n Ubuntu : Journal of Conflict and Social Transformation - The nexus between communal conflicts and electoral violence in southeastern Nigeria

Volume 4, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 2078-760X
  • E-ISSN: 2050-4950


Communal conflicts are common in Igboland and efforts to resolve them have not been too successful. Previous studies have focused on how to resolve them using either modern or traditional institutions. How communal conflicts can contribute to electoral violence has not been adequately explored. This study, therefore, seeks to establish the nexus between communal conflicts and electoral violence in Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo State, Southeastern Nigeria. Elections are important constitutional requirements for the enthronement and sustenance of any democratic political system. However, elections in Africa are largely characterised by violence thereby eroding the hope of emergence of positive democratic political culture. Though works on electoral violence in Nigeria identified imposition of candidates, slanderous campaign, electoral frauds, losing election, ethnic cleavages, religious differences and individual psychological disposition towards violence as being responsible, there is need to interrogate why communal conflicts tends to be on the increase during election periods and how the conflicts transform to electoral violence. Being glossed over by scholars, the tendency has led to the formulation of determinist theory of electoral violence negating other deep rooted factors that can contribute to election violence. Therefore, this article asks why every type of election produces violence, even, where contestants come from the same community. Can there be other factors outside the way elections are conducted that exacerbate electoral violence? Focus group discussions (FGDs) and in-depth interviews (IDIs) were carried out on why Southeastern Nigerian serves as hotbed for communal conflicts. The study reveals that warring communities often seek to capture political power and to deploy such power in either execution or management of communal conflicts.

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