Political Science Project Topics

Political Violence and Electoral Administration in Nigeria: An Assessment of the 2023 Presidential Election

Political Violence and Electoral Administration in Nigeria: An Assessment of the 2023 Presidential Election

Political Violence and Electoral Administration in Nigeria: An Assessment of the 2023 Presidential Election

Chapter One

Objectives of the Study

The following specific objectives were examined:

  1. To assess the extent and nature of political violence during the 2023 presidential election in Nigeria.
  2. To evaluate the effectiveness of electoral administration in ensuring a free, fair, and credible election.
  3. To identify the factors contributing to political violence and challenges in electoral administration during the 2023 presidential election.



Conceptual Review

Political Violence

Political violence in electoral processes encompasses a range of actions that aim to influence or disrupt the democratic process. It includes acts such as voter intimidation, physical violence at polling stations, and coercion tactics employed by political actors (Ogundare et al., 2019). These types of violence can significantly undermine the fairness and credibility of elections by limiting voter participation and distorting the will of the electorate.

Several factors contribute to the occurrence of political violence during elections in Nigeria. Ethnic tensions and rivalries often escalate during electoral periods, leading to clashes and violence among different ethnic groups (George, Agada, & Katampe, 2017). Additionally, competition for political power and access to resources fuels tensions between political parties and their supporters, increasing the likelihood of violent incidents (Evren, 2022). The presence of armed groups or militias further exacerbates the risk of violence, particularly in regions with a history of conflict (Francis, 2023).

The impact of political violence on electoral outcomes is profound and multifaceted. Firstly, it can result in voter suppression and intimidation, leading to a skewed representation of voter preferences (Solovyov, 2021). When voters feel threatened or coerced, they may refrain from participating in the electoral process, affecting the legitimacy of the results. Moreover, instances of violence can create a climate of fear and insecurity, undermining public trust in electoral institutions and processes (United States Department of State, 2023). This erosion of trust can have long-term consequences for democratic governance and stability.

Furthermore, political violence can have direct implications for post-election scenarios, especially in cases where disputes arise over electoral outcomes (Jude, 2009). Incidents of violence during the election period can escalate into broader political crises, challenging the legitimacy of elected officials and leading to prolonged instability (Okeke, 2018). The aftermath of violent elections may require extensive efforts in conflict resolution, reconciliation, and rebuilding trust in democratic institutions (Polyas Election Glossary, 2023).

Understanding the dynamics of political violence in electoral processes is crucial for developing effective strategies to prevent and mitigate such incidents. By examining the various types of violence, identifying contributing factors, and assessing their impact on electoral outcomes, policymakers and electoral stakeholders can tailor interventions to address specific vulnerabilities (Premium Times, 2023). This includes implementing robust security measures, promoting dialogue and conflict resolution mechanisms, and strengthening accountability for perpetrators of electoral violence (Human Rights Watch, 2021).

Electoral Administration

Electoral administration encompasses the set of processes, institutions, and regulations involved in conducting elections and managing the electoral process (Evren, 2022). It includes key components such as voter registration, ballot design and printing, polling station management, vote counting, and result announcement. These components collectively ensure the integrity, transparency, and fairness of elections, forming the foundation of democratic governance.

Effective electoral administration plays a crucial role in upholding the principles of democracy and ensuring the legitimacy of electoral outcomes (Mohammed & Ibrahim, 2021). It serves as a mechanism for translating citizens’ preferences into political representation through free and fair elections (Ogundare et al., 2019). By providing a structured framework for electoral processes, effective administration minimizes opportunities for fraud, manipulation, and irregularities, thereby enhancing public trust in the electoral system (Polyas Election Glossary, 2023).

However, electoral administration faces various challenges that can compromise its effectiveness and integrity (Soni, 2021). These challenges include logistical complexities such as voter registration management, ballot distribution, and ensuring secure and transparent vote-counting processes (United States Department of State, 2023). Inadequate training of electoral personnel and insufficient resources further compound these challenges, leading to delays, errors, and disputes during elections (Solovyov, 2021).





The methodology section provided a comprehensive overview of the research approach adopted in the study. It encompassed various crucial components such as research philosophy, design, population, sampling technique, data collection sources and methods, data analysis approach, and ethical considerations (Saunders et al., 2019; Bell, 2022). Each of these elements contributed significantly to ensuring the rigour and validity of the study’s findings and conclusions.

Research Philosophy

The research philosophy that was adopted for the study aligned with a positivist approach, aimed at deriving objective knowledge through systematic observation, measurement, and analysis (Saunders et al., 2019; Creswell & Creswell, 2018). Positivism was considered suitable for the research as it emphasized empirical evidence and quantitative data, which were essential for examining phenomena related to political violence and electoral administration in Nigeria.

Research Design

A quantitative survey design was chosen as the primary research design for the study. This design allowed for the collection of numerical data from a sizable sample size, enabling statistical analysis to identify patterns, trends, and relationships within the data (Saunders et al., 2019; Tashakkori & Teddlie, 2017). The quantitative survey design was well-suited for investigating the prevalence and impact of political violence, as well as assessing perceptions and experiences related to electoral administration among respondents.

Population of the Study

The target population for the study comprised individuals directly involved in electoral processes in Nigeria, including voters, election officials, political party representatives, and civil society observers. The estimated population size was approximately 12,000 individuals across various regions in the country (Bell et al., 2019). This population selection ensured that the study captured diverse perspectives and experiences related to political violence and electoral administration, providing a comprehensive understanding of the phenomena under investigation.



Data Presentation




Summary of Findings

The study delved into the complex dynamics surrounding political violence and electoral administration during the 2023 presidential election in Nigeria. Through a detailed analysis of various factors and their impact on electoral processes, the findings shed light on critical aspects that influence democratic stability and governance in the country.

Firstly, regarding the key forms of political violence observed during the election, the study found a prevalent pattern of physical attacks, vandalism of electoral materials, ethnic and religious tensions, instances of electoral fraud, and the proliferation of small arms. These findings underscore the multifaceted nature of violence, stemming from a combination of social, political, and institutional factors.

The role of electoral administration in mitigating or contributing to political violence was a crucial aspect of the study. Effective security measures and transparent handling of electoral disputes emerged as significant factors in preventing violence at polling stations and reducing tensions. Conversely, weaknesses in electoral laws, delayed voting processes, inadequate security provisions, and biases among electoral officials were identified as contributors to heightened violence and instability during the election.

Socioeconomic factors were also found to play a substantial role in political violence. Respondents strongly agreed that socioeconomic inequalities and poverty levels significantly contribute to electoral violence. This highlights the interconnectedness between social disparities, political grievances, and the risk of violence, emphasizing the need for inclusive economic policies and poverty alleviation strategies.

The study further delved into the impact of political party rivalries, with a majority of respondents agreeing that party competition is a primary driver of electoral violence. This underscores the highly polarized political environment in Nigeria and the necessity for dialogue, consensus-building, and peaceful competition among political actors to mitigate tensions and conflicts.

The findings from one-sample t-tests provided additional insights into the relationships between electoral administration, political violence, socioeconomic factors, and electoral disputes. The significant t-test values and confidence intervals supported the hypotheses, indicating strong evidence of the identified relationships.

In summary, the study’s comprehensive analysis underscores the complex interplay of factors contributing to political violence and electoral challenges in Nigeria. Addressing these challenges requires multifaceted approaches, including legal and institutional reforms, arms control measures, poverty reduction strategies, and fostering political dialogue and inclusivity. By addressing these issues, Nigeria can enhance its democratic processes, promote peace and stability, and ensure credible and peaceful elections in the future.


The results of the hypotheses testing provide valuable insights into the relationships between electoral administration, socioeconomic factors, and political violence during the 2023 presidential election in Nigeria. Firstly, the rejection of the null hypothesis regarding electoral administration suggests a significant relationship between electoral processes and political violence. This underscores the pivotal role of transparent, efficient, and impartial electoral administration in preventing violence and maintaining peace during elections. Addressing weaknesses in electoral laws, enhancing security measures, and promoting neutrality among electoral officials are crucial steps towards ensuring free, fair, and credible elections in Nigeria.

Secondly, the rejection of the null hypothesis regarding socioeconomic factors highlights the profound impact of social disparities on political violence. The findings emphasize the urgency of addressing socioeconomic inequalities, poverty levels, and access to resources to mitigate the risk of electoral violence. Implementing inclusive economic policies, providing opportunities for socio-economic empowerment, and addressing structural inequalities are essential for fostering social cohesion and reducing tensions during electoral processes.

Overall, the study’s findings underscore the complex interplay of factors influencing electoral dynamics and democratic stability in Nigeria. By addressing the identified challenges and implementing evidence-based reforms, Nigeria can strengthen its democratic institutions, promote peace and stability, and ensure credible and peaceful elections in the future. Additionally, further research is needed to explore the long-term effects of electoral violence on governance, social cohesion, and democratic development in Nigeria, providing valuable insights for policy-making and conflict-resolution efforts.


Based on the findings and conclusions drawn from the study on electoral administration, political violence, and socioeconomic factors during Nigeria’s 2023 presidential election, here are eight recommendations:

  1. Reform Electoral Laws and Institutions: Implement reforms to strengthen electoral laws and institutions to enhance transparency, accountability, and credibility in the electoral process. This includes addressing loopholes that contribute to electoral fraud and malpractices.
  2. Enhance Security Measures: Improve security arrangements at polling stations and electoral venues to prevent instances of violence, intimidation, and disruptions during elections. Collaboration between security agencies and electoral officials is crucial for maintaining peace and order.
  3. Promote Neutrality and Impartiality: Ensure electoral officials maintain neutrality and impartiality throughout the electoral process. Training programs and codes of conduct can help reinforce ethical standards and reduce bias in electoral administration.
  4. Address Socioeconomic Inequalities: Develop and implement policies that address socioeconomic disparities, poverty levels, and access to resources. Economic empowerment programs, job creation initiatives, and social welfare schemes can contribute to reducing tensions fueled by economic grievances.
  5. Promote Civic Education and Political Literacy: Launch public awareness campaigns and educational programs to enhance civic education and political literacy among citizens. Informed and engaged citizens are less susceptible to manipulation and are more likely to participate peacefully in electoral processes.
  6. Foster Dialogue and Conflict Resolution: Facilitate dialogue and mediation efforts between political parties, communities, and stakeholders to resolve disputes peacefully. Building consensus and promoting inclusive dialogue can help prevent conflicts that escalate into violence.
  7. Support Civil Society and Media Oversight: Strengthen the role of civil society organizations and media in monitoring electoral processes, promoting transparency, and holding authorities accountable. Independent oversight contributes to public trust and confidence in the electoral system.
  8. Invest in Long-Term Democratic Institutions: Focus on building resilient and sustainable democratic institutions beyond electoral cycles. This includes investing in judicial independence, strengthening electoral commissions, and upholding the rule of law to ensure democratic principles endure over time.

Limitations of the Study

While the study on electoral administration, political violence, and socioeconomic factors during Nigeria’s 2023 presidential election yielded valuable insights, it is essential to acknowledge several limitations that may have impacted the research outcomes. Firstly, the study’s reliance on survey data and self-reported responses from participants introduces the potential for response bias and social desirability bias. Participants may have provided answers they deemed socially acceptable or aligned with their perceived expectations, leading to inflated or distorted results. Additionally, the sample size of the study, although carefully selected, may not fully represent the diverse perspectives and experiences of all segments of the population, especially in a country as large and varied as Nigeria.

Another limitation concerns the temporal scope of the study, focusing specifically on the 2023 presidential election period. While this allowed for a detailed examination of immediate electoral dynamics, it may not capture broader historical trends or long-term structural issues influencing electoral processes and violence. Future studies could benefit from longitudinal approaches or comparative analyses spanning multiple election cycles to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the complex interplay between electoral administration, political violence, and socioeconomic factors in Nigeria’s democratic landscape. These limitations underscore the need for a cautious interpretation of the study’s findings and emphasize avenues for further research and methodological refinement in studying electoral phenomena.


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