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The Effects of Political Violence on Social Development in Nigeria
29. June 2018 at 22:10
In the present decades, Nigeria has been heard on News for its various unnecessary reasons of the unprecedented political violence which has transpired in various parts of the nation but with precise dominance in the Northern regions of the country. The current trend of social violent incidents was the mass killing of almost One Hundred security officials in Kwara State, Northern Central Nigeria by an Armed Local Secret referred in local jargons as “Ombatse” (entailing “we have come”) cult groups on Thursday May 7th, 2013 (Onwubuiro, 2013).
Politicians recruited, empowered and trained local secret sect to victimize, intimidate and harass suspected political adversary opposing views against their political ambition. The practices of violence has not solely been sustained and imbibed as part of the Nation’s political behavior since inception but it has also been a major reason for the minimal involvement of Nigerians in Politics in the Nation.

As in the case of when they discovered that during the party Ward Congress, a lot of politicians went to the congress equipped with acid containers and assault rifles for possible application on opponents. These politicians used Local Secret sect to force the innocent citizens to vote against their intentions. At the Polling Booths; the party agents visibly threatened to compromise and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials were compelled to carry out what they would not have carried out ordinarily


Political Violence negatively affects law and order as well as negatively affects peaceful coexistence. Also, in respect to security aspects, it have a negative influence on the social co-existence and the consolidation of democracy as this in turn impact on the Economic and Social Welfare of the Country as well as result to inequalities in Social relations (Howell, 2004). Political Violence results to a cumbersome series of events such as religious and ethnic grievances, poverty which negatively affects the social relationship of the citizens in the society.

According to Max (1968), he emphasizes violence; most especially political violence that depicts a commotion disrupts the peaceful co-existence and political equilibrium of the System Alubo (2011) emphasizes that the refugee challenges that accompany these commotion also have effects towards the accomplishment of goals and objectives and access to necessary social developments such as decrease in maternal mortality, childhood mortality and education including other necessary areas of productive health.

Also, the increase of rape of the female population in this aspects engulfed by violence triggers the dissemination of Acquired Immune Deficiencies (AIDS)/Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) which is already at maximum and frequently and known as a social challenge in Nigeria. Also, the consistent outbursts of political violence have effects on National Security and peace and therefore threaten the breakup of the Nation, Nigeria.

In December 2001, it was documented that over eighty serious political violence has been reported in different parts of the Nation in twelve years of Civilian rule (Alubo, 2006). Political violence pessimistically impact in different means of development such as the incapability of individuals to communicate with one another which results to the unhealthy growth of a child. Also; During Political Violence, a lot of individuals abandon their cultural, ethnic values, traditions or religion to pledge support to unproven, artificial and new states.

These unfortunate states have led individuals to serious crises and poor communications resulting to serious and ugly elimination of individuals. The phenomenon is applied extremely; repressive tactics also threatens human rights, personal freedom and also the rule of law. Political violence is the cause of cumbersome mutual effect of principle/ideology, armed conflict, and search for power by competing groups majorly in international conditions and in the country while in turn; the economic cause of conflict are usually related to social exemption, inequality and poverty.

It is in respect to the usual and current condition that this Research paper intends to periscope on the consequences of political violence on Social Development in the Country. To attain the goal, the Research paper is Sub categorized into the following arrangements: The Introduction which is continuous, the Conceptual Terrain, and Brief history of political violence in the nation, Various Recommendations as well as the Conclusions.


Definition of Terms
Conceptualizing Social Development: Social Development can be defined as the process by which individual communicate with one another surrounding them as they perceive and develop their own personally. Within their environment, they also acquire skills to interact with other individuals as well as process and carry out their actions. Social Development usually entails how individuals ensure friendships and also other relationship including how they handle friends and conflicts.
Social Development entails community, people as well as the factors that affect the quality of life. Social Development aims at explaining and examining the qualitative alteration in the framework and structure of the community that assist the society to effectively attain it objectives and aims while Development can basically be defined as the applicable manner to all societies at all historical eras as an “upward increasing movement featuring a maximum levels of efficiency, energy, quality, complexity, productivity, creativity, comprehension, accomplishment, employment and mastery. Development is not only a set of programmes and policies instituted for particular results but for the process of societal change.

Conceptualizing Political Violence: Violence can be evaluated as “the unauthorized and illegitimate application of coercion to carry out decisions against the desire or will of other individuals in the community (Wolf 1999); Political violence also entails all collective attacks against the political era within a political community, it actors entailing competing political groups including its policies and its incumbents (Gurr, 1970). From the onset, one can discover that there is a correlative connection between the two concepts. And therefore, they are complementary. The end result of political violence is usually thuggery. Violence is a process or ways through which thugs attain their negative objectives.


Theoretical Overview
Conflict/Marxist theoretical perspective decimates the exact assumption in respect to the nature of the political violence and the society. Marxist situated every social action within the limits if economic base and place a more emphasis on dialectical and historical materialism as a methodological device –while on the other hand, conflict theory emphasizes conflict as a hallmark of the society (Yecho, 2005). The theory is centered upon the view that the basic reasons for political violence are the economic and social forces that functions within the society. Conflict Theory emphasizes that there are groups in the society with various interests. In respect to this, they accept that social settings that will tend to satisfy some groups at the expense of others.


As a result of the occurrence of the various interests, the likelihood and the potentials of conflicts is usually present. Based on this theory, some groups tends to be influential over others so as to win for themselves a disproportionate allocation of the political power of the society which entails privileges and wealth in the society at the expense of the minimal powerful ones. They also incriminate the functions of the minimal powerful while they safeguard that of the powerful and influential individuals as such situations according to this theory results to violence.

The theory is of the principle that, the masses are not obligated to the society by their shared beliefs but by coercion at the hands of individuals in authority. Therefore, this perceptive entails social control and not conformity and also consensus, Individuals and groups advance their personal interests struggling over the dominance of societal resources. Those with the major resources express power over others with power and inequality struggles. There is serious attention paid to gender, race and class within scenario because they are viewed as the grounds for the most enduring and pertinent struggles in the society which usually result to political violence (Taylor and Anderson, 2009).


Based on the theory, the politicking nature in Nigeria restricts the necessary rights of citizens as the different institutions in the country such as the Political and Legal System are the instruments of the domination of the ruling class and also ensure to further its interests. Although the functions of citizens aimed at ensuring the opposition results to maximized rise of political violence in Nigeria.

Also upon this ugly scenario, Nigerian politicians apply to create a lot of social challenges to the society particularly when the citizens intend to tackle back, for instance, the 2003 elections and the 2003 local government elections were characterized by severe incidents of violence which resulted to severe injuries and scores of people dead. In May and April 2003, at least one hundred citizens were killed while many others were injured. Most of the people were seriously abused and perpetrated by supporters or members of the ruling political party, the People Democratic Party (PDP). In various locations, election did not actually occur as groups of armed thugs connected to political parties and candidates threatened and intimated voters so as to falsify results (Alemika, 2011).


The fact about politics in the present Nigeria society is that even the police support most of the influential group rather than being Neutral in carrying out their function of crime control and prevention. Consequent upon this, they abet and aid highly placed individual in the society to carry out political anarchy and go unpunished while sanctioning those who commit the exact crime and other influential members of the society and therefore maximizing the challenge of political violence in the country.

From the background above, it is visibly been known that even the police do not provide the necessary attention towards the control and the prevention of political violence as the essence of their function rather they are coordinated to manage and work with the most influential group in the society who carry out political violence and therefore resulting to the social breakup of Nigerians. Centered on the foregoing serious assumptions of the theory, the perspective has been applied as the theoretical principle on the study of the implications of political violence on the society development in the Country.


Brief History of Nigeria Political Violence
Based on Human History, Political violence has been present in the past events for all ages. It is a serious attribute of the majority of the developing global political systems most especially in developing nations like Nigeria where politics has become a significant attribute of the individual means of attaining economic wealth (Tamuno, 1972). It was the pride of Nigeria’s that she attained her independence with low disturbances; but it is unfortunate rather that after independence, the country have been moving steadily in a continuous circle of political anarchy. This problem increased in the elections carried out immediately after the country independence of 1960s.

Political violence in the Western Region majorly known to as “Operation Wet e” were documented from 1964 to 1965 following both the regional and federal elections as well as the rift between Akintola and Awolowo. There was also political anarchy in different parts of the Northern State particularly between supporters of the Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU) and the supporters of other political parties majorly the Action Group (AG) and the Northern People’s Congress (NPC).

Also, the National Election Carried out in 1983 experienced a severe post election violence following the announced overwhelming victory of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) in Ondo and Oyo States viewed as the backbone of the Unity party of Nigeria (UPN). Various individuals lost their lives and a massive scale destruction of assets were documented (Alemika, 2011). This violent activities trend which started since 1960s resulted to the present democratic experiment which began in May 1999 with tremendous extent of violence murders and power struggle. Available statistics indicates that almost ten thousand lives were displaced to the violent clashes that occurred between 1999 to June 2002 (Adeleke, 2012).

More so, the Red cross in Nigeria participated in the resettlement of over thirty-two thousand families and two hundred and fifty thousand individuals as a result of the different acts of political violence in the Nation in 2001 alone (Olukorede, 2002).

For example, in Nigeria, the primary case of political violence came after independence during the January 5th 1966 Military coup where a group of young Nigerian Army officers, captains and Majors captured power, murdering the premiers such as Akintola Ladoke and Ahmadu Bello of the Western and Northern Regions respectively as well as the Murder of the then Prime Minister, Tafa Balewa (Diamond, 1995).

This Military Coup resulted to Political Violence which resulted to the Nigerian Civil War of 1966-1970. When the successful return of Nigeria to Democratic Rule on the 29th of May 2009, the first important Civilian Coup transpired on July 10th, 2003 in Nigeria when the former governor of Anambra State, Ngige Chris was kidnapped in a major plan to unseat him. The plot was carried out by the Assistant Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr Raphael Ige who later explained that he acted on an “order from the above” though the major actors to such act remain anonymous till present (Adeleke, 2012).

Since the beginning of the present 1999 democratic exercise till the current day, the political activities in the country have experienced a very serious extent political violence and power struggle whereby there was a number of individuals murdered during the 1967 to 1970 civil war (Olawale, 2003). The political violence trend of 2003 and 2007 partially explain the April 2011 post-election political violence. Over twenty influential Nigerians were murdered due to the political violence in what is referred to as the “Trial of blood”. The Murders also entailed communal, ethnics and religious conflicts which may be in the name of ethnic, religion or communal and it is continuous still present the implications of Political Violence on the Social Development in the Nation.

The Nigerian Political Scenario is a serious problem arising to violence. This can be as a result of the political activity culture during the pre independence era and also the early stage of the 1960 political violence. Looking at the Political violence origins entails the evaluation of the various levels and domains within which violence occurs. Clark and Moser (2001) stated that it is in the public domain where political violence, intertwined with social and economic violence usually occurs.

Political violence geared towards wining power or political competition through violence, subverting the ends of the democratic and electoral process. Its tools of trade are the disempowerment and the intimidation of political foes. Political violence does not only take place during election time but in periods resulting to elections, during the elections themselves and also during the time immediately following elections such as during the counting of the voting results
According to Dudley (1973), the acquisition of political power directly results to economic power. Those who hold posts in the struggle of power determine the distribution and location of limited resources.

Therefore, Nigeria politics is the struggle for more funds and this entails that to enter politics, there is usually a price to pay. Since politics entails expending a huge amount of fund, one will have to participate in some competition which may rapidly increase violence. Also in the same vein, Adeyemo (2000) Maintained that violence in politics develops as a characteristic of quest for power. He also emphasized that, the application of violence in the quest for power has some pessimistic effects for the actualization of the collective welfare of persons and the society as a whole.

Political violence in Nigeria has greatly become seriously disturbing to social life and also resulting to disunity in communities and families as well as resulting to antagonisms within and among societal groups. The Nigerian citizens have experienced various scenarios of political violence in various forms such as Destruction of Properties, murders, bomb blasts and assassinations now and in the time past and it is presently on the rise.

The implication of this menace in the country is resulting in some extents towards social division into its sub ethnic groups and constituent ethnic divisions. Harming, killing and intimidating of individuals intending to vote during the time of elections so as to destroy ballot boxes in areas where the perpetrators do not have supporters or so as to hastily steal ballot boxes in other to stuff them with illegal ballot papers thumb printed and obtained are the various reasons for social division in the Nation the present increase of political violence is a very serious trend towards prosperity and social progress. In fact, Political Violence is resulting to a challenging standard of Livings for Nigerians.

For example, many individuals cannot dwell in the Northern Part of the Nation where violence has become potentially dangerous and unstable. Terrorism, conflict and political violence destroy physical assets, human lives and also minimize people’s social relationships. This trend has resulted to a divisible life among the people and due to the hitherto mutual trust that Nigerians normally encounter in the past between the Christians and the Muslims, Yoruba’s, Igbo’s, Hausa’s, Fulani’s, Tiv’s as well as many other ethnic groups. Sum to here melted array; Nigeria is presently at a very dangerous situation of fashioning along ethnic and religious affiliations social activities such as sports, worship and inter marriages among others are usually affected due to the political violence as it is always depriving Nigerian Citizens the access to social relationships and interactions.

Basic Human Rights like Right to Movement have greatly been violated as a result of the movement restriction or curfew denying most Nigerian Citizens to a time ranged movement under a compelled restraint that is not favorable to social life this condition limits diplomatic and bilateral relationship and it also affects social activities among Nigerians. Political Violence creates migration of individuals resulting to mass migration of individuals from the Northern to the Southern Part of the Nation as a result of the destruction of property and assets as well as loss of human lives. Human lives which is viewed as sacred and valuable is usually hunted, killed and maimed like wild animals just because of politics.

The fear of violence has been imbibed in the heart of Nigerians particularly during the period of electioneering. Most Nigerians are afraid of the unknown circumstances as a result of the reoccurring past tensions experience including the state of social instability and insecurity among the citizens. Also Non Victims and Victims of the crisis tend to be in a serious state of panic in Nigeria. It has significantly resulted to the communal religious and ethnic crises that Nigeria is experiencing presently.

For example, in places like Borno, Kaduna, Yobe, Plateau, Kano, Bauchi States among others are clearly aimed in respect to their ethnicity or religion. A Christian Brethren who discover himself among the dominated Muslim area would be murdered and vice versa. This has negatively disrupted the social relationship in this aspect that children are socialized so as to be relating or communicating along religious lines. Any chaos is an advantage to carry out revenge and settle scores on personal enemies.

These negatively affect the social development and the human security of the Nation (Viela, 2009). Political violence assists in promoting the continuous cycle of violence in the Nation. The acts negatively impact on the children dwelling in such environments as they grow up to apply the same root. Walters and Bandura (1963) emphasized that such children would probably end up being so radical in nature. He further emphasized on the behavior of humans in respect to ongoing reciprocal or complementing relationship between behavioral, cognitive and environmental influences.


Educational Functions usually result to a halt and also school calendar is made longer. This negatively affects the limits a student would expend in school resulting to more expenses on the parts of the parents; also disturbing is the level of students’ exposure to social vices such as alcohol, drug addition, prostitution, armed robbery among other social vices. The Nigerian Environment has presently been attributed by conflicts, terrorism, increasing cases of armed robbery, assassinations, sea piracy, hostage taking, kidnapping, rape, homicide, cultism as well as gang violence that are seriously becoming frequent and increasing a climate of impurity, fear as well as insecurity in the Nation due to the increase of political violence.

The Political discontent and tension has negatively affected the internal security conditions in the country as a result of this; business activities (schedules) are usually closed for a durable period of time resulting to the loss of government revenue. People are no more interested in social activities that will increase their lives. For example, wherever, there is a situation of political dominance, there will always be a curfew. Aver (2012) emphasized that political violence has resulted to the occurrence of criminal groups such as the Boko Haram who has negatively been disrupting religious agencies dwelling in some parts of the Northern Country leading to the mortality of innocent individuals.

For instance on the 17th of June 2012, nearly seventy individuals were maimed while thirty were wounded in a planned attacks on Christ the King Catholic Church, Sabo Geri, Shalom Church Trikayiya and ECWA DCCC also located in Zaria all happening in Kaduna State. This political violence has resulted to division in the Nation into sects which greatly contributed to the underdevelopment of Social relationship.

Therefore, the substantial implications of the political violence have negatively affected the economic and social activities. Visibly, it affects the direction and pace of societal peace. In Nigeria, violence has increased a sense of global integration as well as resulted to the extension of the global culture of the state including the experienced growth of localized violence and sectionalism accompanied by the empowerment of group, seeking socio-political division such as the Ombatse Cults, Boko Haram among others.

For example, the vanguard on the (13th of July 2013) emphasized that the disorder in the river state assembly; the police only watched while the law was disrupted with freedom from unpleasant consequences by the living witnesses to the commotions the country passed through due to the activities of the cult groups and political thugs who later became militants and pave their way into the creeks so as to disrupt the peace as well as the social and the economic welfare of the Nation, Nigeria.


Political Violence is an ill wind of social phenomenon that does no one any favor. In its aftermath, both its victims and perpetrators are losers. Also, violence is not new to man but considerably as a result of his fallen nature, his constant overstepping limit against the grains of his nature.
Therefore; Politicians must carry out their campaigns in respect to issues rather than attacking their political foes on the mobilization of regional, ethnic and religious sentiments.

The campaigns should center on the execution of the essential national economic, social cultural, political, health and educational services. Political parties should act as a means of democratic governance instead of working as a coordinated criminal enterprise applied for gaining, seeking and retaining power so as to loot public treasury. The acceptable remedy to political violence in any society or community is justice.

Nigerians must allow justice to prevail the act of impunity that promotes political violence must be prohibited by scrupulous implementation and execution of laws restricting illegal trade of ammunitions as well as its use and possession and also restricting political violence. The National Orientation Agency (NOA) which is the important and notable organization of government for orientation, enlightenment, political mobilization and education must be more active in political period.

Voter education and civic are also very essential; the civic society agencies must increase their efforts in respect to the area of civic education so that the citizens can comprehend the importance of politics, the essence of democratic practices and governance and to eschew religious and ethnic sentiments in political involvement. There is also the essence to prohibit overzealous ambition, selfishness, lust for power, revenge, anger, pride and voluptuousness in the Nigeria Politics –we must learn to have a passion and interest for leadership no matter what will be our political demand. Dialogue must be encouraged so as to prevail over the language of violence.


Political Violence occurs in assault, acrimony, intimidation, assault, harassment, killing and maiming. These consequently affect the continuous social relationship in the environment. This Research Paper has significantly emphasized on the implications of political violence in the country, Nigeria by applying the conflict theoretical perspective. Political violence is an ill wind of social phenomenon that blows no one any good. In its aftermath, both its victims and perpetrators are losers. Also, violence is not new to man but considerably an implication of his fallen nature, his moves against the grains of his nature. The steps applied here are intended at eradicating and minimizing political violence such that social relationship will increase. There is no alternative to political violence without pain and bitterness.
Cite This Article As: Tochukwu Benedict Ezeifekwuaba. "The Effects of Political Violence on Social Development in Nigeria." International Youth Journal, 29. June 2018.

Link To Article: https://youth-journal.org/the-effects-of-political-violence-on-social-development-in-n





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