Crime Control In Political Violence And The Electoral Process In Nigeria: An Overview Of The 2007 Presidential Election
Elections in Nigeria since political independence, has been characterized by violence activities that often resulted in socio-economic tension of unrest whoever they are shows signs of violence either overtly or governmentally in words or action. They fighting or preparing to fight; either are moody counting their loses of past struggle, or busy celebrating the dividends of their pyrrhic victory. In view of this trend, this study examines political violence and political participation in Nigeria with special focus on in Akwa-Ibom State. Findings of the paper reveal; that electoral violence has significantly hindered political participation in Akwa-Ibom State; that electoral violence has impacted negatively on good governance, that electoral violence has also hindered several efforts towards democratic consolidation in Nigeria. It was recommended among other things; that law should be enacted to criminalize acts of electoral violence in Akwa-Ibom State; that voter education should be extensively conducted by stakeholders on the implications of electoral violence in democratic consolidation in Akwa-Ibom State, neutrality of the security agencies in the period of elections in Akwa-Ibom State among others.
Table of Content
- 1.1 Background of the study
- 1.2 Statement of the problem
- 1.3 Objective of the study
- 1.4 Research questions
- 1.5 Significance of the study
- 1.6 Scope of the study
- 1.7 Limitation of the study
- 1.8 Definition of terms
- 1.9 Organizations of the study
Review of Literature
- 2.1 Conceptual framework
- 2.2 Theoretical Framework
- 2.3 Empirical review
- 3.1 Research Design
- 3.2 Population of the study
- 3.3 Sample size determination
- 3.4 Sample size selection technique and procedure
- 3.5 Research Instrument and Administration
- 3.6 Method of data collection
- 3.7 Method of data analysis
- 3.8 Validity of the study
- 3.9 Reliability of the study
- 3.10 Ethical consideration
Data Presentation and Analysis
- 4.1 Data Presentation
- 4.2 Analysis of Data
- 4.3 Answering Research Questions
- 4.5 Interpretation of Result
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation
- 5.1 Summary
- 5.2 Conclusion
- 5.3 Recommendation
1.1 Background to the Study
Elections are considered as cardinal and indispensable in the practice of modern democracy. According to Nnoli (1990) “It is closely tried to the growth and development of democratic political order that is generally held to be the single most important indicator of the presence or absence of democratic government”. Elections if properly organized, devoid of rigging and all forms electoral manipulations and malpractices do not only establish and entrench democracy, but confers legitimacy on the leadership that emerged from the process, the political institutions, polices and programmes that accompany such administration.
Election has been defined as the manner of choice agreed upon by people out of many to occupy one or a number of positions of authority (Nnoli, 2003). Elections have always been the legitimate way of transferring power from one regime to another through ballot box. Through election, popular conduct and participation in public affairs is created in the society, Ugoh (2004).
The current global emphasis on democratisation has made election an inevitable process of leadership choice and succession. Obviously, the success of every conditional democracy is tried to the integrity of electoral process while the quality of a representative government is also lived to the capacity of state to evolve viable, transparent, and trusted electoral machinery that will inspire the interest and confidence of broad spectrum of civil society and contending factions of political society (Okolie, 2008).
Regrettably, election in Nigeria since political independence has been characterized by violent action that often results in socio-economic tension and unrest. This has indeed remained a recurring decimal in Nigeria’s political life despite efforts at curbing it.
Ever since Nigeria’s independence in 1960 and her return to democratic rule which led to the conduct of her general elections in 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015 and recently 2019, none of her elections was free from violence. This to a great extent seems to hamper the citizens’ spirit of participation in the politics of the country. Adoke, (2011), noted that electoral violence has become a reinforcing phenomenon in Nigeria’s post- independence history. According to him, successive elections depicted chaos, violence, and confusion. As such, its attendant consequences have significantly constituted a fraction of the several remote and immediate factors that had threatened the corporate existence of Nigeria especially in her quest to achieve democratic consolidation. Sincerely speaking, elections in Nigeria is wrongly perceived by many politicians as do or die affair, that is why they do all manner of things to maneuver their rivals either by hook or crook means.
Political violence refers to all collective attacks within a political community against the political regime, its actors- including competing political groups as well as incumbents or its policies (Halliru, 2013).
According to Millington (2007), from confrontations during strikes to the street battles of extremist groups, violence was a feature of interwar European politics, as countries entered an age of mass politics, governments searched for ways to integrate their peoples into the political system. He stressed that, yet violence as a means of political expression and engagement persisted, even in democratic nations (Millington, 2007). Violent political conflict preceded the establishment of fascist regimes in Italy and Germany, and civil war in Spain, in Eastern Europe, the collapse of empire and the founding of new nation-states gave rise to violent political struggle, in France and Britain, street fighting and rioting raised fears over the breakdown of order in the western democracies (Millington, 2007).
More so, according to Human Security Report Oxford university (2005) out of 30 major political violence recorded in 2000, there were 23 civil wars, of which ten were in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). These wars are estimated to have resulted in over four million deaths and have cost the countries in question more than $138 billion (in 1995 prices). However, by the turn of the 21st century, Sub-Saharan Africa has become the most violent region, accounting for more battle-related deaths than all other regions combined (Human Security Centre, 2005).
From the years 1999 Nigeria witnessed an unprecedented increase in acts of political violence across the country arising from the formation of ethnic and political militia, such as Oduduwa People Congress (OPC), in the South-West of Nigeria, ECOMOG in Borno State, Kalare in Gombe State, and Sara – Suka in Bauchi State among others (Umar, 2003). Furthermore, Individual politicians and groups (political parties and ethnic group formations) have in unequivocal terms demonstrated their readiness to employ violence to achieve their personal goals (Umar, 2003). This state of affairs has caused an ominous cloud over the sustenance of democracy and raised concerns over the future of Nigeria as a political entity (Umar, 2003).
Obviously, the preponderance of these violence have seriously affected the turnout of many citizens in participating to elect those who steer the affairs of leadership in the country as they are constantly in fear of who becomes the next victim. It is based on the background that this paper becomes imperative to investigate the political violence and political participation in Nigeria.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
What appeared to be a free, credible and peaceful presidential election, took on a different coloration overnight. The human Rights Watch reported that the presidential election divided the country along ethnic and religious lines. As election results trickled in on April 17, and it became clear that Buhari had lost, his supporters who are mostly Almajiri and Islamic clerics took to the streets of northern towns and cities to protest what they alleged to be the rigging of the results. The protests soon turned to skirmish which quickly degenerated into sectarian and ethnic bloodletting across the northern states. Muslim rioters targeted and killed Christians and members of ethnic groups from southern Nigeria, who were perceived to have supported the ruling party, burning their churches, shops, and homes. The rioters also attacked police stations and ruling party and electoral commission offices.
Despite the fact that democracy is the system of government that is widely accepted by all as the best all over the world, its practice and ways of its consolidation in developing countries like Nigeria and other parts of Africa has remained a serious challenge. It is obvious that one of the ways to achieve democratic consolidation is to sustain the tenets of democracy of which free and fair election condition is inclusive. Unfortunately several efforts to achieve peaceful, free and fair election in Nigeria over the years has been seriously marred by varying degrees of violence ranging from arson, destruction of properties to kidnapping, assassination of political opponents and killing of innocent citizens. It is based on the backdrop that this paper investigates Political Violence And Political Participation In Nigeria (2007-2015).
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The broad objective of this study is to investigate crime control in political violence and the electoral process in Nigeria: An overview of the 2007 presidential election, specifically, the paper sought;
- To determine the rate of electoral crime during the 2007 electoral process in Nigeria
- To examine the prevalent electoral crime during the 2007 electoral process in Nigeria
- To ascertain the adequacy of electoral crime control mechanism during the 2007 electoral process in Nigeria
1.4 Research Questions
- Were there electoral crimes during the 2007 electoral process in Nigeria ?
- What were the electoral crimes during the 2007 electoral process in Nigeria ?
- What were the causes of electoral crimes during the 2007 electoral process in Nigeria ?
- Were the crimes adequately controlled during the 2007 electoral process in Nigeria ?
1.5 Significance of the Study
The study has both theoretical and practical significance. Theoretically, the study has the potential of contributing greatly to existing body of literature on elections and political violence. This work will provide the student of political science and political history, the needed framework for tackling the issues of political violence in future elections.
The findings of this study will also provide valuable information in articulating potential policies that will help address the problems of political and electoral violence. In other word, the research could help the policy makers (lawmakers or government) in making laws and will help the securities to prevent the possible potential political and electoral violence in the city.
Finally, it will provide the relevant knowledge and serves as a tool and reference materials to future studies which would make useful contributions to any study on same topic or any related topic on elections and political violence.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The focus of this study is on the Crime Control In Political Violence And The Electoral Process In Nigeria: An Overview Of The 2007 Presidential Election. As such the research has been limited to five major wards in Iko-Ekpene. The studies emphases will be on 2007 happened being the period that witnessed an unprecedented increase in the acts of political violence in the country.
1.7 Limitations of the Study
Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, newspapers, magazines, journals etc.). More so, there is scarcity of relevant materials on the issue due to its evolving and spontaneous nature.
The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work. However despite these constraint, the researcher was able to overcome these challenges and made sure that the work was completed successfully.
1.8 Definition of Terms and Concept
Is the activities with the governance of a state or area, especially the debate between parties having power.
These are all forms of illegalities, manipulations and killings in order to secure political power at all cost.
This is the system of selecting leaders and political representatives in a state through campaign and election.
1.9 Organization of the Study
The chapter one consist of the introductory part of the study which includes the study background, the statement of the research problem, the study objective and scope of the study.
The second chapter is a critical review of other literatures relevant to the study and its objectives including the theoretical framework for the study. While the third chapter is methods of data collection, sampling and data analysis used in conducting the study. The fourth chapter centres around the research findings including an analysis of how it relates to previous findings. The fifth chapter consists of the summary of findings, conclusion and recommendations base on the study objectives.
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations
This chapter is strictly on the summary of the findings from which the researcher will derives his conclusion and recommendation or possible solutions to the topic in question.
The paper has established that election is indispensable in any democracy since it gives the citizens the opportunity to take part in governance by choosing those who steer the affairs of leadership in the state. However, such election becomes relevant when it is conducted in line with the acceptable norms set by the national laws of a given state that operates such system to enable a peaceful transfer of power. In Nigeria and Akwa-Ibom state in Particular, several attempts to conduct peaceful election appears to be challenging, hence this study. Going by the findings of the study, it can be concluded that electoral violence has significantly hindered political participation among the citizens and has constituted a serious challenge towards achieving democratic consolidation in Nigeria.
In view of the findings made, the paper recommends as follows;
- That stakeholders such as the National orientation Agency and Civil Society Groups should as a matter of urgency embark on rapid mass voter education for Akwa-Ibomans in order to enable them understand the implications of electoral violence on democratic consolidation in the State.
- That Akwa-Ibom State government should do everything within her capacity to create employment and employment opportunities for the teeming youths as it will go a long way to change their attitudes and divert their attention from being used by politicians to perpetuate political violence in the State.
- That security Agencies should at all-time maintains neutrality while handling violent cases during election periods in Akwa-Ibom State.
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