Election in Nigeria is a serious business, because of the power, fame, economic benefit and the influence it commands. It is seen as a source of livelihood and a rapid means to acquire wealth and power in the society. Therefore, there is a violent scramble among the political gladiators, actors and others for political offices. This is to maintain their grip on key strategic positions in government, not for services to the people or for the duties and responsibilities of the office, but for among others things, societal recognition, political relevance, money, and government contracts. Dahl (1967:39) quoting Alexander Hamilton during American constitutional debates in 1788 put it explicitly that, ‘men love power, give all power to the many and they oppress the few, give all power to the few, and they will oppress the many. Both therefore ought to have power, that they may defend itself against the other.’

The idea of wealth without work in Nigeria stemmed from the notion that, politics is the only platform for such possibilities. Hence, elections are seen as a fastest means or a medium through which one can achieve success and attain recognition in the society. It is therefore seen, in some villages and indeed elsewhere in Nigeria, as an opportunities to the share the national cake, Guardian Newspaper (2010).

The rampant conferment of Chieftaincy titles and different awards to persons holding political offices in government, further demonstrates the distorted importance attached to political offices in Nigeria. This also demonstrates the type of values,preferences and choices of the people in the society,as it is observed in some culture and elsewhere in Nigeria.

Political offices provide a means to impose or perpetuate a particular ethnic group in government and governance, and by so doing dominating other groups, thereby creating fear and tension during elections in Nigeria.

Iyayi (1995) contends that, this also makes elections in Nigeria and its processes a very complicated and a highly tensed contest. It is characterized by violence, Cheating, civil unrest, and all manner of malpractices and electoral fraud. Hence, Nigerians can conduct elections that can be free and fair and without fraudulent practices, but the consequence of doing the right thing will among other things; undermine the interest of some forces in the country. These forces undermine the electoral process to their advantage. They also do everything within their means to sustain the status quo.This violent scramble for political offices through elections now creates electoral violence and national insecurity in our society, as a result of an outright manipulation of the electoral process.

Elections, according to Teshome (2008), serve three main purposes in a democratic society.Firstly,elections serve as a means for people to choose their representatives; secondly elections are a means of choosing governments; and thirdly elections give legitimacy to the political system.

Odukoya(2007) further asserted the value and essence of election, by contending that election is an empirical demonstration of a citizen’s liberty and political choice. It is for this that it serves to legitimized the government. That it provide a veritable platform for transformation of the lives and welfare of the people through good governance.

Democracy, according to Appadorai(1975:13) is a government whereby the people exercise the governing power either directly or through representatives periodically elected by them. This scholar further posits that democracy is a form of government in which political power is with the mass of the people as the ruling power of a state is legally vested not any particular class or classes but in the members of the community as a whole.

Democracy, according to Macpherson (1973) is rule in the interest of the whole people, transcending classes. That the procedure by which a society is ruled is of little or no significance as long as the goal of the state is to improve the status of all the people in the society.

Thus, the primary means by which the people exercise their sovereignty is the vote via elections Appadorai(1975:523).

Therefore, democratic systems are largely a product of electoral system as elections are required for the emergence of the peoples’ representatives as well as other elective office holders.

Election provide that platform for the rule of the people by giving the opportunity to choose their leaders, it is the rule in the interest of the whole people, transcending classes Macpherson (1973).

Therefore, elections conducted in Nigeria over the years has led to electoralviolence due to incompatibility in interest among and within the stakeholders (where lives and properties of the people are lost) resulting to a high state of national insecurity and a bad international image in the committees of nation.

Soremekun(2023) asserted that, international politics is an extension of domestic politics. That it is the reflection of individual views, personal values, choices, and preferences of the people in leadership into the international environment. That a nation is an abstraction, but the people and their actions, conduct andgeneral behavior constitutes a nation.

Hence, the way and manner of its domestic politics is a direct and indirect reflection, perception, beliefs and position of a nation in the international environment. Therefore, the consequence of bad elections is a post-election violence, civil unrest, mass protest and poor international image. Furthermore,it is the destruction of lives and properties of the people and ultimately, the denting of the international image of a nation.

It is important to note that, the Nigerian socio- political environment was conceived, model and structured by the colonial master. It was basically, designed to be a class and isolationist society. Some scholars in Africa, the neo-colonialist still hold a strong affinity and allegiance to the colonialist, contending that, their contributions had a lasting impact on the African continent. Not negating its consequence and negative politics of divide and rule. All these factors among others, constitutes the present political space and realities of the Nigerian political environment, as we have it today Sklar (1987) asserts.

Scholars argue that the Nigeria socio- political environment is a communally oriented and culturally based one, which dates back to the pre-colonist era. Hence, its people barely see themselves as one entity, rather they see themselves, first, as a clan, then a tribe, and finally as a region. Being a Nigerian as an entity is secondary and the last concept in their mind, this is to say that, the concept of Nigeria and being a Nigerian is strange to them.

Nigeria came into existence, because, the colonial master needed a platform for administrative purpose and at a reduced cost. Hence, its corporate existence was not necessitated by the yearning of the different groupings in Nigeria. Rather by the dictates and desires of the colonialist. Hence, its conception and eventual implemented via amalgamation in 1914 by Lord LugardIyayi(1995).

It is therefore observed that, Nigeria is a colonialist idea and imagination, not considering the wishes, interest and the different of cultures of the people. This monumental error has resulted to the unabated suspicions and unhealthy competition among the various social groups for political power and economic dominance in the nation. Not much had been attained in changing the tribal and regional mindset and mentality of the peoples in Nigeria. This is demonstrated and reflected in their electoral behavior and their voting pattern in election periods,usually and constantly based on tribal and ethnic considerations.

It is also noted, that Nigerian do not like to lose in anything, and they cannot manage losses either. Hence, victory in elections is a must and a do ordiecontest. As it was articulated by president Obasanjo in 2007 presidential campaign in Owerri (NTA2007).

This attitude makes losing in electoral contest unacceptable and tension filled. Hence, an atmosphere of winners takes it all and the loser loses all is created, which set the stage for post- election violence via national insecurity and other allied vices. These includeviolence, bombing, criminality, and political killings in the state. Just because of the quality and conduct of elections.

Another major consequence of poor quality of elections is the bad image it portraits Nigeria in the international environment. As being unsafe, unreliable and politically unstable, thereby deterring international investors from engaging in viable and serious foreign investments. This is badly needed for the growth and development of the national economy.

It is also noted that, in a modern democracy, the quality and the conduct of elections, is the standard used by the international organizations (EU, WORLD BANK, IMF, PARIS CLUB) to measure and ascertain, the possibilities of political and economic stability of a nation and the prospect of good corporate governance in the management of aids and donations, if so advanced.

These also determine and aid their decisions mechanism as regards credit facilities. Furthermore, election is a viable form of assessing a nation’s democratic institutions and its political culture, in terms of transfer of power from one level to another.

While globalization and the furtherance of the principles and ideals of democracy is in the front burner in this age. The determinant factors for the growth and development of democracy in the eyes of the international community is the quality, manner and conduct of a free and fair election.

This isalways the cause of post-election violence and political killings and related vices, as seen in other countries, social and political order and the general posture and international image of any government and indeed a country to the international community is a function of its domestic’s politics.

It is on this premise that any government is accorded the most converted respect, honor and legitimacy, via the electoral process upon which it ascended to power. When electoral process possesses the outlook of free and fair process, it provides a means through which direct popular participation and legitimacy is earned. It creates capacity for effective and efficient management of the nation’s resources.

Malloch(2003) further contends that, election offers a unique opportunity to create a legitimate government and governance in the system. That, it provides a vehicle through which people oriented government is enshrine in the polity ,and ensures effective and efficient corporate governance of resources.

That, it is accountable, productive, and socially responsible to the people from which it derived its power and legitimacy. Hence, credible elections creates the platform to eliminate social and political insecurity. That qualitative elections are critical means of avoiding social conflicts and tensions in Nigeria.

This requires effective management, through peaceful deliberations and decision making process, as further asserted by Dahl (1973) that democracy and electoral process are a mutual security pacts operating on their own right and merit.

Prezeworki(1991) also suggested that, this happens with the consent of the elites under conditions of bound uncertainty.

Elections processes enhances predictable and stable means of setting social change through the selection of representative or definitive resolution of questions before the community. They imbue the government with legitimacy through the consent of the people, improving the capacity of the state to ensure human security through legitimate authority. Under the rule of law and to improve the level of human development through effective and efficient service delivery. It allows Periodic changes and creates legitimate government that enjoys popular support from the people and for its programme and policiesElkit and Stevesson(1997).

The stakes involve in electoral contest can be considered in several dimension and context, a common cause of election violence is that, the stakes of winning and losing valued political posts is in many situations and especially in conditions of high scarcity and underdevelopment. When winning political offices is the key to livelihood, not just for an individual, but for their entire clan, faction or even ethnic group. The stakes involved in prevailing in the electoral competition are incredibly high.

Studies of election-related violence often highlight the perpetuation of patronage politics or a system in which politician are gang-like bosses, that control resources, such as access to jobs and income and the distribution of public services such as good road, healthcare and lucrative government contract.Hence the stakes of elections are often seen as opportunities to engage in corruption, economic, political, and social manipulation of the system.

This in turn, leads to highly factionalized politics, often along religious, sectarian, or ethnic lines and party politics divides. Where control of the state leads to the reinforcement of divisions or economic opportunity along lines of social difference. Some scholar contends, to the existence and the perpetuation of the existence between control of the state,via economic opportunity and identity politics.

Stewart (2001) excludes that, elections remain a viable medium of regime change in a democratic setting hence the resultant outcome can create insecurity and violence to those who have lost out in the process.

Therefore, there is a considerable relationship between election, national insecurity and Nigeria’s international image,particularly in the perception in the eyes of the international community.

Election has a huge impact in the democratic process, because it remain a credible medium through which successive and periodic change is effected in the state, hence its effectiveness and efficiency so attained, send out signals of political, social and economic stability and safety of a society to the international community whose perception now create and generate respect and honor .this also allow for peace and tranquility in the polity.

Braton(2006) asserted elections are a necessary requites,forabroader democratic consolidations. An election provides that platform for contest and test of popularity among the elites which invariably brings negative consequence to the polity. It is primarily a contest among groups, mainly political parties or among individuals depending on the type of elections.

This political parties operates within a prescribe and organize rules and regulation, that gives meaning to the elections, as the cornerstone of democratic politics. It is therefore noted that, since it involved contest among political class, this contention therefore, can generate tensions and dissatisfactions.

This can amount to violence and national insecurity in the polity.Hence, the quality or the conduct of elections has a significant relationship to the social, political, economic and Nigeria’s international image.

Furthermore, in contemporary times, elections have come to be a yardstick for measuring a nation’s position and status in the committee of nations. Historically speaking, the concept of elections and the elective principle in Nigeria introduced in1922 by the colonial master, was to bring governance to the grass root people and expand the frontiers of the colonial administration, by encouraging local participation in governance and decision making process.

Though, this had its own challenges, it was not until the end of the second world war which ended in 1945. That the concept of elections began and took its root in the national life of the Nigerian people. However, the first general election in 1959 created series of political tension and national insecurity. This also surfaced in the subsequent federal elections in 1964 and the regional elections in the west in 1965; this ignited a chain of political violence and tension that result in a military intervention in 1966.

Elections have been held in Nigeria in 1979 and 1983,also in the period of 1991-1993, when the military regime organized staggered elections, in a diarchic arrangement that resulted in the annulment of the June 12 1993 presidential elections and in 2019, 2003 and 2007.

There is a wide consensus, in popular discourse and scholarly writings, that elections in Nigeria lacked minimum standards of free, fair and credible democratic practices. Hence, the causes and genesis of electoral violence vis-as-vis national insecurity. That it violates basic electoral laws and lacked openness, transparency as to give equal opportunity to all contesting parties.

This therefore, creates social tension and insecurity as a result of the reactionary element in the polity.

Factors, that creates social and political tension and insecurity as a result of electoral fraud and malpractices. Include among others, violence, rigging, intimidation, snatching of ballot boxes, falsification of result sheet, compilation of fake names, abuse of voter registration and official manipulation of election result in favor of the ruling party.

Again, the various electoralmalpracticesas catalogued by the Nigerian Tribune and other scholarly and commissioned works.

This suggests that, these factors can be classified as those that precede election days, those that occur during, the actual voting, counting, result announcement, declaration of the winners, and election petitions. These factors are visible in all the elections so far conducted in Nigeria from 1960 to date, especially in 1964, 1983, 2003 and 2007.

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