Electoral Participation in Nigeria


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The Slack-Variable Mathematical Inequalities of  Electoral Participation in Nigeria




Mobolaji E. Aluko, Ph.D.


Sunday, January 5, 2003



Is there a rational approach to deciding to take part in any given  election process? I believe that there is, so let me explain.


I believe that winning ANY particular election is a simple  mathematical formula, and can be reduced to a simple index WC for  each candidate:

WC = W1*(ideas) + W2*(money) + W3*(strategy) + W4*(electoral oversight) + W5*(perception of previous performance in same or similar office)

where W1 + W2 + W3 + W4 + W5 = 1

Sum of WC = 1 for all candidates

The quantities in bracket are also assumed to be normalized  quantities, that is each is less that the value 1.

That one candidate with the greatest WC has the GREATEST CHANCE of  winning the election according to my theory. If your WC is less than  0.5, don't even try to participate!


Well, as for me and my household, I will NEVER participate in ANY  electoral election, on my street, in my university, in Ekiti State or  in Nigeria UNTIL and UNLESS I determine IN MY OWN MIND that

W1 + W4 + W5 > = 0.75


(ideas) + (money) + (strategy) > 0.75


I believe that right now in Nigeria, that sub-sum inequalities are:

W1 + W4 + W5 < = 0.25


W2 >= 0.5

that is, the WEIGHTING of ideas and electoral oversight and  perception of previous performance are so slight that they are easily  overwhelmed by the money issue. Electoral oversight is also very  thin, too thin in fact.  [For the very few mathematically-challenged among our readers ">= " means "greater than or equal to" and <= means "less than or equal to."]

Notice that in Nigeria right now, according to my theory, any given  election in any given place, it does not mean that the man or woman with good ideas and even better strategy cannot win. It just means  that he or she has an uphill battle, because the weightings are not  in his or her favor. Also too many take part in elections when the
only sub-sum that they have control over is seriously deficient, namely:

(ideas) + (money) + (strategy) < 0.25


How do we address the above in order to improve the quality of  electoral participation, get more quality people elected (or retain  them) and boot out political rogues?

I have always called for ELECTORAL REFORMS as the first step of  righting this imbalance in weightings because the MONEY FACTOR is  very closely linked with efforts to sabotage the ELECTORAL OVERSIGHT. This starts even with the choice of delegates - whether they are a  select "collegiate" few, a "party members only", or all the  electorate before we get to the choice between candidates.

I believe that a fundamental aspect of electoral reform must be the  uncompromised notion that the total number of votes counted and  announced for all candidates must be equal to the number of voters  sighted at the polling booth. A second notion is that the electoral  season must be severely limited in terms of days or months. [TheBritish short season comes to mind here.]

I believe that both of those will raise the weighting W4. Next, the  quantity (electoral oversight) will be greatly enhanced by the  presence of independent election monitors, both public (eg INEC, SIEC  and party monitors) but particularly private (e.g. NGOs).

Finally, the weight W2 will be reduced by government financing of the  electoral process, and setting of maximum contributions by private  party financiers, coupled with the shortened political season  mentioned above.


Until then, let me repeat:

"As for me and my household, I will NEVER participate in ANY electoral election, on my street, in my university, in Ekiti State or in Nigeria UNTIL and UNLESS I determine IN MY OWN MIND that

W1 + W4 + W5 > = 0.75


(ideas) + (money) + (strategy) > 0.75 "

Maybe by 2007, these slack variable inequality equations would have  been fulfilled - but not in 2003. Any other thing for me will be a  foolhardy suspension of judgement - or plain clinical insanity.

Have a good Sunday!



SUNDAY MUSINGS: The Imperatives of Constitutional and Electoral Reforms in Nigeria Mobolaji E. Aluko; May 6, 2001



SUNDAY MUSINGS: INEC Finally Passes Some Constitutional Tests Mobolaji E. Aluko; December 29, 2002


http://www.ngrguardiannew.com/editorial_opinion/article01 "The Delegate"  in The GuardianRueben Abati;  January 5, 2003



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