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1.1 Background of the Study
Electoral process in Nigeria have been a re-occurring source of disputes, strong-arm tactics, crises and conflict electoral violence characterize by abuse of the electoral process by political parties and the refusal to accept electoral verdicts have had deleterious effects on democracy in Nigeria through which people or citizens participate actively in their own government and Bonny local government area is not left out of this as it is a general problem in Nigeria thus, the last local government chairmanship election in Bonny Local Government between Barrister Edward Ebenezer Pepple of the Peoples Democratic Party (here after P.D.P) and Mr. Senibo
Adonye Wilcox of the National Unity Party (here after N.U.P) was riddled with electoral violence. While the fact remains that the use of electoral procedure is the modern means of legitimizing the assignment of a person to an elective office of authority. The occurrence of electoral violence in Nigeria has caused threat to Nigerians citizenry in different times, no doubt electoral process is full of violence, and conflict causing problems for democracy especial in past elections.
The process of decolonization in Nigeria was achieved with minimal violence and political influence of acclaimed freedom fighters. However, electoral violence has gone a long way to cause political apathy in the society in such a way that most citizens have lost interest in the political process. This study is therefore driven by the motivation to examine the impact of democracy in Nigeria and the challenges of electoral violence as it relate to bonny local government area, rivers state Nigeria.
1.2 Statement of Problem
Democracy is regarded as the best form of government. Therefore it was defined as government of the people by the people and for the people. The word “for the people” shows the important role election plays in any working democracy all over the world as some scholars have even argued that election is the most important aspect of democracy. Thus, when the power to decide who governs is taken away from the people then democracy cannot thrive.
However, within a decade of demonstration of democracy in the Nigeria polity, the issue of free and fair election devoid of electoral violence and other maladies has continued to take the center stage. This was noted by Ismail (2012) when he stated that:
Nigerian politicians are leading the prone of incredibleness of election in Nigeria which can be attributed to their political desperation and intolerance that have aggravate to causing violent clashes within their parties as well as among other political parties and contestants. As a matter of fact, this is playing major role in scaring electorates from freely exercising their franchise.
Thus, the justices Uwais’ led electoral reform panel was set up to find lasting solution to the teething problem of how to reform the present electoral system to the satisfactions of Nigerians, between the ruling party and the opposition parties without giving an undue advantage to other party’s Omenazu (2009). Thus, it is in line with the above that this research was structured to answer the following questions:
What are the factors responsible for electoral violence in Bonny Local Government Area?
Who are responsible for electoral violence in Bonny Local Government Area?
1.3 Objective of the Study
The objective of the research is to critically examine the challenges posed by electoral violence as well as the impact of democracy on the nation and the people of bonny.
- The purpose of this work is to critically examine the factor that generates negative political behaviour such as electoral violence.
- The extent to which electoral violence engenders political apathy on the citizenry of bonny local government area. During election.
- The study will also final out which groups in the local government area are responsible in instigating electoral violence.
- Finally, the study seeks to proffer solution on how to minimize or eradicate electoral malpractice and violence in bonny local government area so as to make for enthronement of a more credible democratic system.
1.4 Research Hypotheses
Electoral malpractice is responsible for electoral violence in Bonny Local Government Area
Poverty plays a major role in electoral malpractice in Nigeria.
1.5 Significant of the Study
This study is significant in that it empirical examines the impact, challenges, issues and prospect of electoral violence in Nigeria and how it contributed to the social economic development of the nation’s democracy.
On a specific note the following are important.
This study thus would serve as a guide to policy makers and the implementation on how best to go about democracy and electoral violence so as to usher in a more credible democratic system that brings about needed development in the country.
This study will unravelled certain social problems within the Nigerian polity and would serve as a data sources for reference point for future students that seek information on this field.
1.6 Theoretical Framework
In the field of political science and other discipline, theories have become the means adopted for rigorous understanding of event. However, care must be taken in this selection of these theories to the applicability of event under consideration.
In this study, the theoretical framework is the system theory of violence. The system theory of violence is one of the theories used for analyzing violence. Violence is a social phenomenon, for an action to be considered violent; it needs a victim or group of victims. This theory focuses on the structural factors in knowing the origin of situation that are violent. It posit that the social context with in which violence behaviour occurs should be the major area of attention as to understand the root causes of such behaviours. Das and choudhury, (1997).
The social question is not, “why does violence occur? But rather” why does this naturally occurring, socially undesirable activity happen more in some circumstances than in others?” the systems theory studies electoral violence through systematic investigation of fundamental questions on the social and political context of violent behaviour. Scholars of this school have argued that the nature of relative deprivation or rising expectation will turn into a social context.
We shall at this junction turn to the application of system theory of violence to electoral violence in Nigeria. We have this allude to function above as referring to the contribution of an activity or patterns of behaviour to the maintenance of a system in a given society. The pattern of behaviour of many Nigerians toward electoral violence in Nigeria had not and does not contribute to the maintenance of the Nigerians political system.
This behaviors changes with time because those who gained political office through electoral violence is more than those who were truly elected by the electorate themselves thereby compounding the political system and undermining the tenets of democracy in the country.
1.7 Research Methodology
Given the nature of the study, this work shall apply the historical research methods. The method will enable us to have a critical evaluation by examining the historical dynamics of electoral violence in Nigeria.
The historical method has been explained as an attempt to understand a given phenomenon by determining its process of growth and dynamics of internal change.
The data for the research are to be collected from secondary sources. Secondary sources according to Zikala (2006), are data that have already been in existence, the researcher is not involved in gathering the data. And secondary sources of data consist of data from published books, journals, government publication newspapers, conference materials, seminars as well as unpublished academic thesis.
1.8 Scope of Limitation of the Study
The scope of the study was restricted to Bonny Local Government Area in Rivers State. However, inferences were drawn from all over Nigeria in order to make an informed analysis. Also, the scope of study would be limited to that aspect of electoral malpractice that has to do with violence.
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