Fierce competition between rival leaders or political parties during elections has resulted in outbreak of civil unrest in such places as Rivers, Kogi, Bauchi, Kwara, Plateau, among others.

In countries where democracy has firmly taken root, it has become a political force used in redefining human existence in terms of the realization of socio economic development and building of egalitarian society.

Nigeria as a developing democracy is yet to fully imbibe all the tenets that make democracy the leading system of governance in most parts of the world.

Among other things, democratic practice in Nigeria is still battling with political violence which derives its energy and dominance from the army of young men and women in the country.

Of major concern is that “democracy” in the Nigerian context is becoming a germinating ground for youth violence, ritualism and radicalization to the extent of making thuggery and arms proliferation a regular business among youths.

These situations are as a result of certain factors which have undermined the essence of democracy in the interest of few who cleave to power by any means necessary in the pursuit of unjustifiable objectives.

The youths have become “sacrificial lambs” for the sustenance of the interests of the bloody political demagogues under the umbrella of democracy. In whichever way or whatever justification for youth involvement in political violence especially, rituals, thuggery, the ultimate truth is that it undermines democratic development and youth participation in mainstream politics.

Events have shown that political demagogues both at the state and federal level are in the habit of arming thugs in the guise of empowerment. This undemocratic culture has frequently triggered conflict. It has been reported that at least 50 percent of Nigeria elections are associated with serious violent incident that has resulted in loss of lives what a big Shame.

Fierce competition between rival leaders or political parties during elections has resulted in outbreak of civil unrest in such places as Rivers, Kogi, Bauchi, Kwara, Plateau, among others.

Of paramount importance here is that whether violence before, during or after election, the quick and available machinery for the execution of the agenda, are the youths.

By implication, a large chunk of youth involvement in political thuggery is attributable to ignorance as study have revealed that unemployment, corruption and bad governance contribute immensely in explaining youth involvement in political violence.

The problem with Nigerian

Sadly, even where the government is relatively doing well, the opposition members resort to twisting the minds of the youths against the party in power so as to champion their interests. All these and more reveal youth vulnerability to interest of some senseless politicians whose interest can only be achieved through arming of thugs.

The elites are responsible for arming the youths, who mostly are political thugs to manipulate electoral outcomes, kidnap or kill political opponents, threaten and intimidate electorate, destroying lives and property, as electoral processes are disrupted.

Thuggery and rituals will continue to dominate the political space until our individual vote counts. In other words, one sure way to put an end to political violence is to ensure as a people that every vote counts. Once the politicians and the electorate are satisfied that their vote counts and it is the only means of getting to power, they will not resort to self-help by arming thugs.

It is about time our law enforcement do their duly diligence to serve and protect making sure that anyone found to have engaged thugs and hoodlums to win elections be arrested and prosecuted to the fullest our judiciary also should not be compromised. Also, jobs should be created for the unemployed in order to make it impossible for politicians to recruit youths for political violence.

It is my view that the menace of political rituals and thuggery in Nigeria has to be checked in order to have sustainable democracy that would indeed be a government of the people, for the people and by the people.

Christian Alert Group, Nigeria Rise Initiative in conjunction with Citizens for Righteousness and Social Justice is the Best way to Go Raising Anti Corruption Crusaders fighting Injustices in a Violent and Immoral Society of Nigeria for a Better Nigeria come 2019.

For more information: 08038276188, 08033376734, 08038754069 & 07034463316. USA contacts: 6787487829 & 2149005848.

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