ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Test for Democracy and Development in Nigeria

The north-south "zoning" arrangement of the presidency in Nigeria, as practised by the Peoples Democratic Party, has turned out to be an issue in the run-up to the 2011 elections. While incumbent president Goodluck Jonathan has an advantage in the elections, the policy positions of other candidates on the economic problems of Nigeria could influence voters.

Nigeria celebrated the 50th anniversary of its independence on 1 October 2010. In the midst of the celebrations at the Eagle Square in Abuja, explosions took place close by, which, according to the media, killed and injured a number of persons. The explosions were carried out by the militants of the oil rich Niger delta region. The m ilitants felt that the expenses on account of the 50th anniversary celebration are a r eflection of the lack of concern of the leadership of the economic and ecological problems that are being faced by the p eople in the oil-rich regions of the country. However, this will not detract the a ttention of the political leaders and common people from the politics of elections that are scheduled for early 2011. The president of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan promises that the elections would be free and fair. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) also promises the same outcome. The election dates, however, have not yet been firmed up but the fact is that the president-elect will have to be sworn in latest by 29 May 2011.

Nigeria’s elections provide a lot of e xcitement. The 2007 elections were not considered by many observers as fair.1 Now that Ghana and South Africa have held very successful and fair elections, the world at large is closely watching as to how the Nigerian elections of 2011 will be conducted. Most Nigerians would like to prove that democracy in their country is vibrant. They also would like to showcase to the world that there could be development along with democracy in the country. The fact that the nation has great economic potential and can reap a rich demographic dividend attracts many investors from important countries (as for example, the G-20 countries) in the development processes.

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