Public Administration

Political Violence and the Electoral Process in Nigeria

Political Violence and the Electoral Process in Nigeria: An Overview of the 2007 Presidential Election


One of the basic machinery of any representative democratic system is the electoral process. The experience of the western representative democracy in Nigeria can be traced from the Clifford and Macpherson constitutions for years respectively. This was elaborated at independence in the second republic and subsequent periods. Very ugly experience has characterized the activities with the electoral process that constitutes the burning questions in this work within these sparing periods Nigeria political history has been filled with malpractice fraud and therefore violence.

The election of the first republic displayed ethnicity in the second republic presidential election is been records its ugly tendencies but in refined form. This time, money and corruption led the race in electoral malpractices of the past and present on the political system. The study finally traces these political problems of the country to basic socio-institutional origins of the ethnicity class, material consciousness and others.


Title page – – – – – – – i
Approval page- – – – – – ii
Dedication- – – – – – – iii
Acknowledgment- – – – – – iv
Abstract- – – – – – – – v
Table of contents – – – – – v
1.0 Introduction- – – – – – 1
1.1 Backgrounds to the study- – – 2-4
1.2 statement of problem- – – – 5
1.3 Objectives of study- – – – – 6
1.4 research design- – – – – 7
1.5 Significance of study- – – – 7
1.6 Scope and limitation of study – – – 8
1.7 limitation of study- – – – – 9
1.8 Definitions of terms – – – – 9-10
2.0 Literature review – – – – – 11
2.1 Introductions – – – – – – 12
2.2 meaning of election- – – – – 12-15
2.3 Purposes: function and problems
of election- – – – – – 15-22
2.4 Political violence- – – – – 23-27
Reference – – – – – – 28
3.0 Research methodology – – – – 29
3.1 introduction – – – – – 29
3.2 research design- – – – – 30
3.3 Method of Data collection- – – – 30
3.4 Sampling size – – – – – – 31
3.5 Data analysis techniques- – – – 32
3.6 validity and reliability of
Measuring instrument – – – – 32
3.7 method of data analysis- – – 33-34
4.0 Presentation and analysis of data- – 35
4.1 Data presentation – – – – – 35
4.2 analysis of data- – – – – 35
4.3 Research findings- – – – – 36
5.1 Summary – – – – – – – 38
5.2 Conclusion- – – – – – 39
5.3 Recommendations – – – – – 40-41
References – – – – – – 42
Appendix – – – – – – 43
Questionnaire- – – – – – 44-45



The Nigerian authorities and the independent National electoral commission (INEC) must prevent a repeat of the political violence that characterized the 2007 and 2003 elections. The political environment is however very tense. In the run-up to the elections, the country has seen an increase in violence.

Several hundred people have been killed in politically motivated. Communal and sectarian violence across Nigeria in the past six months. In addition, human rights defenders and journalists, who play a key role in monitoring Nigeria’s upcoming election in April, are facing increasing intimidation and harassment. Yet the Nigerian authorities have failed to bring suspected perpetrators to justice or to take effective measures to prevent further human rights abuses.


The significance of election as an instrument for regime change has been recognized in most parts of the world. its importance in a democratic society has been acknowledged long in the history of man.

In Nigeria, the act of government by democratic means is highly cherished by the populace. Election of courses can be a basic tool of democratic development.

However, over the years the desire, choice and task of building a stable democracy in Nigeria have remained a mirage and part of this has an unfulfilled dream as a peaceful change of government ostensibly, through the electoral process.

It is a common pattern that elections in the third world countries were bedevilled by violence and malpractice(.s and for such reasons election conducts were not free and fair unlike the cases in advanced countries.

The election seems to highlight the most traits in the characters of Nigeria, particularly those of them who are active particularly in the electoral process. This national problem stems from the fact that Nigeria fits Thomas Hobbes description of the man in his state of nature as self-seeking and self-centred.

This determines the greed in the Nigerian man hence cultural a flat has become part of the socio-political-economic organizations.

All elections nationwide elections so far conducted by Nigerians for Nigerians have virtually brought our country to the bank of civil way. This was true of the presidential election of 1979-1983, if we agreed that election is taking of democratic development its application becomes over more vital in political transition such as we have in this countries since independence.

Nothing would have been more gratifying in those transition exercises than to see this country match into a republic under a government duly installed by the people of Nigeria through a democratic election such as development would not only be cherished for building a stable democratic society in the country.

Election malpractices constitute a form of political corruption, electoral fraud is therefore politically destabilizing, economically wasteful and destructive to government development and improved capacity. It destroys the legitimacy of government structure, heightens problems of national disintegration and upset ethnic balance for the individual listeners who take election as a means to exercise political power no matter how small it may be.

The election thus is at the heart of the structure of the functioning of a modern democratic state and accompanies by irregularities and discrepancies summarily known as malpractice.

Nigeria first, second and third republics blew the pipe of ethnic polities and political corruption. Events of the past here is seriously shaking the confidence of the Nigerian people in the method by which they choose their governing officials. It is very difficult to imagine how a country can function democratically if most of its citizens continue to believe that the electoral system is fraudulent.


The issue of electoral malpractices has always been of serious concern to so many patriotic and well-meaning Nigerians because of the destabilizing effects it has on the national body polity.

A Cursory look at the annuals of the history reveals that Nigerian elections have become so afflicted with this ailment that one is forced to albeit uneasily come to grapple with the fact that this country as an entity might not after all survive for long. With the knowledge of elections having a common pattern of violence and malpractices in third world countries are easy to locate and situate the problem of democratic transition through popular elections within the context of the electoral malpractice.


Given that all elections in Nigeria have always had a common pattern of being characterized by malpractice it becomes clear that the objective of this study is to conduct a survey of a general native of electoral malpractice in the election so far had in this country showing how these malpractice have affected the Nigeria political system. The study aims amongst another thing too;

  1. Document various types of electoral malpractices that have occurred during the first and second republican elections.
  2. Try and find out why this problem continues to flourish in the Nigerian political process.
  3. proffer solutions to the problem of electoral malpractice to move the country forward in the area of democratic political transitions.


Poverty rates relative to social spending in other words does a government spending more on social programmes have lower poverty rates than those that do not.

Couldn’t you try to measure the relation between interest rate cuts and price increases in the economy?


Elections are watershed in the political development of any country to the extent that the political stability of a country depends on the integrity development.

The significance of this study lies in the ability to highlight constraints which electoral system and the political system in general a study of the factors which made these elections rough will contribute to a better understanding of the problems posed by malpractices in free and fair elections in the new nations.

In regard, this, the study will go a long way to educate and, inculcate or teach Nigerian electorates on the ills of election malpractices, it is believed that this research will not only add its quota to already existing literature on elections and electoral malpractices but will serve as a guide in planning and conducting subsequent elections in this country.


The scope of this research will deal mainly on electoral malpractices in Nigeria and their causes, the study also tries to determine the possible solution to the electoral malpractice problems.


Limitations to this research are the lack of sufficient literature on the key theoretical concepts.

Materials on electoral malpractice are not quite easy to source hence reliance on magazines, journals and similar papers etc.


ELECTION: This is a process by which the populace selects their leaders by voting. It is a process through which the electorate chooses its representatives into a government position.

ELECTION MALPRACTICE: This refers to the service of actions that are taken during election periods that bring about political corruption into the government.

POLITICAL VIOLENCE: This is a contriving threat to any political system, it is also a criminal act that is irrational and self-defeating since the majority of the casualties of the riots are either dead or seriously injured.

POLITICAL PARTY: A party is a group of people united by a common political interest or ideology and engages in a power struggle to control the machinery of government and public politics.

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This article is published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0

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