ELECTORAL VIOLENCE AND THE SURVIVAL OF NIGERIAN DEMOCRACY IN THE FOURTH REPUBLIC, 1999-2015: A HISTORICAL ANALYSIS
Abstract:A historical trajectory of electoral process in the post-colonial Nigeria was characterised by violence, which was both pre and post. Recent manifestations of electoral violence, most importantly between 1999 and 2015 in the Fourth Republic assumed an unprecedented magnitude, resulting in the loss and displacement of many innocent lives. However, with the adoption of technology especially in the build up to the 2015 general elections, the rate of electoral violence was minimized. The paper historicizes electoral violence and its implications on the survival of democracy in Nigeria with major emphasis on the Fourth Republic between 1999 and 2015. It argues that the high incidence of electoral violence (pre and post) in the Fourth Republic in particular was 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 Nigeria’s Fourth Republic involves strict adherence to the ideals and principles of electoral process as practised in ideal democratic societies.