Voting Behaviour and Pattern of Voting in Nigeria’s 2015 General Elections: A Narrative in Transition
Elections involve choice. The choice is usually determined and chosen from a set of alternatives known to the voter. The choice could either be picked as a result of the attractiveness of a party’s manifestoes, ethnicity or as a result of the personality of one of the contestants among other factors. Yet elections in Nigeria have often been violent, fraud ridden and not reflective of voters’ choice. Since independence, empirical research into the political behaviour and voting pattern of Nigerian voters remain scanty, due to the aforementioned violence and fraud. The only pattern noticeable, which was not reflective of the behavioural pattern of voters, is that the ruling party never loses, especially when the incumbent is contesting the election. But the 2015 general elections witnessed some unique specificities in the electoral process. Incumbents lost, opposition candidates won electoral contests and the elections were generally adjudged much freer, fairer and more credible, when compared to previous elections in the country. The question then is what was the predominant vote pattern in the 2015 general election? Using primary data from Interview and V-Dem survey on Nigeria’s 2015 elections, the study unravelled the factors that influenced participation and behaviour of voters in 2015 elections which could be used to build a more solid understanding of the Nigerian voter and future poll projection.