The election process in Nigeria: Candidate selection, finance and outcomes

Research Question: How do candidate selection rules and campaign finance impact on electoral outcomes?

This CSAE and University of Ibadan research project aims to understand both quantitatively and qualitatively how candidate characteristics/selection, and campaign finance determine electoral outcomes in Nigeria. This research will encompass the gathering of reliable datasets on political candidates and campaign finance categories both at the primary and state/federal elections, for all main parties.

In the quantitative part of the study we ultimately aim to combine the mentioned datasets with voting data from the 2007 election (Afrobarometer pre-election survey – already available - and actual 2007 and earlier disaggregated election results – to be sought) with 2004 household survey data (already available). Corresponding analysis will gain an understanding of the socio-economic determinants of the election results, namely by examining how the process of selecting political office holders and the nature of campaign finance/spending in Nigeria affect the quality of governance/accountability, and the electoral behaviour of voters.

On the candidate selection side, a pilot study is underway to gather a complete list of successful and unsuccessful candidates for governorship elections for both primary and actual elections. This refers to all 36+1 Nigerian states, and includes for each candidate a set of broad characteristics: education (of primary importance), professional experience (sector, ranking, by years), party affiliation, political experience/endorsements/sponsorship, criminal records, origin/gender/age and other basic demographics.

A pilot study is also currently being implemented on the campaign finance front. For that a questionnaire was designed to quantify campaign finance contributions by source and to discriminate each of the spending choices during the electoral campaign in all types of elections. This questionnaire will be administered to 25 candidates by senior Ibadan staff.

Both pilot studies will enable to have a competent picture of the obstacles to systematic, broader-scale data collection. They will also enable immediate qualitative analysis on the research questions at stake. This qualitative exercise will also encompass: on candidate selection - it will examine and compare party rules and procedures of selection with the constitutional and statutory rules and procedures to determine the extent of compliance; on campaign finance - it will focus on the sources of campaign funds in terms of source, quantity and distribution across the political spectrum to determine accessibility and competitiveness.

Output

Researchers

John Ayoade (Ibadan), Bayo Okunade (Ibadan), Pedro Vicente (CSAE, Oxford), with the collaboration of Robert Bates (Harvard), Michael Bratton (Afrobarometer and Michigan State), Paul Collier (CSAE, Oxford), Jennifer Widner (Princeton).