State Independent Electoral Commissions and local government elections in Nigeria

Johnson O. Olaniyi


Many state governments have not been allowing their State Independent Electoral Commissions (SIECs) to conduct elections as at when due but rather settle for ‘caretaker committees’. Where elections have been conducted, the party in control of a state apparatus has been known to have cleared the polls. The general objective of this study is to assess the impact of electoral contest at the local government level on the political development of Nigeria. Specific objectives include (1) assessing the role of the political executives of a state in the determination of representation at the local government level in Nigeria; and (2) assessing the activities of SIECs in the management of local government polls. This study adopts comparative cum case study approach to analysing local government polls in Nigeria. This is discussed on a geopolitical basis. Some of the findings of the study include: (1) local government election in Nigeria is not given premium position by many state governments in the political landscape of their state because of the fear of playing into the hands of their political rivals; and (2) SIECs are only independent in name and not in practice. The study recommends, among others, that (1) the country should adopt the arrangement in the aborted Third Republic where the country’s EMB was empowered to conduct all elections at all levels of government and (2) local government elections in Nigeria should key into the electoral process of the country in all ramifications.


Local Government; Election/poll; Political parties; Election management Body; Electoral Commissions; State Independent Electoral Commissions

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Submitted: 17 January 2017
Published: 27 November 2017

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