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Policy Brief on Nigeria: - Nigeria’s 2015 General Elections: Crumbling or Consolidating Democracy?

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   1. Introduction
In 2015 Nigerians will go to the polls to elect their next president, state governors and legislators. The elections will mark the fifth multiparty elections in Nigeria since the return of democracy in 1999 following about 16 years of military dictatorship. Even amidst skirmishes and complains of electoral fraud, the previous elections in 2011 were described by both international and local observers as the most successful the country has ever had and this has raised expectations of further progress and improvement in the electioneering process. However, the optimism for the consolidation of democracy through improved electoral process is seemingly being challenged, by a peevish political and security landscape in the lead-up to 2015.

The political and security crescendos in Nigeria at the moment is a major reason the 2015 general elections is a source of concern to both local and international analysts. Data from WANEP-Nigeria National Early Warning System (NEWS) shows an average of 400 deaths per month for the last six months. Topping the charts of the causes of deaths are issues of insurgencies especially the activities of radical ethno-religious groups that have been trying to dismember the North East and North Central parts of the country recording over 2,800 deaths in March 2014 alone from either the attackers or the security operative’s responses.

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