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Published in: Society 2/2021

20-05-2021 | Social Science and Public Policy

Election Logistics and Political Meddling: Rethinking the Use of ‘Town Service’ Buses in Transporting Election Materials in Nigeria

Authors: Victor Chidubem Iwuoha, Obiora Anichebe, Kelechukwu Charles Obi, Ikenna Mike Alumona, Anthony Chimankpam Ojimba, Josephine Nneka Obiorji

Published in: Society | Issue 2/2021

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Abstract

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.
Footnotes
1
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’.
 
2
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.
 
3
See The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index, 2020.
 
4
The researchers were part of this training at University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus.
 
5
This was stated by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, during INEC press briefing on February 12, 2019.
 
6
EU observers noted this in Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Benue, Cross River, Enugu, FCT, Imo, Kebbi, Kwara, Ogun, and Sokoto (see report of EU-EOM 2019).
 
7
These include: Abbi, Adaba-nkume, Adani, Akpogu, Igga/asaba, Nimbo I, Nimbo II, Nkpologu, Nrobo, Ogurugu, Ojo, Ugbene I, Ugbene II, Ukpata, Umulokpa, and Uvuru.
 
8
Interview with two senior INEC permanent staff (in charge of logistics) in INEC state headquarters, Enugu, on 22 February 2019.
 
9
Interview with Assistant Manager, ENTRACO Enugu state, on 22 February 2019.
 
10
Personal interview with three hired drivers in INEC LGA collation office, Uzo-Uwani LGA headquarters, on 23 February 2019. Although they claimed that they received lesser amounts.
 
11
Up to 12 drivers were hired in Uzo-Uwani to serve for the 16 RACs/wards.
 
12
See Section 3, INEC Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections.
 
13
Personal interview with a 33-year-old Mitsubishi bus driver.
 
14
This offer was made by former Uzo-Uwani LGA Chairman in company of few other party agents.
 
15
A FGD with 11 APOs in INEC LGA office, Uzo-Uwani, in early hours of Sunday 24 February 2019.
 
16
Interview with INEC Electoral Officer in Uzo-Uwani LGA on 23 February 2019.
 
17
See Section 6(a) of the INEC Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections.
 
18
Interview with 3 independent election observers at INEC Collation office, Uzo-Uwani, on 23 February 2019.
 
19
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.
 
20
See section 51(iv) of the INEC Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections.
 
21
A FGD with 5 security officials belonging to the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) at Uzo-Uwani, on 23 February 2019.
 
22
Interview with Presiding Officer for Akpugo RA/ward, in early hours of Sunday 24 February 2019.
 
23
A FGD with 11 APOs in INEC LGA office, Uzo-Uwani, in early hours of Sunday 24 February 2019.
 
24
A FGD with all 12 RA/Ward COs who laid this complaints to the LGA collation officer, in Uzo-Uwani LGA, in the early hours of Sunday 24 February 2019.
 
25
See Section 22(a), (b), and (c) of the INEC Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections
 
26
Interview with 3 independent election observers (a female and two males) at INEC Collation office, Uzo-Uwani, on 23 February 2019.
 
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Metadata
Title
Election Logistics and Political Meddling: Rethinking the Use of ‘Town Service’ Buses in Transporting Election Materials in Nigeria
Authors
Victor Chidubem Iwuoha
Obiora Anichebe
Kelechukwu Charles Obi
Ikenna Mike Alumona
Anthony Chimankpam Ojimba
Josephine Nneka Obiorji
Publication date
20-05-2021
Publisher
Springer US
Published in
Society / Issue 2/2021
Print ISSN: 0147-2011
Electronic ISSN: 1936-4725
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s12115-021-00577-9

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