BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
A prognosis of Nigeria future requires an in-depth knowledge of its political development and the actors at play that has trailed the most populous black nation to its present state. Played by leadership crisis, Nigeria is polarized on a dangerous religious note. With the North, vast inland mass and itlooks towards Mecca, Arabia, and Egypt. The south, Portugal and Germany. This historical conspiracy forms an integral jinx in the political tsunami that Nigeria finds herself today. Maier¢s analysis is anchored on the history of religious and electoral violence fuelled by ethnopolitics, without any consideration for national interest. With the Niger Delta militants in the South-South (the very headquarters of Nigeria main stay-oil) clamoring for resource control, Boko-Haram in North, killing about 5million people, Nnamdikanu, director of radio Biafra, from the south east itching for the declaration of Biafra Republic, Oodua People¢s Congress in West plotting regional integration, one needs no nostra damus to predict that an Armageddon looms.
In Nigeria, the process of leadership change since its birth has remained a nightmare to her citizens. Electoral violence has always characterized almost all elections Nigeria, and by extension has brought to the fore a durable disorder marked by illegitimate authorities in the governance of the state at one time or the other.
In a liberal democracy, election is the best option to change government periodically. It does not only promote leadership change, it encourages accountability in leadership. It allows for participation and it help to reside power to the people. Largely, the problem that characterizes electoral violence emanates from identify, especially in Nigeria¢s plural society as Manuel castells infers that identify is peoples source of meaning and experience. (Manuel castells, 2004).
Evidence abound on how electoral violence manifests in all Nigeria¢s elections thereby making democratic transitions chaotic, bloody and makes governing authorities at given time less legitimate. The quest to consolidate true democracy in Nigeria has feverishly led to invitation of foreign observers in order to ensure a balanced outcome and reporting. All these efforts have largely been to no avail in a nation rocked by interethnic friction and tendency to control power at the centre for one sectional advantage or the other.
The thesis tends to deliberate on electoral violence in each general election conducted in Nigeria between 1999-2011 and the associated problems of consolidating democracy for which international community features to monitor elections while helping Nigeria to overcome its limping democratic transitions and consolidation
Power belongs to the people, hence, the full participation of the people during elections gives the new government a legitimate foundation to govern. Any government against this background will not enjoy legitimacy, which gives every government a political support from the people because it deemed rightfulsince the support emanates from the people. However, if democracy is all about the will of the people, the election is one paramount way to select a leader. To be precise, elections are the best means to make the sovereign power of the masses known. This work highlights historical and contemporary electoral violence in Nigeria. Poor electoral processes in Nigeria were evident in 1964/1965, 1979, 1983, 1993, 2003, 2007, 2011, and 2015 generalelections but the limit of this enquiry is 1999-2011.
Between 1999 and 2007, election riggings have been accompanied with bloodshed and this has claimed lives of so many Nigerians, especially popular contestants. These political killing are executed by hired assassins. From desperate politicians who want power by all means. The contemporary political barons in Nigeria impose gullible electoral officers who employ various tricks to win election for their employersto the detriment of the masses and popular candidates. This however, has made the systemvery boring and many have restored to stay at home during election earning for fear of being intimidated orco-erced to vote against their will and this is too bad for a country in the march to institutionalize a consolidated democracy.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The phenomenon of electoral violence is not new in Nigeria politics. As ironically put, the fear of elections, is the beginning of political wisdom. In essence, elections are periods during which the political stability and security of the Nigerian state in the balance.
Elections in political perspective, is that democratic ideas and the standard for electing candidates into political offices should be respected. However,in the Nigerian context, elections are demonstrations and manifestation of might, geographical manipulations, godfatherism and the iron law of oligarchy. The inability of the country to conduct hitch free elections has made her the butt of bad jokes in the international community.
The recent development in the political scene are clear indications that there is no end in sight to the crises and instability that characterized the nascent democracy. Moreso, the perceived failure or democratically elected governments to conduct free and fair elections and their complacent attitude towards election related evidence are also probably the greatest threat to democracy in Nigeria.
This research therefore seeks to examine the electoral violence and the challenges to democratic consolidation in Nigerian, by highlighting the issues involved their impacts on the country’s nascent democracy and thereby suggesting solution to these perennial problems and challenges
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
1. Examine the root causes of electoralviolence in Nigeria.
2. To make recommendation that will help balanced the Nigerian democratic process.
3. To provide insight into the state of Nigerian democracy.
4. To assess the level and disruptive impact of electoral violence in Nigeria.
5. To assess electoral problem in Nigeria through the lens of international observers report.
6. Examine the political behaviour of the citizens concerning election and governance.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
· The study is timely and will address political instability in Nigeria
· The study serves as a tool at getting to the root and conditions that perpetuate electoral violence in Nigeria
· Effort at considering democracy in Nigeria is truly priceless as this study demonstrates
· The study provides insight into the role of foreign observers in Nigeria’s elections
· Its recommended pathways will lead to a stable polity with prospects of growth and development
· Issues well deliberated on electoral tension in Nigeria could be relevant to other troubled societies too, and raise some scholarly questions that might generate more enquires in governance.
1. What arethe rootscause of electoral violence in Nigeria?
2. What are the recommendation that will help balanced the Nigeria democratic process.
3. What are the electoral problem in Nigeria through the lens of international observers report?
4. What are the political behaviour of the citizens concerning elections and governance.
5. What are the method that can used to conduct a free and fair election that will lead to democratic consolidation in Nigeria.
SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This research is based on electoral violence and the challenges to democratic consolidation in Nigeria
The study also examined some special factors, causes and effect of electoral violence and its challenges to democratic consolidation in Nigeria.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
Electoral: Relating to or composed of electors ²Electoral college²
A body that organize elections relating of or relating to elections, ²Electoral process²
Violence: Action which causes destruction, pain or suffering
Democracy: Is a form of government which in essence, is organized by popular sovereignty, popular consultation, political equality and majority rule.
Consolidation: The act or process of considating, making firm, or uniting, the state of bang consolidated, solidification, combination.
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