DEMOCRATIZATION AND POST-ELECTION VIOLENCE IN NIGERIA AND GHANA, 2003-2012

DEMOCRATIZATION AND POST-ELECTION VIOLENCE IN NIGERIA AND GHANA, 2003-2012

ABSTRACT

Election is universally considered as the hallmark of democracy, especially since the current wave of democratization in Africa. However, most elections in Africa are characterized by violence particular post-electoral violence. Moreover, the study examined the nexus between democratization and post-electoral violence in Nigeria and Ghana. Though scholars have interrogated democratization and electoral violence yet little attention have been paid to ascertain whether the mode of democratization accounted for the different levels of post-electoral violence in Nigeria and Ghana. Also, they have not determined whether democratic outcomes intensified post-electoral violence more in Nigeria than in Ghana. Therefore, the study ascertained how the mode of democratization accounted for the different levels of post-electoral violence in Nigeria and Ghana. The study also determined how democratic outcomes intensified post-electoral violence in Nigeria more than Ghana. The study made use of ex-post facto research design, qualitative method of data analysis and qualitative method of data collection. Also the study adopted the theory of post-colonial state. The study noted that high level of electoral malpractice, weak democratic institutions, high occurrence of ethno/religious voting pattern, postponement of elections in Nigeria unlike in Ghana has led to tension and anxiety in Nigeria. Rigging of elections more in Nigeria also contributed to violent protest and destruction than in Ghana and finally, that election of unpopular candidates in Nigeria do lead to political violence unlike in Ghana. And all these are rooted in the high premium or stakes Nigerian politicians attached to politics unlike their counterparts in Ghana. The study recommended among others, that the electoral process should be free, fair and credible, the electoral commissions of both states particularly in Nigeria should be more organized to avoid unnecessary postponement and rigging of elections and especially Nigerian politicians should place less premium on politics.

Keywords: Democratization, post-electoral violence, elections, electoral commission, political instability.