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African Journal on Conflict Resolution

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‘Vote not Fight’: Examining music’s role in fostering non-violent elections in Nigeria

Joseph Olusegun Adebayo

Abstract


African elections are unique in several respects; in ethno-religiously divided nations, elections are often decided on the basis of candidates’ ethnic or religious affiliations rather than political ideologies. In Nigeria for example, campaigns differ greatly from what is obtainable in other countries. For example, music plays a huge role in the outcome of elections in Nigeria. It also significantly determines whether or not the elections will be violent or non-violent. This is because music evokes emotions and connects with people in a personal and intimate way. This study critically examines the two-edged nature of music’s effect on society and offers some evidence to demonstrate that music can help in fostering peace in the society particularly as it concerns peaceful elections. Adopting an ethnographic research methodology, the article’s argument draws on examples from Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria, countries where the medium of music was fittingly utilised to promote peaceful non-violent elections.

Keywords: elections, music, non-violence, peace, violence, Nigeria.




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