance meaningful political development and progress.

According to some political scientist “the number of voters who turned out to cast their vote in an election severs as a veritable means for determine the level of acceptability of a system of voting in an election “Based on this fact secret ballot system has taking the lead as one system of voting that attracts large turn out voters.


On the other way round, secret ballot system is very expensive to run. This opinion is anchored on the premises that secret ballot system required much, under the system of secret ballot, ballot boxes are needed compare polling booth have to be constructed, including ballot papers and ink with which voters will cast their vote the system of secret ballot system require a large numbers of personnel or manpower to execute the task a head. Before all those requirement will be met, huge sum would have been expanded.

Secret ballot system has helped to increased further the logical problems in terms of transportation storage and security of election materials. In a nutshell, the monetary involvement for the actual execution of the ballot system is enormous.


Secret ballot system only work very well among the iterate citizens. Theoretically, it has been argued that in all election where secret ballot system, was supplied over twenty percent of provided ballot papers where wasted, following the inability of some illiterate voters to correctly thumb. Print their choice.

Due to illiteracy, many voter have fallen victims of intimidation because they lack the intellect therefore they are not able to from string opinion a to when they should vote for. They are week at property and effectively X-raging and the individual qualities of candidates standing for an election.

Secret ball gives room for “political harlotry” since the system is secret is simply suggest that is proper implemetatives not to be made open. Under such a condition. It instance Mr. white belongs to party “A” behaving on its himself that the system operates in secret, he may capitalize on its secret nature and cast his vote for party “B” knowing fully well that no second person voted with him at the same time as to find out his betrayed act. In this case his act of voting for “B” he is supposed to cast his vote for party “A” is political harlotry”. This is true, because he has jumped from one party to the other (indirectly) without officially denouncing his membership of his original party. In the other way round, political harlotry could lead a voter into voting for wrong candidate even though he knows the right person.


1. Aloba Abiodun: The secret ballot system “African guaranteeing, vol. 6 No 16 April 29, 1991 p 39.

2. Buji Bamidele Thomas: Towards restoring a democratic order “New swatch magazine, Feb. 20, 1996, pp 10-16

3. Ekueme Felix and Fedelis Chukwuma Okoh, foundation of Government and politics African Feb. publishers’ ltd p 175.

4. Emmanuel Ado “How secret is secret ballot” Sunday Vanguard, March 9, 1997. pp 1-5.

5. Nwosu Dilemma News watches Magazine Feb. 18, 1991 p 8.

6. Kola Adeleye “In search of ending Democratic order magazine Oct. 20, 1990 p. 16.

7. Suleiman Ugboche “A little to the left “News snatch magazine December 24, 1990. p 6.

8. Tayo Odunlami “Impact of secret ballot system” This week magazine April 14, 1995, pp 12-16.

9. Victor Ayemi and Kayode Suremakun “Nigeria second republic pp 67-72.


Based on some of the implications of secret ballot system, it is believed that both educational, economic and socio-political factors have contributed towards making the achievement of democracy in Nigeria either a success or a failure. Secret ballot system, if properly and articulately implemented will serve as a model for future educations in Nigeria.

This now draws our attention to some measures that counted is taken to correct the shortcomings of electoral process in Nigeria.


If these steps narrated in the forgoing chapters are to be taken properly and adequately, it will help the citizens believe in the course of the political system and be ready to defend it as every point in tune. Therefore, the strongest and safest guide against he abuse of electoral laws in Nigeria is a comfortable and informal electoral for it was Aristotle in his article on “political men” and democratic order who contends that “The well to-do a nation, the greater the chances that it will sustain democracy ‘He went further to argue that only in a wealthy secretly in which relatively few citizens lived at all levels of real poverty could there be a situation in which the mass of the population intelligently participate in politics an and develop the self restraint necessary to avoid succumbing to the appeals of irresponsible demagogues.

Secret ballot system as a system of voting and as a means to ensure free and fair election in Nigeria is to every Nigeria the best voting system. But the question some Nigeria usually ask is despite the excellent features of the system, elections are not still free and faire. The reasons behind this deficiency are those stated in the foregoing chapters. For instance if the electorates are not politically well educated the judiciary being dependent, the press not given the free hand to perform, the constituencies not delimited properly and more especially in competency and dishonesty on the part of the electoral body definitely the system no matter how wonderful it is, cannot work effectively.

Finally, the politicians in Nigeria should not be view politics a do-and-die affair. This actually makes election in Nigeria to be full of bitter and rancour politics should be seen as a struggle for power and the use of the power acquired to save humanity and not as an avenue to amass wealth.


The freedom of the press should be guaranteed. If this is done, it will serve as veritable instrument for the growth of democracy I Nigeria. This is because a responsible press is since idea none to the existence of a virtue political system. It is role and constitution in the process of political education and socialization in the process of political education and socialization is invaluable Nigeria press should increase their traditional role of being the watch dog and sensitize the electorate to the realities of the political system. A responsible press expected to be neutral i.e. Non-partisan.

The press also should play the role of checking electoral practice and serve as the minor of the society. Through purposeful editorial and news items, members of the society we be aware of the benefits of free and fair elections as well as the dangers of mal-practices during elections thereby refrain from such.

Another inevitable measure which if taken will help in correcting the short coming of achieving democracy in Nigeria is to ensure the independence of the judiciary. The Judges should be independent enough on order to create a lasting democracy government in Nigeria. The judge should not be influenced either by the executive or by the legislature so that it can be able to perform its duty with out fear or favour. The judges should be given the freehand to call to book to any politician found guilty of invocating the electoral laws. Like his the press, the judiciary serves as a watch dog to both the executives and the legislature. Besides the judges should be competent enough to see any lout’s made by the executive or legislature as being unconstitutional and at the same time make sure that such law(s) does not or do not have any effect or the country.

A fundamental measure that should be taken in order to curb the electoral mal-practices also create a condition of free and fair election is that the results should be released immediately after the elections. Every political conscious observers would agree with me that election are rigged mainly when it is being delayed. Some political culprits purposely influence the electoral body to delay the results so as that they can manipulate the election to their own faviour.

Here the whole blame goes to the National electoral body. The electoral body should be competent, honest and well disciplined to discharge their duty without fear or favour.

On other important means of making elections free and fair and at the same time create a very conducive environment for democracy politically; the system of voting and generally, the political norms values, behaviors should be inculcated in the electorates as that they can participate effectively and actively political affairs of the country. This is called political socialization. This process should not only be carried out by the press but also by religious institutions like churches, peer groups, school, families etc. once this is done, the electorate will be aware on what to do and will not allow any person to influence his or her voting behaviour.

Another step that can be taken with the view of making elections free and fair which is an ingredient of democracy is delimitations of constancies.

This means that the electoral body should delimit the constituencies in such an access to voting during an election. The crannies of the country so that every qualified electorate will exercise his or her franchise.

Period election is very means of ensuring a lasting democracy. Election, most have to be done in a specified year. For instance in the constitution of Nigeria his another election have to be held in the four years. The government should stick to this provision of the constitution. Periodic election shows the electorate the opportunity to re-elect those representative that did well in the past regime and vote against the ones they feel that did not represent them very well.

Another meaning to be taken to help correct the sustaining of achieving democracy in Nigeria is by making politics not to appear as divine as it is now, Rather, government should at all levels of government in Nigeria lay a serious emphasis an those basic social needs so as to eradicate in the nearest future the aspect of Nigeria development which increase the primary on politics. For example advanced countries like United States of American, Britain etc, have other attractive means or opportunity like of achieving socio-economic poverty and recognition.

The existence of multi-party system is a very significant step that can be taken to ensure free and fair elections Nigeria. This system obviously owed ensures and give the electorate the opportunity to make his choice adequately and properly. As regard the manifesto of the parties in question, the electorate would be in the position to go through them and identify the party that satisfies his conscience and he will so the cast his votes to that particular party.

The use of law enforcement agents as a means of security is another hallmark means of ensuring free and fair election which is one of the most features democracies. The law enforcement after like the policies or army other per-military agents should be stained in all the electoral both in order to guarantee peace and transquity and at the same time serves as a sense of security to the electorates.

Finally, in order to remove the obstacles of democracy in Nigeria, electoral process include meting out drastic penalties like serving dial terms of between five deviates electoral behaviours.

Election And Electoral Process: (A Case Study Of Secret Ballot System In Nigeria)

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