Herdsmen-Farmers Crisis Perception in Nigeria and its Implication for the 2019 Presidential Election
The age long crisis between herders and farmers in Nigeria seems to have taken an incremental dimension in recent times. The incessant killings from clashes between 2015 and 2018 have become a worrisome security concern for stakeholders and the public. There is a widespread impression that the federal government has not done enough to protect the victims of these attacks and ultimately put an end to the crisis. The continued killings have also influenced the public perception of the president of the country, Muhammadu Buhari, who is seeking a re-election in the 2019 presidential election. This paper assesses the resurgent crisis and its possible implication on the outcome of the 2019 presidential election in Nigeria with specific focus on the chances of the incumbent at the polls. Predicated on the humanistic theory of voting behaviour, the study was conducted using a combination of discourse analysis and survey methods. Findings show that the killings from the crisis have increased in recent times with farmers, mostly in the north-central region of Nigeria among others, as the main sufferers. Contrary to the perception in some quarters, findings also show that the federal government, which is in control of the security apparatus of the country, has taken some steps to curb the crisis. However, there are still divergent views on the nature of the crisis with many sympathetic to the farmers. The study concludes that many Nigerians may not vote for President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2019 presidential elections if their decision would depend on his handling of the herdsmen-farmers crisis. The understanding that the herdsmen-farmers crisis will not be the sole determinant for voters' choice in the elections circumscribes the submission here. Other factors may influence voters' behaviour at the poll.