Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Observations of U.S. elections

Free and fair elections are central to a successful democracy as are a strong constitution, free press, rule of law, equal justice and respect for human rights.  Nigeria’s return to democratic rule was greatly celebrated and the past thirteen years has raised hopes that it has come to stay.  However, democracy is not without its challenges and even those as old as the United States are a work in progress.

During the U.S. Presidential elections in November some young Nigerians had the opportunity to observe how elections are conducted in the U.S.  It was an exciting time for the young Samson Itodo and Blossom Nnodim, who recently shared their observations of the U.S. elections at a roundtable in Abuja.  Some of their observations include the following:

  • Each state in the U.S. has its own electoral system and procedure.  For example while some may require a photo ID to vote others may not.  Thus states conduct all elections for national and local offices.
  • Political parties can also register voters.
  • The Federal Electoral Commission is not involved in the conduct of elections.  Its primary duty is to monitor election campaign financing.
  • A large number of Americans volunteer to work during the elections.
  • No election violence so a lot of parents took their children along with them to vote.
  • Election Day is not a public holiday.

During the discussion that followed their presentations, some participants observed that some of the elections procedures in the United States cannot be applied in Nigeria.  It was agreed however that the American elections work because people have faith in the institutions and the country.

Which of the observations made by Samson and Blossom do you think can be applied to elections in Nigeria?


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  3. This is great. I am optimistic this post will generate discussions that will contribute to the ongoing electoral reform in Nigeria. I am looking forward to comments and contribution.

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  6. All these can only be applicable in a country that citizens believe and have confidence in the system. I don't think Nigeria is ripe for any of these except we rebuild confidence in the institutions. Right now, we need to look inward!