Political Participation and Voter Turnout in Nigeria’s 2011 Elections

This article explores political participation as one of the most important
indicators of the democratic quality of elections and a prime criterion for
defining democratic citizenship. It places specific emphasis on voter turnout
as the most important form of political participation, but also as an important
indicator of the state of health of any democracy, old or new, consolidated or
in transition, where high voter turnout is usually associated with a healthy
democracy. More specifically, the article explores voter turnout in Nigeria’s
2011 general elections and the factors underlying the turnout. Following
brief theoretical postulations on political participation and the history of
voter turnout in Nigeria, the article analyses the turnout in 2011, reflecting
on its underlying forces and spatial dimensions. It also covers generally
discernible trends and notable variations across geopolitical zones. Overall,
the growing deployment and influence of the social media, the electoral reform
process, which boosted public trust in electoral institutions and processes,
President Jonathan’s oft-repeated assurances to the local and international
community that he would not interfere in the electoral process, the active
engagement of civil society, violence before and during elections, the north-south divide over the rotational presidency and zoning all had an impact
on turnout. The findings have important policy implications for improving
turnout in future elections.

File Type: pdf
Categories: Journal of African Elections
Tags: 2007 Nigerian election, Justice Muhammed Uwais, Professor Attahiru Jega
journal of african elections vol11 number 1 transparent democratic governance in africa