Background to the study
The insignificant activities, sequel to the attainment of political independence in the 1960 in Nigeria were indeed inimical to the expectations of the great nationalists, who took the pain to secure the political independence. According to Coleman (1958)
The emergent polity that rolled down to the path of electoral engineering in Nigeria from the wake of independence wore the aura of infirmity. Albeit such derailment became highly influential in the post-colonial era, the events that took place in the late 1940s, especially the formation of ethnic-based political parties offered much to the new development. Since the inception of election, elections in Nigeria democratic experience, the country have continued to endure turbulent electoral atmosphere with accompanying tension, the heightened tension created by competition for public offices has exacerbated existing conflict, and also created new ones.
Bieneu (1968) maintained that the resultant problems manifested in all the spheres of Nigeria’s social, economic and political life, thus giving impetus to electoral violence. To this effect, electoral violence is therefore studied in its multiple dimensions. Such endemic trend, have in fact manifested itself as a monumental phenomenon which political gladiators in Nigeria cannot avoid in dealing with electoral processes. In essence electoral violence has largely affected the concrete effort by succeeding governments at nation-building and sustainable democracy.Egbo (2003).
The recent transition into civil rule, established via the instrumentality of the 1990, 2003, 2007 and 2011 general elections is no doubt infested by the ominous electoral violence. Albeitthe democratic environment under which the 1990-2007 elections were conducted ought to have provided ample advantage, the process, were conducted with much difficulties. The campaigns, prior to the elections were deeply immersed in electoral violence including practical cases of assassination of political prominent figures, attempted murder of political opponents and disruption of campaigns.
What then establishes electoral violence especially in the 1999 to 2007 general election after Nigeria has so far demanded for transfer from military rule to democratic rule, and actually succeeded? Precisely, the issues are three fold suffice it to say that ethnicity, religion and regional dichotomy caused by competition for economic desires, continues to rear their ugly heads in the Nigeria’s political terrain.
Furthermore, there is a resolve that the office holders sought to display their power of incumbency to intimidate any opposition and deployed state apparatus and resources to further their selfish end. In the words of Egwu, J.U (2003) they had exhibited desperate ambition to remain in office for a second term. To this effect it is because of this increasing awareness as well as the growing concern over the prone nature and volatility of Nigeria the inspiration to embark on this project is being derived.
This work is focused on the recent electoral violence experienced during the 1999, 2003 and 2007 general election. Specifically, the researcher will take a clear view into the electoral will take a clear view into the electoral violence as it occurred during the state period in Ebonyi state.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
This research is an attempt to investigate the impact of electoral violence on political development in ebonyi state between 1999-2003 and 2007, this is because some of the conducted recent elections in Nigeria, were said to be massively rigged, electoral violence and fraud across the state of the Nigeria. Electoral violence as a social phenomenon which has largely prevailed in our political system is a trend which government must attempt to control if not completely abated.This study is therefor, born out of the realization of the apparent invincibility of electoral violence in Nigeria. A survey on electoral violence reveals that a remarkable history has been made of it by the violence during the 1999-2007 elections have largely affected the psyche of innocent Nigerians in a negative way.
Meanwhile, this research will proceed by making analytical survey on the practical issues that causes electoral violence within the Nigeria context. The political heresy of the 1999-2007 general elections could be embodied to the submersion of the legislative arms of government thereby, weakening them from enactinga standard electoral law that could also give guild to the smooth conduct of elections in the country. In the view of the stated problem, the following research questions have been posed.
- Does the plural nature of Nigeria promote electoral violence?
- To what extent does power disposition contribute to the role of electoral violence?
- To what extent does electoral violence in 1999-2007 elections affects the entire electoralsystem.
- Does political parties contribute in perpetuating electoral violence in Nigeria’s electoral process?
1.3 AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The following are the aims and objectives of the study:
i To identity and explain factors responsible for electoral violence as experienced during 1999, 2003 and 2007 general elections in Ebonyi State.
- To critically analyse the problem of electoral violence with a view to highlight their shortcomings.
iii. To determine the role of political parties in perpetuating electoral violence in Nigeria’s electoral system.
- To find remedies for the persistence electoral violence in Ebonyi state.
1.4 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
- Electoral violence in Ebonyi State emanates from the struggle for political power among various power blocs.
- Electoral violence in the 1999-2007 elections arises as a result of strife between incumbents and the political parties contending for power.
- Electoral violence undermines democratic tenets and principles in Ebonyi State
1.5 THEORITICAL FRAMEWORK
The theoretical framework adopted for this work is that of “power theory” the theory was propounded by Jeremy Bently and Robber Dahl, the theory is anchored on the belief that there is inevitable and irrepressible urge in human beings to come to power. The major exponent of the theory is Hans J. Morgenthau, who maintained that the power is relevant to both national and international politics.Nwankwo(1997).
The theorist observed the conflicting condition of the world and hence attributing the same to the struggle for the acquisition of power. For Morgenthau according to Okere (2000:16), this world is such an evil world that whenever we act with reference to our fellow men, we must sin.Morgenthau holds, that both conflict and evil can be traced to two human traits, selfishness and the lust for power. He therefore, believed that selfishness alone cannot explain the war of man against man. The explanation is found in the other root cause of evil and conflict, man’s desire for power.
However, the relevance of this theory to the present study is based on the belief that electoral violence arise when various groups apply violent means to acquire and retain power, electoral violence in Nigeria is an offshoot of the struggle for power among group of people contending for power. If the Abuja groups and Ebonyi group are not Seeking or contending for power the violence in 1999,2003, and 2007 which almost engulfed all top politicians in Ebonyi would not have been let alone that of 2007.
1.6 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
This research focus its attention on electoral violence and prospects of democracy in Nigeria with special reference to Ebonyi State 1999,2003 and 2007 general elections. Though a good number of electoral violence abound, the research is essentially concerned no the 1999, 2003 and 2007 general elections in Nigeria.
However, the complexities surrounding electoral violence ought to be prudently studied and defined. But the study has been severely affected due to given limitations. Unfortunately due to dearth of time, finance and material. Resources militated against the research but without any prejudice to veracity of the outcome of the enterprise.
1.7 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This research is being carried out to achieve the following -: 1. To add to the body of existing knowledge on the impact of electoral violence on political development and the prospects of democracy in Nigeria.
- The study will be significant theoretically as one of the number of attempts to document the concept of electoral violence in Nigeria with Ebonyi State as a reference.
3.the research intends to offer theoretical guides, that would be of increase relevant to the researching students, who may likely be in depth in further study on the phenomenon.
- It offers to the researchers a better chance to become abreast with the implications of electoral violence in the national polity thereby taking advantage of the opportunities to abate the scourge.
1.8 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
Electoral violence: is an act that negates consultative and regulative norms that disrupts smooth conduct of election in a society.
Voters registration: it means compiling a list of all those that are eligible to cast a vote during the election.
Role of INEC:The role of independent national electoral commission, an official of INEC was caught Saturday (April 14, 2007) in Ebonyi State at a polling unit for allegedly attempting to stull a ballot box. This is because INEC had been bought over by the party in power.
The political gladiators:The political gladiators in Ebonyi state go to any extent to making sure that they acquire political power which include killing or assassinating political opponent, using thugs to snatch ballot, threat and intimidation to the electorates.
Election: is the process of choosing a person especially for a political position by voting.
Violence: this is the action or behaviour that is intended to hurt or kill somebody as well as causing destruction to properties belonging to opponents or government
Electoral System: An electoral system is a set of rules that governs the conduct of elections.
2.0 LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 Historical Evolution of Electoral Violence in Nigeria.