Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Sylvia Gage


Ethnic division fuelled by inadequate governance and uneven economic development has led some ethnic based groups to regard violence as a legitimate means to achieve political and social ends. The political disruption caused by ethnic militia related violence in Nigeria prevented the first 3 attempts at republican democracy. The purpose of this study was to analyze the role played by human rights abuse in Nigeria in the formation of the Oodua People's Congress (OPC) in 1994, and to also analyze the OPC turning to violence in 1999. The theoretical construct of the study is the constructivist philosophy, which purports that people develop meanings based on personal feelings, tastes, and opinions from their experiences. The conceptual framework of human rights theory is used to analyze whether human rights abuses and material deprivation created conditions that encouraged violence. The central research question addressed whether the militarization of politics in Nigeria so abused the citizens' political and personal rights that the human rights threshold was met, influencing the OPC to turn to violence as means to achieve political end. Interview data was collected from 15 founding members of the OPC to form themes and descriptions for the study. Results indicated that the incessant abuse of citizens' political and personal rights led to a violent reaction after the July, 1998 death of Chief MKO Abiola, who died in military detention. This research contributed to social change by documenting that human rights abuse in Nigeria created a condition that led violence by those abused. Further, research recommendations, if implemented, can facilitate social change through increased stability in governance, reduced human carnage from terror activities, and improved personal economy of Nigerians.