Election Management Systems and Peaceful Alternation of Power between Incumbent and Opposition Governments in Ghana and Nigeria


  • Harrison Adewale Idowu Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria
  • N. Oluwafemi ‘Femi’ Mimiko Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Nigeria




Alternation of Power, Election Management, Election Management System, Ghana, Government, Incumbent, Nigeria, Opposition


Across most democracies in Africa, election management is largely problematic, and peaceful alternation of power between incumbent and opposition governments is usually infrequent and rancorous. The role of election management systems in such power alternations, specifically in Ghana and Nigeria, is not adequately covered in literature. Adopting an exploratory research design and qualitative methodology, this article explores the role of election management in the peaceful alternation of power between incumbent governments and opposition parties in the countries. It relies on primary data sourced from semi-structured interviews and secondary literature. The results show that, in Ghana, election management system is largely credible, thus, influenced incumbents’ willingness to peacefully hand over power to opposition, whereas, in Nigeria, peaceful alternation took place despite flawed election management system. The study concludes that while election management was significant for peaceful power alternation in Ghana, it was not for Nigeria.

Author Biographies

Harrison Adewale Idowu, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria

Harrison Idowu is a lecturer at Adekunle Ajasin University, Nigeria and a researcher at the Department of Political Science, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. His research interests include democratization and democracy, electoral politics and comparative studies. Harrison has written articles published in both local and international outlets, including book chapter contributions. One of his recent publications is the co-authored article “Liberia: Understanding Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanisms in Post-Conflict Societies.” Conflict Studies Quarterly 2019 (26): 3-21. He has been privileged to win several fully funded grants to attend local and international conferences. Harrison also serves as a reviewer for several reputable journals.

N. Oluwafemi ‘Femi’ Mimiko, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Nigeria

N. Oluwafemi ‘Femi’ Mimiko is a Professor of Political Science at Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Nigeria. He was SSRC-MacArthur Foundation Visiting Scholar, Watson Institute, Brown University, Providence, RI; Korean Foundation Visiting Fellow, The Academy of Korean Studies, Seoul; and Senior Fulbright Scholar and Visiting Professor, United States Military Academy (USMA), WestPoint, NY. He is a recipient of USMA Army Commander’s Public Service Award, 2004; and author of Globalization: The Politics of Global Economic Relations and International Business. Mimiko was Vice Chancellor (President), Adekunle Ajasin University, Nigeria, 2010 to 2015; and member, the National Institute, Kuru, Nigeria. In 2016/2017, he had a stint as African and African-American Studies Associate at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA. His research interests include international relations, comparative political economy, and development and transition studies.


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How to Cite

Adewale Idowu, H., & Mimiko, N. O. ‘Femi’. (2020). Election Management Systems and Peaceful Alternation of Power between Incumbent and Opposition Governments in Ghana and Nigeria. Politikon: The IAPSS Journal of Political Science, 44, 88–111. https://doi.org/10.22151/politikon.44.5