Acta Universitatis Danubius. Administratio, Vol 7, No 1 (2015)

Electoral Violence and Democratization Process in Nigeria: A Reference of 2011 and 2015 General Elections

Lawrence Ime Edet


The general account of Nigeria’s post-independence electoral processes has always been characterized by violence. Nigeria’s 2015 general elections marked the fifth multi-party elections in the country and the second handover of civilian administrations since the inception of the Fourth Republic democratic experiment in 1999. This account cannot be analyzed without issues of electoral violence. Electoral violence had been a permanent feature of Nigeria’s democratic process, except 2015 general elections where the international observers described as a “significant improvement” over the previous elections in terms of violence related cases. Electoral related violence in the country particularly in 2011 got to an unprecedented dimension resulting in destruction of lives and property worth millions of naira. This paper expatiates on electoral violence and its general implications on the democratization process in the country, with major emphasis on the 2011 and 2015 general elections. The paper argued that the high incidence of pre and post electoral violence in the country within the periods has to do with the way Nigerian politicians regard politics, weak political institutions and weak electoral management body as well as bias nature of the security agencies, etc. However, the paper examined the general implications of electoral violence on democratization process and how the country can handle the electoral process to avoid threats associated with the electoral violence. Archival analysis, which widely extracted data from newspapers, journals, workshop papers, books, as well as publications of non-governmental organizations was adopted for the study. The major significance of this study is to expose the negative implications associated with electoral violence and how it can be curbed. The position canvassed in this paper will serve as a useful political literature for political leaders, policy makers and the general reading public who may be seeking general information on the subject matter. The paper therefore, among others, recommended that political leaders and political participants should not see politics as investment or do or die affairs as well as the formulation of laws with severe sanctions against supporters or perpetrators of electoral violence in the country. The paper therefore submits that democratization in the country can only be realistic when the ideals and principles of democracy as practiced in advanced democratic societies are upheld and respected.


Full Text: 43-53



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