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Voters Behavior and Electoral Process in Nigeria 4th Republic

Voters Behavior and Electoral Process in Nigeria 4th Republic

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Abstract

This study was conducted on voters’ behavior and electoral process in Nigeria 4th Republic a case study of Urue Offong/Oruko Local Government Area. The researcher formulated three research hypotheses which serve as a guide. The survey research design was adopted for the study. The population for the study was all the voters with permanent voters’ cards in Urue Offong/Oruko Local Government Area.

This was 27994 spread among 10 wards and 47 polling units. The sample size was 300 voters from six political wards selected using simple random sampling technique. The Voters’ Behaviour and Electoral Process Questionnaire (VEP) was used as an instrument for data collection. The data collected was analyzed using Pearson Product Moment Correlation.

Findings revealed that voters’ turnout, violence and election rigging relates significantly with electoral process in Urue Offong/Oruko Local Government Area. Based on findings, it was recommended that voters’ education should be conducted in Urue Offong/Oruko Local Government Area to increase the voters’ awareness on the electoral process.

Voters Behavior and Electoral Process in Nigeria 4th Republic

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

  • Background to the Study

Nigeria became an independent nation on 1st October 2010. At independence, the country inherited from the British; a parliamentary system of government, three unequal regional political structures of the North, West and East (carved out of the old Northern and Southern protectorates), and the legacy of traditional administrative system at different levels of political development (Gberevbie, 2009).

For instance, between the period of pre-colonial, era and Nigeria’s independence in 2010; while the North practiced absolute monarchical traditional system with full executive powers conferred on the monarch, the West practiced a monarchical traditional system that did not confer full executive powers on the monarch.

The East on the other hand practiced republican system, which did not recognize the authority of the monarchy in any form Okelegbe1988). King, (1988) posits that “in pre-colonial Nigeria, the numerous autonomous political units featured different political culture.

These cultures often clashed and discouraged political cooperation and the formation of larger political communities.” The Southern protectorate of Nigeria was divided into two regions of the West mainly occupied by the Yorubas and the East, mainly occupied by the Igbos who belong to Christian and traditional religions. The Northern protectorate on the other hand remained one indivisible region.

In Nigeria, the selection of the leaders is becoming problematic as there is no equality in the distribution of people in the country. Therefore, the liberal democratic theory sees election as a viable mechanism for consummating representative government and voting is the main form of political participation in democratic societies.

The electoral ideas have developed alongside with the democratic idea though it has had a turbulent time attracting general acceptability in human society. In its development, the granting of franchise was first to a small privileged group in the society usually based on the membership of an estate. It was gradually extended to possessions of property.

Age restriction and even sex discrimination also existed but the latter has virtually been abolished in all democratic societies. However, age restriction is still in most democracies, only citizens that are eighteen years can vote in some countries like Nigeria and USA while some other countries have fixed theirs at twenty or twenty-one years (Nnabuihe, Aghemalo and Okebugwu, 2014).

Election is believed to serve several purposes in a democracy where everyone has the opportunity to participate in politics; it is used to gauge the political health of a society or government by serving as a stamp of legitimacy for the government of the day. At the same time, election acts as checks on the government, since the elected are aware that they may not be re-elected for another term unless they fulfilled their electoral promises to the satisfaction of the electorate who gave their mandate (Omotalo, 2011).

Voters Behavior and Electoral Process in Nigeria 4th Republic

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It means of bringing periphery into the political arena (Dowse and Hughes, 2012). Election is seen as providing peaceful change of government, it also provides social groups with the chance of resolving their conflicting needs peacefully. Voters are considered to be rational and intelligent in their choice among candidates. However, an opposing view sees elections as merely ̳symbolic in character.

According to this position, elections are a secular ritual of democracy (Niemi and Weisberg, 2016). This view is in opposition to the one which holds that voters are intelligent and informed about their choice of candidates and that voters vote as a fulfillment of their civic duty. Voters are aid to know next to nothing about the candidates is irrelevant to governance.

In Nigeria as a democratic state, voting for leaders has remained a hallmark for political participation. Thus the voters and the candidates know the importance of voting which enable the candidate to go into offices of his choice and since voting is regarded as a rational act and voters are seen as rational decision makers. Thus, they balance the cost of voting against its benefits.

Thus the candidates and political party will try to make sure that they win the public office by influencing the behavior of the voters. Experience in this country has shown that the character of the candidates do not appear to be very importance consideration while running for public office. It would appear that as long as a candidate has the money to run his campaign and influence the voter, he stand the chance to be voted into office.

The introduction of money politics influence the voters’ behaviour, as it is required for all purposes thereby giving room for the prevailing electoral malpractices in the country. Money is needed for recruitment of political thugs, bribing of electorate to vote for manipulate the electoral officers, buying off police and security agents to condone electoral irregularities, assassination of political opponents which therefore tends to produce negative effect on the electoral processes.

However, there is an indicative evidence of decline in voters’ participation in the electoral process. It is imperative to understand the sources of this low turnout and thereby proffering solutions to the problem. It is from this background that this present study intends to investigate voters’ behaviour and electoral process in Nigeria’s 4th Republic using Urue Offong/Oruko Local Government Area as a case study.

Voters Behavior and Electoral Process in Nigeria 4th Republic

  • Statement of the Problem

Political participation involves membership of a political party, involvement in political campaigns, contributions to political debates, funding political activities and contesting elections. Apart from its qualification as the most important form of political participation, voters behavior such as turnout, thuggery, rigging and violence 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. Thus the voters and the candidates know the importance of voting which enable the candidate to go into offices of his choice and since voting is regarded as a rational act and voters are seen as rational decision makers.

Despites the importance of voters in the electoral process, their participation in Urue Offong/Oruko Local Government Area is seen to have been deteriorating using the turnout in the 2015 electoral process where only 36.34% of the registered voters participate in the voting process. The electoral process also witnessed thuggery, killing of people, burning of election materials and rigging making the voters turn out to be poor in Urue Offong/Oruko.

Also, the action of voters in the area during election also make the result of the just concluded chairmanship and counsellorship elections to be   rejected and protested for by some Political parties. The researcher is of the view that these problems of electoral rigging, thuggery and violence experienced in Urue Offong/Oruko if not attended to may cause the voters from abstaining from voting in the forth-coming election and may also result in an inconclusive election in the area.

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The low voters’ turn out as experience in the area may also lead to the selection of wrong leaders in the area. This backdrop therefore motivated the researcher to investigate into voters’ behavior and electoral process in Nigeria 4th Republic a case study of Urue Offong/Oruko Local Government Area.

Voters Behavior and Electoral Process in Nigeria 4th Republic

1.3     Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to investigate voters’ behavior and electoral process in Nigeria 4th Republic a case study of Urue Offong/Oruko Local Government Area. Specifically, the objectives of the study are:

  • examine the effect of voters’ turnout on the electoral process in Urue Offong/Oruko Local Government Area.
  • investigate the effect of voters’ violence on the electoral process in Urue Offong/Oruko Local Government Area.
  • examine the effect of election rigging on the electoral process in Urue Offong/Oruko Local Government Area.

1.4     Significance of the Study

This study was conducted in other to identify some of those problems exhibited during election and how the voting behavior affects the electoral process in Urue Offong/Oruko Local Government Area.

This will help in advancement of knowledge and acquisition of skills to help in indoctrinating in the new generation good political culture and orientation. This study will help in providing information to the state independent electoral commission INEC on the roles of voters in the electoral process.

The findings of this study shall also reveal to them the need for absolute political socialization of the grassroots. The study findings shall assist the media in knowing the need for strict used of their profession in the dissemination and spread of political culture and orientation.  The findings of this study shall aid in developing the culture of for voting people based on what they can do. This study will serve as a source of data for future researchers on related topics.

  • Research Hypotheses

The following research hypotheses were formulated to guide the study:

  • There is no significant relationship between voters’ turnout and the electoral process in Urue Offong/Oruko.
  • There is no significant relationship between voters’ violence and the electoral process in Urue Offong/Oruko.
  • There is no significant relationship between election rigging and the electoral process in Urue Offong/Oruko.

1.6     Delimitation of the Study

This research work was delimited to voters’ behavior and the electoral process in Nigeria 4th Republic. Similarly, only voters in Urue Offong/Oruko Local Government Area were involved in the study. The variables were limited to voters’ turnout, voters’ violence and rigging of election.

1.7     Limitation of the Study

In writing a research of this nature, the following limitations were stumble upon:

  • Some of the voters were reluctant in participating in the study for the fear of given out information that may affect them in future. To overcome this, the researcher avoid of use personal names while collecting information for the study.
  • Also difficulty on the part of the INEC official in the Local Government Secretariat giving out information on the activities that went on in the past elections.

1.8     Definition of Terms

The following key concepts will be defined as will be used in the study:

Election: This is a procedure recognized by the constitution of Nigeria were members choose people to represent them at the Local, State and Federal level of government by voting.

Voting: This is a procedure used in selecting office holder in an election.

Voter: This is a person who is eligible to vote someone into office in an election.

Electoral Process: These are those activities involved during the process of choosing of people to represent them at the Local, State and Federal level of government by voting.

Election Rigging: This is the act of manipulating the electoral process for personal gain by political leaders; these ranges from snatching of ballot boxes to multiple voting.

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Election Thuggery: This is the process of hiring people by candidates to treat other candidates and voters violently and roughly during electoral process.

Election Violence: This is an action intended to cause destruction, pains or suffering during electoral process.

Money Politics: This is the act of using money in politics to manipulate the electoral process.

Voters Behavior and Electoral Process in Nigeria 4th Republic

CHAPTER TWO

LITERATURE REVIEW

This chapter focused on previous works that relates to the present study. The review was organized under the following sub-headings:

2.1     Concept of Electoral Process

2.2     Voters’ turnout on the Electoral Process

2.3     Voters’ Violence and Electoral Process

2.4     Election Rigging and Electoral Process

2.5     Summary of Literature Review

The review of literature was done under the following sub-headings concept of electoral Process, voters’ turnout and the electoral process; voters’ violence and electoral process; and election rigging and the electoral process.

The review of literature revealed that electoral process is the way by which Nigerians elect political leaders into offices and that the electorates are the masses which are up to the age of 18years and above. The review also revealed that the electoral process has been either increased or bedeviled with several behaviours of the voters such as turn out, violence and rigging.

CHAPTER THREE

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

This section deals with the method employed in carrying out this research. It will be organized under the following subheadings: Research Design, Research Area and population of the study, sample and sampling technique, Instrumentation, validation of instrument, administration of instrument and method of data analysis.

3.1     Research Design

The survey design was adopted in the study; this design was seen appropriate since the research aimed at collecting information from a sampled population and the generalization made on the entire population.

3.7     Administration of the instrument

The instrument VEP was taken by the researcher to the ten (10) wards in Urue Offong/Oruko Local Government Area. After obtaining permission from the ward chairmen and village heads of the villages to use the wards and villages for study, the people with permanent voters’ cards were identified through the help of the ward chairmen.

They were briefed on the purpose of the study, the Voters’ Behaviour and Electoral Process Questionnaire (VEP) was administered to the voters under the guidance of the ward representatives. After administration, the Voters’ Behaviour and Electoral Process Questionnaire (VEP) was collected at the spot to ensure 100% return.

3.8     Method of Data Analysis

The data obtained for the study were analyzed using Pearson Product Moment Correlation.

CHAPTER FIVE

SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

This chapter will deals with the summary, conclusion and some recommendations made by the researcher.

5.1     Summary

This study was conducted on voters’ behavior and electoral process in Nigeria 4th Republic a case study of Urue Offong/Oruko Local Government Area. In order to achieve the purpose of the study, the researcher formulated three research hypotheses which serve as a guide.

The survey research design was adopted for the study. The population for the study was all the voters in Urue Offong/Oruko Local Government Area. This amounted to 27, 994 voters from six clans. The sample size was 300 voters from four political wards in Urue Offong/Oruko Local Government Area selected using simple random sampling technique.

The Voters’ Behaviour and Electoral Process Questionnaire (VEP) containing 30 item statement on a four Likert Scale of Strongly Agree (SA), Agree (A), Disagree (D). Strongly Disagree, (SD) was used as an instrument for data collection. The data collected was analyzed using Pearson Product Moment Correlation. Findings revealed that voters’ turnout, violence and election rigging relates significantly with electoral process in Urue Offong/Oruko Local Government Area.

Mr. Harrison

Project Gurus is a subsidiary website owned by Harrilibrary Integrated Services which was registered under the Corporate Affairs Commission of Nigeria that was established in 1990 vide Companies and Allied Matters Act no 1 1990 as amended, now on Act cap C20 Laws of Federation of Nigeria. Our aim and objective is to assist students all over the world on their educational research works. We are committed toward assisting students at all level of education in their academic work. We have a team of seasonal writers who are vested with the current knowledge in research work. For more information contact on via Email @[email protected] or WhatsApp us on +2348127963962

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