The Economics department of Nile University held a seminar on May 2, 2019. The event, themed “The Role of Ideology in Nigeria’s 2019 Elections,” was aimed at discussing and explaining the factors that determine the outcomes of elections in Nigeria. Giving the seminar’s keynote presentation, Mr. Sa’eed Hussaini (Doctoral Student, University of Oxford) stated that ideology plays a more significant role in Nigerian politics than political scientists acknowledge. Using his empirical study of the 2014 Ekiti state elections (in which Fayose defeated Fayemi) as an example, he asserted that contrary to popular opinion, factors such as a candidate’s relatability/authenticity, sensitiveness to the needs of the people, etc. are as much critical (perhaps even more so) to his or her chances of success in an election as the common strategy of sharing money and other material thing to voters. Going further, he stated that the country’s political parties are not “empty shells”; they have dedicated members who attend meetings year round and genuinely believe in their respective parties’ manifestos and candidates. Thus, it would amount to an oversimplification to refer to the country’s elections as a process that is always dominated by the highest bidder. Following Mr. Hussaini’s presentation was a question and answer session during which he fielded the questions of the audience.
Notable individuals present at the event were Assoc. Prof. Gylich Jelilov (Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences) and Assoc. Prof. Chigozie Enwere (Senior Lecturer, Political Science and International Relations), among others.