This study examines the problems of election logistics and political meddling and their effects on African elections. It relies essentially on primary data drawn from participant observation and 53 key participant interviews conducted across 16 electoral wards in Southeastern Nigeria during the 2019 election. The study reveals some logistical problems involved in the hiring of public transport services (‘town service’ buses) to convey electoral materials in Nigeria such as poor ethical conduct among public transporters/drivers, lack of effective mobilization of drivers, poor compliance with road safety standards, breach of contract agreement, ineffective information sharing on the flow of election materials, and complicity in electoral malpractices. Also, poor road networks result in random breakdowns of hired ‘town service’ buses. Local politicians leverage these gaps to meddle in election logistics which orchestrate electoral fraud. The study sheds light on the need to streamline election logistics and develop ballot tracking systems in order to improve the distribution, tracking, and retrieval of sensitive and non-sensitive election materials during elections.
The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index provides a snapshot of the state of democracy worldwide in 165 independent states and two territories. The Democracy Index is based on five categories: electoral process and pluralism, the functioning of government, political participation, political culture, and civil liberties. Based on its scores on a range of indicators within these categories, each country is then itself classified as one of four types of regime: ‘full democracy’, ‘flawed democracy’, ‘hybrid regime’, or ‘authoritarian regime’.
In hybrid regimes (largely non-democratic), elections have substantial irregularities that often prevent them from being both free and fair. Government pressure on opposition parties and candidates may be common. Serious weaknesses are more prevalent than in flawed democracies—in political culture, functioning of government, and political participation. Corruption tends to be widespread, and the rule of law is weak. Civil society is weak. Typically, there is harassment of and pressure on journalists, and the judiciary is not independent.
A FGD with 6 members of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); 9 members of All Progressive Congress (APC); and 5 members of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) at Umulokpa RAC/ward, Uzo-Uwani LGA on 23 February 2019.