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POLITICAL VIOLENCE AND DEMOCRATIC STABILITY IN NIGERIA: REFLECTING ON THE PAST AND CHATTING THE WAY RORWARD
This paper examines the political violence and democratic stability in Nigeria. The paper is written against the backdrop that, periodic elections are fundamental to the principles of democracy. Thus, political violence has been a major road-block to democratic stability in Nigeria. The paper argues that the Nigerian democratic project has been under perpetual threat since 1999 when the country returned to democratic governance. However, the excitement and euphoria that greeted the country’s return to democracy in 1999 has drastically waned creating fear in the polity. The methodology adopted focuses on the secondary data and insights were drawn extensively from the conflict theorists. The paper revealed that the realization of democratic objective or stability depends solely on free, fair and credible elections. The paper therefore recommends among others, that politicians should not use ethnicity and religion to galvanize support and polarize the populace through politics of religious deception and ethnic chauvinism which have stirred up sentiments and sparked communal violence perennially in Nigeria. Fundamentally too, the federal and state governments should publicly condemn discrimination on the basis of ‘indigene’ or ‘non-indigene’ status and accord all Nigerians full citizenship status and make them eligible to enjoy all political and ultimately dissuade inclinations for political violence.
Keywords: Political Violence, Democratic Stability, Nigeria, Election.