‘Radios Don't Kill, People Do’: Media, Post Election Violence, and Democracy in Nigeria

Adeyemi Bukola Oyeniyi


Using three case-studies from Nigeria, this article examines the role of the media in post-election violence. Following his defeat in the 1993 gubernatorial election, Chief Bola Ige of the Unity Party of Nigeria, addressed the State; an address which precipitated violence and death. In 1993, Nigeria went on the boil following media reports that the Presidential election, widely believed to have been won by Chief M.K.O. Abiola, had been annulled. The 2009 governorship re-run election involving 10 wards in Ekiti State precipitated unprecedented violence, which, at its very height, spurned situations whereby nudeprotesting women ,took to the streets. Using speeclzes made by the different actors on these occasions and media reports of the circumstances before, during, and ajier the elections; this article weaves a narrative that emphasizes the sociovpolitical and economic situations associated with elections in Nigeria rather than media contents and contexts as underlying _factors in the constellation fy’ post-election violence in Nigeria. While not underestimating media roles in these conflicts, especially its tendencies towards biases, most notably against the state in 1993 and 2009, the article advocates a people-centered media practice as a sine qua non to democratic growth in Nigeria vis-a-vis Africa.

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