The European Union (EU) and other international donors have been involved in the promotion of election administration in Nigeria since the country returned to civil rule in 1999. This research examines the contributions of the EU to Nigeria‘s democracy concerning election administration so as to ascertain the extent to which their contributions have impacted on the quality of elections in the country‘s democratic development. This work was guided by the following objectives. To ascertain the nature of EU‘s contributions to election administration in Nigeria from 1999-2015; to examine the impacts of these contributions to Nigeria‘s democratic development and to observe whether these contributions have added value to Nigeria‘s democracy. This work adopts David Mitrany‘s functional theory of international relations in explaining the role of EU in Nigeria‘s election administration process. The methods of data collection is qualitative in nature; hence, both in-depth interviews and content analysis were used for the study .
The study concludes that the EU made financial, technical, logistics and election observation contributions to Nigeria‘s election administration. The findings of the study has shown that contrary to the long held view by some scholars that EU‘s involvement in Nigeria‘ election administration process is solely anchored on interest in crude oil, this study reveals that there are both political and economic motivations in EU ‗s contributions. There are other contending interests such as migration and global peace that democracy is prone to promote and the strategic location of Nigeria as a beacon of hope for the black race thereby giving credence to the theory of functionalism which emphasizes cooperation for the common interest of all. The study recommends that all hands should be on deck to ensure a conducive atmosphere by all critical stakeholders in promoting election administration in Nigeria .
1 CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION 1.1 Background to the Study Nigeria gained her political independence in 1960, but party politics and elections in the country date back to 1920s. Since independence, the country has spent thirty years under military rule and the remaining 29 years under a democratic rule or representative democracy. In representative democracy, elections are seen as the legitimate basis for exercising power. The elections that ushered in civilian rule in 1999 were characterized by electoral flaws and did not meet the standards of even the 1992 ones, but were tolerated because of the overriding desire to ease out the military (DFID; USAID, 2007,P.1), as a result of the force of third wave democratization across the globe .
Ahmed (2015) captured the chaotic democratic scene in Nigeria when he observed that since the attainment of independence in 1960, Nigeria has been plagued by political instability fueled largely by poor electoral process. The problems associated with the first post-independence national elections of 1964 and the 1965 Western Region election culminated in the January 15, 1966 coup. The 1979 elections were criticized by international observers as having been massively rigged. The 1983 elections four years later were even worse, leading to political violence. It also resulted in another military take over on December 31, 1983 .
Election Administration in parts of the world-Africa, Latin America, Eastern Europe and Asia is not a new phenomenon. This is largely due to the fact that democracy has been accepted all over the world as the best form of government. Democracy has gathered momentum across the globe as a result of its immense advantages (Bello-Iman, 2004:p.1). While making a case for democracy, Gana(1996) noted thus, democracy has 2 been described as government by persons freely chosen by the people who also hold them accountable and responsible for their actions while in government. A democratic system is one where rulers are held accountable to the ruled by means of a variety of political arrangements. Such arrangements include competitive multi-party elections held at regular intervals(Osaghae,1995) .
The end of the cold war, according to Kia (2015) gave birth to a consensus in the global setting that democracy is an integral part of development efforts of African states. As democratization process spread through latin America and parts of Asia in the 1980s, Western donors began to consider how they might widen their assistance portfolios to support this trend. Some donors began to carryout assistance programs considered as pro democratic, particularly relating to elections and human rights(Thomas, 2004). Thomas (2004) further pointed out that by the mid-1990s, most western donors became more closely involved in domestic matters of weaker states. New guidelines and policy statements from the Americans, British, Canadians, Dutch, French, Germans and others stipulated that funding allocation would take into account political liberalization. The change of focus at the time also made the European Community as it was known then, to change its rule to enable it take into account a country‘s political system when determining aid levels .
Thus, foreign democratic assistance relating to the promotion of democracy increased sharply in the past two decades. While writing on some of the reasons for foreign democratic assistance, Thomas (1997) pointed out that two basic reasons or objectives characterized Western donor efforts toward democratic promotion. First, they are based primarily on the idea of promoting democracy for its own sake, as a political good that will improve the lives of citizens by bringing more freedom, political representation and governmental accountability. Second, that foreign democracy- related assistance is 3 primarily anchored on the notion that democracy is a valuable goal of external assistance because it will enhance inclusive political and economic institutions. In recent times, financial and technical support dominated and became the most popular and generally accepted form of foreign democratic assistance on election administration. Studies such as Rankner, (2007); Ranker, (2008); and Santiso, 2001) have revealed that more than 90% of foreign democratic assistance are provided through financial and technical support to improve the quality of the electoral process. More importantly, it is reciprocal as it benefits both the donors and recipient countries Thus democratic assistance relating to election administrative is directed at achieving an objective (credible election) to bring about the desired outcome (development through good governance and democracy). The European Union is a critical partner in this process. It has supported Nigeria‘s efforts to improve its election administration process by offering financial and technical assistance as well as playing a very important role of election observation .
According to Abdullahi (2015), given the significance of credible elections in promoting good democratic governance, international development agencies committed themselves to providing financial and technical assistance towards improving electoral process with a view to raising the quality of democratic governance in Nigeria. One of the major initiatives formed by development agencies is the Democratic Governance for Development Project (DGD). The project was introduced to provide technical and financial assistance to political and Civil Society groups towards the promotion of credible elections in Nigeria .
4 The key partners of DGD include the European Union (EU) Department for International Development (DFID), the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and the UNDP(UNDP, 2014) .
Democratic assistance in election administration takes the forms of funding of trainings, study visits, designs and publications of posters, training materials, books supply of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) equipment and software and other technical support given to democratic institutions especially new and emerging democracies so as to promote and consolidate their democracies. Adetula, et al(2010) in a commissioned research on how development agencies has supported democratic institutions in Nigeria has shown that international governmental and non-governmental organizations including EU has been interacting with Nigeria‘s democratic institutions to support democratic consolidation and avoid democratic regression or reversal. The UNDP for instance had been serving as one of the socializing agents for the reconstruction of the norms of liberal democracy in Nigeria. For instance, in its 6th country plan 2003-2007, it focused on good governance; and 7th country plan 2009-2012 extended to 2015 focused on sharpening democratic project. Even though the impacts of these roles had been received with mixed feelings, Adetula et al (2010); Glenworth and Afari-Gyon (2011; and Adetula (2011) have shown that there are indications that studies have been done on this institution with the intention to consolidate democracy in Nigeria .
According to Beichelt (2012), democracy promotion involves external relations and development cooperation that contribute to the development and consolidation of democracy in other countries other than donor countries. Theextent to which EU as an international governmental organizations has contributed to the development of democracy election administration in Nigeria calls for empirical study .
5 1.2. Statement of the Problem Election administration is a complex, multistage process involving registration, structuring the voting process and the processes used to compile, register and then count and cast the votes. The importance of election administration cannot be overemphasized as it can influence the intergrity and legitimacy of the would be winner. Therefore, for democracy to function properly, local, state, federal and even international governmental and non governmental organizations must foster an election system that achives the highest standards of accuracy, convenience, efficiency and security International governmental organizations have played active roles in these processes in Asia, Latin America and even in African countries. It is against this backdrop that this study examines the contributions of the European Union in Nigeria‘s election administration 1999-2015. These contributions are in financial and technical terms geared towards consolidating or deepening democracy. The researcher not only examined the contributions of the European Union but assesses the impacts of these contributions towards promotingefficient election administration Nigeria‘s democracy from 1999 – 2015 .
Eyinla (1998), stated that the international community was most active in the provision of financial logistics support to Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) .
Such assistance came from Canada, Japan, UK, U.S.A. etc. The largest contributions to the electoral process amounting to US$4 million came from European Union. According to Youngs (2002) the European Union (E.U.) unlike in the Asian countries evolved a significant range of activities aimed at democratic consolidation in Asian countries since the 1990s has done little in Africa. The E.U. approach to democracy building has been seen to possess a number of strength to U.S. policy of promoting democratization across 6 the globe and in connection with grassroots development imperative for developing countries. The European Union Election Observation Mission Final Report on the April 2011 General Elections noted that 141 Election Observers led by chief observer Alojz Peterle, a member of the European Parliament originated from the 27 EU member States, as well as from Norway and Switzerland. In total, during election days, the EU observers made 1,684 visits to polling units in order to observe accreditation, voting and counting, and additionally they observed collation of results at 309 centres at ward, local Government Area and higher levels .
Young (2004), further stated that the largest recipients of democracy assistance in absolute terms were the sub-Saharan African states within the Lome Convention, but even in this case, such funding accounted for only 0.3 percent of EC aid. The ACP countries received a total of 252 million Euro for political aid projects between 1992 and 1997. The Relations between Nigeria and the European Union has not been smooth since Nigeria gained political independence from Britain in 1960. While tracing the relationship between Nigeria and the EU countries; Khakee (2007), observed that in the course of the second period of dictatorship after Nigeria‘s independence(1984-1999), relations between Nigeria and EU countries gradually took a different dimension. In 1993, the results of the Presidential election which was supposed to reintroduce democracy in the country was annulled. Consequently, the EU suspended military cooperation and restricted high level visits. In the aftermath of the execution of Ken Saro Wiwa and other Ogoni eight leaders in 1995, relations between Nigeria and EU came to an almost complete stand still. The EU reinforced travel restrictions, imposed an arms embargo and suspended most development cooperation with Nigeria. The above measures were lifted after the elections in May 1999, following the death of military dictator General Sani Abacha .
7 When Nigeria returned to democratic rule in 1999, political relations between the EU and Nigeria resumed. According to Khakee(2007), development cooperation was quick to take off in 1999 with the granting of an EUR 100 million EU quick start assistance package covering 1999-2000. While observing the normalization of political relationship between the EU and Nigeria, Darren et al (2010), said that the relationship between Nigeria and the EU improved rapidly with the normalization of relations in June 1999, when EU lifted all sanctions against Nigeria. The European Commission(EC) resolved to focus future cooperation on poverty alleviation, promotion of democracy and good governance, anti corruption measures and the integration of Nigeria into the global economy .
Therefore, the allegiance and commitment paid by both the EU and its member States in recent years to the goal of democracy promotion in Nigeria through election administration should be properly assessed. Some of the critical areas EU has contributed to Nigeria regarding the above, includes areas such as poverty alleviation, promotion of democracy and good governance, anti-corruption measures but this study focuses on EU‘s contributions towards election administration in the areas of capacity building, logistics and election observation in order to ascertain the impact of these contributions on the promotion of Nigeria‘s democracy from 1999 – 2015 .
1.3. Research Questions This study was guided by the following research questions .
i. What was the motivation of EU‘s contributions to Nigeria‘s Election Administration from 1999-2015? ii. What is the nature of contributions of the EU to Nigeria‘s Election Administration; 1999-2015? 8 iii. What are the impacts of EU‘s contributions to Election Administration in Nigeria: 1999-2015? iv. To what extent has EU‘s contributions added value to Nigeria‘s Election Administration; 1999-2015? 1.4. Objectives of the Study This study was guided by the following research objectives: i. To identify the motivativating factors of EU‘s contributions to election administrations in Nigeria from 1999-2015 .
ii. To ascertain the nature of EU‘s contributions to election administration in Nigeria between 1999-2015 .
iii. To establish the impacts of EU‘s contributions to election administration in Nigeria between 1999-2015 .
iv. To examine the extent to which EU‘s contributions have added value to election administration in Nigeria between 1999-2015 .
1.5. Research Assumptions i. Economic considerations prompted EU‘s involvement in election administration in Nigeria; 1999-2015 .
ii. Political considerations prompted EU‘s involvement in election administration in Nigeria; 1999-2015 .
iii. EU‘s financial and technical contributions has added value to election administration in Nigeria; 1999-2015 .
iv. EU‘s contributions has impacted positively on election administration in Nigeria; 1999-2015 .
9 1.6. Significance of the Study Scholars such as Ranker (2008); Santiso(2001) are of the view that EU‘s contributions to election administration in Nigeria is motivated by economic and political considerations .
This study is significant in that, it will contribute to existing body of knowledge, and it will also serve as a reliable source of empirical data on EU contributions to election administration in Nigeria as it attempt to fill the gaps created by these scholars so as to ascertain the authenticity of such claims. Findings from this study would be of practical relevance to the appropriate agencies planning, projection, building and implementing theories and policies on election administration in Nigeria and other African countries as it relates to international organizations .
In addition, some scholars from literature reviewed such as Edet, (2016); Omotola (2010) attributes weak political institutions mainly the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for lacking financial, institutional and administrative independence and capacity required for effectiveness as major challenges, which resulted in questionable electoral outcomes.This study will serve as a reference material for future researchers and students who wants to validate this claims by establishing whether the contributions of EU has helped to strengthen INEC and consequently improved the credibility of elections and legitimacy of the process .
In specific terms, this study is significant in the following ways. The study shall serve as a source of reliable information that provides analytical insights on the intricacies of the relationship between developed and developing countries as aid is often construed as having stringes attached to it which may not ultimately lead to the development of the recipient country. This study is also significant because it will be an enormous contribution to the existing body of knowledge on election administration in Nigeria as well as serving as a guide for future research into same or related issues .
10 1. The study is particularly significant especially for Nigeria as it affords the researcher the opportunity to take a critical look at the underpinning issues responsible for the EU‘s huge investment in Nigeria‘s democratic process .
2. This study will form the basis for the assessment of whether the principles and ideals on which the EU was founded are being pursued abroad .
3. This study is fundamental and significant in the sense that after two decades of uninterrupted civil rule in Nigeria, it is necessarily important to consider Nigeria‘s democratic status as a giant in Africa and its geostrategic location and the implications of its political development as it relates to election administration, and the effects such may have on other African countries. Hence, democracy cannot be deliberated without giving necessary attention to electoral processes .
1.7. Scope and Limitations of the Study The scope of this study covers the contributions of the European Union to election administration in Nigeria; 1999–2015. The period of 1999 -2015 is chosen because it is when we have 16 years of uninterrupted democratic process thereby making it worth conducting a research on .
The major limitation of this work is the inability of the researcher to interview members of the European Union that were at the centre of administrationof election in Nigeria within the period of the study as some of them have left Nigeria and those around were practically inaccessible for security reasons despite several efforts made by the researcher including the use of unofficial means to gain access. However, in order not to lose contributions from the UNDP, the researcher was advised by the Country Director that they can arrange a meeting with Professor Sam Egwu who was one of their staff on 11 governance and democracy in Nigeria. The researcher‘s meeting with the Professor greatly impacted on the value of the work. Another challenge was combining my office responsibility with research as the demand in my office was quite herculean. However, this challenge was overcome by the researcher‘s ability to sacrifice his leave and comfort to make sure the research was not abandoned .
1.8 Definition of key Terms Democracy: Is the free and equal rights of every person to participate in a system of government often practiced by electing representatives of the people by the majority of the people (Pious, 2008). Democracy is a form of government in which all eligible citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Democracy in this study is a government by the people, especially the rule of the majority and in which supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them .
Election Administration The administration of election is a complex, multistage process involving registration, structuring the voting process, and the processes used to compile register and then cast and then count the votes .
Election Monitoring: Is the monitoring and observation of an election by one or more independent parties, typically from another country or a non-governmental organisation .
Electoral Process: In a democratic society like Nigeria, electoral process is the means through which this objective is achieved. Electoral process is meant to build trust in the people as well as professionalism in the management. A free electoral process is one where fundamental human rights and freedoms are respected, including freedom of speech and expression by electorates .
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