Bayode Aluko (PhD)


The importance of election in any liberal democratic society cannot be overemphasized. This is because it guarantees seamless transfer of power from one democratic regime to another. However, in spite of its uniqueness, violence has interrupted the value chain of Nigeria’s electoral process especially since the advent of the fourth republic in 1999. It is this interruption that has earned Nigeria’s democracy its fragile status. This paper therefore interrogates electoral violence and democratic fragility in Nigeria using the fourth republic as its area of study. The paper adopted the qualitative method through the use of desk research, online news channel, journals/articles, and archival materials as sources of secondary data. The paper anchored its work on the following theories which are relevant and germane to the study. These are: pluralist theory, frustration/aggression theory, actor-network theory of fragility, and theory of democratic consolidation. Viewed cumulatively, the four theories are logically interdependent in the content of this paper, The paper found that despite the uniqueness of the institution of democracy and the inevitability of election to support its festering, not all elections promote democracy as only elections devoid of acrimony and violence do. The paper also identified weak political culture, weak institutions, insecurity and growing political apathy as instigators of electoral violence and democratic fragility in Nigeria. The paper recommended an urgent need to restructure the Nigerian state so as to accommodate diverse culture of various ethnic configurations such that the constitution which will emerge from such will give opportunity for each geo-political zone to develop at its own pace. The paper concluded that if these recommendations are taken seriously by government, it will douse the current tension in the polity which include its electoral process. The result will be a new Nigeria that is ready to toe the path of democratic consolidation free from the encumbrances of electoral violence and democratic fragility.


Elections, Violence, Democracy, Fragility, Democratic Consolidation.

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