Political Violence and the Electoral Process in Nigeria an Overview of the 2006 Presidential Election
One of the basic Machineries 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 Mcpherson Constitutions for 1922 and 1951 respectively. This was elaborated
at independence in the first and second republic and subsequent periods.
Very Ugly Experiences have characterized the
activities with the Electoral Process that constitutes the burning questions in
this work with malpractice, fraud and therefore violence.
The Election of the first republic displayed
Ethnicity in the second Republic Presidential Election (2006) records it ugly
tendencies but in and refined form. This time, money and corruption led to Race
in electoral malpractice 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
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The significance of election has an
instrument for regime change has been recognized in most part of the world. Its
importance in a democratic society has been acknowledge by democratic means in
highly cherished by the populace. Election of course can be the basic tool of
Political violence in Nigeria as a matter of
fact cannot be over emphasized. Political violence is a process that gave room
for political instability or unrest. That is political violence encompasses,
political assassinations, killings, thuggery, stealing of ballot boxes and
papers, intimidation, riggings and fund. Political violence according to Ojiaka
(1981) gave an account of political violence and fraud as intense in the
western region election held on October 11, 1965. The political violence took
the following shape.
i. Ten houses were burnt
ii. Two people were killed
iii. About 24 people were arrested for
allegedly in possession of large quantity of ballot papers
iv. Twelve ballot boxes containing papers were
discovered at twelve different filling stations in Ondo-State.
Electoral fraud being parts and parcel of
political violence is an act of decert involved in a elections by a persons or
group of persons in order to have an advantage over a person or group of
Fraud association with successive elections
seems more sophisticated than previous ones. In the election that ushered in
the second republic government in 2006, Gargantuan fraud was alleged to have
accrued, heading to litigation by the opposition parties against the National
Party of Nigeria (NPN) that won at the federal level. The level of
sophistication in the election that returned Shehu-Shargi of NPN to Shagari’s
presidential elections made a shame of elections in Nigeria.
The ill fated third republic that lasted from
1991-1993 was not free from social democratic party (SDP) and Bashiri Tofa of
national republican convention (NRC) has been adjudged the free and fair
election in Nigeria. Rather than improvement on the 1993 elections, things went
even worst in the 1999 elections that ushered in the fourth republic.
The beneficiary of the 2006 electoral fraud,
Olusegun Obasanjo surprised Nigerians when he brazenly introduced high level of
irregularities in the 2006 elections in order to secure victory for himself and
The fraud in 2006 elections is perhaps,
jokingly referred to us as electronic rigging owing to the fail that electronic
voting system was used in many quarters because of the magnituble of alleged
The fraud in the presidential election was so
brazen that many Nigeria’s called for its cancellation for another election to
be conducted by the United Nations. Reading to the suggestion, Ekpu (2007)
states this: those who think that the United Nations can conduct perfect
elections in Nigeria are suffering from the illusion belief that the global is
a magician. The united nation would need election officers, who will be
Nigerians, all of these Nigerians have their interest, many, geography, tribe and
that is why elections hardly work.
However, over the years the desire and task
of building a stable democracy in Nigeria has remained a mirage and part of
this unfulfilled dream as peaceful change of government ostensibly, through the
electoral process. It is a common pattern that election in the third world
countries are mined by violence and malpractice and therefore never free and
fair as unlike the case in advanced industrial countries.
Electioneering and the conduct of supposedly
democratic elections seems to highlight the most traits in the characters of
Nigeria particularly those of them who are prominent members of the political
class as well as those of them who are active participants in electoral
process. The national problem stems from the fact that Nigeria fits Thomas
Hobbes description of man in his state of nature. He is basically self seeking
This determines the greed in Nigerian man.
This greed manifest itself on daily ways of life. Hence the cultural or a
cultural flat has become part of our socio politically economic organizations.
All the nation wide elections so far
conducted by Nigerian for Nigerians have virtually brought our country to the
brink of civil way. This was true of the presidential election of 2006, if we
agreed that elections in basic tool of democratic development its application
becomes over more vital political transition such as we have in this country