2020 US presidential election fiasco: What lessons for Nigeria’s young democracy?

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By Kamal Tayo Oropo & Busayo Onijala
Lagos, Jan. 9, 2021 Any doubt that there is a perfect system must have been put to test with the unfortunate fallouts from the United States of America’s 2020 presidential elections.

The controversies surrounding the polls was characterised by lengthy electioneering and destruction of polling booths.

Others are tedious counting and recounting of votes as well as litigations alleging irregularities and fraud.

These controversies had brought into sharp focus the democracy in Nigeria and other developing democracies, particularly in Africa.

Nigeria, like many of its peers which gained independence in 1960s, often look up to the American democracy as a yardstick.

On its part, Nigeria is in its 22 years of unbroken democratic practice, dating back to 1999 when the military regime was terminated.

During these 22 years, the country had seen a president, Olusegun Obasanjo, completing statutory two terms in office.

For the first time in its entire years of nationhood, Nigeria successfully transited from one democratically elected president to another, when President Umaru Yar’Adua replaced Obasanjo in 2007.

The joy of this milestone soon ran into a constitutional dilemma with the death of President Yar’Adua in office, barely two years in office.

The Nigerian constitution did not envisage this constitutional dilemma and was not clear on successor.

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