Assessment of the Role of the National Assembly in Electoral Reforms in Nigeria between 2009 to 2021

Balewa, Ibrahim Tafawa (2022)


Parliament has a statutory responsibility to make contributions to electoral reforms in all political systems. Following, this study examined legislative efforts aimed at facilitating electoral reforms in Nigeria between 2009 - 2021 focusing on; the roles played by the National Assembly in facilitating electoral reforms in Nigeria; specific electoral reforms facilitated by the National Assembly from 2009 to 2021 and evaluated the challenges encountered by the National Assembly in the course of facilitating electoral reform from 2009 to 2021. Indeed, this study becomes justified because of the need to add to the growing literary attention of the evolving role of parliaments in facilitating electoral reforms. To achieve the above objectives, the study adopted the mixed research design using quantitative and qualitative data. Primary and secondary data was relied on; Primary sources of data were Questionnaires and Key Informant Interviews, while secondary data sources were Journal Articles, Official Publications of the National Assembly and INEC, Magazines, Internet, among others. Specifically, while quantitative and qualitative data were used for objectives one and two, qualitative data was used for objective three. The Descriptive Method and Content Analysis were used for the analysis of quantitative and qualitative data respectively. Data was presented in Tables, Graphs, as well as in Themes. Based on objective one, findings revealed that the National Assembly has played far-reaching roles in strengthening Nigeria’s political and electoral processes, which are often in the form of Constitutional Alterations, amendments to the Electoral Law and the Appropriation Act. Given this, objective two showed that specific electoral reforms facilitated by the National Assembly in this mould are the reduction of age for seeking elective offices and the inclusion of the electronic transmission of results in the Electoral Act, 2022, among others. Nevertheless, objective three found that the role of the National Assembly is faced with persisting personal interest, inadequate capacity, lack of collaboration between the executive and legislature, lack of political will, among others. Overall, the study recommended the engagement and collaboration with Civil Society groups and citizens, improved Executive-Legislative relations, etc., as strategies that would resolve the obstacles confronting the National Assembly in its efforts aimed at facilitating electoral reforms in the future. Therefore, following the notion of the Elite and Decision-making Theories, electoral reforms are seemingly a matter for the exclusive preserve of elected representatives (now elites) thus, putting the National Assembly in a position that accords it Descriptive Decision-making Powers. Explicitly, the various interactions before the signing of the Electoral Act, 2022, laid credence to this assertion and further established the National Assembly as being at the core of any meaningful/impactful electoral reform in Nigeria.