The Independent National Electoral Commission and the Quest for Electoral Integrity: A Study of the 2019 Kogi State Governorship Election

Ugoh, Sylvanus Chukwudi (2022-03)


The electoral process has been at the center of a number of problems that have hampered Nigeria's democratic experimentation since her independence. The integrity of Nigeria's electoral process is perceived to be associated with election administration in Nigeria. The 2019 Governorship election, witnessed many court cases filed by some of the contestants challenging the election results. They alleged that the poll was marred by corrupt practices and non-compliance with the provision of the Nigerian Constitution, the Electoral Act and the Independent National Electoral Commission’s Electoral Guidelines. The objectives of this research is therefore, to determine how the 2019 governorship election in Kogi State conducted by INEC. And also to determine the level of electoral integrity attained by the 2019 governorship election in Kogi State and ascertain how the level of electoral integrity of the election could be enhanced. Given that the credibility of an election is critical to the long-term viability of democracy in any civilized country and bearing in mind that the credibility of an election plays a major role in the sustainability of democracy in any civilized country, assessing the integrity of the 2019 Kogi State Governorship election becomes critical. Both primary and secondary sources of data were employed. Primary data includes the administration of questionnaire on relevant stakeholders in electoral process, interviews of stakeholders and Focused Group Discussions (FGD) from five local government areas in Kogi state while secondary sources were derived from the consultation of books, journals and internet search. Two hundred and fifty well-structured questionnaires were distributed. Fifty questionnaires to each of the five local government areas. Two hundred and forty questionnaires were returned out of the 250 that were distributed and 230 were returned and valid. Ninety five were females and 135were males From the findings of the research, it was observed that the public perceptions of the electoral integrity is directly related to the level of trust on the Independent National Electoral Commission. It was also observed the integrity of the elections were compromised even as it affects the way and manner some of the activities of INEC was carried out especially in the area of logistics and exhibiting professionalism. From the result of the research it can be recommended that since mass perception of free and fair election, impartiality of INEC, capacity building play a dominant role in the improvement of electoral integrity as found in the literature and empirical investigation. INEC should further strengthen the training of both permanent and adhoc staff to enable them get acquitted with relevant skills to further the improvement of electoral integrity. And also Openness and abiding by the rule of law in the conduct of election are germane to the integrity of Electoral Process. Hence, the commission should organize workshop on a continuous basis where these concepts are well taught and encouraged and that INEC staff especially at the lower levels should be seen doing the right things during elections.