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POLITICAL PARTICIPATION AND VOTING BEHAVIOUR (A CASE STUDY OF SOKOTO STATE 2019 GENERAL ELECTIONS)

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 Format: MS WORD ::   Chapters: 1-5 ::   Pages: 75 ::   Attributes: Questionnaire, Data Analysis ::   1,142 people found this useful

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

  1. BACKGROUND OF STUDY

Elections have generally been acknowledged as a cardinal pillar of a democratic political system (Bratton 1998; Schedler 2002; Diamond 2008; Lindberg 2009a, 2009b, 2009c; Omotola 2010a). This is particularly the case where elections satisfy acceptable democratic standards, or, better still, what Lindberg (2004, 2006) calls the ‘democratic qualities of elections’, namely competition, participation and legitimacy. Elections that fall short of these standards can only serve to undermine the consolidation of democracy.

Nigeria’s next keenly anticipated national elections was held on February and March 2019 and will be the sixth vote since the reintroduction of democracy in 1999. The 2019 polls follow Nigeria’s first peaceful transition of power to the opposition in 2015, when incumbent president Goodluck Jonathan of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) conceded defeat to Muhammudu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC). On April 9, 2018, President Buhari announced he would run for a second term. At least eighteen candidates, including Buhari, declared their intention to run for president. In most states, gubernatorial and state legislative elections will be held two weeks after the presidential and national parliamentary polls.

To varying degrees, every election in Nigeria’s modern history has experienced violence. In Nigeria, all of the elements of Timothy Sisk’s expansive definition of electoral-related violence have occurred:

acts or threats of coercion, intimidation, or physical harm perpetrated to affect an electoral process or that arise in the context of electoral competition. When perpetrated to affect an electoral process, violence may be employed to influence the process of elections such as efforts to delay, disrupt, or derail a poll and to influence the outcomes: the determining of winners in competitive races for political office.

This study focuses on political participation as one of the important indicators of the democratic quality of elections. In addition, political participation is considered a prime criterion for defining democratic citizenship and the role of citizens in the political process (Dalton 2006). However, given that political participation is, in itself, multifaceted, including, among other things, membership of a political party, involvement in political campaigns, contributions to political debates, funding political activities, contesting elections, this study places specific emphasis on voting behaviour. Apart from its qualification as the most important form of political participation, voter turnout has also been seen as an important indicator of the state of health of any democracy, old or new, consolidated or in transition, where a high turnout is usually associated with a healthy democracy and a low one with an unhealthy one (Kuenzi & Lambright 2007; Freitag 2010).

More specifically, the study explores voting behaviour in sokoto state and the factors underlying it. Without any doubt, this is a daunting challenge. How do we, for example, measure the level and quality of participation, using voters behaviour as the core indicator? Moreover, in a country characterised by a high degree of pluralism, where ethno-regional-cum-ethnic and religious identities often take centre stage in matters of national significance, including presidential elections, in what ways, if any, do such forces of identity influence the spatial distribution of voters behaviour? This is a question that relates to the autonomy of citizens ‘in being sufficiently informed about government to exercise a participatory role’ (Dalton 2006, p 2) without undue external influence. While the comparative literature suggests some measures, critical questions abound, especially in elections characterised by fraud and violence, where results are frequently contested by opposition parties and, in a few cases, altered or annulled altogether by the election tribunal/court.

Election is the process of choosing leaders in a democratic process where a legitimate change of government is constitutionally allowed (Johari, 2011). Election in Nigeria has been taking place since 1922 and since that period, election occurred continuously until 1960 when the political independence was gained from Britain. After political independence, election took place in 1964 but the democratic regime was short-lived because of bloody military coup. In 1979, Nigeria dropped the parliamentary system of government and switched to presidential system.

The Aborted Third Republic in 1991 did not witnessed a smooth transition until in 1999 when the Fourth Republic emerged and remains the longest democratic transition in the history of the country (Sule et al., 2018). Election takes place in Nigeria at different levels. In the Fourth Republic, from 1999 to the 2019 General Elections, there are seven electoral offices constitutionally including the Presidential, Senatorial, Federal House of Representatives, Gubernatorial, State House of Assembly, Chairmanship and Councillorship (Nigerian 1999 Constitution as amended). One of the most interesting episodes in Nigerian politics is the Presidential Election. This is because of the voting pattern and political behaviour of the Nigerian voters towards electing their leaders. This makes the battle for the Presidential seat intense, chaotic and threatening, sometimes to the extent of national disintegration. The culture of ethnic, religious and regional voting inherited from the nationalists during the colonial period spillover to the present era and it seems to be continuous (Sule et al., 2017).

The situation is worse in cases where voter registers, upon which voting and the computation of voter turnout are predicated, are far from accurate. Such incidents were a recurring characteristic of Nigeria’s elections between 1999 and 2007 (Omotola 2010a). It is important that we engage with this largely neglected aspect of Nigeria’s elections to ascertain the form and character of participation. This is the main focus of this study.

Across the globe, one of the most important functions of elections is the participation of the citizens in the very process of governance. This stems from the fact that the core value of democracy as expressed in the fundamental definition “government by the people” emphasizes people’s participation in the governance process. This is further made manifest under Article 21 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights which stated thus:

Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives….The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will, shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.

Apparently, participation in governance gives vent and meaning to the ideal in democratic environment to the extent that sovereign power belongs to the people. It is through elections that “the people” express their sovereign power by determining which policies are to be prioritized in society and which party and politicians are best suited to develop and implement them (Alemika, 2007; Nwankwo, 2018). Through participation of the people in the selection process of those to govern, the people indeed, most expressly consent to be ruled by the elected. It is this consent that constitutes the most fundamental concept of democracy.

Conventionally, voting is the fulcrum of political participation in liberal democracies. Voter’s behaviour can explain the raison d’être for decision making by the electorate. Goldman (1966) submits that inference and predictions about behaviour concerning a voting decision and membership of political parties involves certain factors that are not linked to gender, race, culture, or religion. For him also key public influences include the role of emotions, political socialization, tolerance of diversity of political views and the media. Essentially, in the continental Africa, the effect of these influences on political parties and voting behaviour can best be understood through proper scrutiny on the formation of attitude, beliefs, schema, knowledge structures and the practice of information processing. Survey from different countries in Africa that practice democracy indicated that people are generally happier in individualist cultures where they have rights such as the right to vote.

In a multilingual and multi-cultural democratic setting like Nigeria, voting behaviour is dictated by a plethora of complex issues. This is because it involves an analysis of individual psychological processes vis-à-vis perception, emotion and motivation and to a large extent, their relation to political action as well as of institutional patterns, such as communication process and their impacts on elections (Nkwede, 2015). Citizens to this extent display the astounding factor that the behaviour of a man is influenced by several irrational factors and pressures in invoking religious and ethnic sentiments, influence of gratification or charismatic personality of a leader and a host of other irrational forces on the minds of the citizens. Consequently, these variables mentioned above have been adduced as being responsible and can moderate voter behaviour and participation in every election (Healy et al, 2010; Gomez et al, 2007; Miller, 2011; Parker and Isbell, 2010; Valentiono et al, 2010; Nwanegbo, 2014). Against the above backdrop, this study therefore seeks to examine political participation, and voting behaviour in sokoto state Nigeria.

  1. STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Electoral process are mechanism by which citizens of any back ground can be actively involved or participate in task of shaping policy and deciding how society should be governed, especially in democratic setting. Citizens’ political participation as a phenomenon is very central as far as electoral process is concerned. Eventually, within the context of political economy citizens are subjected to extreme subject poverty. This has resulted from economic crises as well as adoption of Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) to impose on powerless Nigeria states by institutions for global governance.

It is against this background that power elites and other political class are opportune exploited the situation and recruited the aggrieved and poverty ridden citizens as political brigandage in order to assist them in attaining and retaining political power. The citizens are financed and equipped with dangerous weapons such as knife, sword, and dagger by political class in order to intermediate and assassinate their political opponents thereby affecting the voting process in sokoto state.

In addition, in adequate knowledge, or information on politics particularly, electoral process coupled with low level of deprivation among the citizens of sokoto state. Lack of active engagement or participation of the citizens in the electoral process also affects the credibility of the entire electoral process. Besides, the political participation into electoral process is attributed to the moral laxity and decadence in our contemporary societies.

Low level of political education is also another problem, as a result of this; very few among them are highly educated and politically motivated.  Ethnicity plays a major role in the political participation of citizens in sokoto state and is not suppose to be so. A clearer understanding of why they participate the way they do as well as their voting behaviour. Hence what necessitated this research.

1.3 AIMS AND OBJECTIVES

The main aim of this research is to examine political participation and voting behaviour. Other objectives of this study include:

  1. to determine the relationship between political participation and voting behavior in 2019 general election in Sokoto State
  2. to investigate the determining factors of political participation in sokoto 2019 general elections.
  3. to examine the underlying factors responsible for the voting behaviour of citizens of sokoto state 2019 general elections.
  4. to investigate whether ethnicity and religion affects citizens political participation and voting behaviour in sokoto state 2019 general elections.
  5. to ascertain whether party affiliation and gratification influences voting behaviour in sokoto state 2019 general elections.
  6. to examine the challenges of political participation and voting behaviour during the sokoto state 2019 general elections.
  7. To proffer solutions to the challenges of political participation and voting behaviour during the sokoto state 2019 general elections.
    1. RESEARCH QUESTION
  1. What is the relationship between political participation and voting behavior in 2019 general election in Sokoto State
  2. What are the determining factors of political participation in sokoto 2019 general elections?
  3. What are the underlying factors responsible for the voting behaviour of citizens of sokoto state 2019 general elections?
  4. Does ethnicity and religion affects citizens political participation and voting behaviour in sokoto state 2019 general elections?
  5. Does party affiliation and gratification influences voting behaviour in sokoto state 2019 general elections?
  6. What are the challenges of political participation and voting behaviour during the sokoto state 2019 general elections?
  7. What are to the challenges of political participation and voting behaviour during the sokoto state 2019 general elections?
    1. STATEMENT OF RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS

1. H0: there is no significant relationship between political participation and voting behavior in 2019 general election in Sokoto State.

2. HI: there is a significant relationship between political participation and voting behavior in 2019 general election in Sokoto State.

  1. SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY

The study will give a great insight into the political participation and voting behaviour of sokoto state 2019 general elections. It will further help in exposing the negative and positive impact of the voting bahaviour of sokoto state in the 2019 Nigerian general election.

The study will point out the negative role played by the electorates in sokoto state in the electoral process which would be discouraged and positive role would be enhanced so as to pave way for peaceful electoral process in the future.

The study will be of great importance to the independence electoral commission (INEC) on ways to ensure a political participation and a positive voting behaviour of citizens.

The study will enlighten the citizens of Nigeria especially in sokoto state to have a better understanding of politics and practice democracy in a more peaceful way. They will be enlightened to understand that politics does not entail violence and avoid all forms of political apathy.

Lastly, the study will serve as a material for further research on political participation and voting behaviour.

  1. SCOPE OF STUDY

The study will cover the political participation and voting behaviour (a case study of sokoto state 2019 general elections).

  1. LIMITATION OF STUDY

1. Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).

2. Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.

  1. DEFINITION OF TERMS

Political participation: Political participation includes a broad range of activities through which people develop and express their opinions on the world and how it is governed, and try to take part in and shape the decisions that affect their lives.

Voting: used to express a wish to follow a particular course of action.

Behaviour: the way in which one acts or conducts oneself, especially towards others.

 


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Format:ms word
Chapter:1-5
Pages:75
Attribute:Questionnaire, Data Analysis
Price:₦3,000
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