EFFECTS OF ELECTORAL VIOLENCE ON NIGERIA DEMOCRACY (2007-2011) A CASE STUDY OF SOUTH WEST
1.1. Background of the study
Within the context of a complete break away from one-party and military dictatorships, African countries dived into competitive multiparty elections since the 1990s. Thus, as Ake puts it ‘Issues of democratization and human rights are increasingly the world’s interest in Africa overcoming a legacy of indifference to the fate of democracy on the continent’ (Ake, 1991:32). Many of these African states that allowed elections to be held in them made a mockery of their transition programs. In fact, Naomi Chazan pointed out the loss of legitimacy that has now characterized African elections when she pointed out that: ‘Elections in Africa, after the initial euphoria associated with political stability during decolonization quickly came to be viewed as meaningless political rites.’(Chazan, 1979:136). While not doubting the increasing nature of democratic transitions in African countries, Lemarchand concluded that, ‘there are compelling reasons to fear that the movement towards democracy may contain within itself the seed of its own undoing’ (Lemarchand, 1992:98). Celestin Monga identified eight problems with African politics which according to him are: the weakness of political parties, manipulation of the electoral process, a narrow political field, a constrained civil society, a controlled press, the absence of civility, privatized violence and politicized armies, and international support for dictatorship (Monga, 1997:156). However, Richard Joseph seemed to have captured African politics when he stated that ‘of themany factors impeding constitutional democracy in Africa, none appears more significant than the upsurge of political violence (Richard, 1997:3). It seems to us therefore that a proper understanding of political renewal in Africa should pay more attention to the role of political violence. Thus in Kenya, President Daniel arapMoi resorted to political violence as a means of retaining power. Similarly Kibaki who succeeded him was guilty of ‘daylight robbery and a civilian coup’ (Bamgbose, 2008:54). In Zimbabwe, Tsvangirai withdrew from the run-off of 2008 in protest over political violence that killed over 120 people and displaced thousands (Bricking, 2010:1). The April 24 2005 Togo presidential election triggered off political violence resulting to the outflow of Togolese refugees to the neighboring countries of Ghana and Benin (Bamgbose, 2009:109). In October 2008, two Belgian demographers, Andre Lambert and Louis Lohle-Tart, were invited by the European Commission to assess the 2005 – 06 voter registration process in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). After their consultancy was done, they wrote a devastating critique of the International Rescue Committee (IRC). Initially, the IRC had put the death toll at 5.4 million even though the original figure was not up to 5.4 million. These Belgian demographers put it at 200,000 deaths. Pertinent to note is that many lives were lost (Mamdani, 2010:15).
1.2. Statement of the general problem
Electoral violence has caused a whole lot of harm to the socio economic development of Nigeria. Nigeria being a country with a history of electoral violence has found it difficult to take its rightful place in the comity of developed nation despite having all it takes in boosting its economy and alleviate poverty. Violence generally is a repeller of investment as nobody wants to invest in a country that isn’t carried peaceful coexistence. Overtime, electoral violence also has a negative effect on democracy, consistent and unabated electoral violence has often led to the military taking over government in Nigeria.
1.3. Objectives/Aims of the study
The following are the aims and objectives of this study
- To examine the effect of electoral violence on Nigeria democracy.
- To assess the level of electoral violence evident in Nigeria
- To know the impact of electoral violence on the economy of Nigeria.
- To examine the challenges to the complete eradication of electoral violence in Nigeria.
- To recommend ways of reducing or completely eradicating electoral violence in Nigeria.
1.4. Research Questions
- What is the effect of electoral violence on Nigeria democracy?
- What is the level of electoral violence evident in Nigeria?
- What is the impact of electoral violence on the economy of Nigeria?
- What are the challenges to the complete eradication of electoral violence in Nigeria?
1.5. Research Hypothesis
H0: electoral violence does not affect Democracy in Nigeria.
H1: electoral violence affects Democracy in Nigeria.
1.6. Significance of the study
This study would be immensely beneficial to government in letting them know the effect of electoral democracy on our nascent democracy thereby notifying them of the urgency to put adequate efforts in trying to stop electoral violence in Nigeria. This study would also be beneficial to researchers who are interested on Nigeria’s democracy.
1.7. Scope and limitation of the study
This study is restricted to the effect of electoral violence on Nigeria’s democracy with a case study of the south west Nigeria.
Limitation of the study
Financial constraint- 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, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- 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.