The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has attributed the post-2011 electoral violence in North to false expectation among politicians.
INEC Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega made the revelation while delivering a lecture on The Electoral Process and Security Sector Synergy to participants a the Institute for Security Studies(NIS) in Abuja. According to him, the violence derives from a crisis of rising expectation in the context of zero-sum elections.
He explained that following the problems of the 2007 elections, and the national demand for electoral reforms, there was a palpable rise in expectation that the 2011 elections would be far better than the previous ones.
“Many citizens therefore looked forward to the elections, particularly with the appointment of what many considered a good electoral commission. But then the zero-sum nature of elections in Nigeria persisted, which led to negative mobilisation of communal (ethnic) feelings by politicians.
“Thus rising expectations were turned into relative deprivation and frustration by negative mobilisation. It seems that negative mobilisation of the populace by political parties was based on the message that if the elections are free and fair, then ‘our party’ should win. The converse was then that if ‘our party’ lost the elections, then they were not free and fair. It was this type of negative mobilisation that accounted for much of the violence that followed the elections” he said.
He called on the participants to focus attention on retrieval of security personnel deployed to monitor elections where their security cannot be guaranteed unlike in the past when emphasis was based on withdrawal of materials.