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Democracy is regarded all over the world as one of the best forms of government. This assertion is not unconnected with the fact that the citizens are given the opportunity to elect leaders of their choice through elections. The chosen leaders in turn are expected to protect and provide for the welfare of the citizens who elected them to political positions in the areas ofsecurity to lives and property, employment, socio-economic and infrastructural facilities among others. However, with the rate of unemployment among the youth in Nigeria and the incessant electoral violence orchestrated by unemployed youth, it becomes imperative that the problem of youth unemployment must be solved to protect Nigeria’s nascent democracy. All efforts of various governments to address youth unemployment and curb electoral violence have continued to yield no desired results. It is based on this that this study interrogates youth unemployment and electoral violence in Nigeria with the intention of finding possible solutions. The paper highlights the relevant issues relating to youth unemployment and electoral violence in Nigeria. The research methodology adopted is the contents analysis of existing literature on the related subject, while secondary sources of data were used. The paper was predicated on deprivation and aggression theory as its framework of analysis. The findings reveal that the youth who are deprived from access to job opportunities are aggrieved and as such become tools for electoral violence in Nigeria. The paper recommends among other things;job creation, skills acquisition, agricultural programs, soft loans, and monthly stipends for unemployed youth.



  • Background of the study

Now that Nigeria has crossed the magical “three elections plus one civilian-to- civilian handover” threshold of democratic consolidation, it is time to look both backward and forward (Okechukwu; 2007) as to how the country has fared so far as a very young democracy.Democracy simplified, could be rightly articulated as a game where the theorization is the logical acceptance of the higher number of vote of the majority number of people as legitimate mandate authority over the whole in the management of government affairs. In other words, it is a game of the majority over the rest (Ogundiya; 2003). A very significant way to realize this is through a creditable free and fair election (Yunusa; 2006). Therefore election is central to the realization of the democratic objectives/institutions (Ogundiya; 2003). Election, it is important to note, are not only meant to ensure, confirm or re-affirm the legitimacy of the governors through a regular consent, but also to provide a fertile ground for democracy to thrive (Ogundiya and Baba; 2005). However, rather than being a political asset and a legitimizing force, since independence, elections in Nigeria have become a political liability, a source of instability and decay. The various experiences with competitive electoral politics in Nigeria have brought the worst in political thuggery and brigandage, unmediated and unrestrained. Perhaps, electoral violence has proved to be more devastating to democratic consolidation. Quite obviously, any systematic consideration of the problems and prospects of sustainable democracy in Nigeria today would need to come to terms with the challenges and dilemma of electoral violence. Right from the 1950s, elections in Nigeria has been associated with turmoil, killings, assassination and wanton destruction of properties (Ogundiya; 2013). Electoral violence in Nigeria like many other African states has been an age long issue that dates back to 1922 with the introduction of Clifford’s constitution. The attainment of independence in 1960 recorded the first electoral violence in post-colonial Nigeria in 1964 and 1965 following both federal and regional elections as well as rift between Awolowo and Akintola (Abah  & Nwokwu 2015). The situation of electoral violence since this period remained unabated despite various electoral laws and policies rolled out by various governments to cur the situation. Since the return of democracy in 1999, the spat of electoral violence in the country has taken a new and dangerous dimensions as it has moved from rigging to political killing, bombings, armed clashes between supporters of rival political parties, kidnapping of political rivalries, burning of houses, vehicles and properties ( Akiyemi, 2011). The violence takes place in three major dimension, namely; pre, during and post-election as noted by Adeja (2006), thereby questioning the real motives behind the present dimension of political violence. Though the candidates of various political parties deploy various strategies to out twists their political rivalry in term of intimidation, the real violent attacks are carried out by the supporters who are mainly the youth who have tied their success in life to the success of their candidates in such elections, and for such group, election is a do or die affair. Although several factors could have contributed to this situation, there is no doubt that youth unemployment have contributed immensely to the level of the present electoral violence in Nigeria. This group is made up of mostly the unemployed youth and the underemployed ones, prompting Iyoko (2012) to argue that unemployment has become chronic and intractable and has become the brain behind youth restiveness in the country which electioneering normally creates opportunities for them. Berkowitz (2009) notes that youth all over the world are vital and important segment of the society in which they live, as disciplined, focused and law abiding youth can create a bright future for any nation, however, where the future of the youth becomes bleak, they are engulfed by frustration. The present rate of unemployment as published by Nigeria’s National Bureau of statistics (2019) put it at 14.2% in the last quarter of 2016, up from 13.9 in the preceding quarter, indicating that unemployment rate in Nigeria is on the rise. The youth at this stage, are the most affected groups and since they do not have any other option, they become tools in the hands of the politicians for electoral violence, since these are youth that most of them have graduated from tertiary institutions and other levels of education, with some others that have graduated from vocational training and skills acquisition, but have no job opportunities. In Nigeria, employment into the ministries has been on hold for the last decade now, while the few agencies that recruit, normally raise the requirements to first class or second class upper division which are only shared to political office holders and those in government who in turn sale such chances to the highest bidders, a situation that make the youth feel that they have been forgotten by the government, a situation that was corroborated by Inyang (2009) when he notes that the problem of violence in Nigeria lies with the neglect of the youth by the government


Democracy is seen as one of the best forms of government all over the world since the citizens are given the opportunity to decide their leaders. This prompted Nigeria to go extra length in bringing back democratic governance in 1999. However, since the return of democracy in 1999, the spite of electoral violence that follows every election in the country has been a source of serious concern to the people. This violence negates peaceful co-existence, law and order, security and as well endangers the consolidation of democracy. While many reasons have been adduced to be responsible for electoral violence, which includes; perceived unfair electoral processes, corruption and multi ethnic nature of the country, others are of the opinion that the issue of youth unemployment is a critical issues that cannot be easily waved away, since the youths are the instruments used by the perpetrators of electoral violence to achieve their objectives. In Nigeria, the issue of unemployment has reached an alarming proportion that if not tackled could turn to a tumor in the neck of Nigeria’s nascent democracy.


The study has one main objective which is subdivided into general and specific objective. The general objective is to examine youth unemployment and electoral violence in Nigeria; a tumor in the neck of Nigeria’s nascent democracy; the specific objectives are;

  1. To examine the effect of youth unemployment on electoral violence in Nigeria
  2. To ascertain if there is any significant relationship between youth unemployment and electoral violence in Nigeria
  • To examine the causes of youth unemployment and electoral violence in Nigeria
  1. To proffer suggested solution to the identified problem

The following research problem were formulated by the researcher to aid the completion of the study:

  1. Does youth unemployment have any effect on electoral violence in Nigeria?
  2. Is there any significant relationship between youth unemployment and electoral violence in Nigeria?
  • Are there causes of youth unemployment and electoral violence in Nigeria?

It is believed that at the completion of this study will be of great importance the political class as the study seek to proffer solution to the causes of youth unemployment in Nigeria. The study will also be of importance to the department of political science as the study seek to address the menace of electoral violence in Nigeria. The study will also be of importance to researchers who intend to embark on a study in a similar topic as the study will serve as a reference point to further study. Finally, the study will be useful to academia’s, researcher students, teachers and the general public as the study will contribute to the pool of existing literature on the subject matter and also contribute to knowledge.


The scope of the study covers the youth unemployment and electoral violence in Nigeria; a tumor in the neck of Nigeria’s Nascent democracy. But in the course of the study, there are some factors that limit the scope of the study which were beyond the researchers control;

AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study

TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.

FINANCE: The finance available for the research work does not allow for wider coverage as resources are very limited as the researcher has other academic bills to cover.


 Electoral violence

Electoral violence is the deliberate use of power and force to achieve political goals (World Health Organization (WHO), 2002). As outlined by the World Health Organization (2002), political violence is characterized by both physical and psychological acts aimed at injuring or intimidating populations.

Youth unemployment

Youth unemployment is the situation of young people who are looking for a job, but cannot find a job, with the age range being that defined by the United Nations as 15–24 years old. An unemployed person is defined as someone who does not have a job but is actively seeking work.


Just coming into existence and beginning to display signs of future potential.


Democracy is a form of government in which the people have the authority to deliberate and decide legislation, or to choose governing officials to do so.


This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), statement of problem, objectives of the study, research question, significance or the study, research methodology, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlight the theoretical framework on which the study its based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.  Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.