Elections and Democratic Consolidation in Nigeria: A Comparative Analysis of 2016 and 2020 Gubernatorial Contests in Edo State

Odion, William E. (2022)


Election is one of the vital pillars of democracy and in many African states democracy has become the most sought after. Unfortunately consolidating democracy through elections in Nigeria has been a herculean task. This is because successive elections in the country have been fraught with irregularities and unethical practices in the political process. It is made manifest by the behavior of political actors, whose stakes are high in the political, and in particular, electoral process. Past studies on elections and democratic consolidation however did not capture comparative analysis of the 2016 and 2020 gubernatorial contests in Edo State. The focus of this paper therefore is to investigate the gap created with a view to determining the place of elections in democratic consolidation in Nigeria. The objective was to comparatively review the 2016 and 2020 gubernatorial elections in Edo State, identify observed challenges and their implications for democratic consolidation. The discourse was also extended to identifying particular lessons from the 2020 gubernatorial elections in Edo State. This paper is descriptive and the methodology adopted was the use of secondary source of data such as textbooks, journals, magazine, newspapers and the internet to gather data for analysis. The finding is that the elections have not necessarily engendered democratic consolidation in Nigeria. Conclusively, since the human element in Nigerian politics had significantly contributed to the aberrations and absurdities that had characterized democratic practice and consolidation in the country, it only requires the enforcement of the rule of law to reinforce democratic consolidation.