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CONDUCT OF ELECTIONS IN NIGERIA, IMPLICATIONS ON NATIONAL SECURITY (A CASE STUDY OF BAYELSA STATE 2016 ELECTION)
1.1 BACKGROUND OF STUDY
Nigeria as a country has had so many setbacks through electoral processes; the nation’s security is threatened through many hitches from the misconducts of elections. In Nigeria today election widely regarded as the integral part of a democratic process; this enables the citizens of Nigeria choose freely the particular party that will lead them successfully in all arms of government in order to attain a high climax in socio economic development. There are so many definitions for elections; according to Obakhedo in the year 2011 defined election as a major instrument for the recruitment of political leadership in our democratic societies. Dye, 2001 inn his own words defined election as the key to the participation in a democracy and a way of giving consent to the government both at the federal and the state level. In the year 1991 Hungtinton stated that a political system is democratic to the extent that it’s the most powerful and collective decision- makers of the country are selected through a free and fair with great honesty through the process of election. In general, according to Nwolise in the year 2007 stated that election is simply a process of selecting the officer or the representative of an organization; it can also be a process of selecting a group by the votes of its qualified members.
Election according to Bamgbose in the year 2012 is the process of elite selection by the mass of the population in any of the given political system in Nigeria.
There have being so many issues as regards the electoral process in Nigeria and its implication on the national security; take Bayelsa State 2016 election for instance; there are majorly two parties that are in full contention for the post as the governor of the state; Mr Dickson a candidate of the people democratic party (PDP) and Chief Timipire Sylva a candidate of All Progressive congress (APC). The process of the election was very smooth all along but the issue and threat to Bayelsa State came up after the election when Mr Dickson the candidate of the people Democratic Party (PDP) was declared the winner of the election. The major cause of the violence was after the vote were counted; it was noticed according to the people of Ijaw local government area of Bayelsa state that some of the election centers were cancelled and that after the counting of the votes; the difference in vote between Mr Dickson and Chief Timipire Sylva was less than the cancelled vote according to APC agent Barrister Otiotio.
So many lives were lost during this period; some were injured and hospitalized. Bayelsa state was in the state of disarray for some times before everything became calm again. The above topic has pulled the attention of many writers and researchers. The research works tends to assess the conducts of election elections in Nigeria, implication on the national security using Bayelsa a case study.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
The conduct of election in Nigeria has had a lot of threat to the national security. The Bayelsa State gubernatorial election 2016 was a major concern to the state, the federal government and the citizens of Nigeria. The major problem in the 2016 election in Bayelsa State came in as a result of the refusal of most of the people of Bayelsa especially the Ijaw local government area of Bayelsa State to outcome of the election. Victory was achieved after the re-run of the election but the security of the people was threatened; so many lives were lost, a lot of casualties in the hospital, communities at war with communities; the major problem here is how to restore peace back in most of these communities and the material need of the communities in Bayelsa State.
1.3 AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF STUDY
The aims of the research work are as follows:
1. To determine the implication of elections on national security.
2. To determine the reaction of the people of Bayelsa after the electoral process
3. To determine the major cause of violence in Bayelsa State after the election.
4. To determine the implication of election on the people of Bayelsa State.
5. To determine the effect on election on the socio economic development of Nigeria.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTION
To achieve the following objectives as stated above; the study came up with the following research questions:
1. What is the implication of elections on national security?
2. How do the people of Bayelsa react to the electoral process?
3. What are the major causes of violence in Bayelsa State after the election?
4. What is the implication of election on the people of Bayelsa State?
5. What is the effect on election on the socio economic development of Nigeria?
1.5 THE HISTORY OF BAYELSA STATE
BAYELSA State was created on October 1, 1996 out of the old Rivers State. The name,Bayelsa, is an acronym of three former Local Government areas ‘BRASS, YENAGOA AND SAGBAMA’ in the then Rivers State, which had earlier on comprised the entire area now constituting Bayelsa State. The then Brass LGA is what makes up the present Nembe, Brass and Ogbia Local Government Areas; the then Yenagoa LGA consist of the present Yenagoa, Kolokuma/Opokuma and Southern Ijaw Local GovernmentAreas and the then Sagbama LGA is what makes up the present Sagbama and Ekeremor Local Government Areas.
The tradition in the old Rivers State, which is still the norm in Bayelsa State now, is the use of acronyms for local government areas. People referred to Brass Local Government Area as BALGA, for short; Yenagoa was simply YELGA, while Sagbama was SALGA. Since personalities from BALGA, YELGA, and SALGA made up the State Creation Movement prior to the 1996 exercise, the proposed name agreed upon was BAYELSA.
Bayelsa State has one of the largest crude oil and natural gas deposits in Nigeria. As a result petroleum production is extensive in the state. However, the majority of Bayelsans live in poverty. They are mainly rural dwellers due to its peculiar terrain and lack of adequate transportation, health, education or other infrastructure as a result of decades of neglect by the central governments,state and petroleum prospecting companies. This has been a large problem in the state since its creation and successive state governments have not been able to address and repair the issue. The state, as a result, has an almost non-existent commerce. Successive state governments have, however, embarked on various industrial projects (even venturing into the oil and gas sector), and "poverty-alleviation" programs to reverse this situation,accordingly this are only on paper. There’s nothing on ground to show for huge sums of money spent for development by successive and present state governments.
The local population engages in fishing on a subsistence and commercial level. The Bayelsa State government is otherwise the main employer of labor in the state.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
The study will be of immense benefit the people of Bayelsa State, the state government of Bayelsa state, the federal government of Nigeria, to understand more on the electoral process and its implication on the national security; the research work will also serve as a guide to other researchers that wishes to study more on the election process in Nigeria and its implication on the national security.
1.7 SCOPE OF STUDY
The study conduct of elections in Nigeria, implications on the National security will cover the electoral process in Bayelsa State 2016.
1.8 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
NATIONAL SECURITY: is a concept that a government, along with its parliaments, should protect the state and its citizens against all kind of "national" crises through a variety of power projections, such as political power, diplomacy, economic power, military might, and so on
ELECTORAL VIOLENCE: as any harm or threat of harm to any person or property involved in the election process, or the process itself, during the election period
ELECTION: a formal and organized choice by vote of a person for a political office or other position.
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