• Gbadebo Fatai ADELEKE UNESCO centre for Black Culture and International Understanding Oshogbo, Osun State, Nigeria


Political thuggery, Voters' Turnout, Fourth republic, General elections, Southwestern


The use of political thugs during electoral process has become an institutionalised phenomenon in Nigeria's democratisation process especially in the Fourth Republic (1999-2015). Past studies had little empirical investigation on thuggery-voters' turnout in specific geographical zone, however, this study examined the use of thugs and voters' turnout in the Southwestern, Nigeria. The theory of Social Exchange provided the analytical framework. Questionnaire was administered to 1504 (Public-office holders:201, Parties' candidates:317, Party-agents:76, Voters:908)  respondents, 55 (Passive-voters:30, Independent National Electoral Commission officials:15, Police and Security officers: 10) respondents were interviewed and records were sought. Majority respondents agreed that thugs drove vehicles recklessly to scare voters in opponents' popular communities (65.7%) and thugs snatched ballot boxes and intimidated voters (61.9%). Also, 70.4% of the respondents said that majority of the thugs and security agents were cordial. The paper revealed that thugs were hired to engage in all electoral offences and fear of death and psychological instability had negative effects on voters' turnout. The paper concludes that thugs led major campaigns and engaged in many electoral offences. There is a need for a 5-year transfer of security agents from a station and the establishment of mobile courts is necessary to trial electoral offenders.


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