Writer: Mbami Iliya Sabka

In recent years, Nigeria has witnessed a troubling trend that poses a grave threat to its democratic ideals – the rampant practice of election rigging and the insidious attempt to pervert justice before the election tribunals. This article sheds light on the perilous consequences of these actions, arguing that they amount to a modern coup against our democracy, and are even more sinister than military coups of the past.

Election Rigging: A Systemic Threat to Democracy

Elections form the foundation of any democratic system, allowing citizens to exercise their right to choose their leaders. However, election rigging has become an alarming issue in Nigeria, undermining the very essence of democratic governance. The manipulation of electoral processes, be it through voter intimidation, ballot stuffing, or result manipulation, erodes the trust citizens have in their government and dilutes their voice in shaping the nation’s future.

Perverting Justice before Election Tribunals

The existence of election tribunals is crucial to uphold the integrity of the electoral process, as they provide a legal recourse for contesting election outcomes. However, the increasing attempts to pervert justice before these tribunals have raised serious concerns about the state of our democracy. Politicians, driven by greed and hunger for power, are resorting to dubious means to manipulate the judiciary and secure favorable verdicts, thereby subverting the democratic will of the people.

Modern Coup: Striking at the Heart of Democracy

In its essence, election rigging combined with attempts to pervert justice represents a modern coup against Nigeria’s democratic values. Instead of relying on the military to overthrow the government, unscrupulous elements are now exploiting legal and electoral institutions to impose their will upon the nation. By doing so, they trample upon the rights of the citizens and jeopardize the future of our democratic experiment.

Criminality and Impunity

The practice of election rigging and perverting justice is not only an attack on democracy but also a criminal act. It involves various illegal activities, including bribery, electoral fraud, and tampering with evidence, which should be met with stern legal repercussions. Unfortunately, the prevalence of impunity exacerbates the situation, as those responsible for these criminal acts often escape justice, emboldening others to continue subverting the democratic process.

Worse Than Military Coups

Comparing these modern-day coups with historical military coups may seem alarming, but the implications are indeed graver. Military coups were often short-lived and led to direct rule, allowing citizens to rally for the restoration of democracy. In contrast, the erosion of democratic principles through election rigging and justice perversion infiltrates the very foundations of our system, making it harder for the voice of the people to be heard and respected.


The current state of corruption in Nigeria, particularly in the form of election rigging and attempts to pervert justice before election tribunals, poses a severe threat to our democracy. This modern coup, fueled by criminal actions and carried out with impunity, is even more dangerous than military coups of the past. To safeguard our democracy, it is imperative that we, as citizens, demand accountability, transparency, and a commitment to upholding the rule of law from our leaders and institutions. Only then can we hope to preserve the democratic ideals that our nation was founded upon.


Mbami Iliya Sabka
Human Rights Investigator

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