POVERTY AND THUGGERY IN NIGERIA’S POLITICS: A CASE STUDY OF 1999 TO 2007 GENERAL ELECTIONS


POVERTY AND THUGGERY IN NIGERIA’S POLITICS: A CASE STUDY OF 1999 TO 2007 GENERAL ELECTIONS

ABSTRACT

This study discusses the peculiar nature of poverty and thuggery as well as the attendant violence that characterize the general election in Nigeria’s fourth republic. Since independence the Nigeria’s political processes had witnessed massive electoral fraud followed by violence which has compromised the very ethics of liberal democracy in spite of several electoral reforms that have no positive effect. With unprecedented political thuggery and uncontrolled violence, characterized by wanton destruction of lives and property, election period in Nigeria is best described as warfare. The objective of this study hanged on poverty and thuggery in Nigeria’s politics: a case study of 1999 to 2007 general election. Also, to know how and why the Nigerian democratic environment has been characterized by electoral violence; analyze its nature, dimension, context and consequences. Secondary method of data collections were used because of the fairly reliable published data on election that are now available in text books, journals, news papers/magazines, The analysis of the data collected for the research is be done through the descriptive and analytical method. However, this study is an effort in this regard. Following a critical analysis of the elections in Nigeria’s politics categorization of Nigerian general elections as transitory or consolidation elections, the paper substantiates the proposition that transitory elections have tended to be more free and fair than consolidation elections. hence, the study advocates for the necessity of electoral reforms which make the incumbency factor not amenable to exploitation during elections if  democratic order is to be enthroned. The study concludes that, Nigeria should produce selfless and visionary leaders, educated masses as well as operating within the frame work of true federalism so as to make appreciable improvement on her development strides.

KEYWORDS: Politics, Poverty, Political Thuggery, Election, Democracy, Violent.

 TABLE OF CONTENTS

PAGES

Title page    ………………………...i    

Declaration……………………………ii

 Dedication …………………iii

Certification................................iv     

Acknowledgements…………...v

Abstract………………………vii    

Table of contents…………………viii  

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION    

1.1 Background To The Study.........1                                       

1.2 Statement Of Problem………………...........4                                            

1.3 Objectives Of The Study....................................6

1.4 Significance Of The Study ………………………………..7      

1.5 Research Questions...........................8

1.6 Scope And Limitations Of Study.....................8

1.7 Conceptual Clarification..................................9

1.8    Organization Of The Study/Work.......................12

References..................................14

CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW/THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK

2.1 Literature Review.............................................16

2.1.1 The Concept Of Poverty...............16

2.1.2 The Concept Of Thuggery...............................24

2.1.3 The Concept Of Political Thuggery.........................25

2.1.4 The Concept Of Politics..........................28

2.1.5 The Concept Of Democracy………………………………….31

2.1.6 The Concept Of Election………………………34

2.2 Theoretical Framework......................................................37

2.2.1 Liberal Democratic Theory......................................................37

2.2.2 The Relevance Of The Theory To The Study......................39

References..............................................41

CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHODS

3.1 Type Of Research And The Significance Of The Source(S) Of Data

Adopted………………………………………..44

3.2 Research Design..........................46

3.3 Data Analysis..............................47

References......................................48

CHAPTER FOUR: POVERTY AND THUGGERY IN NIGERIA’S POLITICS A CASE STUDY OF 1999 TO 2007 GENERAL ELECTIONS

4.1   Brief History Of Elections In Nigeria.......................49

4.2 Nature, Causes Of Thuggery And Electoral Violent In Nigeria’s Politics ....56

4.3 General Elections In The Nigeria’s Fourth Republic…………………62

4.3.1 Thuggery And Electoral Violence In Rivers State……………...65

4.3.2 Thuggery And Electoral Violence In Gombe State…………….67

4.4 Implications And Consequence Of Thuggery And Electoral Violence On

 Nigeria’s Politics……………………………………………69

References  .......................................................78

CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY, RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSION

5.1 Summary................................................82

5.2 Recommendations.....................................83

5.3 Conclusion……………………………………………..86

Bibliography.....................................................88

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

Democracy which has multiple of variant of definitions and meanings is believed to have a worldwide acceptance as the best form of government. And if one may argue, the concept has been either imposed or largely accepted as the best form of governance. However, this system of government is characterised by certain shortcomings which are either external or internal. i.e domestic causes and or foreign influences. In the case of Nigeria, the concept of democracy has become difficult to define and this is because, the very factor which qualifies a democracy (free and fair election) has been difficult to achieve in NigeriaUjo, (2003:89).

          Since independence the country’s democratization processes had witnessed massive electoral fraud followed by violence which has compromised the very ethics of liberal democracy in spite of several electoral reforms that have no positive effect. And this predicament to democratization process in Nigeria has rather been on the increase and there is no evidence of any serious and sincere effort made to stop it from reaching an unwanted level. Virtually, these have been breeding all sorts of violent scenarios to the possible feature of a total anarchy, a situation which some consider Nigeria moving towards a failed state.Umar,(2007:84).

These predicaments have been a worrisome episode as many politicians particularly those in government resort to the use of threat and violence to pursue their political goals, take for instance Obasanjo’s “do or die” statement in 2007. Since return to civil rule in May 1999, the country has witnessed more violence with an estimated loss of life of more than 10,000 people (Jega, 2007:255).Mostly during the period of elections with some 700 violent election related incidents between November 2006 to March 2007and as well more than 300 killed during the 2007 elections alone. Thus, bringing the question to what exactly is democracy in Nigeria. Because, democracy in the ideal sense, offers the ordinary citizens the best chance to live under a regime of fair laws enacted in the national interest as opposed to a tyrannical or despotic regimeHuman Right Watch (2007).

            Furthermore, a democratic system provides a conducive atmosphere for the evolution of a culture of debate, exchange of ideas, an environment with a traditionally vigorous and out spoken free press that promote peaceful coexistence. A democracy is supposed to provide the best condition for economic development, employment opportunities, and conducive atmosphere for individual citizens to go ahead with their business. In essence, for democracy to succeed, a free, fair and credible elections are rightly considered as significant hallmark of a democratic system and not coincidentally election rigging which has triggered the demise of Nigeria’s earlier attempts at democracy since independence. Jega, 2007:56-71).

With unprecedented political thuggery and uncontrolled violence, characterized by wanton destruction of lives and property, election period in Nigeria is best described as warfare (Ake, 1991:2-3).  Incidence of intra-party and inter-party conflicts and violence have led to endemic abductions and assassinations of opponents and innocent victims, flagrant and official rigging of election results.  Further violations of established process have invariably transformed election periods in Nigeria as a-matter-of-do-or-die or a-matter-of-life-and-death (Obasanjo, 2007) or that of by hook or by crook (Jega, 2007).  This electoral politics has, of course, signaled serious dangers for democratic and partisan politics in Nigeria.Associated with the cycle of violence radiating around the polity and within the entire angles and sides of the political divide, electoral violence in Nigeria has not provided a window of politics of rationality and tolerance, which sanctifies maturity of public debate, productive dialogue, negotiations, and give-and-take compromises based on win-win scenario.  Attempts designed to reconstruct the state have thus become a mirage in Nigerian partisan politics.  Politics has eventually been reduced to a violent game of fierce confrontations and repressions.  

This study examines the extent to which the relationship between poverty, thuggery and electoral violence pose a threat to national security, democratic governance and development in Nigeria using the 1999 to 2007 general elections as a case study.

1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM

     This study argues that elections in Nigeria have degenerated from being a means for popular participation and peaceful change of government to an invitation to intense violence and political uncertainty in the country.It is now fifteen years since the present democratic dispensation in Nigeria set in. So far four (4) General Elections (1999, 2003, 2007 and 2011) have been conducted and a first successful transition from civilian to civilian administration has taken place. While it may seem that Nigeria’s democracy has steadily progressed on the road from nascent to fledging, there has emerged a disturbing concern over the conduct of elections in the country. The conduct of elections in Nigeria has at various intervals remained an invitation to political uncertainty for the country. This is not unconnected with the recurrent incidences of electoral fraud, political thuggery, intimidation and violence prevalent in the country.

Elections in Nigeria have been described as a do-or-die affair even by esteemed official quarters. In practical cases, series of violent clashes often occur and sometimes results to loss of lives and property. For instance, in Port Harcourt, dozens of people were feared dead following a clash between rival party supporters of different political parties towards the 2003 elections in NigeriaDan,(2003). Similarly, in response to the spate of political violence in the country, various observers argued that Nigeria’s leadership was not doing enough to curb widespread political violence including assassinations in the run-up to various General Elections.As electoral competitions become the preserve of violent individuals, the recurrence of electoral violence scares credible persons from engaging in partisan politics. This misnomer poses security and development in the country Reuters News (2007).

Based on the above the problem of poverty and thuggery on Nigeria politics will be clearly stated:

The incidence of flawed elections in Nigeria has significantly aggravated corruption and bad governance.

Poverty, thuggery and electoral violence pose a threat to national security.

Poverty, thuggery and electoral violence pose threat democratic governance.

Poverty, thuggery and electoral violence pose a threat economic growth and development in Nigeria.

The emergence of godfatherism in Nigerian government and politics influence poverty, thuggery and all form of electoral rigging and violence in Nigeria Fourth Republic.

1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The broadobjectives of this study hanged on Poverty and Thuggery in Nigeria’s politics. A case study of 1999 to 2007 general elections while the specific objectives are as follows:

To examine how the incidence of flawed elections in Nigeria has significantly aggravate corruption and bad governance.

To assess the nature of poverty, thuggery and electoral violence and how its pose a threat democratic governance.

To show how the emergence of godfatherism in Nigerian government and politics has influence poverty, thuggery and all form of electoral rigging and violence in Nigeria fourth republic.

To examine how and why the Nigerian democratic environment has been characterized by electoral violence;analyze its nature, dimension, context and consequences;

Assess the very nature of the violent electoral practices and the kind of democracy Nigeria practices and its operational basis as well as reality of the political, economic, social, cultural, and other characteristics.

To make recommendations on how to curb poverty and political thuggery in Nigeria’s politics.

1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

    This study on poverty and thuggery in Nigeria’s politics is significant in a number of ways:

This research shall be of immense benefit to policy/decision makers, politician, the civil society organizations and how best Nigeria can operate within the framework of modern democracy.

It will also serve as a yardstick to researchers and guide them in the course of their findings.

To recommend appropriate developmental strategies aims at curbing the evils of poverty and thuggery in Nigeria politics.

It also serves as contribution to already existing literature on poverty and thuggery in Nigeria politics.

1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS

How does the incidence of flawed elections in Nigeria   aggravate corruption and bad governance?

How does the nature of poverty, thuggery and electoral violence in Nigeria pose threat to democratic governance?

  How does the emergence of godfatherism in Nigerian government and politics influence poverty, thuggery and all form of electoral rigging and violence in Nigeria Fourth Republic?

 How and why Nigerian democratic environment has been characterized by electoral violence?

How can we know the nature of violent in electoral practices, the operational basis as well as reality of the political, economic, social and cultural goal?

1.6 SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY

          This study is set to examine the impact and implications of poverty and thuggery in Nigerian politics but due to its broad nature and the need for clarity of analysis, this study has been narrowed down to Nigeria Fourth Republic General Election (1999-2007). On the other hand, this study is also limited due to lack of time, finance, transport, and other logistical constrains that might have aided this study.

1.7 CONCEPTUAL CLARIFICATION:

>Democracy: democracy in the context of Nigeria is the government by the people as a whole rather than by any section, class or interest within it. It also means system of government whereby the right of the individual person – political, civil and economic are respected and protected by the state. It is also a political system where the citizens determine their mode of rule through participation either direct or representative democracy by electing officials to whom they grant a mandate to ruleUjo, (2003:87).

>Politics:is the practice and theory of influencing other people on a civil or individual level. More narrowly it refers to achieving and exercising position of governance and organizes control over human community particularly a state. >Election: An election may be defined as the manner of choice agreed upon by a group of people which enables them to select one or a few people out of many to occupy one or a number of authority positions. This manner of choice usually involves rules and regulations designed to ensure a certain degree of fairness and justice to all concerned. It is the most modern form of recruitment of personnel into public offices, and is deemed to be a very crucial aspect of the democratic process; irrespective of the type of democracy that is practiced (Nnoli, 1985:144).

>Poverty: Poverty is an abject state of being, in which an individual is incapable of utilizingresources around him to improve himself or herself economically, socially, politically orotherwise. It could be due to lack of opportunities for education which is basic to anyhuman development. Poverty could occur as a result of indolence or misinterpretedreligious beliefs. It could also be a state of the mind or a psychologicaldisposition that places the individual in question in want, material or spiritual. Materially,it involves the want for food, clothing and shelter. Spiritually, it involves want of peace of mind, the spirit and the inner man.(Chigbo, 1996:79).

>Political Thuggery: This will obviously imply act of thuggery in relation to thepolitical process. Thus political thuggery can be defined asany act of intimidation, violence, hooliganism, brutality organgsterism, whether leading to death or not, calculated topose a threat or scale political opponent or perceived politicalopponents before, during or after elections and aimed atachieving an undue political result or advantage.

>electoral rigging:According to Kurfi (2005:101) rigging is the manipulation of the electoral process to the advantage of a particular candidate or political party, which can be perpetuated at any level of the electoral process from the delimitation of the constituencies to the adjudication of election disputes and that even the promulgation of the electoral law could be subject to abuse by partisan administration or bureaucracy as witnessed during the enactment of electoral act 2001 and 2002. This electoral manipulation remains inevitable without the connivance of election participants such as: candidates, polling agents, security agents, polling clerks, election/returning officers, presiding officers and the electorate at large.

>Electoral violence: Ogundiya (2010:233)defined electoral violence thus: “Electoral violence includes all sorts of riots, demonstrations, party clashes, political assassinations, looting arson, thuggery, kidnapping, etc. spontaneous or not, which occur before, during and after elections. It could be regarded as elections motivated crises employed to alter, change or influence by force  or coercion, the electoral behaviours of voters  or voting patterns or possibly reverse electoral decision in favour of a particular  individual, groups or political party” (Jega 2007:248).

>Nigeria:officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria is a federalconstitutional republic comprising 36 states. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in the north. Its coast in the south lies on the Gulf of Guinea on the Atlantic Ocean. Abuja, the capital of Nigeria is located in the center of the country, while Lagos, which was Nigeria capital until 1991, sits on the coast. The latter city remains the country’s economic and financial capital, as well as a major port city. It is also Sub-Saharan Africa’s most populous city, and projected to surpass Cairo as Africa’s most populous city by 2025.

1.8 ORGANIZATION OF THE WORK/STUDY

         This study on poverty and thuggery in Nigeria’s politics, the case study of 1999-2007 general elections is divided in to five chapters. Chapter one include background to the study, statement of  problems, objectives of the study,significance of the study,  scope and limitations of the study, conceptual clarification, and organization of work/study. Chapter two includes literature review, theoretical framework and the relevance of the theory. Chapter three is centered on research methods, type of research and significant of source of data adopted, research design and data analysis/plan. Chapter four ispoverty and thuggery in Nigeria’s politics: a case study of 1999 to 2007 general elections.Chapter five is summary,recommendations and conclusion.

REFERENCES

Ake, C. (1991), “For Africa, the way forward”. The Guardian, 13 November,

 Lagos.

Chigbo, M.(1996) “Some Popular Perceptions of Poverty in Nigeria” quoted in

Human Development Report on Nigeria. Lagos: UNDP.

       Dan I, (2003) BBC News, Monday, 31 March.

Human Rights Watch Commission (2007)Criminal politics, violence

“godfatherisim” and corruption in Nigeria. A final Report of the Nigeria’s

2007 General Election, October, 2007  Vol.19 No. (16A)

Jega, A. M. (2007) Democracy, Good Governance and Development in Nigeria,

              Ibadan.Spectrum Books.

Jega, A.M.(2007) Election and the Future of Democracy in Nigeria. Abuja

                   A Publication of the Nigerian Political Society Association.

Kurfi A (2005) Nigerian General Election (1951 – 2003) My Roles and

Reminiscences Ibadan: Spectrum book.

Nnoli, O. (1985), Ethnic Politics in Nigeria: Fourth Dimensional Publishers,

 Enugu

Obasanjo, O. (2007) Address at PDP Presidential Campaign Rally at Abuja.

Ogundiya, (2010). Corruption the Bane of Democratic Stability in Nigeria,Journal

of Social Sciences 2(4):233-241.

Reuters News, January 22, 2007.

Ujo, A.A. (2003) Understanding Election, Lagos: Anyaotu Publishers Nigeria.

Umar, M.Z.(2007). “From Hope to Despair: Nigeria’s Forth Republic and the

Challenges of Democratic Consolidation” CDRT Mambayya House

 Kano.

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POVERTY AND THUGGERY IN NIGERIA’S POLITICS: A CASE STUDY OF 1999 TO 2007 GENERAL ELECTIONS



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