Organised violence; a manifestation of elite political culture
: a case study of Boko Haram

  • Ebimboere Seiyefa

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The thesis examines the phenomenon of organised political violence in Nigeria exploring its root cause(s) and sustaining factor(s), using the extreme terrorist activities of the Boko Haram sect as a case study. The severe negative impact of this sect on the fabric of Nigerian society has led to a burgeoning scholarly literature investigating the sect and the phenomenon of organised political violence which, for the most part, concentrates on the gamut of political, economic and social ills that are held to drive violence in the country. The thesis contends that, whilst these variables are symptoms or outcomes of political violence, it is the tacit political culture adopted by Nigeria’s political elite that is the core cause of recurring periods of political violence and the groups that use violence. Elements of elite political culture such as zero sum politics, political elite manipulation of social cleavages and identity politics, themselves enabled by elite involvement in governance, leads to mis-governance by the elite in power and the concomitant emergence of social movements or groups to convey the grievances of sections of the country’s diverse population. These movements are, in turn, co-opted by individuals within the elite who use the movements’ muscle and influence to coerce the electorate, notably during election periods. This results in the social movements’ transformation into organised political violent groups. When the alliance with the movement ceases to benefit the elite and/or the level of violence becomes counter-productive, as was the case the northern political elite and Boko Haram, the elite reverses its rhetoric, recasting the movement, its creation, as the enemy.
Date of Award2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Coventry University


  • Boko Haram
  • terrorism
  • Nigeria
  • Islamic fundamentalism
  • Politics and government

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