Democracy and 2023 General Elections in Nigeria: Retrospect and Prospects Democracy and 2023 General Elections in Nigeria: Retrospect and Prospects – Direct Research Journal of Social Science and Educational Studies
Original Research Article

Democracy and 2023 General Elections in Nigeria: Retrospect and Prospects

Ojukwu, Uchechukwu Grace*

Umeifekwem, Uchenna Timothy

Okeke, Vincent Onyekwelu Sunday

Article Number: DRJSSES918734361
ISSN: 2449-0806

Vol. 11(4), Pp. 54-66, July 2023

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Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0.


This paper analyzes democracy and Nigeria’s general elections of 2023 while taking into account a broader range of variables that influenced both the process and the result. Over the past few decades, Nigeria has seen a wave of democratic advances. Democracy is a form of government in which citizens have the right to choose their leaders through free and fair elections. Free and fair election is the benchmark of democracy. In other words, democracy implies that the people have the opportunity to decide who governs them. Regular elections offer the people the opportunity to accept or refuse the men who are to govern them. It is the political right enjoyed by the people to decide who should govern them in a free and fair election that separates democracy from any other kind of political system. The 2023 general election is the seventh election in the series of general elections held since Nigeria returned to civil rule in 1999. Nevertheless, democracy in Nigeria has been complex due to the multiple ethnic and religious groups that make up the population, the prevalence of military coups, and the lack of economic development. Ultimately, the 2023 general elections in Nigeria became a major test of the nation’s democratic progress due to the INEC’s introduction of new technology, including the Bi-modal Voting Accreditation System (BVAS) and INEC Results Viewing Portal (IReV), to improve administration of the 2023 polls. Buttressing this optimism was the Electoral Act 2022, which introduced reforms aimed at more timely organization of pre-electoral processes and increasing transparency in results collation and reporting. Like most elections in Nigeria, the 2023 general election was conducted under a deeply contentious, and disputed, atmosphere, including widespread insecurity and uncertain government policies introduced ahead of the election. Relying on qualitative approach using data gathered from secondary sources as well as historical analysis. The study found out that the election fell short of Nigerian citizens’ legitimate and reasonable expectations, as several accredited election observation groups reported that the credibility of the 2023 election was greatly marred by numerous pitfalls in election administration such as inefficient management of permanent voters cards (PVCs) distribution, failure of operational and logistical arrangements, malfunctioning of election technology, instances of vote manipulation, political violence, lack of transparent results collation and declaration process, and poor crisis communication. Considering also, the pressing issues that face Nigeria today, these include widespread poverty, corruption, and insecurity, as well as an inadequate electoral infrastructure that has hindered voter participation in past elections. The study therefore recommended, among other things: strengthening the independence of the electoral body, putting in place measures to ensure the election is free from fraud and manipulation, and ensuring that the election reflects the will of the people. By implementing these strategies, the future general elections in Nigeria will be able to realize greater success in terms of improved democracy and a more stable post-election period.

Keywords: Democracy, 2023 General Elections, INEC, BVAS, IReV, Nigeria
 Received: June 9, 2023  Accepted: July 17, 2023  Published: July 26, 2023

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