ELECTORAL VIOLENCE AND POLITICAL INSTABILITY IN OREDO LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF EDO STATE FROM 1999-2015.
1.1 Background of the study
Elections provide citizens with the freedom to choose their rulers and to decide on public policy. Over the years, electoral violence have been a source to political instability, which is, instead of a peaceful change in political leadership, difference interest groups within the state have resolved their claims to political power through violence and thuggery.
Critical questions have been raised consequently to ascertain if the 2011 Nigeria general election will be a transformational year of relatively peaceful transition or a repeat of violence electoral process. As nigeria navigates gradually into the 2015 election season, few were hopeful that the ugly political history will not be repeated.
In Edo state, the failure of elections or its absence largely defines the predominance of dictatorship and personalized rule by elites in the state. Thus, the current wave of democratic enthusiasm has evoked a process of competitive and multiparty election which has laid the platform for election rigging, brigandage and violence as common practices.
Adam Oshiomhole (the guardian, January 2010:6) was quoted for starting thus: The shame is that we have a section of the political elite who think that if they are not winning, then the world most came to an end but with a courageous police force and determined independent National electoral commission (INEC) we can rid the state of the shame that we have been wallowing in over the years.
Thus, electoral violence is the most deadly form of electoral fraud which can be perpetual either by the incumbent power holder or opposition party for competition for political power or by aggrieved electorates who may have been disenfranchised as a result of malpractice or electoral rigging.
In Edo state, violence and arson tailed the (people’s Democratic Party) PDP primaries and paralyzed social and economic activities in Oredo local Government Area. Prior to the re-run elections in Edo state, allegations were rife that the two major contending political parties by then. Action congress of Nigeria (ACN) which is now All Progressive congress (APC) and people’s Democratic parties (PDP) had imported suspected thugs into the area to mar the electioneering process.
It is deducible from the above that electorate violence breeds a political culture of violence among elites in the state.
According to Almond and Powell (cite in Ibaba 2004).
Political culture is the pattern of individual attitude and orientations towards politics among members of a political system. It is the subjective realm which underlines and gives meaning to political action.
Political culture defined by violence has made development impossible because by its very nature such a culture is descriptive of the needs and motivations for achievement. Political culture, in this context, is the pattern of political behavior demonstrated by a group or persons in the state which shapes the character of politics.
Thus, electoral process marked by violence totally obstructs the possibilities of development in Oredo Local Government Area in particular and Edo state at large. Political instability arises as a result of the inability of government and society in general t adequately address the grievances of the populations either as a result of electoral malpractice, violence etc.
Political instability results from politics of lawlessness which derives out investment and hinders development. The high value placed on retaining political power makes the leadership to ignore growth and development. Under such an atmosphere, accountability, transparency and frugality in the management of natural resource (all essential ingredients of governance for development are undermined).
1.2 Statement of the problem
Election is one of the major determinants of the core values of democracy. The prospect of elections providing the institution al mechanism which enhances a viable democratic political culture is dependent on the condition that elections are conducted on free and fair basis (Alapiki 2004).
However, when condition for free, f `air and credible elections are undermined then electoral violence is said to have ensued. The problem of electoral violence as a factor in determining free, fair and credible election in Edo state has continued unabated for years.
Punch (2009:15) observes that:
Because each contender contents for office, whether at National or regional level was desperate to retain or gain Office…….. For without office its chance for capital Accumulation would be gravely jeopardized. Violence and
thuggery became synonymous with politics. People killed in the fight to gain or retain office. The above negates democratic principles. The inclusion of violence in the electoral process contradicts fundamentals ideals of democratic tenets such as political particular, rule of law, mobilization, free, fair and credible elections, fundamental human rights etc, in any democratic state.
However, what is worrisome is that electoral violence is now accepted as a part of the electoral process and a logical outcome for such scenario results in political lawlessness ushering in a culture of political instability.’
It is such prevailing circumstances that compelled the researcher to investigate the causes of electoral violence and to establish the relationship between security agencies and violence in Oredo Local Government Area of Edo state.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The objectives of the study are as follow: To determine the causes of electoral violence in Oredo local government area of Edo state.
To establish or explain the relationship between security agencies and electoral violence in Oredo local government area.
1.4 Research Question
The following question will be tested.
There is a relationship between security agency and electoral violence in Oredo local government area of Edo state.
1.5 Scope of the Study
The research study is restricted to electoral violence and political instability in Oredo local government area of Edo state from 1999-2015.
1.6 Theoretic Frameworks
The theoretical framework adopted for the study is the structural conflict theory whose exponents are Marx and Engels (1978), Ross (1993) and (1993) and Galtung (1990).
This theory is also similar to transformative theory which addresses the reaction of individuals, groups, culture, institutions and societies to change. It further sees incompatible interest based on competitive for resources, which in most cases, assumed to be scarce as being responsible for social conflicts (Shedrack 2006).
The main argument of the structural conflict theory is that conflict is built into the particular ways societies are structured and organized. The theory looks at social problems like political and economic exclusion, injustice, exploitation and inequality as source of conflict. Structuralists maintains that conflict occur because of denominational of one class by another, and, especially he exploitative and unjust nature of human societies. To Marx (cited in Shedrack 2006) the capitalist structure due to one’s relation to production is blamed for the division of society into the proletariat and the bourgeois. The bourgeois control both the economic political sphere to which they exploit the proletariat (lower class) resulting conflict.
The emphasis of structural conflict theory is on how competing interest of groups tie conflict directly into the social, economic and political organization of society as well as the nature and strength of social network within and between groups. Structural theory is remarkably strong on the immediate an underlying factors that lead to conflict. It presents a large numbers of factors that make the emergence and escalation of conflict possible while and social factors are more common, political institutional factors (the structure of the state, discriminatory political institutions, intergroup politics elite cohesion or fragmentation); security factor (national security dilemma) as well as ethic factor (demography) are equally as critical.
The implication of this theory to the study is on the assertion that society is structured, in that a minority groups (few) who are referred to as such “bourgeoisie” are in control of both the economic and political powers to which they use to serve its interest. Also, there exist the proletariats or lower class that is heavily exploited.
Against such background, the society is in favour of the few (elite) during electioneering seasons. These political actors employ and control security forces in its interest to aid electoral malpractice such as snatching of ballot boxes, intimidating electorates, etc. Under such circumstances, electoral malpractices can be said to have ensured opening high propensity for violence. In recent times, the electoral process has been delaminated by incidents of security agencies colluding with political office holders or seekers to undermine the electoral process.
To a great extent, this represents a dislocation and malfunctioning of a component (security agencies) that ultimately affects/impact on the entire system (electoral process) in the interest of a few (elite), under such circumstances, violence could be triggered as the electorates are dissatisfied with the electoral process ushering in a culture of political instability.
1.7 Research Methodology
This section of the chapter focuses on the method of the study process. This includes the research design, sample size, sampling procedure, sources of data, data collection method and method of data analysis.
Research Design: The central quest in setting up a research design is the identification, arrangement, development of data collection and analysis procedures, methods that are relevant and adequate for the attainment of the objectives of the study (Ahonsi and Soyombo 1996).
According to Nworgu (1991) research design is plan or blueprint which specifies how data relating to a given problem should be collected and analyzed. It provides the procedural outline for the conduct of any given investigation. The researcher used sample survey method of the quasi experimental design in this study. A descriptive quantitative approach was applied to describe and establish causal relationship between variables being studied.
Sample size: According to Black and Champion (cited in Nworgu 1991) sample is a similar group of elements drawn through a definite procedure from a specified population. In other words, sampling is a process of taking a small portion to represent a whole. According to Oputa (2005), the sampling size is the exact numbers if items the researcher is studying. The sampling size adopted for the study is 90.
Source of data: The sources of data include both the primary and secondary data. Primary data are source via questionnaire, observation and interview while secondary data includes textbooks, journals and e-books.
Method of data collection: The method of data collection includes questionnaire method and personal observation. According to Ahonsi and Soyombo (1991) questionnaire is a set of written questions which are served to respondents and which are completed by them. The questionnaire design adopted for the study is the dichotomous questioning where the respondent is given two choices to select from either YES OR NO.
The questions in the questionnaire consisted of section A (Bio-data) and section B (To investigate the causes and relationship between electoral violence and security agencies in Oredo Local Government Area). A total of 135 questionnaires were distributed and 90 were retrieved making up the sample size for the study.
e. method of data analysis: data collected from the field work are presented I tabulated forms and analyzed using simple percentage method (which will ease understanding of the sourced data and to test the research question). Simple percentages method of analysis is represented mathematically below as:
No of Response x 100
Total No of Respondents 1
1.8 Significance of the Study
This research intends basically to unravel the misery behind political instability vis-à-vis electoral violence. It is expected that this research endeavor is useful to the general public in terms of advancing knowledge/ new findings. In other words, the research study serves as a useful guide in tacking electoral violence not only in Oredo Local Government Area in Edo state but possibly Nigeria at large.
1.9 Limitation of the Study
This research endeavor is limited by sundry factors in course of the execution. Financial constraints, distance and poor state of infrastructure (e. g roads) etc, greatly limited the execution of this research endeavor/ work
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