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ELECTORAL VIOLENCE, ARMS PROLIFERATIONS AND ELECTORAL SECURITY IN NIGERIA: LESSONS FROM THE TWENTY-FIFTEEN ELECTIONS FOR EMERGING DEMOCRACIES
This paper attempts to look at the rise of violence resulting from the accumulation and use of arms whenever elections are being conducted in Nigeria. It argues that elections in most cases are fraud with violence, defeating the purpose for democratic governance. The worst scenario of electoral violence is the surge in arms proliferations. Acquisition of arms has become synonymous with possessing voter’s card. This trend has been a common phenomenon in Nigeria, to the extent that election periods are often wrought with fear, anxiety and desperation between the political class as they seek electoral mandate. Political parties, party-candidates and supporters acquire their own private security, militias or party thugs; and armed them to carryout acts of electoral violence. This paper looks at the 2015 elections in Nigeria and the trends towards electoral violence following the rise and proliferation of arms in the course of the preparation/arrangement for the election. It posits that contrary to the arms built up and the expectation that the 2015 election was going to be the most violent of all the elections , and the likelihood that it might set the country apart/ablaze; it rather turned out to be the most credible elections; widely accepted , not only in Nigeria but the entire world. The paper will be interrogating the interplay of various dynamics that melted the drive towards violence and the circumstantial development that reinforced political stability for peaceful election. It will conclude by identifying some lessons from the 2015 Elections for emerging democracies, the basis on which it should build developmental democracy in Africa.
KEY WORDS; electoral violence, arms proliferation, privatization of security and militias