A Review of Understanding Election in Nigeria: The First 50 Years (1960-2010)


Professor Abdulhameed A. Ujo,

Reviewed By:

Muhammad Alamin Mahmud

DOI Number:


Published by:  International Institute for the study of election and Election Management, 2012

Number of Pages: 618

Professor A. A. Ujo is a prolific writer, with consolidated knowledge of Nigerian politics, having been involved in so many electioneering activities in different capacities and for quite a while. He also has written seminal papers and breakthrough articles on understanding elections covering both state levels and at the national level too. His voluminous book “Understanding Election in Nigeria: The First 50 years (1960-2010)” is encyclopedic on Nigerian elections, historic in capturing the trajectory and trend of Nigerian political parties and electioneering. The book is also rich with contextual information that guides to the understanding of Nigeria election over a considerable period of time -50 years. These years are veritably important and profoundly beyond the period needed in understanding any social phenomenon or human activity.

There is in this book cohesion of thought with its remarkable flow, tracing the erstwhile simple and manual approach of conducting elections, the evolution of both political parties and the development of Election in Nigeria. It also covers major transformations of the political scene in Nigeria; Godfatherism, Tazarce etc. Chronologically, the book can serve as a manual, guiding a reader to the understanding of Election in Nigeria in all aspects.

In organizing the chapters, like where the author treated “History and Development” page 19 in chapter two and “History of Election” page 49 in chapter three, a slight change of bringing the History in chapter two to chapter three would have set a better prelude that will usher the reader with a clearer perspective and well-grounded information to understanding Election in Nigeria. In addition, Definitions, Glossary and Acronym are in disarray in the Table of Contents. Also, in fig.19.1 and subsequent figures in pages 377-399, no description is provided nor place or date on the pictures of the victims of electoral violence recorded.

Another improved edition that will entail an update of the recent changes in Election in Nigeria will really be invaluable; the intricacies of Elections in Nigeria; the proliferation of political parties; unseating an incumbent president; postponement of elections; the introduction of voter’s card and card reader; interestingly less prevalence of political violence; inconclusiveness of elections and its aftermath; corruption in the judiciary that affects election tribunals; and the watershed in the use of social media- Twitter and Facebook in campaigns and general electioneering could as well be recorded.

By and large the book is second to none in covering elections in Nigeria, written by an expert with hands-on experience in elections. The book hitherto is unique and in two decades will be a distinctively indispensable handbook for any work germane to such themes as elections and political parties in Nigeria.

Finally, it makes the reader wonder, does the author uses “election” instead of “elections” in the title of the book to connote a particular meaning or is it a typing error?

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