The conduct of free and fair elections provides a yardstick to measure the quality of democracy in a country. Credible elections are the platform on which the populace partakes in democracy by electing representatives of their choice as public office holders. This process enhances the confidence of voters in democratisation, and rekindles the prospect of consolidating democratic institutions, particularly in democratising states. This research studies the effect of electoral violence on Nigeria democracy with more focus on Anambra state from 2007 – 2015. The research reviewed bunch of literatures on the topic under study using conceptual, empirical and theoretical framework to discuss the topic under study. The ex-post facto design method was adopted for the research. The study resolved that lots of issues causes electoral violence in Nigeria; such includes election rigging, hate campaigns, thuggery, abuse of power and political intolerance among others and they affects the economic
1.1. Background of the study
In every stable democratic state,
election remains the essential ingredient of transitory process from one
civilian administration to another. Elections have become an integral part of representative
democracy that by and large prevails across the world (Ake, 2006).
According to Lindberg (2003), every
modern vision of representative democracy entails the notion of elections as
the primary means of selection of political decision makers. Thus, it is
incomprehensible in contemporary times to think of democracy without linking it
to the idea and practice of elections. Ojo (2007), described election as the
‘hallmark of democracy’ while Chiroro (2005) sees it as the ‘heart of the
democratic order’. In all, elections constitute a core component of democracy.
The electoral process in Africa in
general and Nigeria in particular especially since the beginning of the 21st
century is characterized by violence. It is important to emphasize here that
though violence has been a longstanding feature of the democratisation process
in the post colonial Nigeria, its recent manifestations especially since the
birth of the Fourth Republic has assumed an unprecedented magnitude thus
constituting a major threat to the survival democracy.
Fundamentally, there is no doubt
the fact that electoral violence remains a major source of political instability
in a democratic state with palpable threats of deconsolidation. Adigun, Agbaje
and Adejumobi (2013) have argued that violence has become infused in political
processes in most new democracies in Africa especially with respect to the 21st
century. For instance, according to the 2008 Amnesty International Report, ‘the
violent struggle for power, even in states which do not descend into armed
conflict, still remains an important component of political life in Africa.
Nigeria, having survived decades of
military dictatorship which was characterized by despotism, violation of
fundamental human rights, financial profligacy among others, eventually
returned to democratic rule on May 29, 1999 which culminated in the birth of
the Fourth Republic. The republic which started amidst great hope and
expectations is yet to significantly convince the generality of the Nigerian
populace its democratic success especially with respect to the conduct of free,
fair and credible elections devoid of election violence (pre and post).
In fact, both at national and state
levels, transition from one civilian administration to another since 1999 has
been very rough. This is noticeable in the various cases of electoral violence
which has claimed several lives, displacement of innocent people and wanton
destruction of property. The conduct of election since the birth of the fourth
republic up to 2011 has been retrogressive rather than progressive. This
research study examined electoral violence and its effect on the Nigeria
democracy, focusing on Anambra state from 2007 to 2015.