Youth Unemployment And Election Violence In Nigeria: A Bane In Nigeria’s Politics

A popular English adage says, “an idle mind, is a devil’s workshop”. Anyone who does not have anything keeping him or her busy can easily be used as a vessel to actualise any evil act. That is why youth unemployment should not be taken for granted by a sane government. When a youth is gainfully employed, he or she has little or no time for violence. Inversely, when a youth is idle and unemployed, he or she indulges in many crimes and criminal acts either as a way of obtaining a living or as a way of making sure that the government which starved him or her of employment opportunities is faced with insecurities and terrorisms.

Certainly, youth unemployment begets crimes. One can say that they are not separable from one another because when youths are not gainfully employed and are not paid unemployment benefits, crimes and violence become inevitable. However, Lawretta A. Onyekwere states that “As the state of youth unemployment deteriorates, many promising youth people out of frustration have taken to illegal activities, while others have been indoctrinated into religious fanaticism and kidnapping and other criminal activities”.

Therefore, it is quite recommendable that any government which seeks to fight insecurity, terrorism, banditry, electoral violence, etc, first fight youth unemployment because it can be more dangerous than the aforementioned crimes. When youth unemployment is defeated, insecurity, terrorism, banditry, agitation, electoral violence, etc, are given a ‘sanatio in radice’ (healing from the root). Moreover, electoral violence is another area the youth manifest their idleness. Can a youth who has a well-paid job be given a penny by Nigerian politicians to carry out electoral violence? Any youth who does that will be termed ‘unreasonable’.

In the words of Olowojolu Olakunle et al, electoral violence is one of the strategies employed by Nigerian politicians during electioneering period. Desperate and power-drunk politicians often sponsor unemployed youths and stark illiterates to carry out assaults on their perceived political opponents with a view to manipulating election results to their own advantage. Thus, unemployed youths help the vision for electoral violence to be actualized. This article, therefore, seeks to discuss youth unemployment and electoral violence in Nigeria as a bane to Nigerian politics.Information Guide Nigeria

Read Also: 10 Effects of Unemployment on Nigeria’s Economic Development

Definition of Terms

Unemployment: According to Olakitan Y., unemployment is defined as unemployed workers who are currently not working but are willing and able to work for pay, currently available to work, and have actively searched for work.Youth Unemployment And Election Violence

Electoral Violence: according to Albert I.O., electoral violence involves all forms of organized acts of threats aimed at intimidating, harming, blackmailing a political stakeholder or opponent before, during and after an election with an intention to determine, delay or influence a political process.

Read Also: 10 Ways to Eradicate Unemployment in Nigeria

Youth Unemployment and Electoral Violence in Nigeria: a Bane in Nigeria’s Politics

As stated in the introductory part of this article, unemployment begets insecurity, terrorism, even electoral violence. In President Buhari’s administration, youth unemployment has become a prima facie that comes to mind each time budget is being presented. But it is quite unfortunate that this policy has not been given adequate enforcement. Lawretta A. Onyekwere said clearly that youth unemployment with the glaring evidence of joblessness in every nook and cranny of the society has become one of the fundamental developmental challenges facing Nigeria at the moment.10 best creams for dark knuckles in Nigeria

Looking at everyday crimes happening in Nigeria, one would be forced to say that there was no time where unemployment is as serious as now. Thus, one can conclude without mincing words that the government has not done anything substantial enough to reduce the unemployment rate in Nigeria. Moreover, unemployment rate has intensified ever since president Buhari assumed office in May 2015. Salami C. writes that the country’s spiraling youth unemployment has significantly contributed to the dramatic rise in criminal activities such as armed robbery, civil unrest, terrorism, abduction, and kidnapping of persons irrespective of status or age.10 best soaps for fair skin in Nigeria

Furthermore, youth unemployment is one of the serious challenges which a responsive government should give zero tolerance. This is because youth unemployment is one of the greatest threats to national security. According to Premium Times, Nigerian’s unemployment has worsened as 18.8% of Nigerian youths are jobless.Npower recruitment

Youth unemployment rate in Nigeria has grown higher to the extent that people hardly blame youths for involvement in crimes since the government cannot provide jobs for them. In the recent time when President Buhari spoke about the issue of insecurity, terrorism, banditry, agitations, etc, many people including Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka admonished the President to arrest youth unemployment, hunger, hardship, etc, and insecurity, terrorism, banditry, agitations, etc, will die natural death. You cannot fight insecurity, terrorism, banditry, and agitations in a country where millions of youths are unemployed and without unemployment benefits. How do you expect them to survive?dollar to naira rate

Currently, the 2022 annual budget has just been assented by the president. These are some questions on the lips of some Nigerians: will the budget address the ever-increasing rate of youth unemployment? What policy will the government establish to tackle unemployment rate? What measures are there in the budget that will reduce corruption and boost employment for our youths who have been roaming about aimlessly? Many are saying this government is a failure. The president should share the money for the budget to every citizen let us cater for ourselves. Unarguably, many crimes ravaging Nigerian society today are as a result of youth unemployment. Lawretta A. Onyekwere succinctly said that the lingering unemployment among the youths is fast tearing the fabric of society, thereby turning them into armed robbers rather than agents of development.

Read Also: The Rate of Unemployment in Nigeria and Its Effect on Socioeconomic Development

Accordingly, youth unemployment begets electoral violence and other crimes. As Albert I.O described, desperate politicians who are thirsty for power use unemployed youths to carry out electoral violence on their opponents. Electoral violence can occur before, during, or after elections. Electoral violence before election occurs when political rivals clash during campaign rallies to intimidate one another. This is common in Nigeria as election is approaching. On the election day, desperate politicians hire thugs who with guns, cutlasses, sticks etc, attack and chase away voters so that they would hijack election materials, ballot box, papers and results sheets to thumbprint and fill for their party.

Similarly, post-election violence can be deadly. It occurs after election results have been announced. A good example of this can be the violence which erupted in some states in Nigeria when President Goodluck Ebere Jonathan was declared of the 2011 presidential election by Prof. Attahiru Jega.

However, electoral violence is often successful because of the high rate of unemployment. Thus, it will continue to be so inasmuch as Nigerian leaders refused to create jobs for the citizens. Hungry youths are ready to do anything even to carry arms for any penny paid to them. Ipso facto, Obakhedo I., opines that electoral violence poses serious danger on the security of the country, electoral system, economy, and threatens the democratic system of the country. WAEC result

The topic of this article remains, “youth unemployment and electoral violence in Nigeria: a bane in Nigeria’s politics”. Each time I ponder on this topic, the following come to my mind: a country with high rate of youth unemployment and electoral violence, does the political system have any hope? Could it be that Nigerian leaders purposely refused to provide employment opportunities so that youths would be used as thugs to fulfill electoral violence? Youth unemployment is a mother to many crimes including electoral violence and a threat to the country’s political system. Thus, the political system of any country may not be accommodating unless youth unemployment is solved.JAMB form

Read Also: 10 Causes of Unemployment in Nigeria


Reasoning in line with Alanana O., unemployment has become a potentially dangerous phenomenon sending disturbing signals to all segments of the society. The youths have remained unemployed and more dispirited than ever before. Regrettably, the government appears naive and insensitive about the seriousness of youth unemployment. This has made a greater number of youths continue roaming about the streets looking for means of survival. A great many youths engage in cybercrime and rituals so as to obtain a living since the government has neglected them.

Having researched on this topic, therefore, it is not out of place to address the Nigerian government to channel greater energy in fighting youth unemployment and live no stone unturned until youth unemployment is suppressed to zero level. If this is done, probably, insecurity, terrorism, banditry, agitations, electoral violence, etc, would be reduced to zero level.JAMB Result

Read Also: Unemployment in Nigeria – Causes, Effects, Solutions


Alanana, O. O. “Youth Unemployment in Nigeria: some Implications for the Third Millennium”, Global Journal of Social Sciences, Vol.2, No.1, 2003. (Accessed online 10/1/2022)

Adetula (Eds). Perspectives on the 2003 Elections in Nigeria. Abuja: IDASA and SterlingHolding Publishers.

Albert, I.O. Reconceptualizing electoral violence in Nigeria, In I.O. Albert, D. Marco et.

Lawretta A. O. “Effect of Youth Unemployment on the Nigerian: the need for Resourceful Intervention”, International Journal of Social Sciences and Management Research, Vol.7, No.1, 2021. (Accessed online 10/1/2022)

Obakhedo I. Electoral Violence in Nigeria, Asaba, Action aid Nigeria (Accessed online 10/1/2022)

Olakitan, Y., Youth Unemployment: A time Bomb, Ogun, National Mirror, 2015

Olowojolu O., et al, “Trends in Electoral Violence in Nigeria”, Journal of Social Sciences and Public, Vol.11, No.1, 2019. (Accessed online 10/1/2022)

Salami, C.G.E “Youth unemployment in Nigeria: A time for creative Intervention”, International Journal of Business and Marketing Management, Vol.1 No.2, July, 2013.


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