Briefing from ROAPE Volume 34 Number 113
Nigeria: Contested Elections & an Unstable Democracy
On 14 and 21 April 2007, Nigerians went to the polls to elect a President, 36 State Governors, 109 Senators (Upper House of Parliament), and 360 members of the House of Representatives (Lower House). The elections were supposed to showcase Nigeria's capacity to conduct - for the first time in the country's 47 years of independence - a peaceful transition from one ‘democratic’ regime to another. Two previous elections of this nature (1983 and 2003) proved disappointing, as they became a mere charade for reproducing regimes in powers. Indeed, 2007 turned out to be a case of deja vu, as President Olusegun Obasanjo who had been rebuffed by the legislators in his quest for an unprecedented and unconstitutional third term, succeeded in thwarting the political ambitions of his rivals by imposing his chosen successor - Musa Yar'Adua - the younger brother of his erstwhile military comrade, General Shehu Yar'Adua.