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DEMOCRACY AND POLITICAL VIOLENCE IN EKWUSIGBO LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF ANAMBRA STATE

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

  • Background of Study

In the pre-colonial times, many of the traditional village democracy that was practised in some geopolitical environments, which made up present-day Nigeria, had the needed popular support of the electorate and the citizenry at large. This was because those forms of traditional democracy practised in the different national groups that made up what we know today as Nigeria were centred on public interest and the sustenance of the social contract with their subjects. That made many of the pre-colonial people to support their leaders with different forms of societal-building traditional communication.

Consequently, the history of modern democracy in Nigeria has been generally influenced by one form of violence and another. The colonial lords introduced indirect rule and perverted forms of democracy, which they imposed on the Nigerian populace, prior to independence. Nweke (2006) wrote that “the emergence of political violence in Nigeria is sourced through the nature of party formation, which was ethno-regionally based. This was followed by the regionalization of Nigeria as created by Richards Constitution of 1946”. The super-imposition of British puppet leaders and petty political elite on millions of Nigerian masses became the root of both godfatherism in democracy Nigeria as well as the foundation for perpetual violence that has grown from one form to another in the Nigerian political history. Ani and Nwanaju (2011) wrote that “at independence, political conflicts took over the centre stage of nation-building in Nigeria and its multiplier effect gave birth to the factors that led to the Nigerian Civil War of 1967-1970”.

However, the post-independence years has witnessed the transition from years of military rule, to the continuous adoption of the Western liberal democracy with its multi-dimensional challenges. Ironically, the fact that political offices became the basis for the rise of some yesterday’s paupers into financial giants today and shakers of the nation tomorrow; made the quest for power, a route many men must follow to ‘survive’ quickly in the country. This massive quest by the large number of the political elite class and their petty collaborators to acquire state power at any level and keep it perpetually, have not only created different forms of violence amongst the competitors for power positions but has equally turned the electorates and the masses at large, into the proverbial political cow that are continuously milked to death or worst still, slaughtered on a regular basis, to ensure that power must be captured and sustained. Some of these desperate politicians would consciously and unconsciously chase their opponents and critics into existential catacombs or valleys of grumbling, where they would remain for some time or permanently if they must stay alive.

Human Rights Watch revealed that the recent post-presidential election violence claimed 800 lives, while the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said that more than 37 villages were attacked. The agency also revealed that 2,500 houses were destroyed while about 10,000 families were affected (Awofadeji, 2011). This paper is a study on the forms of political violence in Nigeria and the way-out. It showed that peaceful political communication is the panacea for sustainable national democracy. The work was conceptualized on development media theory and the psychological theory of peace.

1.2.    Statement of Problem

Political Violence is one of the most disturbing problems we are facing today. History of the World stands testimony to it. Ekwusigo Local government Area of Anambra State has in particular witnessed more violence than known in human history known to humankind. It is found that in almost all parts of the World, some form of political violence is prevalent. However, the nature and causes of violence many differ from place to place and culture to culture. It depends among others, on the nature of political institutions and the level of Economic development (Wikipedia 2011).

It is apposite to state that political violence is the hallmarks of weakly institutionalized politics. The starkest manifestation of such violence in an armed conflict in the form of civil war. Though elections which are supposed to be a significant pillar in the democratic process of a country with the twin principles of political participation and accountability is precisely in the greatest and most notable violations of these principles. Everyone wants to win, and nobody wants to lose. It is obvious that for any political critic to say anything considered ‘negative’ about any political office holder, he should be ready to bear the risk of being molested. According to Adekanye (Alfa & Otaida, 2012), an objective review of the Nigerian political journey would reveal that political violence has been part and parcel of the country’s history. What is however new are the metamorphoses of the violence; which is now in shapes, magnitude and consequences? No country can develop in an atmosphere of rancour and acrimony. Nigeria would have been one of the leading economies of the world but its movement has been anticlockwise due largely to the fact that monumental resources are channelled into security votes, conflict resolution and reconstruction as a result of perennial political violence: since political power is the major source of wealth in Nigeria, the contest for political office is always a ‘do or die’ affair (Ake, 1981 & Tenuche, 2011 in Alfa & Otaida, 2012) It is against this backdrop that this paper examines democracy and political violence in Ekwusigo Local government Area of Anambra State in Nigeria. For ease of analysis, the paper is divided into several chapters in such a way that we first undertook the introduction, chapter two examined the literature review under the conceptual and theoretical epistemology, chapter three expound the methodology of how this work or project is carried out, chapter four considers the result analyzed and the findings of political violence, chapter five examined the summary, conclusion and recommendations.

  • Objective of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to investigate democracy and political violence in Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State. Its specific objectives are

  1. To identify the magnitude and extent of political violence resulting in inadequate democracy and its impact on the social order in Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State.
  2. To examine the links or relationship between political violence and democracy in Ekwusigo Local Government of Anambra State.
  3. To determine and highlight specific areas of fall in a democracy that results from political violence in Ekwusigo Local Government of Anambra State.
  4. To identify the effects of political violence on people’s democratic life in Ekwusigo Local  Government Area of Anambra State.

5        To investigate the necessary recommendations based on the strength of the    findings

  • Research Questions

The following research questions were drawn to guide the study

  1. What are the magnitude and extent of political violence resulting in inadequate democracy and its impact on the social order in Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State?
  2. Are there links or relationship between political violence and democracy in Ekwusigo Local Government of Anambra State?
  3. What are the specific areas of fall in a democracy that result from political violence in Ekwusigo Local Government of Anambra State?
  4. What are the effects of political violence on people’s democratic life in Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State?
  5. What are the necessary recommendations based on the strength of the findings?

1.5     Significance of the Study

The importance of this research as understood is an addition to the already existing literature on political Violence. It is aimed at assessing the strengths and weakness of democracy and political violence in Nigeria. Since individuals or groups do not just behave in a vacuum, most often than not the behaviour of people are determined largely by the institutions and the social things in which they have found themselves. Thus, political violence is the outcome of the prevailing pattern of political behaviour in the country. The study is also aimed at exposing the factors that contribute to inadequate democracy and political violence in Nigeria. Finally, the recommendations of the study shall go along way in helping policy-makers and stakeholders in Nigeria’s electoral process, in addressing the problems arising from elections.

  • Research Hypothesis

The following research hypotheses were drawn to guide the study

H1:   There is no significant difference between political violence and democracy in Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State.

 

H2:   There is no significant difference between fall in democracy and political      violence in Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State

 

H3:   There is no significant difference between political corruption and       democracy in Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State

 

H4:   There is no significant difference between internal democracy and political   violence in Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State

H5:   There is no significant difference between political violence and people’s     democratic life in Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State

 

1.7     Scope of the Study

The study will evaluate more about democracy, which is known as the government of the people, by the people and for the people. It will also evaluate the causes of political violence in the society with emphasis on the reality in Ekuwusigo Local Government Area in Anambra State. Given the fast political violence is out without it bad sight, the study among other things will be limited to examining political violence from democracy in  Ekuwusigo Local Government Area in Anambra  State.

1.8     Operational Definition of Terms

Democracy: Democracy which started in Ancient Greek city state of Anthen was derived from the Greek word “Demos” when put together, democracy in Ancient Greek means “rule by the people(Cambridge Encyclopedia 1990).

Political violence: is defined as the use of threat of physical act carried out by individual or individuals within a political system against another individuals or groups and poverty, with the intent to cause injury or death to persons, damage or destruction to property , and whose objective, choice of targets or victims surrounding circumstances, implementation and effects have political significance that tends to modify or change the behaviour of others in the existing arrangement for the political system.

Violence: Violence could be an instrument employed by non-governmental organizations individuals and groups to press forward their demands.

 

CHAPTER TWO

LITERATURE REVIEW

This chapter reviewed related literature based on the following subheadings:

2.1     Conceptual Framework

2.2     Theoretical Framework

2.3     Review of Empirical Literature

2.4     Summary of Literature

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