Political Science Project Topics

An Analysis of Controversies That Surrounded 2023 Presidential Election in Nigeria

An Analysis of Controversies That Surrounded 2023 Presidential Election in Nigeria

An Analysis of Controversies That Surrounded 2023 Presidential Election in Nigeria

Chapter One

Objective of the study

The objectives of the study are;

  1. To examine the extent and impact of electoral violence and insecurity during the 2023 presidential election in Nigeria.
  2. To assess the prevalence and consequences of voter suppression and irregularities in the electoral process.
  3. To investigate the allegations of external interference and malpractices in the 2023 presidential election.
  4. To analyze the role and influence of partisan media bias on public perception and electoral outcomes.



Elections are a fundamental component of democratic governance, serving as a mechanism for citizens to participate in the selection of their leaders and exercise their political rights. Election can be defined as a formal process in which eligible individuals choose their representatives or leaders through voting. It is a means of determining public opinion and translating it into political outcomes. Elections provide an avenue for citizens to express their preferences and shape the direction of their society.

“Elections serve as a fundamental pillar of democracy, providing a mechanism for the peaceful transfer of power, ensuring political accountability, and legitimizing the authority of elected representatives” (International Foundation for Electoral Systems, 2017).

Key Elements of Elections:

  1. Universal Suffrage: Elections aim to include all eligible citizens, regardless of their gender, ethnicity, religion, or socioeconomic status. Universal suffrage ensures equal voting rights and promotes inclusive political participation.
  2. Free and Fair Process: Elections should be conducted in an environment that upholds the principles of transparency, fairness, and integrity. This includes impartial electoral management, access to information, protection of civil liberties, and safeguards against fraud and coercion.
  3. Competitiveness: Elections thrive on competition among political parties or candidates. It allows voters to have a choice and provides an opportunity for different ideas, policies, and visions to be presented to the electorate.
  4. Secret Ballot: The use of a secret ballot ensures the privacy and independence of voters, safeguarding against coercion or intimidation.
  5. Electoral Administration: A well-functioning electoral administration is essential for organizing and overseeing elections. It involves tasks such as voter registration, ballot preparation, polling station management, and results tabulation.

Significance of Elections in Democratic Systems:

  1. Political Representation: Elections enable citizens to elect representatives who will advocate for their interests, articulate their concerns, and make decisions on their behalf. Through elections, the diversity of society can be reflected in the composition of elected bodies.
  2. Legitimacy and Accountability: Elections provide a democratic mandate to elected leaders, legitimizing their authority. Regularly held elections ensure that leaders are accountable to the electorate, as they can be replaced if they fail to fulfill their promises or meet the expectations of the people.
  3. Peaceful Transfer of Power: Peaceful transitions of power are a hallmark of well-functioning democracies. Elections allow for the transfer of authority from one set of leaders to another, reducing the likelihood of political instability, violence, or authoritarian rule.
  4. Public Participation and Civic Engagement: Elections encourage citizen engagement in political processes, promoting active citizenship, and strengthening the connection between people and their government. They provide a platform for public debates, policy discussions, and the expression of diverse viewpoints.

Elections form the bedrock of democratic governance, providing a mechanism for citizen participation, representation, and accountability. They contribute to the legitimacy of political systems, enable the peaceful transfer of power, and foster civic engagement. Upholding the principles of free and fair elections is crucial for ensuring the integrity and effectiveness of democratic processes.


The security situation in Nigeria plays a crucial role in shaping the state of democracy in the country. This section explores the impact of security on Nigeria’s democracy, highlighting the challenges and implications it poses.

Impact of Security on Nigeria’s Democracy:

  1. Threat to Electoral Process: Insecurity in Nigeria poses a significant threat to the electoral process. Instances of electoral violence, attacks on political rallies, and intimidation of voters hinder the free and fair conduct of elections, impeding citizens’ ability to exercise their democratic rights (Nwankwo, 2018).
  2. Erosion of Trust and Confidence: The persistent security challenges in Nigeria contribute to the erosion of public trust and confidence in the democratic process. When citizens do not feel safe or protected, it can undermine their willingness to participate in elections, engage in political activities, or trust the outcomes of the electoral process (Omotosho, 2018).
  3. Limitations on Political Participation: Insecurity can restrict political participation, particularly in areas affected by violence or conflict. This limitation deprives citizens of their right to engage in political processes, diminishing the inclusivity and representativeness of Nigeria’s democracy (Onuoha, 2019).
  4. Impediment to Development: Security challenges have a detrimental impact on socio-economic development in Nigeria, affecting the provision of essential services, infrastructure development, and the overall well-being of citizens. The inability to address security concerns hampers the government’s capacity to fulfill its responsibilities, which can undermine the legitimacy and effectiveness of democratic institutions (Agbiboa, 2017).
  5. Polarization and Ethnic Tensions: Insecurity can exacerbate ethnic and religious tensions, leading to social divisions and political polarization. These divisions can weaken democratic cohesion, hinder inclusive governance, and impede the formation of broad-based political alliances necessary for national development (Ugwoke & Chuka-Okosa, 2020).
  6. Threats to Human Rights: Security challenges often result in human rights abuses, such as extrajudicial killings, forced displacements, and arbitrary arrests. These violations undermine the principles of human rights, rule of law, and the protection of fundamental freedoms, all of which are essential components of a thriving democracy (Ayogu, 2018).






The fourth republic in Nigeria began in 1999 after years of military rule, and several general elections have taken place since then. Assessments of these elections have varied, with both positive and negative aspects highlighted by different observers. Here are some common points made in the assessment of the fourth republic elections in Nigeria:



The analysis of controversies surrounding the 2023 presidential election in Nigeria reveals a complex and multifaceted electoral landscape. The election was marked by various controversies that significantly impacted the electoral process and raised concerns about the transparency, fairness, and credibility of the outcome. This analysis examines several key controversies that emerged during the election period.

One prominent controversy was the issue of voter suppression and disenfranchisement. Reports indicated instances of voter intimidation, violence, and the deliberate manipulation of electoral processes to undermine the participation of certain groups or regions. This raised concerns about the inclusivity and fairness of the electoral system.

Another significant controversy was the allegations of electoral fraud and manipulation. Various stakeholders accused political actors of engaging in malpractices such as vote-buying, ballot stuffing, and result manipulation. These allegations eroded public trust in the electoral process and underscored the need for robust mechanisms to ensure the integrity of the elections.

Furthermore, the role of social media and misinformation emerged as a contentious issue during the 2023 presidential election. The spread of false information and inflammatory content on digital platforms heightened tensions, exacerbated social divisions, and posed challenges to the credibility of the electoral process. Efforts to combat disinformation and promote responsible digital citizenship became critical in addressing this controversy.

Additionally, the controversy surrounding the impartiality and independence of electoral institutions came to the fore. Questions were raised about the credibility and transparency of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in its management of the electoral process. Allegations of bias, lack of transparency in results transmission, and inadequate measures to address electoral grievances fueled concerns about the fairness of the election.

The controversies surrounding the 2023 presidential election in Nigeria highlighted the need for comprehensive electoral reforms, including strengthening institutional independence, enhancing transparency and accountability, and promoting inclusive participation. Addressing these challenges will be crucial to safeguarding the integrity of future elections and reinforcing public confidence in the democratic process in Nigeria.


In conclusion, the analysis of controversies surrounding the 2023 presidential election in Nigeria highlights the complex nature of the electoral landscape and the challenges faced in ensuring a transparent, fair, and credible electoral process. The study examined key controversies, including voter suppression, electoral fraud, the impact of social media, and concerns about institutional independence.

The controversies surrounding the election underscored the importance of addressing fundamental issues such as inclusivity, integrity, and accountability within the electoral system. It is crucial for electoral stakeholders, including the government, election management bodies, security agencies, civil society organizations, and citizens, to collaborate in implementing comprehensive electoral reforms.

Efforts should be made to strengthen institutions responsible for managing elections, enhance transparency in the electoral process, and safeguard the rights of all voters. This includes measures to combat voter suppression, ensure a level playing field for all candidates, and promote fair and transparent results transmission and announcement.

Addressing the challenges of electoral fraud and manipulation requires robust mechanisms for monitoring, investigation, and prosecution. Strengthening the legal framework and ensuring the independence of electoral institutions can help restore trust and confidence in the electoral process.

The role of social media and digital platforms in elections cannot be underestimated. Efforts should be made to combat disinformation, promote responsible digital citizenship, and enhance media literacy to counter the spread of false information that can undermine the integrity of elections.

Overall, the controversies surrounding the 2023 presidential election in Nigeria serve as important lessons and provide an impetus for comprehensive electoral reforms. By addressing the identified challenges, Nigeria can foster a more inclusive, transparent, and credible electoral system that upholds democratic values, ensures the participation of all citizens, and strengthens the country’s democratic institutions.


Based on the analysis of controversies surrounding the 2023 presidential election in Nigeria, the following recommendations are put forward to address the identified challenges and improve the electoral process:

  1. Strengthen Electoral Reforms: Undertake comprehensive electoral reforms to address the issues of voter suppression, electoral fraud, and institutional independence. This includes reviewing and updating electoral laws, regulations, and guidelines to ensure inclusivity, transparency, and fairness in the electoral process.
  2. Enhance Institutional Independence: Safeguard the independence and impartiality of electoral management bodies, such as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), by providing adequate funding, protecting tenure and appointments, and establishing mechanisms to prevent political interference.
  3. Combat Electoral Violence: Develop and implement effective strategies to prevent and address electoral violence. This includes enhancing security measures, providing training for security personnel on election-specific challenges, and holding perpetrators of violence accountable through swift and impartial judicial processes.
  4. Promote Civic Education and Media Literacy: Invest in civic education programs to increase voter awareness, knowledge of electoral processes, and understanding of democratic principles. Promote media literacy to empower citizens to critically evaluate information, combat disinformation, and engage responsibly on social media platforms.
  5. Enhance Technology and Data Protection: Embrace technology to improve the efficiency and transparency of the electoral process while ensuring the protection of personal data and safeguarding against cyber threats. Develop robust cybersecurity measures to safeguard electoral systems and data integrity.
  6. Strengthen Election Observation: Facilitate robust domestic and international election observation missions to enhance transparency, credibility, and public confidence in the electoral process. Implement recommendations from observer missions to address shortcomings and improve future elections.
  7. Promote Political Accountability: Strengthen mechanisms for holding politicians and political parties accountable for their actions during elections. Encourage political parties to adhere to ethical standards, promote issue-based campaigns, and discourage acts of violence, hate speech, and electoral malpractices.
  8. Engage Civil Society and Stakeholders: Foster collaboration and engagement among civil society organizations, election management bodies, political parties, security agencies, and other stakeholders to collectively address challenges and ensure a participatory and inclusive electoral process.



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