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Electoral fraud and the transition process in Ekiti State, Nigeria (2007-2015)

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The conduct of elections has, in modern times, been debated. This is particularly so as it concerns the question of the credibility of the results and fairness of the process. Many African elections have been criticized due to non-adherence to democratic tenets and procedures. It has however been observed that the intermittent truncation of the democratic process in Nigeria between 1960 and 1999 was as a result of the inability of the political class to manage democratic transition effectively. It is in this context, and as a scholarly contribution of the third wave (Huntington, 1993), that this thesis explored the impacts of electoral fraud in the transition process in Ekiti State, Nigeria. The study explores the country’s challenges of transitioning from one democratic administration to another by using the Democratic Elite Theory and the Differential Association Theory as the explanatory theoretical framework. The study examined the role of political elites who use their wealth and influence to dictate political decisions and policies, and the transmission of criminal behaviors from one generation to the other as the major predisposing conditions for electoral fraud in the study area. While the former typified the Democratic Elite Theory, the latter was adopted as a corollary of the Differential Association Theory. The study adopted a mixed method research framework that combined interpretivism research philosophy, inductive research approach and both the descriptive and survey research designs. Analytical methods employed were both qualitative and quantitative. Findings showed that political elites and the executive arm of government, particularly the incumbent governments, exerted great influence on electoral outcomes in the study area through their promotion and support for electoral fraud and their stance of winning elections at any cost. Further, the study showed that the prevailing level of poverty in the study area led to a cultural reorientation that placed premium of financial inducement and ‘stomach infrastructure’. The perception of political stakeholders in the State on electoral fraud and democratic transition was also examined and recommendations to restore the sanctity of the electoral process and stabilize democracy in the study area, and Nigeria at large, were suggested.


Doctoral Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.