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PROJECT TOPIC: ELECTORAL VIOLENCE AND POLITICAL PARTICIPATION IN NIGERIA: A CASE STUDY OF AKWA IBOM STATE 2007-2015

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CHAPTER ONEINTRODUCTION1.1 Background of the StudySince the introduction of the elective principle by the Clifford constitution of 1922 in Nigeria, the urge for democratic government has gone a long way. The country has relied largely on election, a device for choosing its leaders. Election is therefore closely associated with the evolution of democratic order (Nnoli in Jinadu and Eboh 1990:52).Election therefore, in terms of its origin, is colonial in nature. Nothing was heard about elections in Nigeria until the advent of colonial rule because African countries, though democratic according to their levels of development, were devoid of elections and electoral processes. With the exit of Lugard, the British government was opportune to bring Clifford which provided for voting in Lagos and Calabar.Restrictive as this elective principle was, it was devoid of violence. But the same thing cannot be said of the subsequent elections. In fact, as the country advanced in her constitutional development, there are some centrifugal forces tending to hinder the much cherished amalgamation of 1914. One of such forces was that the colonialists resorted to the manipulation of elections along communal lines. Thus, in 1951 election in Kano, the colonial administration tried very hard to frustrate Northern allies of southerners opposed to the candidate of the Emirs. The allies suffered diverse discrimination, intimidation and victimization of greater proportion as they were not allowed to hold public meetings.Colonial manipulation of election led to the poisoning of relations between the north and the south with the resultant effect of a consequent increase in the social distance between members of their population (Nnoli, 1980:122).Since then, the country became exposed to diverse electoral violence. Thus the Richards constitution which divided the country into North, East and West set the stage for violent electoral battle among the three main ethnic groups. However, apart from pockets of electoral violence that took place in 1952 (the case of Azikiwe’s defeat in Western Regional House of Assembly and how he eventually settled down in the East and displaced Chief Eyo Ita and became the leader of the NCNC, and that of the electoral violence that followed the 1959 general elections), the real electoral violence emerged in 1964 federal elections. To contest the election, two major allies were formed, that is, the Nigerian National Alliance (NNA) consisting of NPC, NNDP and Mid-West Democratic Front (MDF). The second alliance being United Progressive Grand Alliance (UPGA) consisting of NCNC, AG, NEPU and UMBC.On the Election Day, as a protest against the arrest and imprisonment of UPGA members who were to contest election in the North and West, UPGA leaders directed that their supporters should boycott the election. Ofeimum declared that it was election so-well orchestrated with violence and so much formlessness that Nnamidi Azikiwe, the President of the newly declared republic, initially refused to call Alhaji Tafawa Balewa, the Prime Minister, to form a government (Ofeimum, 2011: 72).The essence of an election is to enhance political participation. When individuals are allowed to take part in determining who their leaders should be, they will feel psychologically attached to that government which they come to see as their own (Eminue, 2001:71). The end of it all is that election in Nigeria has fallen short of being free and fair as violence has taken over the rules of the game. It is against this background that this study on the effect of electoral violence on political participation in Nigeria would be analyzed.


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