The primary objective of this study is to analyse electoral violence in Nigeria using the Hoglund analytical framework on electoral violence. More specifically, the study undertakes to analyse incidents of electoral violence in the 2003 and 2007 elections in Nigeria. The second objective of the study is to identify how the changing nature of politics, elections, and electoral institutions have interacted to perpetuate electoral violence in the 2003 and 2007 elections; identify the nature, spread and pattern of electoral violence in those elections with the aim of explaining the variations and concentration of such violence; and to identify the extent to which Hoglund s analytical framework can explain the causes of electoral violence in Nigeria. Electoral violence is defined as an act that seeks to determine, delay, or influence an electoral process through threats, verbal intimidation, hate speech, disinformation, physical assault, forced ?protection , blackmail, destruction of property, and/or assassination.
Information for the study was gathered through existing publically available documents on elections (including electoral acts), as well as reports on elections by both local and foreign observer missions, to analyse the 2003 and 2007 electoral violence in Nigeria. The link between electoral violence and Nigeria s 2003 and 2007 elections is analysed based on Hoglund s analytical framework of electoral violence, as well as its applicability to the Nigerian political situation. The framework is centred on three elements: the nature of politics, the nature of elections, and electoral institutions. The nature of politics refers to the political system and the relationship that exists between leaders and followers, which includes the acceptable and unacceptable democratic standards. The nature of elections represents the political mobilisation and competition in the electoral process which relate to the nature of actors that participate in the elections as well as the stakes involved in losing or gaining political power, whilst electoral institutions encompass electoral systems, electoral management and electoral regulations.
Electoral violence in Nigeria is abetted by patrimonial rule, conflict cleavages, stakes of electoral competition, and the winner-takes-all arrangement of the electoral system, as espoused by Hoglund in his framework. This study finds that electoral violence in Nigeria s 2003 and 2007 elections was stirred through the politics of godfatherism and the high remuneration of elected representatives, and it thus contributes to the general systematic studies of electoral violence, and Nigeria s electoral violence in particular. The high prevalence of electoral violence examined in this study suggests the need for interventions to reduce the reoccurrence of such violence in subsequent elections, and hence the need for future studies to deal with problems of godfatherism and high remuneration of elected officials as approaches to combat electoral violence in Nigeria.