Nigerian General Elections Explained

Since its return to democracy in 1999, Nigeria has set out to hold free and fair democratic general elections every four years, where eligible and registered voters select from a number of candidates running for the Presidency and the National Assembly. This is often the primary and sole focus of the General Elections. Depending on terms and vacancies at the state and local levels, voters may, normally in separate elections, be also asked to consider candidates for offices in state, local and city or town government.

As a Nigerian voter, depending on where you reside, you are often called upon to focus on four kinds of positions up for a vote during General and State/Local Elections: (1) the President of Nigeria; (2) a Senate position in the National Assembly at the federal level; (3) a House of Representatives position in the National Assembly at the federal level; and (4) any number and range of elected positions at the levels of your State Government, District, Local Government Area, city or town.

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Four levels of offices for Nigerian voters
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Below are the four key levels of elected offices that all eligible voters should pay attention to as they prepare and inform themselves for election day.

Federal: The President

The President of Nigeria functions as the head of state in a federal, multi-party political system that includes a National Assembly as part of its checks and balances. Candidates for the Presidency typically undergo primary elections in their membership political party held months in advance. If you’d like to know further details about the Nigerian Presidency, please see the official government site here →

Federal: National Assembly, The Senate

The National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is a two-chamber legislative body comprising of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The Senate at the federal level is deemed the “upper chamber” of the National Assembly. The senators are typically elected during General Elections from the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, of Nigeria. The FCT is given one (1) senate seat and each state is given three (3) senate seats in the National Assembly. State senators are elected from one of their state’s three main districts. The General Elections thus produce 109 Distinguished Senators: 108 from districts within the 36 states, plus the Senator of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

If you’d like to know further details about the Nigerian Senate, their official government site has more information here →

Federal: National Assembly, The House of Representatives

The House of Representatives at the federal level is deemed the “lower chamber” of the National Assembly as well as the pre-eminent law-making body of the country. General Elections typically produce 360 members of the House of Representatives, with seats allotted and elected based on proportional population representation in each of the 36 states and the FCT. Note this difference in principle for allotting seats when comparing with the Senate (and think of the population in your state and district). If you’d like to know further details about the Nigerian House of Representatives, their official government site has more information here →

State, District, Local Government Area, City, and Town Offices

And throughout the Federation of Nigeria, in each of its 36 states and the FCT, and in each of their districts, local government areas, and cities or towns, there are elected governing bodies often similar, though not identical, to the executive office and the legislative chambers at the federal level. Thus as a Nigerian voter, in often separate State and Local Elections, you will be asked to evaluate a candidate for your state’s governor, deputy governor, members of your state’s House of Assembly, etc. If you’d like to know further details about the State Governments, first look to the list of states provided at this federal government site here then search for each state’s government site, most of which we provide for you here.

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Post-Elections Results

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FUTURE ELECTIONS

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