SOCIAL MEDIA AND ELECTORAL VIOLENCE IN NIGERIA: SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOAL 16, A PANACEA?Abstract:
Social media has changed the way people interact, transact, share information and participate in political activities. Of course, the electoral process in Nigeria, as is in other parts of the world, has been remarkably impacted by the proliferation of social media. However, despite the enormous advantages it holds, social media has also proven to be a tool for inciting electoral violence through disinformation, misinformation, hate speech, and propaganda. Indeed, it is imperative to adopt an alternative framework in addressing the grave danger inherent in social media and the fomentation of electoral violence in Nigeria. It is on this premise that Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 which seeks to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels is recommended. The paper adopts a descriptive approach and argues that peace is a requisite for health, well-being, and sustainable development while strong institutions are pivotal to the attainment of peace. Therefore, the promotion of peace, justice, inclusion, and strong institutions must be treated as society’s latest tall order. Consequently, the paper recommends the establishment of an Electoral Peace Commission, Justice Commission, strengthening of electoral institutions, and the censorship of inciting words on social media platforms as plausible solutions to electoral violence as caused by social media in Nigeria.