top of page
Asian Institute of Research, Journal Publication, Journal Academics, Education Journal, Asian Institute
Asian Institute of Research, Journal Publication, Journal Academics, Education Journal, Asian Institute

Journal of Social and Political


ISSN 2615-3718 (Online)

ISSN 2621-5675 (Print)

asia insitute of research, journal of social and political sciences, jsp, aior, journal publication, humanities journal, social journa
asia insitute of research, journal of social and political sciences, jsp, aior, journal publication, humanities journal, social journa
asia insitute of research, journal of social and political sciences, jsp, aior, journal publication, humanities journal, social journa
asia insitute of research, journal of social and political sciences, jsp, aior, journal publication, humanities journal, social journa
open access

Published: 25 September 2020

Battle on the Ballot: Trends of Electoral Violence and Human Security in Nigeria, 1964-2019

Eziho Promise Ogele

Rivers State University, Nigeria

journal of social and political sciences
pdf download

Download Full-Text Pdf



Pages: 883-900

Keywords: Candidates, Cultural Violence, Electoral Cycle, Electoral Violence, Human Security, Political Parties, Thugs


Over time, the politics of anxiety has increased the tension of winning elections in Nigeria. This anxiety propels candidates or party members to resort to unethical practices such as violence in a bid to win elections because politics in Nigeria has become a zero-sum game. Candidates and political parties prepare for election with the mindset of winning by all cost, including engaging in pre-electoral, Election Day and post-election violence. Hence, the act of violence has been entrenched in Nigeria’s political space, such that every election cycle both governments, non-governmental organizations and international community engage in progammes that promotes peaceful election. The study is aimed at examining electoral violence from Nigeria’s First Republic to date and its human security implications on democratic advancement in Nigeria. The paper adopted the culture of violence theory as its theoretical construct. The content analysis was used in the interpretation of secondary data. The paper recommends amongst others to strengthen the electoral management board and enforce relevant laws on perpetrators of electoral violence.


  1. Abe, T. (2008). 2007 Elections and Electoral Violence in Nigeria’s Fourth Republic. Journal of Contemporary Politics, Vol. 1. No. 1.

  2. Abimbola, J.O. and Adesote, S.A. (2012). Domestic Terrorism and Boko Haram Insurgency in Nigeria, Issues and Trends: A Historical Discourse. Journal of Arts and Contemporary Society, 4 (September), 16-28.

  3. Adisa, J.(1995). Urban Violence in Nigeria, in Crime and Conflict, 2, Winter, Durban. Indicator Press.

  4. Agbu, A.D., Mohammed, I. and Garba, M.J.(2019). Politics and Violence in Nigeria: An Assessment of the 2019 General Elections in Taraba State, Nigeria. Jalingo Journal of Social and Management Sciences, vol.2, 1. Retrieved from:

  5. Ake, C. (1978). Revolutionary Pressure in Africa. London. Zeb Press.

  6. Alemika, E.E.O. and Omotosho, S. B. (2008). Nigeria’s 2007 General Election: Betrayal of Electorate optimism and participation. Alliance for Credible Elections (ACE Nigeria) and CLEEN Foundation. Lagos. CLEEN Pub.

  7. Awowole-Browne, F (2011). CPC Rejects Results from S’East, S’South, Others. Daily Sun Newspaper, Tuesday April 19th. BBC News Online, October 18, 2006. Retrieved from:

  8. Birch, S., Daxecker, U. and Ho¨glund,K. (2020). Electoral violence: An introduction. Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 57(1) 3–14. Retrieved from: http//

  9. Burchard, S. M. (2015). Electoral Violence in Sub-Saharan Africa. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner.

  10. Collier, P.(2010). Wars, Guns and Votes: Democracy in Dangerous Places.London. Vintage Books.

  11. Daily Express, 14th January 1966.

  12. Daily Sun 18 January 2011

  13. Daily Sun 20 January 2011

  14. Daily Sun 24 March 2011

  15. Ebiri,K.(2019). Army confirms a lieutenant, six others killed in Abonnema. TheGuradian, Febuaray 23rd. Retrieved from:

  16. Egwu, S. (2003). Electoral Violence and Democratization Project in Nigeria. In Olasupo B.A. (ed.), Electoral Violence in Nigeria: Issues and Perspectives. Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Pub.

  17. Egobueze,A.and Ojirika,C.(2017). Electoral Violence in Nigeria’s Fourth Republic: Implications for Political Stability. Journal of Scientific Research & Reports 13(2): 1-11. Retrieved from:

  18. Ezeamalu, B.(2015). 19 people killed monthly in Rivers election violence. Premium Times May 22nd. Retrieved from:

  19. Fjelde,H.(2020). Political party strength and electoral violence. Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 57(1) 140–155. Retrieved from:

  20. Fjelde, H. and Ho ̈glund, K. (2016). Electoral institutions and electoral violence in sub-Saharan Africa. British Journal of Political Science 46(2): 297–32

  21. Folaranmi,F.(2006). Bayelsa Gov's Campaign Office Bombed. The Sun, December 7.

  22. Galtung,J.(1996). Peace by peaceful means: Peace and Conflict, Development and Civilization. International Peace Research Institute, Oslo. London. Sage Pub.

  23. Hafner-Burton, E. M., Hyde, S.D. and Jablonski, R.S.(2014). When do governments resort to election violence? British Journal of Political Science, 44(1): 149–179.

  24. Halliru,T.(2012) Ethnicity and political violence in Nigeria: Challenges of democratic governance. Journal of Research in Peace, Gender and Development, Vol. 2(4) pp. 89-94 . Retrieved from:<last assessed 03-11-2013>

  25. Höglund , K.(2004). Violence in the midst of peace negotiation. Cases from Guatemala, Northern Ireland, South Africa, and Sri Lanka, Research Project No 69. Uppsala Sweden. Uppsala Unversity Department of Peace and Conflict.

  26. Höglund,K. and Jarstad,A.K. (2010). Strategies to prevent and manage electoral violence : Considerations for policy. South Africa. The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) Pub. Retrieved from: http//

  27. Human Right Watch (2003). Testing democracy: political violence in Nigeria. Vol. 15, No. 8 (A). Retrieved from:

  28. Human Rights Watch (2004). Nigeria’s 2003 Elections: The Unacknowledged Violence. New York. Human Rights Watch Pub.

  29. Human Rights Watch (2007). Corruption, God-Fatherism and the Funding of Political Violence in Nigeria. New York. Human Rights Watch Pub.

  30. Human Rights Watch (2011). Nigeria: Post-Election Violence Killed 800. Retrieved from:

  31. Ibeh,N.(2015). 58 Nigerians killed in 2015 pre-election violence so far – Rights Commission. Premium Time Febuaray 13th. Retrieved from:

  32. Iyayi, F. (2004). The Conduct of Election and Electoral Practices in Nigeria. Being Paper delivered at the NBA Conference in Abuja on 24th August.

  33. Jega, A. (2000). The State and Identity Transformation under Structural Adjustment in Nigeria. In Attahiru Jega (ed.), Identity Transformation and Identity Politics under Structural Adjustment in Nigeria. Kano: Nordiska Afrikainstitutet & Centre for Research and Documentation.

  34. Joseph, R. (1991). Democracy and Prebendal Politics in Nigeria. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  35. Kurfi, A. (1983). The Nigerian General Elections: 1958 and 1979.Lagos. Macmillan Pub.

  36. Mosadomi,W. and Umoru,H.(2011) Bombing kills 10 at Suleja PDP rally. The Vanguard, March 4th. Retrieved from:

  37. National Life 25 March 2011

  38. National Mirror 19 April 2011

  39. Nigerian Compass 20 April 2011

  40. Nigeria Compass, 31 December 2010

  41. Nigerian Compass 30 March 2011,

  42. Nigerian Tribune, 8 November,1965.

  43. Nwezeh,K. and Ifijeh, M.(2019). 4,000 Killed Since 2015, 2019 Polls, Human Rights Watch Alleges. ThisDay June 11th. Retrieved from:

  44. Nyong,T.(2011). Aftermath of political violence, fear rules Uyo. The Vanguard, March, 25th. Retrieved from:

  45. Obadare,E. (1999). Democratic Transition and Political Violence in Nigeria. African Development, Vol.XXIV, No 1&2.

  46. Ofonagoro, W. (1979). The Story of the Nigerian General Elections, 1979. Lagos. Federal Ministry of Information Press.

  47. Ogele, E. P. (2020). Elitism, Election and Governance in Nigeria’s Fourth Republic. A Study of Rivers State from 2003-2019. International Institute of Academic Research and Development. Vol 5 No 1. Retrieved from: http//

  48. Ogwuda,A.(2006). Bomb: Female Ex-Commissioner Arrested," The Vanguard, December 2.

  49. Ojo,E.O.(2012).Leadership Crisis and Political Instability in Nigeria, 1964-1966: The Personalities, the Parties and the Policies’ in Global Advanced Research Journal of History, Political Science and International Relation Vol. 1(1) pp. 006-017.

  50. Okechukwu, A.T., Chukwuka, O.M. and Chikwado, N.K.(2019). Militarization, Electoral Violence and 2019 General Election in Nigeria. International Journal of Scientific and Research Pub. Vol. 9, 10. Retrieved from: http//

  51. Olaoye, E.O. (2004). Vote-Buying and Election Rigging in Nigerian Politics. In Femi Omotoso (ed), Readings in Political Behaviour. Ibadan: John Homof Printers.

  52. Omotala, S.(2008). Explaining electoral violence in Africa’s new democracies. Revised version of a paper on Electoral reform, political succession and democratization in Africa, presented at the 27th Annual Conference of the Nigerian Political Science Association (NPSA), held at the Benue State University, Makurdi, Benue State, Nigeria, 16–19 November.

  53. Onwudiwe, E. And Berwind-Dart, C. (2010). Breaking the Cycle of Electoral Violence in Nigeria. United States Institute of Peace. Special Report. Washington,Retrieved from: http//

  54. Oyedele, A.(2007). Akure Rally Stampede: Ladoja Sues for Calm. The Punch, February 5.

  55. Ruiz-Rufino, R. and Birch,S. (2020). The effect of alternation in power on electoral intimidation in democratizing regimes. Journal of Peace Research, 57(1): 126–139.

  56. Salehyan, I. And Linebarger, C. (2015). Elections and social conflict in Africa, 1990–2009.Studies in Comparative International Development, 50(1): 23–49

  57. Saturday Punch 19 March 2011

  58. Shenga,C. and Pereira,A.(2019). The Effect of Electoral Violence on Electoral Participation in Africa. Centro de Estudos Internacionais Pub. Retrieved from:

  59. Sisk, T. and Spies, C (2009) Elections and Conflict Prevention. Guide to Analysis, Planning and Programming Democratic Governance Group Bureau for Development Policy.UNDP

  60. Smah,O.S.(2008). Money Politics and Electoral Violence in Nigeria. In VictorA.O. Adetula (eds) Money and Politics in Nigeria. Nigeria, Petra Digital Press

  61. Smidt, H. (2020).Mitigating election violence locally: UN peacekeepers’ election-education campaigns in Coˆte d’Ivoire. Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 57(1) 199–216. Retrieved from: http//www.

  62. Staniland, P. (2014). Violence and Democracy. Comparative Politics.47(1): 99–118

  63. Stremlau, N., and Price, M. (2009). Media, Elections and Political Violence in Eastern Africa: Towards a Comparative Framework. Retrieved from:

  64. Sunday Punch 17 April 2011

  65. Sunday Tribune, 13 March 2011

  66. Sunday Tribune 17 April 2011

  67. Taylor, C. F., Pevehouse,J.C. and Straus,S.(2017). Perils of pluralism: Electoral violence and incumbency in sub-Saharan Africa. Journal of Peace Research 54(3): 397–411.

  68. The Nation 7 April 2011

  69. The Nation 19 March 2011

  70. The Nation 21 April 2011

  71. The Nation 30 December 2010

  72. The Nation 31 Jan 2011

  73. The Punch, 2 June 2011

  74. The Punch 19 March 2011

  75. The Vanguard (2011). Jonathan’s speech on the post-election crisis. Vanguard April 21st. Retrieved from:

  76. UNDP (1994) Human Development Report 1994, Oxford: Oxford University Press

  77. Wahman,M. and Goldring, E. (2020). Pre-election violence and territorial control: Political dominance and subnational election violence in polarized African electoral systems. Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 57(1) 93–110. Retrieved from: http//www.

  78. Yagboyaju, D.A (2011), “Nigeria’s Fourth Republic and the Challenge of a Faltering Democratization”, African Studies Quarterly, Vol.12, Issue 3, Summer 2011 pp 93-106

  79. Young, L.E.(2020). Who dissents? Self-efficacy and opposition action after state-sponsored election violence. Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 57(1) 62–76. Retrieved from: http//www.

bottom of page