Import of Nigeria's April 2003 Elections   [open pdf - 115KB]

"Over three weeks in April 2003, Nigerians went to the polls to elect representatives to local, state and national governments. These elections represented a crucial test for a country that has had a long and tortured relationship with consolidating democratic governments. Political alternation in Nigeria has historically occurred between civilian and military regimes, rather than between elected civilian administrations, and April's presidential election was the first held under the auspices of an elected civilian government in over 20 years. Therefore, should the civilian government of the Fourth Republic stay in power for its full second term, this will represent the first time in more than forty years that Nigeria has successfully transferred power from one elected civilian regime to another. What are the implications of these elections for the future of democratic government in Nigeria? Is it important to US interests whether or not Nigeria remains under civilian control? How does Nigeria's past experience with civilian rule, and the problem of military intervention, speak to the prospects for the current situation? Since the elections were held only a few weeks ago, this Strategic Insight represents a preliminary analysis of the current situation in light of Nigeria's historical experiences, in order to better understand the import of these elections, and their likely impact on Nigeria and West Africa's future. While the transition from bullets to ballots is not yet complete, significant improvements have been made. Whether or not those improvements will become fully consolidated into a stable democratic regime has yet to be seen."

Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Naval Postgraduate School, Center for Contemporary Conflict: http://www.ccc.nps.navy.mil/
Media Type:
Strategic Insights (June 2003), v.2 no.6
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