Administrative Powers of the President of Nigeria to appoint the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC): A Critical and Comparative Analysis of Appointments and Electoral Outcomes (2007-2019).

1Ekeuwei, Tarila Ayibaebi & 2Vareba, Michael K.

1Department of Political and Administrative Studies, University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

2Department of Political and Administrative Studies, University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

Corresponding Author’s E-mail: ekeuweitarila@gmail.com

Abstract

Since the re-emergence of democracy in 1999, INEC which is also the 5th Electoral Management Body (EMB) in Nigeria has conducted and overseen six (6) elections both at the federal and state levels respectively, with most of them considered controversial, corrupt and disputatious. However, while the bickering nature of these elections have been blamed remotely on the distorted political history tribalism, and religion, citizens and indeed scholars have ignored the primary factor of the law which accords the President the powers to choose the Chairman of the INEC, an electoral umpire required to be independent and neutral in all affairs, including the appointment of its chairman. This has resulted to instances of electoral fraud and misappropriations in the favour of the President or his cronies, hence, disrupting democratic consolidation in Nigeria. The descriptive-analytical was adopted for the study. The games theory of politics was used describing the nature and effects of such administrative power on the political system. It was discovered that the appointive powers accorded the President who is also a political player in this regard have resulted from indubitable evidences the politicization of the outcomes of the elections in favour of the President and cronies as most conspicuous in the 2007 and 2019 Presidential elections, respectively. It was recommended that such powers be withdrawn from the President and the executive through constitutional reforms and ceded to a neutral body which shall consist of one representative each from the six (6) geo-political zones and selected pressure groups.

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