The Impact Of Violent Conflict In The Process Of Democratization
There seem to be a debate on the validity of democratic peace theory. While some scholars argued that democracy engenders peace, others argued exactly the opposite. In the Nigerian context, democracy appears to have been characterised by violence. With heavy reliance on secondary data backed by analytical approach, the paper examines democracy and violent conflicts in Nigeria and its implications for development with a particular focus on the Nigeria‟s Fourth Republic. The study found that; the nature of competition for political power, multi-ethnic nature of the polity as well as corruption, unemployment and poverty are some of the factors which make democracy in Nigeria‟s Fourth Republic violent-ridden. The paper therefore, recommends among others, the need to cut down on the remuneration/allowances of political offices holders and emphasizes the reorientation of the political elite towards shunning divisive politics.
1.1 Background of the Study
In social science no concept has a single definition, because there are converging views of concepts that is, different scholars view concepts base on their personal idiocencracy. Therefore, it is imperative to conceptualize the basic terms which will give us a better understanding of this research study. Democracy and democratization are two different words in meaning. Democracy can be described as a system of government under which people exercise the governing power either direct or through elected representatives periodically elected by themselves Appadorai A (1972). This means that a state may in political science be termed as a democracy if it provides institutions for the expression and, in the last analysis, the supremacy of the popular will on the questions of social direction and policy. Other factors, such as economy, equality, fraternal feeling and the small size of the state, are durable and make for its successful working, the optimum of democracy, political liberty is the indispensable minimum. Democracy is by far the most popular form of government in the world today. There is hardly any leader who does not wish to be seen as a democrat or a regime that does not seek to be described as democratic. From the above definition, one could infer that democracy is a political system that seeks and ensure the involvement of all and sundry in decision making and management of the country’s affairs.
Many of the elements of modern democracy are usually taken to have originated in ancient Greece, particular the city of Athens. Indeed the word ‘democracy’ derives from two Greek words, ‘demos’ which means the people and ‘Kratein’ which means ‘rule of or by’ the term democracy, therefore, literally means ‘rule by the people’. In addition to its Greek antecedent, modern democracy is also taken to have evolved from such medieval institutions as the British parliament and the jury and from the political theories of seventeenth century such as equality of men, natural rights and sovereignty.
After knowing what democracy entails, it’s important to also conceptualize what democratization means which is the focal point of this research study. Democratization is the process whereby a country adopt the tenets of democracy to the fullest. It could also be seen as the strict adherence to the dictates of democracy. There is less agreement among political scientist about how that process occurs, inducting the criteria to use in determining if democratization has in fact taken place. Many countries have adopted democratic political system only to see them collapse in a military coup or other revolt that yields authoritarian government instead. Typically, a country does not think that democracy has truly taken root until at least three national elections have been held. Another criterion raised by many experts is the peaceful transfer of power to opposition parties. Such transition is critical because it indicates the major political force in a country are prepared to settle their dispute without violence and to accept that they will all spend period of time out of office. Therefore, democratization in essence is the strict adherence to the provision of democratic government.
Large violent conflicts occur with great frequency in poor and slowly growing countries while there is some disagreement about the causes of conflict most studies point to high risks of ignorance associated with poverty, weak state structures, poor governance, natural resource dependence and horizontal inequality (inequality between politically relevant groups such as religious groups or ethnic groups). It is important to note that conflict also leads to enormous hardship. The post election crisis of 2011 also brought serious hardship to the people of Jema’a Local Government area because the market was burnt down, there was also inflation in the prices of goods and food items in the area.
Jacob S. (1984) opines that violent conflict involve at least two or more parties using physical force to resolve competing claims or interest. Violent conflict may occur among individuals or groups not affiliated with government, but the term is most commonly applied as a synonym for war. At whatever level it occurs, a violent conflict usually involve more than confrontation.
1.2 Statement of Research Problem
Democracy is the most popular and acceptable form of government in the world, because it gives the citizens the opportunity and freedom to know and contribute in the governance of their own affairs. However, Nigerian democracy is a mockery of the ideal democracy because of post election violence which claims a lot of lives and property of people. In Jema’a Local Government there have been several crises which are usually violent in nature in the local government. The recent one was the 2011 post election crisis in the local government which was between the Muslims and the Christians in the local government. This crisis led to the lost of properties worth of billions of Nairas as well as the lives of innocent citizens in the local government. This has caused a perpetual hatred between the Christian and Muslims in the local government. Up till today there are reported cases of attacks in the local government as a result of politics. All these post election crisis and attacks are against the tenets of democracy and has also marred the democratization process of the local government and the nation at large. Democracy does not encourage all these crises and other electoral malpractices because it is against its tenets and can easily mar the image of the local government and the country at large.
1.3 Definition of terms
The term conflict has no single definition because scholars have converging views on the concept. Smith k. (2000) opines that, conflict is the struggle or contest between people with opposing needs, ideas, beliefs, values, or goals. From the above definition, one could infer that violent conflict is a struggle to meet conflicting needs of individuals in the society.
As earlier stated, no concept has an acceptable definition in social science. Therefore, for purpose of this research study, democracy can seen as a political system that is based on the consent of the ruled. That is, the citizens needs and aspiration guides the activities of the rulers who are periodically elected to represent the masses. However, it is imperative to note that democracy is classified into direct or indirect that is, through elected representatives.
This is the strict adherence to the provisions of democracy in a given political entity. These tenets include; free and fair elections which are periodically conducted, freedom of speech, presence of a constitution, fundamental human rights among others.
Religious activities and political leaders caused violent conflict in Jema’a Local Government Area.
1.5 Objectives of the Study
- To assess the conduct of democracy in Jema’a Local Government Area.
- To also assess the impact of violent conflict in the process of democratization in Jema’a Local Government area and the country at large.
- To know or to find out what government has done about the issue of violent conflict in the local government, especially the 2011 post election crisis.
- To also assess how the people of Jema’a Local Government are feeling about violent conflict which has been caused by politics especially the current issues of attacks in different villages.
1.6 Research Questions
- How has government react to the issue of violent conflict especially the 2011 post election crisis in Jema’a Local Government area?
- What are the causes of violent conflict in Jema’a Local Government area and how can it be remedy.
- How has violent conflict affect the process of democratization in Jema’a Local Government Area?
- Has democracy in this era of conflict enhance and networks development in Jema’a Local Government Area?
1.7 Significance of the Study
This study on the topic (The Impact of Violent Conflict in the process of democratization: A Case Study of Jema’a Local Government 1999 – 2011) is aimed at examining the impacts of violent conflict in the process of democratization and also to provide a way forward or solutions to this phenomenon which is inevitable in all human societies though it can be controlled. The study is imperative because it will serve as an eye opener to the citizens of Jema’a on the negative consequences of the problem. Furthermore, the study will also explore appropriate measures that will improve the conduct of democracy which is a channel of equitable growth and development of any political entity because, it is base on the consent of the ruled.
1.8 The Scope of the Study
This research work is aimed at assessing the impact of violent conflict in the process of democratization over the years. It will be difficult to extend the scope of this study beyond Jema’a Local Government Area. The local government is made up of 12 electoral wards with a quite number of pulling units or centres. This study will therefore be restricted to the thirteen wards in the local government because it cannot include a comprehensive examination to all local government areas in the country at large.
1.9 Research Methodology
I intend to use or employ the quantitative method of data analysis. The primary source of data in this research work will be through questionnaire being administered randomly using the selected targeted groups in the local government area. A total number of 60 questionnaires will be administered drawing 5 respondents from each of the thirteen wards in the local government. Therefore, a systematic random sampling method of selection will be adopted in this research. The systematic random sampling method involves selecting every nth element or person from the target population. The 9th elements represent or mean the desire of respondent that should be included in the sampling chosen in a sequential order hence the term systematic.
The size and population of the wards in the local government under study will be enough to generate the required number of respondents that will correspond with the expectation of this work. The targeted groups cut across age, sex, occupation, class and so on. As such, a careful measure would be taken thereby ensuring a fair representation of the entire population. In other words, in other to ensure a reasonable representation of the entire population, a careful measure is going to be picked of the targeted groups which cut across sex, age, occupation class among others.
The presentation and analysis of the data will be based on respondent socio–demographic characteristic. The data will be presented in a tabular form showing the frequency distribution of respondent based on occupation, sex, age, educational attainment and mental status. Each of the distribution of respondent will be presented in a single bar chart. The secondary data will be source through the use of journals, periodicals, public books, newspapers, internet, unpublished books among others.
Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations:
This chapter summarizes the findings on the impact of violent conflict in the process of democratization, Jema’a Local Government area as 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 on the impact of violent conflict in the process of democratization, Jema’a Local Government area as case study. The study is was specifically focused on assessing the conduct of democracy in Jema’a Local Government Area, to assess the impact of violent conflict in the process of democratization in Jema’a Local Government area and the country at large, to find out what government has done about the issue of violent conflict in the local government, especially the 2011 post election crisis and assessing how the people of Jema’a Local Government are feeling about violent conflict which has been caused by politics especially the current issues of attacks in different villages.
The study adopted the survey research design and randomly enrolled participants in the study. A total of 50 responses were validated from the enrolled participants where all respondent are residents of Jema’a Local Government area.
With respect to the analysis and the findings of this study, the following conclusions emerged;
In this study, attempt has been made to establish a relationship between democracy and violent conflicts with a particular focus on the Nigerian.fourth republic. Some factors have given impetus to violent conflicts in Nigeria were highlighted.
Based on the findings the researcher recommends that;
- Benefits accruable to political offices be reduced to make them less attractive. This is because privileges associated with political offices engender violent competition for them.
- Political elite should be re-orientated towards emphasizing things that unite them rather than things that separate them
- Political corruption that has made Nigeria a rich nation with poor people should be addressed seriously and capital punishment meted out to corrupt public officers to serve as deterrent to others.
- There is need for societal re-orientation towards holding public office holders accountable. Nigerian education should be tailored towards meeting the immediate needs of our society. Education system should go beyond paper qualification. There is need to align our education system towards the needs of the society.
- Government should come up with an acceptable formula for sharing federally collected revenue as this has been a vexed issue among the various groups in the country.
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