History of Electoral Violence in Nigeria

History of Electoral Violence in Nigeria is discussed in this article. This promises to give you a great read and we hope you find it informative.

History of Electoral Violence in Nigeria

History of Electoral Violence in Nigeria
History of Electoral Violence in Nigeria – Photo Source: https://www.cagle.com

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Politics in a post-colonial state as observed by political scientist Remi Anifowose is a deadly serious business and the ruling party will do anything possible to remain in power.

It is most unusual to see a ruling party allow itself to be deprived of political power through the ballot box. Thus, elections in these states became a worthless exercise to confirm the ruling party in power.

The Nigerian experience with elections has not been different. The history of elections in Post-independence Nigeria has been a very violent one and a bitter experience for the country.

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This was also realized that all Post independent elections in Nigeria had been marked by serious problems. For this reason, all post-independent elections in Nigeria had been included which is the focus of this article.

Since then, elections and the struggle for political power have been the root cause of most major problems in the country since independence.

According to Billy Dudley, violence was so widespread in the West and Lagos that politicians had to campaign under the protection of paid bodyguards armed with all kinds of offensive weapons.

In all parts of the country, many candidates were not registered because Electoral Officers were prevented from registering candidates from other parties after they had registered candidates from the governing party in the region.

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Hence, abuse of the electoral procedure was so widespread that at the end of nominations, 88 candidates out of 174 in the North had their candidature not challenged and thus were declared unopposed and this bought about several electoral crises in Nigeria.

Some electoral officials and commissioners showed their indignation by resigning from their position for fear of being associated with an election that was rigged. Publicly, the chairman of the electoral commission disregarded these abuses and went ahead to announce the results of the rigged election.

There were three major consequences of the 1964 federal elections crisis the crisis led to a constitutional crisis which would have led to more trouble if it had not been resolved.

The crisis led to the formation of a broad-based government in which 80 politicians out of 312 held executive offices. Although the major parties agreed to cooperate in the formation of Government, it was obvious that events during the elections had further widened the gap between several political parties.

Despite these obvious consequences of the 1964 federal election known for the electoral crisis, there are also a few other observations that have been made.

For instance, Billy Dudley has observed that the elections and the manner in which they were conducted made clear to everyone certain important facts about politics in Nigeria.

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The atmosphere was so charged politically that it was obvious that there would be disturbances as some members of every party were seen as traitors who betrayed their people.

Generally in Nigerian politics, the achievement of political power was an end in itself and not a means of serving society. Obviously, the only concern of the parties was to secure political power which led to the electoral crises.

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