SEPARATIST GROUPS, POLITICAL INSTABILITY, AND DEMOCRACY IN NIGERIA
AbstractSeparatist activities have been one of the most significant challenges confronting most developing countries,particularly Africa. Apart from the Boko Haram insurgency and banditry, the activities of separatist groups in Africahave contributed to political instability and human insecurity in Nigeria, despite a series of measures to curtail theirexcesses. Though activities of separatist groups are not a recent phenomenon in Nigeria, the country's return todemocratic rule and the inability of successive governments to address the core grievances of ethnic groups in thesouthern region have led to the emergence of separatist groups like the Movement for the Emancipation of the NigerDelta (MEND), the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), the IndigenousPeople of Biafra (IPOB), the Movement for the Oduduwa Republic, or Yoruba Nation. Most worrisome is that thesegroups have introduced violence into their agitations, increasing the level of insecurity across the regions with no endin sight. Therefore, it is imperative to critically examine the nature of these groups' activities in the build-up to the2023 general elections and their likely impact on the electoral process and the outcome of the polls. This study wouldbe guided by group theory and secondary sources of data. Preliminary investigations suggest that while the activitiesof separatist groups greatly influenced the electioneering process, more was needed to affect the elections and theiroutcome. However, the core issues energizing their activities need to be adequately addressed. This might trigger anoffshoot in armed violence induced by separatist groups if the government continues to pay lip service to thosestructural problems leading to propelling agitations.Keywords: Separatist groups, Political Instability, Elections
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