Aluko Bayode (PhD)


Electoral Violence has become a major challenge confronting the electoral process in Nigeria especially since the advent of democracy in 1999. Worse still, primaries of Nigerian political parties have been identified as potential seedbed of electoral violence which almost always affects the outcome of general elections. Political parties, as it were, constitute agents of socio-political mobilisation which help in the democratic development of any liberal society. However, despite this importance, lack of internal democracy had been fingered as a major challenge. For instance, factors such as godfatherism, money politics, corruption and non-adherence of party members to rules as enshrined in the party constitution, have been identified as reasons for continued existence of this menace in internal dynamics of Nigerian political parties. The main objective of this paper is to examine political party primaries as potential seedbed of electoral violence in Nigeria. The paper is anchored on group theory supported by Michel’s iron law of oligarchy which postulates that political party as an organisation are more often than not, being controlled by a smaller number of party executives. The paper adopted secondary method of research which involves the use of library, journals and archival materials. The study found that in spite of the important role of political parties in liberal democracies, those in Nigeria compared to their counterparts in advanced countries, are finding it difficult to imbibe the culture of strong internal democracy. The paper concluded that the consequence of this misdemeanour will be Nigerian political parties becoming seedbeds of rancour, disunity and disputes; the result of which will be the germination of “baobab tree” of violence, the fruit of which is seen in the form of electoral violence during general elections.  This tree of violence growing within political parties as a result of shabby primaries must be uprooted if Nigeria must experience peace in the conduct of its general elections.


Democracy, Electoral Violence, Internal Democracy, Political Parties, Primaries

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