Electoral Violence and the Survival of Democracy in Nigeria’sFourth Republic: A Historical Perspective
The historical trajectory of electoral process in the post colonial Nigerian is characterised by violence. In fact, recent manifestations of electoral violence, most importantly since the birth of the Fourth Republic in 1999 have assumed an unprecedented magnitude and changing form, resulting in instability in democratic consolidation as well as the loss and displacement of many innocent lives. The paper historicizes electoral violence and its implications on the survival of democracy in the Nigeria with major emphasis on the Fourth Republic. It argues that the high incidence of electoral violence (pre and post) in the Fourth Republic in particular is closely associated with neo-patrimonial character of the Nigerian state, the nature and kind of party politics being played, the weak institutionalisation of democratic architectures and inefficient electoral management body among others. It posits that these were among the factors that led to the fall or collapse of the First and Second Republics. The paper therefore submits that the survival of democracy in the Fourth Republic involves adherence to the ideals and principles of electoral process as practised in ideal democratic societies.
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