BELLO Shamsudeen Kabir (2015) Political and Electoral Violence in Nigeria: Mapping, Evolution and Patterns (June 2006 - May 2014)
An analysis of the Nigeria Watch database for the period between June 2006 and May 2014 revealed 915 fatal incidents related to elections. The research did not include terrorist attacks by Islamic or militant groups with religious, social, or economic undertones, but it did study the involvement of such groups in political violence.
A total of 3,934 deaths were recorded from these 915 incidents, with the highest prevalence in Plateau State and the lowest in Jigawa State.
As the main stakeholders of electoral processes, political parties are directly involved in electoral violence.
A spatial analysis of the Nigeria Watch database shows that the bloodiest geopolitical zone is the Middle Belt, with 1,463 deaths. The region is characterized by pre-existing ethno-religious tensions, just as in the North- West (911 deaths). The North-East (319 “political deaths”) is affected mainly by the Boko Haram insurgency, which is not covered by this study. So-called godfatherism affects more the South-West (386 deaths) and the South-South (644). The South-East also witnesses political thuggery but records the lowest occurrence of deaths from electoral processes (152).
Most electoral violence in northern Nigeria was found to have an ethno-religious background, whereas the southern part of the country is more affected by the high prevalence of criminal gangs.
Security forces are also key catalysts in electoral violence, as they often exacerbate cases where they intervene.