Political Violence And Socio Economic Development In Nigeria
This work investigates political violence and its socio-economic consequences on the development of Akwa-Ibom State particularly and Nigeria generally. To achieve this objective, the study uses both the primary and secondary sources of data collection. A sample of 500 respondents was selected and administered with questionnaire in six Local Government Areas of Akwa-Ibom State through the simple random sampling techniques. The data obtained from the respondents were manually analyzed through percentage technique and cross tabulation. The Social Movement Theory (SMT) was used as the main theoretical framework for the study The results of the study revealed that poverty and unemployment are not the causes and motivations of political violence in Akwa-Ibom State but rather ,the causes of political violence in Akwa-Ibom State was as a result of systemic leadership failure . Thus, the study recommends among others that political leaders should play a role in building effective government through their constitutional duties and mandates.
1.0 Background to the Study
The history of Nigeria has been characterized by a variety of political violence and social economic development in Nigeria, this could be attribute to the coercive imposition and tradition brought together by colonial era (Udokang, 2006). However, apart from these scholars have identified leadership problem, ethnic crisis as well as living standard of the people as the cause of political violence and social economic development in Nigeria.
Consequently, violence is usually accompanied with wanton loss of lives, property, instability, infrastructural destruction among others, while social economic development contributed to the advancement and improvement in the standard of living increase in the life of people. Perhaps, no nation can survive a test of time when it’s drowned in the menace of violence and moreover no nation can actually develop under the prevalence of crisis violence and upheavals.
Therefore, in order for a nation to have a bit of development it should do away with all violent like attitudes. However, political violence is a form of violent relations and incompatibility of interest goals and ambitions between individuals’ groups and political structures in the process of attaining power and keeping it. To put it differently, political violence emanates during when elections are conducted and economic development after election is concluded in the state. This action is usually accompanied with various act of violence in Nigeria which is not usually the same in other countries of the world.
Before the attainment of independent in 1960 Nigeria had recorded myriads of violence chiefly among which is political. This problem however could be traced to 1922 when the first election was conducted and this has continued unabated till this present-dispensation, violence has done no nation any good has earlier observed rather it’s mark remains inextripable.
In the precolonial times, many of the traditional village democracy that was practiced in some geo-political environment has the needed popular support of the electorate and the citizens at large. Consequently, the history of modern democracy in Nigeria is chequered with one from of violence and another, this according to Nweke (2006), the emergence of political violence in sourced through the nature of party formation which was ethnoregionally based.
This was followed by the regionalization of Nigeria as created by Richard Constitution of 1946 Anu and Uwanaju (2011) wrote that at independence, political conflicts over the centre stage of nation building in Nigeria and its multiplier effect gave birth to the factor that led to Nigeria civil war of 1967 – 1970.
Human rights watch revealed that the recent post-presidential election violence claimed 800 lives, while the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said that more than 37 villages were attacked, the Agency also revealed that 2,500 houses were destroyed while about 10,000 families were affected (Awofadeji; 2011 quoted in Ani 2012).
Since no nations can survive under the sanction of continuous violence in a state, it’s therefore against this backdrop that his work examines political violence and socio-economic development in Nigeria using Akwa Ibom State as a case study.
In every democratic dispensation, elections have come to be known as the acceptable means through which leaders are changed. Election is seen as the process whereby qualified adult citizens select their leaders. This process however is characterized with all forms of violence ranging from thuggery, snatching of ballot boxes, killings, arson, assassination of political opponents, the list is endless. And with these singular vicious acts many lives are usually lost, properties wantonly destroyed, infrastructures and facilities that huge sum of money was expended is usually shattered and above all it creates great animosity and acrimony among the citizens.
Moreover, rather than save as a means of exercising legitimate political obligations, that will institute good leaders for effective governance and socio-political development in a state it then turn out to be a means of recruiting thieves and touts into the government which later culminates into political instability, under development and execution of wrong policies which are prevalence in Nigeria at large and Akwa Ibom State in particular.
1.3 Objective of the Study
The main objective of the study is to examine the effect of political violence on socio-economic development in Nigeria.
Specifically, the study will:
- Examine the causes of political violence in Nigeria.
- Investigate the effects of political violence in Nigeria.
- Critically examine the natures of political violence on sociopolitical development of Nigeria.
- Examine the roles of government institutions in addressing political violence in Akwa Ibom State.
1.4 Research Question
The following research questions were raised to guide the study:
- What are the causes of political violence in Nigeria?
- What are the effects of political violence in the socio-political development of Nigeria?
- What are the natures of political violence in Nigeria?
- What are the roles of government institutions in addressing political violence in Akwa Ibom State?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following hypotheses were stated in null form and tested at .05 level of significance,
- There is no relationship between political violence and sociopolitical development in Nigeria.
- There is no relationship between the causes of political violence and socio-political development in Nigeria.
- There is no relationship between the roles of government institutions in curbing of political violence and socio-political development in Akwa Ibom State.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The significance of this study lies in the difference it will make in the entrenchment of democratic principles in Nigeria’s politics.
This work examines the socio-economic impact of political violence on the development of Akwa-ibom State. Thus, its significance lies in the fact that it aims at giving a coherent analysis of the causes and nature of political violence in the State and Nigeria generally.
This study is also timely due to the fact that the country is presently confronted with serious security challenges. The persistent spate of crimes and series of killings going on since 2009 have claimed many lives and property worth millions of naira destroyed. The findings of this study would therefore help the government of akwa-State and Nigeria in general in finding solution to this practical political problem.
Discussion, Conclusion and Recommendations
5.1 Discussion of Finding
From the study conducted in the six Local Government Areas of Akwa-Ibom State, the researchers found out that the cause of political violence is attributed to leadership failure in the State but not poverty or unemployment. More so many respondents were of the view that the deteriorating security situation in Akwa-Ibom State to came as a result of political violence that is why Ernie (2008:138 ) amplifying Thomas Hobbes argument for the cause of political violence in societies, traces the origin of violence among men to their natural equality. He writes: ―Nature has made men so equal in the faculties of body and mind — (that) the difference between man and man is not so considerable so that one man could there upon claim to himself any benefit to which another may possess‖. Given this equality they all feel that they have same hope of acquiring these benefits. Competition arises and with this, enmity. In Hobbes words: and therefore, if any two men desire the same thing which they nevertheless they cannot both enjoy they become enemies. The result is an attempt to subdue one another.
It is in line with the above view that Hafez’s Social movement hypothesis validates the causes and motivations of political violence in a society such as Nigeria. A society where poor governance practices; limited political and economic opportunities have radicalized the local population in the State. Findings further revealed that the level of funding for the management of the crises has increased thus affecting the development of key sectors like education and health.
Based on the foregoing findings it can be said that political violence has socio-economic consequences on the people as such the following suggestions would help in solving the question of political violence in Akwa-Ibom State and Nigeria generally.
- Political leaders should play a role in building effective government through their constitutional duties and mandates. The core of the crises in Akwa-Ibom State is the inability of political leaders to adhere to good governance practices.
- Political leaders should be honest and transparent when spending public funds.
- Government of Akwa-Ibom State should initiate good pro-poor policies that would help in reducing the high level of poverty and unemployment in the State and Nigeria at large.
- The Akwa-Ibom State Government should endeavour to satisfy all competing interest, competing for the control of political and economic power by introducing measures or policies that would carry every one along in the state.
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