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ELECTORAL VIOLENCE IN NIGERIA: THE CASE OF ANAMBRA STATE GUBERNATORIAL ELECTIONS

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ELECTORAL VIOLENCE IN NIGERIA: THE CASE OF ANAMBRA STATE GUBERNATORIAL ELECTIONS

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1     BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

The unbridled quest for power by man in his ever unstoppable search for relevance and advantage has indeed, generated so much tensions and hostilities. Thus, for most developing democracies of the Third World especially, Nigeria, electoral violence is not only a recurrent decimal, its frequency, character and dimension are quite frightening. It is now becoming a national character of the Nigerian state in such a way that both the Nigerian state and her citizens are held hostage by this smashing political reality in which both are unfortunate willing conspirators. From independence to date, electoral violence in Nigeria has improved in sophistry just as the politicians and their cohorts have remained resolute in this destructive enterprise. According to IFES Reports (2007), there were 967 incidents of electoral violence in the 2007 elections. Cases of abduction and kidnapping, murder and killing protest, disruption, intimidation and physical attack and well as poster defacing all featured in the incidents. 300 people were killed on issues relating to 2007 elections. Deadly election-related and communal violence in northern Nigeria following the April 2011 Presidential voting left more than 800 people dead (Human Rights Watch (2011). With the benefit of hindsight and after a pain-staking research, CLEEN Foundation, in its ‘Third Security Threat Assessment’, projected that electoral violence is most likely to occur in 15 Nigerian most volatile and high security risk states during the 2015 general elections (CLEEN in Ibe, 2014). Interestingly, all the violence linked to elections is mostly perpetrated by the youth who are not only in the service of the politicians but financed by them so long as they do their biddings. With the benefits of their vigour, seeming lawlessness and lackadaisical attitude to the Nigeria Project, the youth are willing ready-made weapons in the hands of the political leaders who think less of the development of the state and more of their parochial interests. Little wonder why the recurrent destruction of the state through electoral violence is of less concern to them. Electoral violence could be regarded as elections-motivated-crisis employed to alter, change or influence by force or coercion, the electoral behaviour of voters or voting patterns or possibly reverse electoral decision in favour of particular individual, groups or political party. It could be seen as any violence (harm) or threat of violence (harm) that is aimed at any person or property involved in the election process, or at disrupting any part of the electoral or political process during the election period” (International Foundation for Election Systems, 2011). Electoral violence could be before the election, thus involving all such activities that inflict any form of injury to the democratic system and its constituent and could be during voter registrations, campaigns and actual voting. Such violence could also be a post-election phenomenon which comes consequent on the manipulation of election results, rejection of results, etc. Election-related violence according to Ladan (2006) could be categorised into physical and psychological. Physical election violence including physical attack, resulting into assault, battery, grievous bodily harm or death, disruption and other campaign, use of abusive language and other forms of violence inflicted on individuals and groups. Psychological election violence, including indiscriminate pasting of campaign posters, chanting slogans (particularly the use of local poets and singers to attack and abuse opponents), intimidation of public servants and businessmen for opposing the status quo or the incumbent administration, use of the media (especially state-owned) to inflict psychological violence on the opposition and the denial of access to such media by the opposition parties, reckless driving by those in a procession to campaign rallies, which intimidate other road users and the use of traditional ruler to intimidate the masses into electing particular preferred candidates. Conceptually, one is worried by the prevailing animalistic attitude of the Nigerian politicians who go all out for power with all the arsenals within their reach. This could be situated in the power analysis which sees the struggle for power as consistent, persistent and a desideratum. The struggle for power therefore, remains a battle for the strong and like in every war situation, nothing is spared. The situation is not helped by the Nigerian situation where wielders of political power are not only above the law, but loot state treasury without qualms. They also allocate state resources as they want and move around unchecked as demigods. This really serves as motivation to violent political behaviours because political office must be won at all cost. The prevailing Nigerian political culture is not helping matters as well.
1.2 Statement of Problem

Nigeria joined the comity of democratically governed countries, it has continued to experience an unprecedented rise in political violence ranging from increases crime wave,armed robbery, political assassination, and religious riots .The grave political development crisis has generated a growing body of analyses and prescriptions on what has gone wrong and what should be done (Gideons,2010). The dominant strands of analytical expositions have appeared that prominent in the political and intellectual circle, giving rise to diametrically oppressed interrogation of the injection of electoral violence in Nigeria’s political dispensation.

1.3 Objective of Study

The general objective of the study is electoral violence in Nigeria: the case of Anambra state gubernatorial elections. Specifically, the study will be guided under the following;

i.         History Of Electoral Violence In Nigeria

ii.       Electoral Violence During Governorship Elections In Anambra State

iii.              Factors Responsible For Electoral Violence During Governorship Election In Anambra State
1.4 Significance of Study

It is believed that at the completion of the study, the findings of this study will be of great benefit in ameliorating the menace of electoral violence in Anambra state, the study will also be of great importance to the care givers and parents on the need to educate their children on the nemesis of electoral violence,

The study will also be of great importance to the department of political science as the findings of this study will contribute to the pool of existing literature in the subject matter.

The study will be significant to the academic community as it will contribute to the existing literature.
1.5 Scope of Study

This study will examine history of electoral violence in Nigeria. The study will also investigate electoral violence during governorship elections in Anambra State. Lastly, the study will find out  factors responsible for electoral violence during governorship election in Anambra state. Hence this study will be delimited to Anambra state.


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