The prelude to the 2011 general elections came with the ascension of Professor Attahiru Jega to the leadership of Independent National Electoral Commission, while the federal government of Nigeria through the good grace of the president of the federal republic, ensured that all the necessary and required funds that are needed for a successful polling exercise was released to the electoral umpire. Thus, nearly a sum of one hundred billion naira was allocated for a standardized voters register, the general presumption and the fundamental assumption being that the process is expected to produce an election that meets the barest minimum standards, in the quality of the results obtained and achieved by the participants in the electoral processes, a universally acceptance by both the winners and losers in the content of the polling exercise, achieving a certain degree of credibility for the electoral body that has been eroded for years by the skeptical Nigerian public and creating a new level of trust in the concept of electoral democracy as the easiest means of ensuring good and responsible governance to the greatest majority of people, the grand assumption being the attainment of a society that is at peace with a process that solves its immediate needs, thus good governance is ably rewarded with a re-election while bad leadership is equally punished with a defeat.
The process that started the whole electoral exercise was the production of an authentic voter register, that captures the finger prints of an eligible voter and contains the picture of a potential voter in the electoral exercise, these was achieved through the spending of colossal amount of resource that could have provided a permanent relief in the form of the needed democracy dividends, yet the Nigerian people accepted that it is the quality of the process that creates the opportunity for having responsive governance, through the voting-in of individuals and persons that identify with their general wishes and aspirations, while those guilty of betrayal of the people's trust are punished and consigned to the ignominy of defeat and political perdition, thus a simply cost analysis on the amount spent in relation to the result results obtained suffices here. Putting it in a more simpler form the question arises, does the end justifies the means in having an election, that had the results of returning almost eighty percent of incumbent leadership in a nation yearning and crying for change through good governance, though the twenty percent change obtained could be attributed to the quality of the process, yet other reasons could have created the shift in party allegiance, like instances of having a proactive population that are galvanized to cause change despite all odds.
Indeed the electoral process actually created the needed avenue for change in some disparate areas of the country, thereby aiding the people in the south-western part of Nigeria to achieve the desired shift in the political platform of governance in the region, by the substitution of the ruling People's Democratic Party with the Action Congress of Nigeria as the political party in government. However an opposite change of the current voting trend was achieved during the 2003 general elections, where the People's Democratic Party swept the Alliance for Democracy out of power, the party being the progenitor of the current Action Congress of Nigeria, all of this was attained with the manually collated voters register that was adequate to create the needed environment for change. In Kano also the People's Democratic Party was able to wrest power from an incumbent and current government of the All Nigeria People's Party, these indeed is an achievement and accolade worth heaping on the sanctity of the electoral agency and its processes, yet in the same 2003 governorship elections in Kano state, the reverse was the case as it is the All People's Party that uprooted the People's Democratic Party from the government house.
Regarding the presidential elections and the shift or otherwise the office made in terms of the political party that was able to win that seat, actually it is only the People's Democratic Party that is still holding that office, thus it could be safely said the trumpeted general improvement in the electoral process did not create a change in the occupants of the office, in fact the general aggregate numbers of votes casted in the two elections are also nearly similar, despite the general belief that the population growth of the Nigerian nation has increased considerably, as such, while the total number of votes casted in the 2003 presidential elections was recorded as 42,018,735 million, the cumulative sum of votes casted in the 2011 presidential elections was calculated at 39,469,484 million. In the case of the remainder of states in the Nigerian federation, they merely stuck to the parties that were ruling them since the beginning the democratic governance in 1999, and the few states that changed governing parties was either through the instrumentality of judicial court processes and the infamous cross carpeting undertaken by individuals office holders to move to political platforms of convenience.
Yet one of cardinal and fundamental characteristics of a functioning democracy in any part of the world, is the ability of the system to avail its adherents the right cause a change of governance, in instances where the people desire and need a replacement in the leadership governing the society. In the case of Nigeria as in the recent 2011 elections, the 2003 exercise also enabled the people to actualize such changes in the administrative governance of state, thus considering the huge and vast sums of money spent and coupled with all the hassles the people went through, in terms of the number of people lost in the mismanaged post election crisis, more so as the political parties that lost in the elections have vowed to seek redress in the courts, what actually is the new breath of fresh air in the set-up that produced the 2011 general elections.