The Covid-19 pandemic has tremendous implications for democracy worldwide. Emergency measures undertaken to combat the pandemic tend to demonstrate a trade-off between public health and fundamental democratic principles. The Caribbean is not immune from this. This paper examines how Covid-19, and the calling of a snap election in Barbados scheduled for January 19, 2022, when combined with archaic election rules, led to serious implications for the conduct of the election, specifically regarding the ability of citizens to vote. The paper is divided into five sections, beginning with an introductory section. The second section examines the implications of Covid-19 for democratic participation. The third section explores the legal framework for the conduct of elections in Barbados and the limitations of that legal framework. The penultimate section discusses the implications of the snap election for electoral participation and electoral integrity. The paper ends on the need for electoral reform in the country.
Citation: Cynthia Barrow-Giles and Rico Yearwood (2022) Head- A Perfect Storm- Covid-19, Snap Elections, and Archaic Legal Framework, Global Journal of Politics and Law Research, Vol.10, No.4, pp.40-57
Civil Society and Election Observation in Nigeria: Participant versus Non-Participant Observers (Published)
Since the return of democracy in Nigeria in 1999, election observation, by domestic Civil Society Organizations (CSO’s) and international organizations has become an integral part of the electoral process. The post-election reports submitted by them have become the indices for measuring the credibility of elections, locally and internationally. This study interrogated the central question: does domestic Civil Society Groups mere witnessing of Election Day activities qualify them to pass verdicts on the credibility of elections in Nigeria? We relied on the explanatory variables of Systems Theory to answer this question. Data was generated through documentary method and Key Informant Interviews and analyzed using content analysis. The study discovered that while international observers, witness the entire electoral cycle, non-partisan domestic observers like Civil Society Organizations, do not. The latter focus mainly on Election Day activities, while pre-election activities are hardly observed. Some aspects of results collation are also kept outside their purview. Therefore passing a verdict on the entire electoral process, based on a selective observation could be misleading. The study recommends that for credibility, CSO’s should observe the entire electoral process viz. pre-election, election day and post election activities. In addition, they should be given unfettered access to the collation rooms to observe all the processes that lead up to the final announcement of results for all contested positions.
Elections are the hallmarks of democracy; they also serve the purposes of peaceful change in the government and confer political legitimacy on the government. Viewed from this prism, elections represent the expression of the sovereign will of the people. However, the conduct of elections in plural society like Nigeria is often fraught with animosities and violence. This paper, therefore, aimed at examining the economic implications of electoral violence on Nigeria’s democratic trajectory. The paper makes use of qualitative and quantitative sources of historical data. It also employs and applies frustration aggression and systemic theory in discussing the economic basis of electoral violence in Nigeria. The study establishes the fact that elections in Nigeria since the return of democracy in Nigeria are hardly free and fair. They are manipulated and characterized with violence with grave implications on the country’s economic development. The paper concludes that in order to do away with the teething challenges that usually translate to electoral violence in Nigeria certain things need to be done. In this connection, the paper recommends granting of full autonomy to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC); this would engender administrative efficiency and professionalism of the body. It also recommends among others, the reduction in wages and allowances of political office holders. The idea is to make politics less financially attractive so that leaders will see themselves as agents of development than money mongers.
An Exploration of the 2019 General Elections in Nigeria: A Review of the Legal Framework (Published)
Elections in Nigeria, particularly from 1999 after the armed forces hand over to a democratically elected government, the political authority have continued to be the foremost system of accomplishing justifiable ruling. Nigerian electoral system has been modeled after American democratic system. However, whether this electoral replica has improved democratic system in Nigeria and Africa as a whole is controversial. It must be clearly stated that ballot snatching, vote buying, distribution of food items for the purposes of winning elections always occur and the 2019 general elections is not an exception. Hence, the main focus of this article is to analyze the synopsis of elections in Nigeria and review the legal framework. From this point of view, a resonance electoral progression is intended to accomplish four essential objectives which are accountable and responsible leadership, openness, communal fairness and a passionately partaking electorate. The western world from where Nigeria copied its electoral system has significantly perfected the procedures desirable for their own environment to accomplish the aforementioned objectives while Nigeria is still battling to achieve the aforementioned goals as evidenced from numerous election Petitions that trails every election. The methodology adopted is doctrinal and the secondary research method involving the use of published scholarly books, journals, internet materials, daily newspapers, magazines and encyclopedia. At this juncture, the research recommended among other things that the electoral sanity can be accomplished through developing fundamental apparatus such as the tenet of law, parliamentary sovereignty and headship that reverence public views.
Contextual Analysis of the Political Contents of Nigerian National Newspapers Editorials in the 2011 and 2015 General Elections (Published)
The mass media clarifies issues; as was the case in the 2011 and 2015 elections. Whereas campaigns in the period were fraught with ideological justification, the electorates had to make choices. National newspapers editorial pronouncements needed to be established to ascertain their contributions to democratic enthronement. With the six geo-political zones of the nation, 5 national dailies: The Sun, The Punch, This Day, Leadership and Daily Trust were considered. The constructed and continuous week consideration resulted in 14 days, per daily/annum as sample size, using the code sheet with the content analysis research design. With reliability of 0.89 coefficient and employing simple percentages, it was found that the political contents of Nigerian national newspapers in year 2011 outnumbered those of year 2015 notwithstanding that general entries increased in 2015 than 2011.Topical editorials were advised.
Foreign Democratic Assistance to Nigeria (1999-2015): The Nexus between Strategy and Election Result (Published)
This study examined “Foreign Democratic Assistance to Nigeria 1999-2015: The Nexus Between Strategy and Election Results. The study employed survey method. This method enable the authors to gather data from representative of sampled institutions: civil societies, political parties, election umpire (INEC), security institutions, Donor Agencies and opinion leaders 252 respondents were drawn from these institutions. Data were obtained using interview instrument (participants’ perspective). The realistic theory of change by Anderson, a modification of carol (1972) change model theory was used as the framework of analysis. Analysis of data gathered shows the following results. (1) That Nigeria received democratic assistance between 1999-2015 from US, UK, EU and other major international partners engaging in democratic promotion. (2) That Nigerians need such gesture to strengthening her democracy. (3) That Donor’s emphasis on civil society have little influence on state institutions that control electoral process in Nigeria. (4) Donor’s impact is not felt in the area of party primary – selection of party candidates. Lastly the result shows that Nigeria’s democracy exists within the context of particular mode of production that link set of values preferred by the political elite. This provides the context for electoral misbehavior. Thus, election violence, rigging, manipulation and imposition of candidates that characterized Nigerian elections do not in any way relate or correlate with foreign democratic assistance objectives. Based on these, the study suggests modification of Donor’s strategy (inclusive strategy) that will not only strengthen civil society but also regulate the excessive use of state power by power mongers to cause electoral fraud and violence just to remain in power.
The triumph of the democratic order in Africa will depend to a large extent on the capacity of stakeholders to tackle the ravages of corruption. Across the continent, the quest for economic and political development had been hampered by corruption on the part of the leaders and followers, thus making the democratic enterprise appear as condemned to being subverted, as it turns out, from within. The scourge appears intractable due to its prevalence, thus, encumbering most States in the continent. For decades, Nigeria’s has been performing below average in the transparency international index of corruption. At some point, Nigeria was oscillating between the first and second most corrupt nation in the world. This unenviable status continues to assert negatively on the State and the growth of democracy despite the several strategies put in place by past and previous regimes to combat the scourge. This paper therefore considers the hindrances of corruption to the development of the democratic order and explores the imperative of good governance in remedying the malaise.