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POLITICAL VIOLENCE IN NIGERIA; A CASE OF BRASS LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA
1.1 Background of the Study
Violence has become a problem of great national and international concern because of its socioeconomic and political consequences. Through much of history violence has been the norm rather than an exception in relation among individuals and groups of people. As Pearson and Rochester (1984: 127) have rightly observed: ―A murder is committed every twenty-six minutes on average in the United States of America (USA) and a violent crime of some sorts occur every forty minutes. Economic, social as well as political violence have been committed and are still committed in many other countries across the globe According to Douglas (2003) four years of mass genocide in the 1970s resulted in two million deaths across the globe. The Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s also left one million dead. The 1992-1995 war in Bosnia killed 200,000 and accounted for two million refugees, many of whom were terrorized and forced from their home regions in coordinated―ethnic cleansing campaigns. Somalia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, the Congo, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq in the past ten years, all of these places have become synonymous with violence. Douglas (2003) went further to add that in some conflicts, civilians have been mutilated as part of a deliberate strategy to demoralize communities and destroy their social structures. Prime examples are the civil wars in Mozambique and Sierra Leone, where many people had ears or lips severed by rebels. Genocides, rapes, mutilations, bombings, and famines have become the standard for countless persons caught in these senseless patters of violence. A fact which Gambari (2008) clearly pointed that the reality has turned out to be different as the world has witnessed the emergence of conflicts of unique complexity in view of the social relations in States across the globe. It is observed that a considerable number of violent behaviour is inter-ethnic, intraethnic and inter-personal and it occurs within a society in the forms of riots, revolutions, protests, demonstrations, Coup de tats and civil wars. This point is illustrative of the high level of political violence that frequently erupts in societies across the globe. The very fact that politics is a game that determines the acquisition of power and control of resources as well as its allocation, the instinct and urge for political violence has become an inescapable reality in a social formation such as Nigeria. Nigeria, like any other plural federal states has been characterized by incessant contestations among individuals, groups and the different ethnic groups that make up the federal union. Since the return to democratic rule on 29th May, 1999, these contestations have increased in alarming and violent proportion across the country. According to Mohammed (2012: 1)some ethnic groups in Nigeria feel that the return to civilian rule has offered them the opportunity to agitate for what they belief is their right to possess, partake in or achieve their development. Thus, these competing groups achieve their political, economic and social objectives with dire consequences on the Nigerian polity. That is why various forms of aggressions are displayed on a daily basis in different parts of the country. For example, the activities of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), the Jama’atuAhlisSunnahLidda’awatiwal jihad (Boko Haram) and the activities of other geo-political nationalities in the country could be traced to the inability of some individuals or group of individuals to access the economic and political resources of the country. In fact since the country returned to democratic rule on 29th May 1999 the phenomenon of violence has assumed a serious dimension: Bombings, militancy, religious riots, vandalism, arsons, political assassinations and the like have become the main features of Nigeria’s nascent democracy. The scenario encapsulated above is not different from that of BayelsaState. The State also stands out as a distinct point of intersection of individuals, groups and tribes competing for economic and political space. As a result of this, the state is now confronted with conflicts that have led to the destruction of lives and property as seen in the 2007, 2009 and 2011 political crises in the State. A close examination of the level of political violence in BayelsaState has clearly shown that the State has virtually a tripled level of violence in the country.
1.2 Statement of Problem
The Nigeria nation is beclouded by the menace of under-development. This has resulted to economic hardship and social miscarriages on the citizenry. “Nigeria are having rough time, there is uncontrollable inflation, there is retrenchment, unemployment, factory closure caused by drastic deform in investment and divestments. Moreso, there is a sharp decline in the purchasing power and value of the naira, coupes of social service, low capacity utilization of industries and jobs security Nigerians are leaving below poverty line. Nigeria’s position as an under-developed nation has not changed even with flow of money from oil (Ikejani Clark 1995:132)
The above have become a bone of contention. The researcher hence intends to find out why under-development has persisted so many years after un-dependence in the presence of abundant human and material resources available to the government. Also with standing that Nigeria has series of leaders and leadership positions both civilian.
1.3 Research Questions
The study shall be guided by the following research questions:
- 1. What is the effect of political leadership crisis on political violence in Brass Llocal government area?
- 2. What is the effect of insecurity on political violence in Brass Llocal government area?
- 3. What is the effect of godfatherism on political violence in Brass Llocal government area?
1.4 Objectives of the Study
The study shall be guided by the following research questions
- 1. To examine the effect of political leadership crisis on political violence in Brass local government area
- 2. To examine the effect of insecurity on political violence in Brass local government area
- 3. To examine the effect of godfatherism on political violence in Brass local government area
- 1. There is no significant effect of political leadership crisis on political violence in Brass local government area
- 2. There is no significant effect of insecurity on political violence in Brass local government area
- 3. There is no significant effect of godfatherism on political violence in Brass local government area
3.6 Significance of The Study
The significance of this study can be viewed from the following perspectives. One main significance of this study is that when completed, it would serve as a bridge for the gap that have been created between where previous works on this subject area stopped and today. This study is significant in the sense that it’s finding would serve as a base and framework for future researchers to carry out further studies in the field of knowledge under study.
The government would benefit from this study in view of the fact that they would learn about factors contributing to the underdevelopment of Nigerian politics and possible ways to redeem the image of Nigerian politics at the global scene.
The outcome of this research is hoped to be of immense use to students of politics and human behavour since it contains information on the development of Nigerian politics
1.7 Limitation of the Study
In every research work, it is likely that the researcher may encounter some limitations. The researcher encountered some challenges during the period of carrying out this research. Some of these challenges include the dearth of materials for a proper and effective research work constituted a major limitation. Again, how to get the true and required information from the students through questionnaire also constituted a constraint in the study.
Finally, there was the problem of convincing the respondents on the primary objectives of the questionnaire so as to give the true and required information. However, the intervention of the administrator in the party secretariat who took time to clear the air and convince their staff helped the investigator to administer the instrument successfully.
1.8 Scope of the Study
The scope of the study was delimited to assessment of political violence in NIgeria