The 2015 general elections in Nigeria started gradually from the beginning of last year 2014. Fourteen political parties participated in the election. The presidential and National Assembly election was to take place on February 11th 2015 but was postponed to March 28th 2015. The governorship and states assemblies’ elections will take place on April 11th 2015.
The two major parties in the general elections were the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC). This latter party is the result of the coming together of four political parties: Action Congress of Nigeria, Congress for Progressive Change, All Nigeria Peoples Party and a part of All Progressives Grand Alliance. Instantly, the APC became a force to be reckoned with as the majority of Nigerians needed a virile and strong opposition party to ensure sustainability of democracy in the country and also to expand the democratic choice.
The success of the APC in the presidential and national assembly elections could be attributed to a wide variety of factors. The major factors are:
1) The arrogance of power by the under-performing PDP-led administration
2) The PDP, as the ruling party, has been addicted to crisis, ultimately leading to its decimation
3) Reconciliation in the PDP always resembled window dressing rather than a genuine rebirth. Indeed, a proper dialogue was always elusive
4) The dwindling economy as a result of falling oil prices and mis-management kindled a feeling of apathy among the electorate.
These factors among others necessitated the electorate to remain resilient and resolute in demanding and working for free, fair and credible elections. They were supported in this aim by a wealth of organisations. The Independent National Electorate Commission, United Nations, European Union, Commonwealth, African Union, Economic Community of West African States, NGOs and world leaders, both within and outside Nigeria, played major roles.
Indeed, the presidential and National Assembly elections produced clear winners and losers. The opposition party APC won the presidential seat and dominates the two chambers of the National Assembly. The majority of Nigerians, including the current President, accepted the result thereby bringing an atmosphere of peace in the country.
The 2015 general election’s peaceful and democratic transition of power will bring to Nigeria cohesion, orderliness, belief in the corporate existence of the country, economic prosperity, and entrenchment of democratic ethos and dividends of democracy. Overall, it will usher in discipline in the body polity of the country.
The peaceful and democratic transition of power in Nigeria will also stabilize democracy in other countries in West Africa. Nigeria, as the largest economy in Africa and one of the largest democracies in the Commonwealth of Nations, will serve as a reference point where peaceful and democratic transitions of power are being discussed anywhere in the world.
The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Royal Commonwealth Society.