The Impact Of Political Conflict In Nigeria Democracy

Project and Seminar Material for Political Science

The Impact Of Political Conflict In Nigeria Democracy


Conflict has become a pervasive phenomenon affecting innocent individuals and democratic activities in Nigeria. the objectives of this study are to find out the factors responsible for the recurrent of conflict, to evaluate the impact of conflict on democratic and social activities and to assess the effectiveness of government policies and programmes designed to overcome conflict in Nigeria. The study considered these assumptions which include, kalare conflict recurs frequently in Gombe state because it is sponsored by the elites and by the thugs themselves, kalare conflict affects democratic and social activities in Gombe state because individual lives and valuable properties are lost and measures adopted by governments to overcome kalare conflict are inadequate because kalare thugs are protected by their sponsors and are subjectively punished by authorities concerned. The method of data collection and analysis is quantitative and qualitative which complement each other through the use of simple percentage, charts and tabulation. Similarly, two theories are used include Social Learning Theory and Elite Theory. Finally, the findings of the study shows that conflict in the state is as a result of selfish interest of the thugs themselves, unemployment, illiteracy, poor governance, group sentiment, political manipulation, poverty, injustice and inactive security agencies; the impacts of menace as revealed include inflicting fear amongst candidates, hindering electorates from political activities, killing of innocent people, violating human rights, destruction of valuable properties, insecurity during and after elections and intimidation of people within the state. Thus, the government of Gombe state needs an effective response, in order to overcome the menace of kalare conflict as recommended by the researcher.

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

The human race will never see the end of troubles until political power is entrusted to the lover of wisdom “PlatoRepublic”. My first approach to the challenge of this topic, is that we have no choice but to seed to return to the basic context in which Nigerians see the godfather or the conflicts as a segment of the political process as well as the figure, standing against the intellectual extrapolations originating in, and also sustained by, the media.

Politics as a concept when considered against its definition by David Easton, could be said to have been in existence as early as any grouping or organization of people which is formal or sometimes when informal. The Eastonian definition posits that politics is the “authoritative allocation of scare values”. This definition could also be viewed from the point of struggle for the political power will to authoritatively allocates these values through the point of influencing the decisions of who gets what, when and how and finally climaxing at the contestation for the voice of veto on the implementation of the decisions taken.

However, from the above brief overview of the concept of politics would reveal some key factors, the values of resources available to be shared amongst members of the scarce and cannot sufficiently satisfy the needs of every member of the group. This is why there is need for an authority which will decide on the allocation of these scarce resources supposedly in accordance with priority of importance. Another factor to be printed out is that since the decision of ‘what’ anyone would get from the system resides at the points of who makes up the authority of allocation, there is therefore clashes and disagreements at these decisions points.

If the two above factors are aggregated, it would become clear that the political process is one that can be figuratively termed, WAR. And if all these conflicts cannot be amicably resolved by way of resolutions, then the system is at a point of crisis.

The trend of ‘political godfatherism’ which in turn is derived from the maker or sustainers of an aspect of reality, a people to whom great importance is attached. We can then see that there is a relationship between godfather and god-child; godchild being a child for whom one takes responsibility by making promises to help grow in a sphere of life, and god-fatherism has become one of the greatest problem facing the Nigerian political system. It leads to corruption because you have to make returns (he that soweth bountifully, reapeth bountifully). The holder of the political position becomes a stooge to his godfather because he that pays the piper dictates the tune. By the time the godson refuse to meet their (godfathers) demand, it is eventually impeachment from political offices (what a man soweth, that he reap).

In the Nigeria fourth republic dispensation (1999 till date) in question, Anenih – Igbinedion, the Sariki – Lawal face-off, Nwobodo –Nnamani quagmire, Adebibu – Ladoja crisis, Uba – Ngige sage and all other godfather – protégé crisis in Nigeria do not only portend great danger to our democratic experiment, but also on the very essence and validity of our existence as a nation. The billions of naira expended by Nigerian godfathers for bankrolling the elections of their godsons, have totally monetized elections in Nigeria, which automatically disqualifies men of honour, character and integrity from holding elected public positions. Without doubt, the phenomenon has assumed this bizarre from since the enthronement of Nigeria civil rule on May 29, 1999. it started with the acrimony that existed between chief Anthony Anenih (godfather) and Lucky Igbinedion (protégé), the governor of EdoState between May 1999, to May 2003. Chief A. Anenih was purported to have endorsed the candidate of Lucky Igbinedion against other contenders as the governor of the state and also bankrolled his campaign expenses. But Lucky Igbinedion failed to reciprocate the gesture of Anenih by not giving him adequate government patronage and by acting in ways as loyal ‘godson’. The episode unfolded itself between Dr. Jim Nwobodo (godfather) and Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani (protégé), of EnuguState. Though the godson eventually subdued the godfather after a fierce struggle for the soul of the state. (Essence Library, Godfatherism in Nigeria Politics, 2004, p. 64).

However, during the second term of President Olusegun Obasanjo, the phenomenon of godfatherism becomes more alarming and dangerous to the survival of Nigeria’s fledging democracy. In OyoState, South-West Nigeria, Adebidu (godfather) and Ladoja (protégé) battle for the soul of Oyo, has affected governance in the State and has reenacted political violence which it was famous for. At the long run, Ladoja won the State gubernatorial election, defeating the incumbent governor, Alhaji Lam Adeshina of the Alliance for Democracy (AD). He was eventually sworn in on 29th May, 2003. When Adedibu decided to nominate 80 percent of the new commissioners and special advisers, Ladoja decided to act fast. He tricked Adedibu to go on a much – needed rest abroad and he made sure the speaker Moroof Olawale Atilola – led House of Assembly immediately approved his list of commissioners that was the end of the pact between Adedibu and Ladoja. The animosity between Adedibu and Ladoja was put into display during the electioneering campaign for the March 27, 2004 Local Government Elections. Ladoja was left to his devices until he was consumed through “impeachment” by the tiger he mounted in 2003. (Celetine Okafor, The Ladoja Impeachment, January 14, 2006).

Another important episode that unfold was that of Chris Uba (godfather) and Chris Ngige (protégé), of AnambraState. After the Oath –taking at the Okija shrine by the godson, he refused to play ball as arranged, looting, blood letting, gubernatorial abduction and judicial ambushes has become common place activities in AnambraState. Until the 16th March, 2006. The godson (Ngige) was finally removed from office. (Essence Library Godfatherism in Nigeria politics, 2004, p.65).

This crisis was very much reflective of how it has always been in the Nigerian polity as it concerns the political elites in the society. They are high and mighty and have the ability to have their way given any situation and almost every crisis that is observed is an after-effect of the musceflexing amongst them and amongst themselves.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

In the proceeding piece of introduction to this work, sufficient and hear exhaustive description and highlights of the various points and forms of manifestation political conflicts in Nigeria fourth republic, was attempted. This was done alongside with the brief overview of the concept “godfatherism” and “political conflicts” in any system, society or political grouping while also considering the frequency of these crisis situations in Nigeria as a nation. Haven looked at the forms of manifestation of the concept. It is proper that we attempt to state the problem(s) that created a sustaining environment for these crisis to blew and thrive.

The first problem could be spotted from the analysis of the above listed political conflicts saga, is that of widespread corruption which has a partner in unpatriotism. Quite consistently, Nigeria has been considered to be among the first five most corruption, fueled by greed for the concept of patriotism, that has resulted in the average Nigeria seeing governance and government as a vehicle for exploitation and self-aggrandizement. So while the people crave for a leadership of lift maintain mercantilism as their watchword and do everything in the hope of monetary gains and kickback. Anambra, Oyo, Enugu, Edo, etc. are still a classic example of this situation.

The second problem easily identifiable in the entire case scenario of the Oyo, Anambra, Kwara, Edo, Borno, etc political conflicts is “Elitism”. While the consideration of elitism as a problem would not be universally accepted.

Another problem is one that could be said to be an offshoot of the proceeding problem concept, political godfatherism. Political godfatherism is a concept that although is widely in practice in all parts of the world, have assumed disturbing and worrying dimensions and proportions in the nation today. It has become pertinent to have strong political godfathers before considering running for any elective office and even political appointments. Unfortunately, as it was in Anambra, Oyo, Edo, etc. most of these godfathers offer the services of their support only in anticipation of financial kickbacks that are alarmingly huge and extravagant and opposed to the expected norm of service to the people.

1.3 Hypothesis

The following hypothesis will be tested during the course of the work.

  1. The more monetized the political system is the more the strength of the god-fathers.
  2. The more prominent the activities of the god-fathers, the higher the possibility of political instability.
  3. The more elected officers depend on god-fathers, the more impoverished the masses would be.

1.4 Objectives of the Study

  1. To attempt a disclosure of the Godfatherism and effects of political conflicts by examining the various identifiable causes and effects of Edo State conflict in Nigeria fourth republic.
  2. To firmly establish the fact that political conflicts had become Nigeria’s consistent bedfellow, with a vivid examination of Edo State Government crisis.
  3. And finally, to profer a panacea to the identified causes of these political conflicts in order to prevent a continuance of its sporadic frequency in Nigeria.

1.5 Significance of the Study

The essence of this study is self-explaining in the presentation of the various facts that constitute the crisis of EdoState in question. This study seeks to provide us with detailed account of these state crisis and indepth and exhaustive (as much as possible) analysis of the various factors that comes into play in the saga. This is in the view to finding a lasting solution and thus preventing a reoccurrence of the anomaly in the Nigerian polity.

It is also not in doubt that other scholars could further explore this area of research, just like a few others have done before me, using this work/study as a launch pad. This could be by lending strength and support to some of the ideas or hypothesis that this work seeks to propagate. If could also be by improving in some or all of the errors that I may have unavoidably made in the course of this research. All of these would aid in navigating observers and future researcher of this topic of study, towards the best stock of intellectually analytic compilation on the topic. The end of all these would in no doubt be useful in preventing a future repetition of the errors that are presently a bane on our development in present day.

Finally, it is also noted that this work could be considered as an addition to the bulk of academic and intellectual endeavours and submissions available on this topic and on related topics, particularly in Nigeria. In the final analysis, this work would be seen as another beam of light thrown in the direction of various political upheavals that has bedevilled the country especially in recent times.

1.6 Scope of the Study

Although the problem of political conflicts is one that is universally acknowledged and pondered upon, the scope of this particular research work would be limited to EdoState in Nigeria and the time frame of study would be the fourth republic (1999 – till date).

The reason for this is because the happenings in the state reflect the trend that being perpetuated nationally. Moreover, any attempt at proffering a long lasting solution to the problem, it is hoped, would also have a bearing on the entire nation.

1.7 Methodology

The nature of this research makes it expedient that a secondary source of data is undertaken in order to provide relevant data, effort will be made to collect secondary sources in literature such as book, magazines, newspapers, journals, internet and other similar materials. The principal method used will be questionnaires which will be given to voters in Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State, Nigeria – primary source

1.8 Conceptual Clarification

(1). Godfatherism:

Godfatherism is “a male godparent: a sponsor – one who pays the bill. The head of a criminal investigation”.

(2). Politics:

The struggle for power which itself is the authority to determine or formulate and execute decisions and policies, which must be accepted by the society. It is the struggle for power of governance, especially executive authority.

(3) Elites:

These are limited number of people who believed that they possessed the qualities necessary for accession to full social and political powers.

(4) Crisis:

Means an unstable situation, a sudden attack of pain or stress. Violent struggle between two parties over an idea or possession.

(5) Conflict:

Means the disagreement in ideas or over a thing between groups of persons or one person and another.

(6) Bargaining:

Means the presentation of proposals and counter – proposals by two disagreeing parties, with the hope of attaining an agreement or an equilibrium.

(7) Godson:

Godson is a male godchild who is put under the supervision of his godfather.

(8) Saga:

Long story of brave deeds

(9) Clog:

become blocked with thick or stricky materials

(10) Clog:

A small figure of a person that can be made to move or a group or person whose actions are controlled by another.

(11) Elastic:

This is something that can be altered, not fixed

(12) Chameleonic:

A person who changes her or his behaviour, opinion etc to suit the situation.

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations

5.1 Summary

This research titled Democracy and Violence: An Assessment of the impacts of Kalare Conflict in Gombe State, 2003 2013. Since 1999, kalare conflict emerged and inclined to politics, as a pervasive phenomenon, affecting innocent individuals and democratic activities that became a major subject of discussion in the state. The menace has affected not only democratic activities during campaign, rallies and elections at different levels which invariably caused the loss of lives and valuable properties. But also perpetually affects innocent individuals which resulted to loss of valuable properties and lives routinely in their homes, shops and on the streets. The research examined the factors responsible for the incessant conflict and its terrible effects on democratic and social activities despite different measures adopted by the government to overcome the menace in the state from 2003 to2013.
This research is designed in five (5) interconnected and interrelated compartments. The first component is Chapter One (1) consisted introduction and statement of the research problem, objectives of the study, research assumptions, significance of the study, research methodology, scope and limitations, conceptual clarification and organization of chapters. The secondcomponent is Chapter Two (2) comprised literature review and the theoretical framework arranged thematically. Two socio-political theories have been adopted: the Social Learning Theory propounded by a psychologist called Albert Bandura that shown how individuals learnt certain behaviours and internalized to become part of them, at the same time, it guided us by seeing how youths in Gombe state became kalaremembers through imitation of a role model. Likewise, the Elite Theory advanced by the four leading scholars including Pareto, Mosca, Michel and Gasset also provided a picture on how political elites manipulated kalaremembers to gain and maintain political power from 2003 to 2013, subsequently a political and social thugs.

The third component is Chapter Three (3) that described the historical background of Gombe state including geographical location, agricultural activities, cultural settings, economic activities, and political administration. The evolution and forms of conflict was also discussed. The fourth component is Chapter Four (4) in which the data gathered through questionnaires, interviews and reviewed literature were presented and analyzed; information presented in the tabular forms have been analyzed using simple percentage on the causes or factors responsible for the reoccurrence of kalare conflict as a social menace, the effects of kalare conflict on democratic and social activities, the sponsorships of kalare conflict, the beneficiaries of conflict, effectiveness of government response towards overcoming kalare conflict, and the state of security in Gombe state. The final component is Chapter Five (5) that discussed the Summary and conclusion

5.2 Conclusion

This study utilized three types of data included questionnaire, interview and review of relevant literature which proved that factors responsible for the kalare conflict in Gombe state is limited to selfish interest, unemployment, illiteracy, poor governance, group sentiment, political manipulation, poverty, injustice but also inactive security agencies; all these contributed to the recurrent kalare conflict both as political and social phenomenon. Generally, the effects of the perpetual conflict in Gombe state are basically included creating fear amongst candidates, hindering electorates, killing innocent people, violating human rights, destruction of valuable properties, insecurity during and after elections and intimidating people.

The researcher observed that these effects have been politically and socially motivated which affected different people in different places in Gombe state. As a result, both government and private properties including vehicles and offices were burnt, offices and valuable properties of different political parties were destroyed and burnt, innocent individuals lost their valuable properties on the streets, in their shops and at homes. Besides, elites and innocent individuals of various positions in both public and private establishments have been affected by the kalare conflict with different degrees of injuries ranging from wounds to loss of lives within the state.

The government of Gombe state initiated three different policies in an effort to overcome the menace of kalarefrom 2003 to 2013. The first two policies were initiated by Governor DanjumaGoje from 2003 to 2011in the form of military action and provision of employment opportunities to the thugs popularly called Anti Kalare Squad and GOSEPA respectively; the last policy was initiated by Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo popularly known as Gombe State Youths Rehabilitation and Empowerment Programme which aimed to provide employment
opportunities and reform the thugs to be useful in the state. These policies were rated by the respondents as partial, poor and very poor to sundry of them and it is presented as 66.2%, if it is combined together which is against the percentage of respondents who rated the governments‟ responses toward overcoming kalareconflict as very effective, effective and good 33.8% if put together of the total percentage. These polices however, as shown, are inadequate as the public commentators, victims of kalare, political analysts and the residents of Gombe state consistently cry for the perpetual conflict in affecting their mutual coexistence and harmony by harming democratic activities and the innocent individual through loss of valuable properties and their lives without arresting and punishing the culprits in the state. The government has been accused as not objectively making fruitful efforts to tackle the menace but ended making pronouncements without rigorousimplementation.

Finally, the researcher observed that the activities of thugs called Yan kalarehave fuelled insecurity in the state which is characterized by killing, kidnapping, street attacks, house break- ins, shoplifting, frightening and threatening innocent individuals losing their lives and valuable properties that invariably exacerbated social violence affecting democratic and social activities especially during campaigns, rallies and election related activities for which electorates and candidates of different party affiliations are scared and frightened of in Gombe state.

5.2 Recommendations

The researcher recommended the following:

  1. The government should ensure the physical punishment to the kalare thugs regardless of their political parties‟ affiliations. This will deter them from involving into conflict within the state.
  2. The government should also ensure effective supervision of the trained and employed kalare thugs at their places of primary assignments; those who fail to appear at their stations should be punished while those that are punctual should be rewarded.
  3. Finally, the government should initiate other programmes including awareness campaigns that will transform and dissuade the kalare and intended thugs psychologically from involving into such violent behaviours within the state.

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