ABSTRACT. Acts of violence between political parties in Nigeria are usually associated with general elections with their spectacular death toll and it is seen as the result of frauds and electoral malpractices. I argue that this focus hides most of the violence between political parties over the 2006–2014 period, and that it also obscures the different factors as violence is firstly a political resource and tool that. To do so I coded and analyzed data of the NigeriaWatch database of all violent event that occurred between political parties. The paper first shows that patterns of political violence between the 2007 and 2011 general elections differ strongly. During the 2007 election, killings occurred mainly during primaries or were linked to the campaign. During the 2011 elections, however, casualties were reported after the announcement of the results. Nevertheless, it appears that killings related to general elections accounted for less than 50% of the total number of such fatalities as they were reported between 2006 and 2014. A large share of party violence is ignored as it is mostly internal (27% of the violent events over the period) as these events are targeted and have a low lethality rate. Arguably, violence is a mean used by the political elite, rather than the people’s choice to protest against fraud, eventually during local government elections. Levels of violence vary between parties but the former ruling party, the PDP is central as it was involved in 97% of the casualties of party clashes. PDP/CPC clashes have a lethality rate of 23 deaths per fatal incident, as against 11 for the PDP/ANPP and 2.5 for the PDP/ACN. Over the period under study, 13 events account for more than 70% of the death toll. What they have in common is that they ignited ethnic, religious and/or economic tensions, especially in Kaduna, Kano, Nasarawa and Plateau. Other states affected by recurrent political violence are Adamawa, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Kogi, Lagos, Oyo, and Rivers.

Keywords: Nigeria; political parties; politics; violence; general elections (2007, 2011 and 2015); PDP; APC; CPC; ANPP; AC; CAN

How to cite: Cohen, Corentin (2016), “Violence between and within Political Parties in Nigeria: Statistics, Structures, and Patterns (2006–2014),” Contemporary Readings in Law and Social Justice 8(2): 30–47.

Received 8 August 2015 • Received in revised form 9 November 2015
Accepted 9 November 2015 • Available online 19 November 2015


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