Role of voter education in curbing electoral violence in the 2019 general elections in Enugu State, Nigeria (Published)
In recent years, every election season in Nigeria has been marred by a gory cycle of electoral violence that claim many innocent lives. The broad objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the mass media, social media, and word-of-mouth communication as voter education tools for curbing electoral violence in the 2019 general elections in Enugu State of Nigeria. The study was conducted by using an opinion survey, and questionnaires distributed through physical and online methods were the major instruments for data collection. The respondents were made up of electorates drawn from the 23 local government areas of Enugu State, Nigeria. Results from the study indicate that the social media and mass media communication tools employed in voter education campaigns against electoral violence in the 2019 general elections in Enugu State, Nigeria, were not significantly effective, while the word-of-mouth communication approaches employed were effective. The ineffectiveness of the social media and mass media as communication channels for voter education aimed at curbing electoral violence in the State was traced to the disconnect between the messenger (Nigerian politicians) and their messages. The lack of trust among electorates for the political actors affected their acceptance of the messages on electoral violence from those channels because they were perceived as using them for mere publicity purposes and also doing things different from what they were preaching. Based on this outcome it was recommended among other things that a proactive nationwide voter education campaign should be initiated through social media, the mass media, and word-of-mouth communication to enlighten the Nigerian populace on the dangers of electoral violence before every election season in the country.
Observers Report and the 2019 General Elections in Nigeria: A Focus on Electoral Violence and Lessons for Future Elections (Published)
Election Monitoring Groups (EMGs) are key elements to conducting free, fair and transparent democratic elections, especially in countries with history of electoral fraud and violence. Apart from reinforcing the strengths of the electoral process in countries, EMGs also help to point out the challenges/weaknesses faced by a country’s electoral process and based on that make recommendations on how to improve on future elections. Since democratic rebirth till date, all the six general elections conducted in 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019 by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Nigeria were monitored by different EMGs. The reports and recommendations of some of these Observers Groups have since been submitted to appropriate authorities and the information therein are also known to the public. Recurring in virtually all these reports is the incidence of violence among other vices. More than earlier elections, electoral violence assumed greater height during the 2019 general elections, thereby creating the impression that little or nothing had been learnt from previous experiences. The paper against this background, examines the reports recently released by some of the EMGs, including the European Union (EU), NDI/IRI Common Wealth and Nigeria Civil Society on the 2019 general elections, with the view to analyzing the nature and dimensions of violence during the elections and suggest ways to ameliorate their reoccurrences.