Security Agents and Election Monitoring in Nigeria
Engaging International Best Practices
Keywords:Security Agents, International, Comparative Analysis, Structural Functionalism, Electoral Violence
Election is termed as the heart of democracy all over the world. Peoples feeling of trust in the processes of election across the globe is principally dependent on their confidence in the security agents and enduring infrastructure that make elections free and fair. Thus, the focus of election monitoring is to change the behaviour of would-be cheaters, specifically to prevent cheating by rendering it more risky, more costly, and essentially prohibitive. Problematically, the practice of election monitoring in Nigeria is rendered vulnerable to abuse through manipulation of the entire system. The political parties, especially those in power seek to manipulate security agencies to serve partisan interests. Hence, security agents allegedly perpetrate acts or threats of coercion, intimidation, or physical harm to affect an electoral process that arise in the context of electoral competition. In most cases, the outcomes of the elections are not the true reflection of choices of the electorates. The study sets out to comparatively interrogate the role of security agents in election monitoring in Nigeria and United States of America by citing examples from the U.S.A. Anchoring the discourse on structural functionalism as the beacon of analysis, explanatory research design, documentary method of data collection and content analysis as the research method. Findings of the study point to the fact that Nigerian electorates have lost hope in Nigeria’s key electoral actors and monitoring agencies reflecting a broader narrative of mistrust and uncertain confidence in the state’s electoral/security institutions as opposed to international best practices evident in the developed nations like U.S. The study recommends massive education and training for security agents, improvement in the welfare and promotion of security agents, and reduction in the volume of money and allowances paid to politicians.