Electoral Violence As A Threat To Nigeria’s Democracy 2019 General Election

Project and Seminar Material for Political Science

Electoral Violence As A Threat To Nigeria’s Democracy 2019 General Election


Abstract


This study was carried out to examine electoral violence as a threat to Nigeria’s democracy 2019 general election using Alimosho, Lagos State as a case study. The study was carried out to determine the prevalence of electoral violence in Nigeria, ascertain the factors responsible for electoral violence in Nigeria, and investigate the effect of electoral violence on Nigeria’s democracy. The survey design was adopted and the simple random sampling techniques were employed in this study. The population size comprised of residents of Alimosho, Lagos State. In determining the sample size, the researcher conveniently selected 147 respondents and 141 were validated. Self-constructed and validated questionnaire was used for data collection. The collected and validated questionnaires were analyzed using frequency tables, and mean scores. While the hypotheses was tested Chi-square statistical tool. The result of the findings reveals that the prevalence of electoral violence in Nigeria is high. Furthermore, the study revealed that the factors responsible for electoral violence in Nigeria includes: corruption, struggle for political power, lack of internal democracy, social division, and resource-based competition. Therefore, it is recommended that political enlightenment through voter education for the populace is also imperative for curbing political crises. People should be educated to seek redress in the law Courts instead of taking laws into their hands. The reality of Nigeria’s political life is that candidates cannot accept defeat without exhibiting acts of violence. This is not good for democracy. To mention but a few.


Table of Content


  • Title Page
  • Certification
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Table of Content
  • List of Tables
  • Abstract

Chapter One:

Introduction

  • 1.1 Background of the Study
  • 1.2 Statement of the Problem
  • 1.3 Objective of the Study
  • 1.4 Research Questions
  • 1.5 Research Hypothesis
  • 1.6 Significance of the Study
  • 1.7 Scope of the Study
  • 1.8 Limitation of the Study
  • 1.9 Definition of Terms
  • 1.10 Organisations of the Study

Chapter Two:

Review of Literature

  • 2.1 Conceptual Framework
  • 2.2 Theoretical Framework
  • 2.3 Empirical Review

Chapter Three:

Research Methodology

  • 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

Chapter Four:

Data Presentation and Analysis

  • 4.1 Data Presentation
  • 4.2 Analysis of Data
  • 4.3 Answering Research Questions
  • 4.4 Test of Hypotheses

Chapter Five:

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

  • 5.1 Summary
  • 5.2 Conclusion
  • 5.3 Recommendation
  • References
  • APPENDIX
  • QUESTIONNAIRE

Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background to the Study

Elections in Nigeria continue to elicit more than casual interest by Nigerian scholars due to the fact that despite the appreciation that only credible election can consolidate and sustain the country’s nascent democracy, over the years, Nigeria continues to witness with growing disappointments and apprehension inability to conduct peaceful, free and fair, open elections whose results are widely accepted and respected across the country (Igbuzor, 2010; Osumah and Aghemelo, 2010, Ekweremadu, 2011, Ojukwu, Mbah and Maduekwe, 2019). All the elections that have ever been conducted in Nigeria since independence have generated increasingly bitter controversies and grievances on a national scale because of the twin problems of mass violence and fraud that have become central elements of the history of elections and of the electoral process in the country (Gberie, 2011).

Since the Nigerian State assumed self-rule status from the British government on October 1st, 1960 and its celebration of 20 years of uninterrupted democratic rule from 1999-2019, the State has been battling rampant cases of violent elections in every election year. The preindependence Nigerian State witnessed various constitutional developments (such as the Clifford constitution 1922, Richard Constitution 1946, Macpherson Constitution 1951, Lyttleton Constitution 1954) that introduced the elective principle and a sharing of power that was not favourable to the regions that made up the amalgamated Nigeria (Obiam, 2021). The Macpherson Constitution of 1951, in particular, favoured the Northern region by giving the region 50% of political representation at the federal level. This was to the disadvantage of the Eastern and Western regions and this laid the foundation for grievances which escalated after independence (FFP, 2018). In the first general elections conducted in Nigeria in the year 1959, the country was divided into 312 constituencies while the distribution of seats among the regions shows: Northern region: 174, Eastern region: 73, Western region: 62, Lagos region: 3 and Southern Cameroon: 8 (Ujo, 2000; Obiam, 2021). The post-independence elections conducted in Nigeria have always been violent. CLEEN Foundation reported that even as early as the 1940s, elections worsened communal, political, and religious violence, and this became worse after independence in 1960 (CLEEN, 2015). The Human Rights Watch (2007) has described elections conducted in Nigeria as corrupt, abusive and violent. This description to Malu (2009) is apt because it appeared that Nigerians seem to have sustained a culture of electoral violence as the 1964/1965, 1979, 1983, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015, and 2019 elections conducted in the country witnessed violence (Malu cited in Obakhedo, 2011; CLEEN, 2019; Obiam, 2021).

According to Obakhedo (2011) “the Nigerian state has only added to her litany of electoral violence since the inception of the ongoing democratic era in 1999”. He further observed that the 1999, 2003 and 2007 presidential elections that brought President Olusegun Obasanjo and later the late President Umaru Yar’Adua to power were marred with widespread violence, fraud, and insecurity. Although, the 1999 presidential election witnessed little violence record largely because it was conducted under the military regime, the 2003 presidential election conducted by President Obasanjo government was characterized by rigging, thuggery, intimidation, manipulation of the electoral process, and politically induced killings of opponents.

After the declaration of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan – the candidate of the PDP – as the winner of the 2011 Presidential elections by the electoral body (the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)), the northern region of the country was thrown into the state of turmoil and disorder. Provocative posts sent through the social media worsened the tensions created by ethnic and religious campaigns by followers of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari. Human Rights Watch (2011) reported that about 800 lives were lost as a result of the post-election violence. In the same way, the Human Rights Watch (2011) posited that more than 65,000 people were displaced as a result of the 2011 post-election violence. The 2015 presidential election equally witnessed some degree of violence. The principal actors were the People Democratic Party (PDP) with Dr. Goodluck Jonathan as the flag bearer and the All Progressive Congress (APC) with Gen. Muhammadu Buhari as the flag bearer. The electoral process was characterized by hate speeches, slandering, victimizations, intimidations, killings and destruction of property. Electoral violence occurred before, during and after the election. Violence broke out during the registration period, after the winners were announced and on the main day of the elections in some sections of the Nigerian State (Campbell, 2019; Obiam, 2021). Close to the 2015 elections, security challenges became worrisome most specifically in Northern Nigeria. This is largely due to the sudden rise in the dreadful activities of Boko Haram which resulted in the postponement of the election by six weeks. The CLEEN Foundation Security Threat Assessment published in March 2015 found that 15 states were on a red alert level. The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in its Pre-Election Report stated that at least 58 persons have been killed even before the conduct of 2015 general elections (CLEEN, 2015). According to INEC, there were 66 reports of violent occurrence across the country. “The violence was recorded in Rivers State (16 incidents); Ondo (8); Cross Rivers (6); Ebonyi (6); Akwa Ibom (5); Bayelsa (4); Lagos and Kaduna (3 each); Jigawa, Enugu, Ekiti (2 each); Katsina, Kogi, Plateau, Abia, Imo, Kano and Ogun (one each)” (Vanguard, April 12, 2015). The European Union Election Observation Mission reported that about 30 persons were killed on April 11, 2015, Election Day, as a result of inter-party clashes and attacks on election places (EU EOM, 2015). Muhammadu Buhari eventually won the 2015 presidential elections with over 15 million votes, thereby unseating the incumbent president Goodluck Jonathan (Paden, 2016; Obiam, 2021).


1.2 Statement of the Problems

The continual electoral violence in Nigeria seems to suggest that candidates, supporters, political party members, and other electoral stakeholders participate in electoral violence from the first election held in Nigeria to the 2019 presidential election. Some of the violent means employed by politicians and their supporters to influence election outcome include assassination of opponents, disruption of voters registration in areas where the perpetrators lack political support, destruction of campaign billboards and posters of opponents, killings, harming and intimidating electorates during election, snatching of ballot boxes, disruption of rallies and campaigns of opponents, abuse and manipulations of security and law enforcement agencies, among others (Etannibi, 2011; Obiam, 2021). The 2019 presidential elections did not fare better, as the major contenders and their parties employed violence as a strategy to influence the outcome of the election. Many lives were lost and properties were destroyed. It follows from the above that in almost every election year, since independence, electoral violence has become part and parcel of the Nigerian electoral process. Scores of people have lost their lives to electoral violence, and property worth millions of naira has been destroyed.

Political succession remains contentious and highly challenging in many African countries. The privileges associated with power and the fear of being prosecuted by their successors causes some leaders to maintain control of the political process even through electoral manipulation and violence. For some years, the design of electoral systems to encourage cooperation, bargaining and interdependence between rival political leaders and the groups they represent has become increasingly crucial for the promotion of democracy in poor and divided societies. This seems to have made it increasingly difficult to hold elections without violence or protest in such settings. As political elites see elections as a means to capture the state apparatus and the resources it commands, electoral processes have come under severe threat. When will Nigeria and for that matter Africa as a whole conducts elections that would be transparent, credible and generally acceptable to all. Thus, the main thrust of this research is to examine the electoral violence as a threat to Nigeria’s democracy 2019 general election.


1.3 Objectives of the Study

The main objective of the study is to examine electoral violence as a threat to Nigeria’s democracy 2019 general election.

Specifically, the study sought to:

  1. Determine the prevalence of electoral violence in Nigeria.
  2. Ascertain the factors responsible for electoral violence in Nigeria.
  3. Investigate the effect of electoral violence on Nigeria’s democracy.

1.4 Research Questions

These research questions will be answered in this study

  1. What is the prevalence of electoral violence in Nigeria?
  2. What are the factors responsible for electoral violence in Nigeria?
  3. What is the effect of electoral violence on Nigeria’s democracy?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

  • Ho: Electoral violence has no negative impact on Nigeria’s democracy.
  • Ho: Electoral violence has a negative impact on Nigeria’s democracy.

1.6 Significance of the Study

The study will be of immense benefits to the society, policy makers, and security personals because it will outline the causes of electoral violence in Nigeria. This study is also significant because of the fact that it would reveal the major threats (effects) of electoral violence to democracy in Nigeria. Again, the study also will equally be significant to the extent that it would outline the effects of electoral violence to the lives and properties of the citizens.
The findings of this study will also provide valuable information in articulating potential policies that will help address the problems of political and electoral conflict. 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 conflict 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 electoral violence


1.7 Scope of the Study

This study focuses on electoral violence as a threat to Nigeria’s democracy 2019 general election. However the study will be delimited to Alimosho, Lagos State.


1.8 Limitations of the Study

As every human endeavor is once faced with a constraint, the same was tenable during the period of this study. In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, language barriers, and the attitude of the respondents. In addition, there was the element of researcher bias. Here, the researcher possessed some biases that may have been reflected in the way the data was collected, the type of people interviewed or sampled, and how the data gathered was interpreted thereafter. The potential for all this to influence the findings and conclusions could not be downplayed. More so, the findings of this study are limited to the sample population in the study area, hence they may not be suitable for use in comparison to other tertiary institutions in other , states, and other countries in the world.


1.9 Definition of Terms

Election:

This is the system of selecting leaders and political representatives in a state through campaign and election.


1.10 Organization of the Studies

The study is categorized into five chapters. The first chapter presents the background of the study, statement of the problem, objective of the study, research questions and hypothesis, the significance of the study, scope/limitations of the study, and definition of terms. The chapter two covers the review of literature with emphasis on conceptual framework, theoretical framework, and empirical review. Likewise, the chapter three which is the research methodology, specifically covers the research design, population of the study, sample size determination, sample size, and selection technique and procedure, research instrument and administration, method of data collection, method of data analysis, validity and reliability of the study, and ethical consideration. The second to last chapter being the chapter four presents the data presentation and analysis, while the last chapter(chapter five) contains the summary, conclusion and recommendation.


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations:

5.1 Introduction

This chapter summarizes the findings on electoral violence as a threat to Nigeria’s democracy 2019 general election using Alimosho, Lagos State as a case study. The chapter consists of summary of the study, conclusions, and recommendations.


5.2 Summary of the Study

In this study, our focus was to examine electoral violence as a threat to Nigeria’s democracy 2019 general election using Alimosho, Lagos State as a case study. The study specifically was aimed to determine the prevalence of electoral violence in Nigeria, ascertain the factors responsible for electoral violence in Nigeria, and investigate the effect of electoral violence on Nigeria’s democracy.

The study adopted the survey research design and randomly enrolled participants in the study. A total of 141 responses were validated from the enrolled participants where all respondents are residents of Alimosho, Lagos State.


5.3 Conclusions

Based on the findings of this study, the researcher made the following conclusion.

  1. The prevalence of electoral violence in Nigeria is high.
  2. The factors responsible for electoral violence in Nigeria includes: corruption, struggle for political power, lack of internal democracy, social division, and resource-based competition.
  3. The effect of electoral violence on Nigeria’s democracy includes: it affects the nations integrity, it becomes a threat to the consolidation of democracy, and it prones to electoral malpractice.

5.4 Recommendations

Based on the findings of the study, the following recommendations are proffered.

  1. There is need for the political class in Nigeria to adhere to the provisions of the law through enforcement of the electoral law as stipulated in the electoral act to serve as deterrent to others as experience has shown that politicians and security operatives shield perpetrators of violence over the years.
  2. Ethnic politics should be discouraged in the system and Politicians should not be allowed to deploy ethnicity during campaigns. This is because over the years, ethnic politics has not been peaceful rather encouraged violence in Nigeria. In fact, it has been destroying the tenets and principle of democracy and good governance.
  3. Political enlightenment through voter education for the populace is also imperative for curbing political crises. People should be educated to seek redress in the law Courts instead of taking laws into their hands. The reality of Nigeria’s political life is that candidates cannot accept defeat without exhibiting acts of violence. This is not good for democracy.

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