In addition to the uptick in election-related violence, Nigeria has been ravaged by Boko Haram and a wave of kidnappings. But the problem goes deeper — poverty is driving young people into the arms of separatists and local gangs, with corrupt politicians fueling the violence for their own benefit. Until those in power address the problem of unemployment and hopelessness, elections will not bring peace to Nigeria.
Nigeria should not be characterized by simplistic notions of election violence and widespread insecurity. Since it emerged from a military dictatorship in 1999, it has become a vibrant democracy on the international stage. Moreover, electoral reforms during Buhari's second term have increased public confidence in the electoral process, and it is also a good sign that the polls will not be based on religious criteria. If Nigeria continues on the path of democracy, it has a chance of overcoming violence.