In the contemporary world of today, elections have become the most accepted means of changing the government. Although history has shown that it is usually difficult to hold elections that are free and fair. But the importance of a good electoral act cannot be underestimated especially in a developing country like Nigeria where elections were reported to be marred by irregularities by foreign and local observers. It is on this basis that this paper critically observed, even with the electoral reforms carried out, the reasons why there were violence after the 2011 general election and recommended that adopting the basic part of the reforms, devolvement of power at the centre are other plausible way forward to true and sustainable democratic system in Nigeria.
The electoral system of any given country plays a fundamental role in sustaining and moulding the political behaviour of its citizens (Okolo,2000). The way and manner election is conducted in a country goes a long way to determine the level of poltical culture, political participation and good governance in the country. These ascertion give a clue to the importance a of good and healthy electoral system in a country. Since democracy means rule by the people, people are supposedly able to choose politicians they want to represent their interest in the government through election. Although history has it that it is usually difficult to hold elections that are completely free and fair. In 2004, the election that gave victory to former President George W. Bush of the United States were alleged to have been marred by irregularities in the state of Florida (Falana,2009). But that is not to say a country cannot experience free, fair and credible election. At least the election that brought President Obama of United States and late Prof. John Atta Mills of Ghana to power bear testimonies to this. However, we must quick to point here that conducting elections has been the major bane confronting Africa countries. Studies on elections have revealed that transiting from one regime to another is often the problem in most African state (Falana, 2009). The violence that occur before, during and after which the elections must have taken place (post-election violence) often bring about instability in the political system in most Africa countries without excluding Nigeria. No doubt, election violence has been the major bane of Nigeria democratic sustainability since 1964 general election. Despite with the implementation of the electoral reforms headed by justice Uwais which was saddled with the responsiblity to make recommendations on how to restore sanity to the nation’s electotal process, when all are at rest, the worse ever post-election violence sparked up in major Northern states in Nigeria leading to death of hundred of people and destruction of properties. This is a fundamental pointer to the fact that something must have been wrong with the reform or other ingredients that can make Nigeria experience free and fair election and make her a true democratic country are missing. It on these basis that this paper beam it searchlight on the problems of elections in Nigeria, the weakness of the electoral reforms, the reasons for the violence that occured after the 2011 general election i.e post-election violence and concrete plausible way forward to avoid future violence in subsequent general elections. Conceptual Clarification
To facilitate a better understanding of this work, there is need to give meaning and explanation of some of its important concepts. Thus, we proceed to give meaning to the concept of election and electoral reform. Election is an act of choosen or selecting candidates who will represent the people of a country in the parliament and in other positions in the government. Elections are highly organised channel of popular expression (Aderibigbe, 2006). The meaning of this lies in the fact that it is through the system of elections that the...