Political Science

Political Leadership and Electoral Violence That Occurred in the Second Republic

Political Leadership and Electoral Violence That Occurred in the Second Republic




This project will discuss the political leadership as well as attendant Electoral violence which marred the second republic.

It will look into the origin, manifestation and negative debilitating effects of electoral violence in the subsequent electoral contest in other preceding republic as well as possible ways to which this menace could be curbed in the polity.

In an attempt at discussing the problem that are experienced in democratic transition due to the roles played by political leaders which in most cases generates electoral violence, I will adopt some theories, postulations by scholars in trying to draw a correlation on the two dominant concept of political leadership and electoral violence which becomes the focal point of this research.

Moreover, a critical perusal shall be undertaken into specific cases of electoral violence as recorded in the seconds republic shall be systematically presented, from which analysis shall be carried out.

Distinctly, we shall also highlight the poetical party configuration and the extent to which factors as ethnicity and others play dominant role in the second republic, outside the sphere of political leadership.

We shall distinctly examine institutional are organizational roles in the Electoral processes of the seconds republic such as Federal Electoral Commission (FEDECO), the judiciary and the extent to which state power was utilized in the political and electoral processes.


This project has as it central problem, to attempt a critique which prompt us to ask the following:

To what extent did political leadership contribute to electoral violence in the second republic?

The question is prompted because the political leadership from the pedestrian of promotion of unity, justice, free, fair and unbiased election in the second republic, may not have lived to the expectations of the citizens.


The objective of study to this research shall include the following:

To explore the fundamental roles played by political leaders and its impact in the second republic which may have culminated in electoral violence

To identify the factors associated with the violence recorded in the second’s republic

To examine those factors in view of political violence which characterize subsequent republics.

To suggest ways to curbing Electoral violence in Nigeria.


The research hypotheses for this project shall be

The higher the level or intensity of the struggle for political offices, the greater the frequency or tendency for electoral contest to be violent.


This study will be qualitative in the nature of its analysis.

It will be qualitatively undertaken due to the historical nature, and will mostly be descriptive, narrative and predictive in its report.

Based on this, the researcher will make use of both primary and secondary data which will be extensively extracted from the works of writer on the subject matter.

Sources of primary and secondary data will include, published and unpublished materials as textbooks, articles, newspapers, theses, academic paper, speeches, etc.


The research is justified on the following grounds:

It will contribute enormously in properly situating the issue and development which led to the collapse of the second republic.

The study will also showcase the required awareness on the dangers of irresponsible and insensitive leadership.

It will go a long way to inform, enlighten and educate student of Political Science and History on the negative impact of bad leadership on the polity.

It will eventually serve as a reference material to any researcher whose researcher whose research relates to the issues which are analysed here.


Theoretical framework according to Obasi (1999) is a devise for adopting or applying the assumption, postulation and principles for the research problem. It involves linking the problem under investigation to the assumptions, postulation and principles of the theory.

In this project, the suitable theoretical framework applied to this work will be the Radical Political Economy Approach.

Studies have shown the centrality of economic concern on political outcome in Nigeria politics and the persistent pattern of electoral struggle.

The concern in view of electoral politics is, why has it been so violent and what factors have accounted for this?

While attempting a suitable explanation for the above question, the political economy of the nation is of critical importance in this regard.

Political economy simply explains the relationship between economic concern and its impact on political outcomes.

Implied in this research, the pursuit of immediate and future political gains, benefits and patronage influenced greatly political participation of leaders, supporters in the second republic, where material gains in form of contract, import license, appointment into key governmental positions were the logical outcome from participation.

Ken Post and Michael Vickers (1973) observed that for the Nigerian politician, “politics is the receipt of the largest possible benefit (wealth) in the shortest possible time”.

And as the state is the greatest source of wealth accumulation there is, therefore a desperate struggle to control state power because it is the chief route of access to state resources and opportunities of class formation.

Diamond (1988) adds “so long as the state looms, so large in the economic and social life of the country, the people will cheat and bribe and intimidate and even kill to get and keep control of the state.

It is argued that the political elite saw politics and the acquisition of state powers for wealth accumulation.

The strength of political economy on political events can be made more manifest while assessing the political behaviours and voting pattern in the 1983 presidential and gubernatorial election results.

The above exposition clearly posts, the politics of the second republic, here, the political elites saw politics as the acquisition of state power for wealth accumulation, and the control of state power which is equated with the allocation of state resources becomes the rationale for out throat competition which the second republic recorded.

Justifying the applicability of the Radical Political Economy Approach to this study, it becomes clear that it explains the intra party competition and political differences among the elites in the republic on the need for them to acquire power in public domain and use same as avenue to control and allocate state resources and accumulate wealth.

Scholars associated with the theory are but not limited to, Karl Marx, Claude Ake, Galvin Williams, Larry Diamond, Post and Vickers.


The following concepts shall be understood in this context.

Electoral Contest: This shall imply the struggle for public office in a democratically scheduled Election, having multiparty participation.

Electoral Violence: Implies the use of irregular method or unconstitutional schemes by the political elites in their quest to capture power, and includes riot, looting, kidnapping, arson, digging of trenches, political assassination, intimation of voters by supporters of other parties, burning of perceived opponent and others.

Political leadership: Term shall be understood synonymously with political elites, and shall imply to those in position of commands, control and direction within the political system.

Political Offices: Any office of a political leader, having among the functions, allocation of resources, command, coordination and control. Shall include elected and appointed political officers, within the party and in government domain.

Struggle for Power: The quest to assume leadership in political domain, either through elections or appointment, adopting either institutional and illegal means to acclaim power.

Second Republic: Period in Nigeria’s Political history commencing from the 1st October 1979 to the 31stDecember 1983.