Political Science Project Topics

NURTW and Political Violence: a Case Study of Lagos Island

NURTW and Political Violence A Case Study of Lagos Island

NURTW and Political Violence: A Case Study of Lagos Island

Objectives of the Study

This research aims to achieve three specific objectives:

  1. To investigate the historical evolution of the NURTW’s involvement in politics on Lagos Island.
  2. To analyze the factors driving the NURTW’s participation in political violence in the region.
  3. To assess the consequences of NURTW’s political violence on governance, security, and democracy in Lagos Island.



 Conceptual Review

NURTW and Its Evolution

The historical background and formation of the Nigerian Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) date back to 1978 (Adams, 2021). It was established as a response to the pressing need to address the concerns and welfare of road transport workers in Nigeria. During this period, transport workers, including drivers and conductors, faced various challenges such as exploitation, poor working conditions, and lack of job security (Adebanjo, 2019). The NURTW emerged as a platform to unite and advocate for the rights of these workers, providing them with a collective voice in their struggles.

Over time, the NURTW underwent a significant transformation from a mere workers’ union to a socio-political entity with substantial influence (Adebanjo, 2019). This evolution can be attributed to several factors, including changes in the Nigerian political landscape and the union’s increasing involvement in politics. While the organization’s initial focus remained on worker welfare, it gradually expanded its scope to include political engagement. This shift was driven by the recognition that political influence could be leveraged to advance the interests of its members and secure a more prominent position within Nigerian society.

The mandate and objectives of the NURTW have evolved in tandem with its transformation (Adams, 2021). Initially, the union’s primary goal was to safeguard the rights of road transport workers, such as advocating for fair wages, improved working conditions, and job security. However, as its influence grew, the NURTW started to engage in a broader spectrum of activities, including participating in elections, supporting political candidates, and mobilizing its extensive membership base for political purposes (Adebanjo, 2019).

Today, the NURTW’s mandate and objectives encompass a complex array of activities, including political mobilization, revenue generation, and maintaining territorial dominance over transportation hubs (Adams, 2021). While it continues to advocate for the welfare of its members, its involvement in politics has expanded its goals to include securing political patronage, influencing electoral outcomes, and wielding power and control over key urban areas like Lagos Island.

In summary, the NURTW’s evolution from its historical roots as a workers’ union to a socio-political entity is marked by its adaptation to changing circumstances and its expanding mandate. This transformation has seen the union become a significant player in Nigerian politics, with implications for both its members and the broader political landscape (Adebanjo, 2019).

Political Violence

In the context of the Nigerian Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), an examination of political violence is crucial (Adejumobi, 2020). Political violence encompasses various forms of aggressive actions that are driven by political motives. These can include physical confrontations, acts of intimidation, vandalism, and even deadly clashes. In the Nigerian context, political violence manifests itself in several ways, often involving rival factions, political supporters, and, at times, groups like the NURTW (Agbese, 2020).

Several factors contribute to the prevalence of political violence in Nigeria (Adejumobi, 2020). Firstly, the highly competitive nature of Nigerian politics plays a significant role. As politicians vie for power and control over strategic areas, tensions rise, and violence becomes a means of asserting dominance. Additionally, the widespread poverty and youth unemployment in the country makes young individuals susceptible to being recruited into violent activities, further exacerbating the issue (Agagu, 2021).

Instances of political violence involving the NURTW have been well-documented (Adigbuo, 2020). The union’s involvement in political campaigns, coupled with its ability to mobilize a substantial membership base, has made it a key player in election-related violence. For example, during past elections, there have been reports of clashes between rival NURTW factions competing for control over transportation routes, as well as allegations of NURTW members engaging in acts of intimidation and violence to influence electoral outcomes (Adejumobi, 2020).

These instances of political violence involving the NURTW raise critical questions about the role of organized groups in Nigerian politics and their impact on the democratic process (Adigbuo, 2020). The NURTW’s involvement in such activities underscores the need for a comprehensive understanding of political violence in the Nigerian context and the specific role that groups like the NURTW play in perpetuating these acts. Addressing these issues is crucial for the promotion of free and fair elections and the preservation of democratic values in Nigeria (Adejumobi, 2020).Top of Form.





This chapter outlines the research methodology employed in the study, which aims to investigate the relationship between the Nigerian Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and political violence, with a specific focus on the case study of Lagos Island. The methodology encompasses various aspects, including research design, the population under scrutiny, sampling techniques, data collection methods, data analysis procedures, and ethical considerations. A well-structured methodology is crucial in ensuring the study’s validity and reliability, aligning with the objectives of rigorous research in the context of political violence (Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, 2019).

Research Design

In this study, a quantitative survey research design was employed, and this choice was justified as it allowed for a structured exploration of the relationship between the Nigerian Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and political violence in Lagos Island. The quantitative survey design focused on gathering numerical data through structured questionnaires and surveys, providing statistical insights into the phenomenon (Creswell & Creswell, 2018). This design was particularly suited to the study’s objectives, which aimed to quantify and analyze specific variables related to political violence and the NURTW’s involvement.

The utilization of a quantitative survey design enabled a systematic collection of data from a sizeable sample, ensuring statistical rigour and generalizability of findings (Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, 2019). Surveys were administered to a predefined sample, allowing for the quantification of key variables and relationships. This methodological approach facilitated the statistical analysis of trends and correlations, contributing to a more objective understanding of the NURTW’s role in political violence on Lagos Island. The quantitative survey design’s structured nature ensured consistency in data collection and allowed for comparisons across respondents, enhancing the reliability and validity of the research outcomes (Gray, 2018).

Population of the Study

The population under investigation comprised a diverse range of participants, including members of the NURTW, political stakeholders, law enforcement agencies, and residents of Lagos Island. This extensive target population was chosen to facilitate a comprehensive exploration of the multifaceted dynamics surrounding political violence associated with the NURTW in Lagos Island. The inclusion of a wide range of stakeholders and residents in the study aimed to provide a holistic and all-encompassing perspective on the phenomenon (Gray, 2018).

Additionally, involving political stakeholders allowed for an examination of the NURTW’s interactions with political actors and the extent to which the union plays a role in political processes. Law enforcement agencies’ participation was vital to understanding their perspectives on political violence and the NURTW’s potential involvement, as they often deal with security and law enforcement related to such incidents (Robson, 2002).

Lastly, including residents of Lagos Island, who may witness or be affected by political violence, provided a broader societal context for the study. Their insights contributed to understanding the impact of political violence on the local community and its implications for governance and public safety (Gray, 2018). This diverse target population ensured a comprehensive examination of the subject matter, aligning with the study’s aim to provide a holistic perspective on the NURTW’s role in political violence in Lagos Island.



Data Presentation




Summary of Findings

The study aimed to investigate the relationship between the Nigerian Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and political violence in Lagos Island. Through a mixed-methods research design that included surveys, interviews, and document analysis, the study collected data to understand the historical context, motivations, and consequences of the NURTW’s involvement in political violence. The findings provide valuable insights into the complex dynamics of this relationship.

The study’s findings underscore the pivotal role played by the historical evolution of the Nigerian Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in shaping its contemporary engagement in politics on Lagos Island. An overwhelming majority of the respondents, comprising 71.2%, concurred with the notion that the NURTW’s historical roots exert a profound influence on its current political activities. This consensus among respondents highlights the widespread perception that the NURTW’s involvement in politics is deeply entrenched in its historical origins.

To gain a deeper understanding of this historical context, the study delved into the early origins of the NURTW, tracing its inception back to the late 1970s when it was initially established as a workers’ union. Over the years, however, the NURTW underwent a transformative process, gradually evolving into a socio-political entity. This transformation was marked by the union’s expanding role beyond labour-related issues, encompassing political participation and influence.

One of the pivotal aspects of the NURTW’s political evolution identified by the study is its historical ties with various political actors. These connections have been cultivated and sustained over time, contributing to the union’s ability to assert its influence within the political landscape of Lagos Island. Additionally, the NURTW’s role in mobilizing voters emerged as a crucial dimension of its political evolution. The study found that the union has actively engaged in voter mobilization efforts, further solidifying its presence in the political arena. Consequently, the historical context uncovered by this study provides valuable insights into the NURTW’s enduring political influence and its significant role in shaping the political dynamics of Lagos Island.

The study delved into the underlying motivations driving the Nigerian Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) to participate in political violence, shedding light on the intricate factors at play. The results of the investigation reveal that a dominant 83.7% of the respondents firmly agreed that the union’s engagement in political violence is primarily fueled by its pursuit of increased political power and influence. This resounding agreement among respondents underscores a widely held perception that the NURTW’s actions in the realm of political violence are intricately linked to its ambition to consolidate and expand its political clout within the region.

Furthermore, the study exposed the role of socio-economic factors as significant drivers behind the NURTW’s involvement in political violence. A substantial 77.9% of the respondents concurred with the notion that socio-economic factors are a pivotal motivator for the union’s participation in such activities. This finding underscores the nuanced nature of the NURTW’s motivations, highlighting the confluence of both political ambitions and economic interests. It suggests that, in addition to pursuing political power and influence, the NURTW may also be driven by economic incentives and benefits derived from its involvement in political violence. This multifaceted motivation adds complexity to the union’s role in political violence and underscores the need for a comprehensive understanding of the factors at play.

The study delved into the far-reaching consequences of the Nigerian Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) involvement in political violence on Lagos Island, shedding light on how these actions impact governance, security, and democratic principles. The findings present a compelling narrative of the perceived negative outcomes associated with the NURTW’s participation in political violence.

One of the key findings indicates that a significant proportion of respondents, specifically 85.6%, believe that political violence perpetuated by the NURTW compromises the security and safety of residents on Lagos Island. This resounding agreement underscores the prevailing sentiment that the union’s involvement in political violence contributes to an environment of insecurity and jeopardizes the safety of individuals living in the area. This concern for the well-being of residents is a crucial dimension of the consequences associated with the NURTW’s actions.

Additionally, the study uncovered that a substantial majority of respondents, accounting for 76.0%, perceive the NURTW’s engagement in political violence as posing a significant challenge to democratic processes and principles. This finding highlights the widespread belief that the union’s actions have a detrimental effect on the integrity of democratic practices on Lagos Island. It implies that political violence can erode the foundations of democracy by undermining fair and transparent processes, which are vital for upholding democratic ideals.

Moreover, the study revealed that a substantial 87.5% of the respondents believe that the NURTW’s involvement in political violence adversely affects the overall governance and stability of Lagos Island. This sentiment points to the perception that the union’s actions have far-reaching consequences that extend beyond security concerns and also impact the governance structures and overall stability of the region. This finding underscores the multifaceted impact of political violence and its potential to disrupt the governance and stability of a community or region.

An analysis of the demographic characteristics of the respondents revealed some interesting variations in their perceptions. For instance, there were differences in responses based on gender, with male respondents more likely to agree with certain statements related to the NURTW’s political engagement. Age also played a role, as younger respondents were more uncertain about some aspects of the NURTW’s involvement in political violence. Additionally, respondents with higher educational levels tended to be more critical of the NURTW’s actions and their consequences.

The findings of this study carry substantial implications for governance, security, and democracy in Lagos Island, calling for proactive measures and informed policy interventions to address the challenges posed by the NURTW’s political violence.

The perception among respondents that the NURTW’s involvement in political violence compromises security and challenges democratic principles is a matter of paramount concern. It signals the pressing need for local authorities to prioritize the safety and security of residents on Lagos Island. Security measures, both preventive and responsive, must be put in place to counteract the threats posed by political violence. This may involve enhancing law enforcement efforts, implementing community policing strategies, and promoting community engagement to foster safer environments. Additionally, safeguarding democratic principles and processes is vital for upholding the tenets of democracy in Lagos Island. Efforts should be directed toward ensuring transparent, fair, and peaceful elections, free from intimidation or violence. Civic education campaigns and initiatives that promote democratic values should be encouraged to reinforce democratic ideals among the population.

The insights garnered from the study regarding the historical roots of the NURTW’s engagement in politics highlight the significance of historical context in addressing present-day challenges. Policymakers and authorities should take into account the union’s historical evolution when formulating strategies to manage its political influence. A nuanced understanding of how the NURTW transitioned from a workers’ union to a socio-political entity provides a foundation for more effective policymaking. It allows for the crafting of interventions that consider the union’s motivations and historical ties with political actors. Policymakers should leverage this historical knowledge to engage with the NURTW in a manner that addresses its concerns while also promoting political stability and democratic principles. In summary, the study underscores the importance of informed, context-aware policy interventions to address the multifaceted challenges posed by the NURTW’s political involvement.

Overall, this study provides valuable insights into a complex and often controversial aspect of Nigerian politics. By understanding the historical context and motivations of the NURTW’s political activities and recognizing their impact on governance, security, and democracy, stakeholders can work towards a more stable and democratic Lagos Island.


In conclusion, the findings of this study, as reflected in the tested hypothesis, provide valuable insights into the multifaceted relationship between the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and political violence on Lagos Island. The results indicate that the historical evolution of the NURTW’s engagement in politics plays a significant role in its present activities, with a substantial majority of respondents agreeing with this assertion. Additionally, the study reveals that the primary drivers of the NURTW’s participation in political violence include a quest for increased political power and influence, as well as socioeconomic factors.

Furthermore, the study underscores the adverse consequences of the NURTW’s political violence on governance, security, and democratic processes in Lagos Island, with the majority of respondents expressing concerns about compromised security, democratic challenges, and governance instability.

These findings collectively highlight the complexity of the NURTW’s involvement in politics and its far-reaching implications for the local community and the democratic landscape. As such, addressing these challenges requires a multifaceted approach that considers historical context, security measures, and efforts to uphold democratic principles.


Based on the findings and conclusions drawn from this study on the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and political violence in Lagos Island, the following recommendations are offered:

  1. Historical Context Awareness: Policymakers and relevant authorities should take into account the historical evolution of the NURTW’s engagement in politics on Lagos Island when formulating policies and interventions. Understanding the historical roots of the union’s involvement can aid in crafting more effective strategies to address its role in political violence.
  2. Enhanced Security Measures: Local law enforcement agencies and government bodies should collaborate to enhance security measures, particularly during election periods and political events. Strengthened security can help mitigate the potential for violence and ensure the safety of residents.
  3. Conflict Resolution Mechanisms: Efforts should be made to establish and promote effective conflict resolution mechanisms within the NURTW and among rival transport unions. Encouraging dialogue and peaceful resolution of disputes can contribute to reducing political violence.
  4. Civic Education: Civic education programs should be implemented to educate NURTW members and the broader community about the importance of democratic principles, peaceful political participation, and the consequences of political violence. Such initiatives can foster a culture of responsible civic engagement.
  5. Regulation and Oversight: Authorities should consider implementing regulations and oversight mechanisms to monitor the NURTW’s political activities, particularly its involvement in elections. This can help ensure transparency, accountability, and adherence to democratic processes.

Contribution to Knowledge

This study on the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and its involvement in political violence in Lagos Island makes several significant contributions to the existing body of knowledge:

One of the primary contributions of this study lies in its exploration of the historical context of the NURTW’s political engagement. By tracing the union’s evolution from its origins as a workers’ union in the late 1970s to its present role as a socio-political entity, this research provides a nuanced understanding of the historical roots of the NURTW’s political influence. This historical perspective offers valuable insights into how and why the union became a prominent player in Lagos Island politics. It contributes to the literature by shedding light on the long-term factors that have shaped the NURTW’s political role.

The study delves into the motivations driving the NURTW’s participation in political violence. It finds that the union’s engagement is primarily motivated by a quest for increased political power and influence, as well as socio-economic factors. This revelation adds depth to the understanding of the multifaceted motivations of political actors and organizations involved in violence. It underscores the complexity of their interests, which extend beyond the mere pursuit of power. This contribution to knowledge helps scholars and policymakers better comprehend the dynamics behind political violence in contexts where organizations like the NURTW are active.

The study’s examination of the consequences of the NURTW’s involvement in political violence reveals that it adversely affects governance, security, and democratic processes in Lagos Island. This insight underscores the importance of addressing political violence as a critical challenge to democratic stability and citizen security. It emphasizes the need for proactive measures to safeguard democratic principles and protect the well-being of residents in regions where similar organizations exert significant political influence. This contribution provides valuable information for policymakers and stakeholders working to enhance governance and security in such areas.

Lastly, the study offers practical recommendations based on its findings. These recommendations provide actionable insights for policymakers and authorities seeking to manage the NURTW’s political influence and mitigate the impact of political violence. The suggested measures range from historical context awareness to enhanced security and conflict resolution mechanisms. These recommendations are rooted in empirical evidence and have the potential to inform policy decisions that can lead to a safer and more stable political environment in Lagos Island.


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