Youths and poetics of violence: Harbingers of violent elections in Nigeria?


  • Victor Okorie Obafemi Awolowo University
  • Ndukaku Okorie Obafemi Awolowo University



Violence, poetics of violence, violent imaginaries, election, democracy


Efforts to curtail violence in electoral and political spaces have focused mainly on quelling on-going physical manifestations of violence. This form of medicine-after-death approach has, in many instances, failed to forestall the violent death of many people in electoral processes across Africa. This paper, therefore, departs from narratives underpinning the medicine-after-death approach to explore links between poetics of electoral violence and manifestations of electoral violence in Nigeria. Poetics of violence are discursive constructions that prompt imagination as well as give motivation and legitimacy to the performance of violence in electoral processes. By exploring the poetics of electoral violence, this paper aims at articulating measures that may enable legal violent laborers to war at the speed of light, as emergencies demand, while demanding a degree of responsibility from political war-chest elites. The paper uses conceptual analysis of relevant documents as well as drawing on direct observation of and participation in electoral processes to interrogate cultural production of violence in the forms of narratives, performances, and inscriptions. It argues that such productions collectively give rise to poetics of violence that motivates those who march to the violent front of electoral process, those who cheer them on and their sympathizers. The paper identifies ways in which poetics of violence are linked with the violently killed and or killable bodies as well as indicates how legal violent laborers may genuinely counter and diffuse violence in the electoral process

Author Biography

Ndukaku Okorie, Obafemi Awolowo University

Department of Philosophy