ELECTION AND POLITICAL VIOLENCE IN NIGERIA

ELECTION AND POLITICAL VIOLENCE IN NIGERIA

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

The politicians, in Nigerian have over the years “become more desperate and  daring in taking and retaining power, more reckless and greedy in their use  and abuse of power, and more in tolerate of opposition criticism and power  and more in tolerate of opposition, criticism and efforts are replacing them”.  (Electoral Reform committee report, 2008, voll.19) 

Nigerian electoral process and governance system largely rest on the logic  and practice of organized criminal enterprises, organize crime, entrepreneurs  employ secrecy, cooperation, corruption and violence to promote and defend  their interests and organization. Nigerian political parties and lack of  transparency are embedded in the aims and strategies of Nigerian political  parties and politicians (ALEMIKA, 201 l). 

Past elections in Nigerian was characterized by both psychological and  physical violence. General violence involves the threat or use of physical  force with the intention of injuring, killing and intimidating another person.  One of the major benefits of another person. One of the major benefits of  democracy is that it inhabits collective violence by providing mechanism for  no violent competition of power and resolution of conflicts.

Observations have shown that, the rule of law and respect for the courts, are  however, necessary if this benefit is to be realized where citizens and  government officials ignore the rule of law or destroy court orders, anarchy  and violence are precipated. 

Election violence is not a new phenomenon in our country. However, most  incidences often tend to be localized, short lived and restricted to polling  centres and communities. But the incidences of large - scale election  violence of 1963 and 2011 in the Western Region, Oyo and Ondo state in  several Northern state respective recorded large scale loss of lives and  destruction of property. Base on this facts, it has been shown that despite all  the violence in that do occur in the electoral system in Nigeria many have  lost fourth in the system because of the awkward act that follows the election  process in Nigeria. 

1.1     BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY: 

Elections are considered as cardinal and indispensable in the practice of  modern democracy. According to Nnoli (1990) “it is closely tired to the  growth and development of democratic political order that is generally held  to be the single most important indicator of the presence or absence of  democratic government” Election if properly organized, devoid of rigging and all forms of electoral manipulations and malpractices confers legitimacy  on the leadership that emerged from the process the political institutions,  policies and programems that accompany such administration.  Election has been defined as the manner of choice agreed upon by people  out of many to occupy one or a number of positions of authority (Nnoli, 2003). 

Transferring power from one regime to another through ballot box. Though  election, popular conduct and participation in public affairs is created in the  society Ugoh (2004). 

The current global emphasis on democratization has made election and  inevitable process of leadership choices and succession, obviously, the  success of every conditional democracy is tried to the integrity of electoral  process while the quality of a representative government is also lived to the  capacity of state to evolve viable, transparent and trusted electoral  machinery that will inspire the interest and confidences of broad spectrum of  civil society and contending factions of political society (Okolie, 2008). 

Regrettably, election in Nigeria since political independence has been  characterized by violent political that often results in socio — economic  tension and unrest this has indeed remained a recurring decimal in Nigeria’s political violence in the country has been sustained reinforced mostly by  religions, ethnic and tribal diversities of Nigeria for instance, the political  violence that greeted the Nigeria’s first and second republic which  eventually led to military intervention and long spell in the country’s  government and politics. 

This had its roots in ethnic and tribal consideration the human right watch  revealed that between independence in 1960 and 19990, Nigeria produced  only two elected governments both later over thrown in Military coup.  Nigeria military ruled the country for nearly 30 to 40 years of independency,  however in 1990, Nigeria made a transition to civilian. The 1999 election  which blights by general, Olusegu Obasanjo to power, were blights by such  widespread fraud that observed from carter centre concluded that “it is not  possible for us to make an accurate Judgment about the outcome of the  presidential election. Federal and state election in 2003 were again married  by fraud as well as serious incident of political violence. Human right watch  found out that members and supporters of the ruling party were responsible  for the majority of abuse, through opposition parties also engaged in  political violence. Most deaths occurred where opposing bands of armed  gongs fought each other in an effort to control an area and displace  supporters of the opposing party politician in the oil rich Niger Delta mobilized and funded armed group to help rig election. This led to a  sustained increase in political violence and criminality in the region. Despite  the absmal record of the 1999 and 2003 elections the government did not  correct the problem in the next elections, observers from the European union  described the 2007 elections, which brought Umaru Yar’adua to power as  the worst they had witnessed anywhere in the world, human right watch  estimates that at least 300 people were killed in political violence linked to  the 2007 elections. 

The 2011 general election process under Attahiru Jega was commended by  international and domestic observers regarding major improvement in areas  like voters’ registration exercise accreditation and counting phase of the  election. The 2011 presidential election raised strong domestic expectation  as exemplified by high turnout rates, especially in the core Hausa / Fulani  State of Northern Nigeria, where women living in “KULLE” (a kind of  Islamic Runnery) were immobilized on religious ground to vote for general  Buhari for congress for progressive change (CPC) new social media tools  like Facebook etc. had aided in the collection/ collation, analysis and  dissemination of information (open society foundation 2011). However, the  whole electoral process has been criticized for number of reasons  intimidation and political violence.  

The presidential election was married by allegations of vote buying and  inflation of result most noticeable in South Eastern Nigeria Jonathan’s  stronghold where official result in eh presidential election in some rural  significance. Theoretically the study has the potential of contributing greatly  to existing body of literature on elections and political violence. 

This work will provide the students of political science and political history,  the needed framework for tackling the issues of political violence in future  elections. Practically, this research work will be of interest to Nigerian  government, especially house committee on electoral matter, ministries,  Department, and agencies (MDAs) like the independent Electoral  Commission National Commission (SIEC) etc. the findings of this study will  also provide valuable information in articulating potential policies that will  help address the problem of political and electoral violence. 

Finally, to the readers and researcher, this would make useful contribution to  any study on same topic related topic on elections and political violence.  Areas recorded close to 100 percent votes turnout and part of Kaduna,  plateau and Adamawa state with Christian “enclave” this was greeted with  widespread protest which later turn to violence in Northern Nigeria. (Human  Right Watch 2011).       

The Nigerian presidential election has come and gone but the credible  election has been stained by the blood of Nigeria who have their live in  the election violence experienced mostly in northern senior West Africa  researcher of Human right watch “the April election were heralded as  among fairest in Nigeria’s history, but they also among the bloodiest. 

Following the announcement of the result of the 2011 presidential  election Goodluck Jonathan, candidate for the ruling party people’s  Democratic party. Violence began with widespread protest by supporters  of the opposition candidate, Muhammade Buhari, Congress for  progressive change (CPC) challenging the result.

The protest degenerated into sectarian violence and killings by the  Almajiri (Sanghaya School student) in the Northern state of Adamawa,  Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Katsina, Niger, Sokoto, Yobe  and Zamfara. Relief official estimate that more than 65,000 people were  displaced while over 800 people are estimated to have lost their lives in  the political violence.

Also, for the first time the National youth service corps (NYSC)  members were used in the electoral process, particularly in the  presidential elections.       

The crops members were used during the voter registration exercise  agency. They played prominent role a the main agents for the  organization of the elections. 

However, the scheme which was designed by the military government  of General Yakubu Gowon to foster national integration through the  posting of young graduates to places outside their homes, states came  under thereat as a result of the attack and murder of ten corps members in  Grade Bauchi state this led to calls from different quarters for the  serapping of the scheme. 

In a bid to forestall future occurrence, two commission were  established in may, 2011 following the elections to examine the factors  that led to the violence. Governor Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa established a  l2 - person commission in Kaduna, and nationally, president Jonathan  established 22 — person commission headed by Sheikh Adined Lemu. 

The commission’s work is ongoing, and findings from either or both  have the potential to identify the root cause of violence in Nigeria, and  even identify the perpetrators for possible punishment. Btu the tracks of  post commission suggest that neither effort will make any headway.       

1.2     STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

What appeared to a free creditable and peaceful Presidential election took a  different coloration overnight. The causes of the election violence in 2011  presidential election is due to poverty unemployment, illiteracy, lack of  proper education, popper political enlightenment and voter education.  There should be actual conduct of election and every less of ethno - religious factors ad opined by some analysis’s. The problem of the study are  corruption of officials and electorates, violence during campaign, potting  and collation, rigging through the stuffing, snatching destruction of ballot  boxes and falsification of result and ineffective electoral dispute resolution  mechanism resulting in the perpetuation of a culture of electoral fraud and  violence. 

1. 3    OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY 

The general objective of this study is to investigate the nature of political  violence in the 2011 presidential election in Nigeria. While the specific  objective of the study is: 

1        To determine how high rate of poverty contributes to Electoral violence in  Nigeria‘?  

2.       To determine how high level of illiteracy contributes to electoral violence in  Nigeria? 

1.4     RESEARCH QUESTIONS 

1.       To what extent does high rate of poverty contribute to election violence in  2011 presidential election? 

2.       To what extent does high rate of illiteracy contribute to election violence in  2011 President election in Nigeria? 

3.       To what extent does high rate of unemployment contribute to election in  2011 Presidential election in Nigeria? 

4.       To what extent do ethnic considerations contribute to election violence in  2011 Presidential election in Nigeria? 

5.       To what extent do Religious considerations contribute to election violence in  2011 presidential election in Nigeria? 

1.5     RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS: 

In line with our research questions and to vigorously pursue the achievement  of broad objectives of the study, we have formulated the following  hypothesis. 

1.       The high rate of poverty did not contribute to the 2011 presidential election  violence in Nigeria.       

2.       The high rate of militancy did not contribute to the 2011 Presidential  election violence in Nigeria. 

3.       The high rate of unemployment did not contribute to the 2011 Presidential  election violence in Nigeria. 

4.       The high rate of ethnic considerations contributed to the 2011 Presidential  election violence in Nigeria. 

5.       The high rate of Religious considerations contributed to the 201 Presidential  election violence in Nigeria. 

1.6     SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY: 

The study has both theoretically and physical 

1.7     SCOPE OF THE STUDY: 

The scope of the study covers the election and political violence in Nigerian  2011 presidential election. 

1.8     LIMITATION OF THE STUDY 

The limitation to this research are the lack of sufficient fund and material on  election and political violence in Nigeria are not quite easy to source, hence  reliance on magazines journals, newspaper and similar papers etc.                                           

1.9     DEFINITION OF TERMS 

Election: An election is a formal decision making process by which a  population chooses an individual to hold public office. Elections have been  the usual mechanism by which modern representative democracy has  operated since the 17th century. Election may full offices in the legislature,  sometimes in the executive and subsidiary, and for regional and local  government. This process is also used in many other private and business  organizations, from clubs to voluntary association and corporations.

Violence: is defined as the intentional use of physical force or power,  threatened or actual against oneself, another person, or against a group or  community, which either results in or has a high like hood of resulting in  injury, death, psychological harm, mal development or deprivation, although  the group acknowledges that the inclusion of the use of power in its  definition expands on the conventional understand of the word.

Democracy: democracy is a system of government by the whole population  or all the eligible members of a state typically through elected  representative. 

Electoral: electoral describes anything having to do with elections. When  people talk about “electoral reform” they are referring to changing the way  political elections work.

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