Project Title: 2015 Nigerian Presidential Election: A New Reality
Student: Memme Onwudiwe
Mentor: Dr. James Franklin

After the end of 33 years of military rule, Nigeria returned to democracy in 1998. The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has won every election in the new republic, but many of these elections have been everything but free and fair. The 2007 presidential election was wrought with corruption and violence. There was vast improvement in 2011, an election often referred to as Nigeria’s best ever, despite 800 deaths in election violence. The 2010 appointment of Attiheru Jega as chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was seen as the catalyst for 2011’s improvement. The 2015 election will bring new challenges like the terror organization Boko Haram and a newly formed opposition party capable of challenging the PDP. This paper examines INEC strategies and potential threats for the 2015 election through personal interviews with several stakeholders in Nigerian society. These unique perspectives are invaluable to better understanding an election that could destabilize the nation and possibly the region. Stakeholders interviewed include journalists and politicians who are deeply engaged in Nigerian civil society, INEC directors who clearly delineate detailed steps of commission plans, and INEC chairman Attiheru Jega.