An Assessment Of The Level Of Awareness Of The Electorate Of The Manifestoes Of Major Political Parties In Nigeria
The study attempted to examine the political awareness of the electorate in Nigerian politics in Kosofe Local Government Area of Lagos State. In this study, relevant and related literature reviews were carried out under selected subheadings. Equally, the study applied the descriptive research survey design for the assessment of the opinions of the respondents with the use of the questionnaire and the sampling technique. A total of 200 (two hundred) respondents made up of (100 males and 100 females) were selected and used in this study to represent the entire population of the study. Five research questions and five null hypotheses were, raised, formulated and tested with the application of Pearson product moment correlational coefficient tool and the independent t-test statistics at 0.05 level of significance. At the end of the exercise, the following results emerged that: there is a relationship between voters’ awareness of party manifestoes and voters’ voting patterns in Nigeria, there is a significant relationship between awareness of party manifestoes and voters’ attitudes in an election, there is no significant gender difference in the voting pattern of the electorate due to awareness of party manifestoes in Nigeria, there is a significant relationship between voters’ awareness of party manifestoes and pattern of voting in Nigeria, and there is a significance difference between the attitudes of educated voters and that of their uneducated counterparts towards voting in Nigeria. It was recommended among others that all elective parties should ensure that they keep the electorate aware of what their parties’ manifestoes are before the elections so that these electorate would know the best part that has the best manifestoes to vote for and that parties seeking elections from the voters should always create awareness with the electorate.
1.1 Background to the Study
Democracy is described as that form of government which is exercised by the whole body of free citizens directly or indirectly through a system of representation, as distinguished from a monarchy, aristocracy or oligarchy (Black’s Law Dictionary 1980, 6th Edition). According to Nnaemeka-Agu (2000:20), democracy means a competitive political system in which competing leaders and organisations define the alternative of public policy in such a way that the public can participate in the decision making process.
According to Onyenke (2007), individuals, especially the electorate need to be conscientized and sensitized towards the awareness of the manifestoes of the political parties that came to solicite for votes. For instance, people ought to know the kind of incentives derivable for voting in a particular candidate through the awareness and knowledge of the manifestoes of the candidate’s political party. The major political parties that are vied for elective offices were: the Peoples’ Progressive Party (PDP), the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the Congress of Political Change (CPC), the All Nigerian People’s Party (ANPP) and the All Peoples’ Progressive Alliance (APGA).
The above mentioned political parties have different manifestoes, which are theguiding principles of the parties seeking for elections in the country. For instance, the Peoples’ Democratic Party’s manifestoes showed that they would provide electricity that will be uninterrupted, robust economic revival and strengthening, provision of portable water, abundance food supply through revival and sustenance of agriculture in the country, boost in education, employment generation and women empowerment. The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), manifestoes are basically on the provision of employment for all, youth empowerment, free education at the primary level, funding of the tertiary education in Nigeria, revival of the economy, leadership by example, provision of electricity, provision of good roads, water supply and so on. The Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) has their manifestoes based on the provision of amenities such as water, electricity, employment of youths, increase in salaries, provision of food and shelter and fighting of corruption. The All People’s Grand Alliance (APGA), promised in their manifestoes to provide portable water, electricity, pursuit of human rights, free and fair elections in the country, abundant provision of food through the mechanized agriculture, provision of good roads through constant road maintenance, building a robust economy for Nigeria and so on. The All Nigerian Peoples’ Party (ANPP) has their manifestoes based on the economic well being, provision of energy, provision of quality education, prudent use of the national resources, provision of good road network, provision of food and assurance of human rights and privileges and so on (Field Work, 2011).
The question is, are the electorate aware of these provisions in the manifestoes of the political parties in Nigeria? To what extent did they vote the parties of their choices based on their perceived awareness of the political parties’ manifestoes? If they did not know the manifestoes of the political parties, to what extent did their lack of knowledge of the parties’ manifestoes affect their voting patterns? According to Uzomah (2010:70), majority of Nigerian electorate are uneducated, and so, do not know about the manifestoes of the main political parties in Nigeria. Those that even know the manifestoes of the political parties, did not read in between the lines in order to decipher which party’s manifestoes are better than the others.
Also, Njoku (2009:40), is of the opinion that 70% of the electorate are not aware of the manifestoes of the major political parties in Nigeria. He hinged his argument on the premise that most of those who are potential voters in the country, are illiterates. Not only that, Njoku opined that apart from ignorance due to lack of education, there was no enlightenment programmes designed to create political awareness about the political manifestoes of the main political parties in Nigeria. He went further to state that this lack of enlightenment has made many electorate not to be aware of the manifestoes provided by the main political parties that contested elections in Nigeria.
According to Unduru (2008:35), it is good to let the electorate be aware of the manifestoes of the political parties, because it will enable them to know how to vote and which party to be voted for based on the best manifestoes of the political party. As he puts it, in other advanced climes, there is enough of political awareness of the political manifestoes of any party that contests elections, so that people would know the best party to be chosen in the election but here in Nigeria, people hardly know the political parties that exists, they vote without knowing the party’s manifestoes. It means that the electorate vote for the parties and individuals without knowing what these individuals that represent their various parties would provide when elected. No wonder the Nigerian citizens continue to lament for good leadership after every elections in Nigeria.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The problems inherent in the ignorance of the provisions in the manifestoes of the main political parties in Nigeria by the electorate cannot be overemphasized. There is no gain-saying the fact that majority of the Nigerian electorate are not aware of the main political parties’ manifestoes before any elections. This can be attributed to the lack of information dissemination about party manifestoes in the country. According to Anyanwu (2006:47), many voters are not aware of the political parties’ manifestoes. Most of the electorate who voted for one political party or the other, did not know what the parties they voted for have in stock for them before casting their votes. This is because of lack of sensitization and dissemination of appropriate information concerning the manifestoes of the parties in question. This has in any case, caused regrets, despondency and bitterness by the electorate who are always disappointed at the end of voting for individuals and political parties in any elections conducted in Nigeria.
The above identified problems gave rise to the examination of the assessment of the level of awareness of the electorate of the manifestoes of the major political parties in Nigeria.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The major objectives of this study include to:
- Find out whether the electorate are aware of the manifestoes of the main political parties in Nigeria.
- Investigate the level of awareness of the voters of the manifestoes of the political parties in Nigeria.
- Examine the level of political awareness of the electorate before voting in elections in Nigeria.
- Distinguish between the attitudes of those who are aware of parties’ manifestoes and those who are not aware.
- Differentiate the attitudes of educated electorate towards voting from those who are illiterates.
1.4 Research Questions
The following research questions will be raised in this study:
- Are Nigerian electorate aware of the political parties’ manifestoes?
- What is the level of awareness of electorate of the manifestoes of the main political parties in Nigeria?
- How can the level of political awareness of voters concerning the parties’ manifestoes in Nigeria affect their voting patterns?
- How can we distinguish between the attitudes of those who are aware of political parties’ manifestoes from those are not aware?
- To what extent can we differentiate the attitudes of educated voters towards voting from those who are illiterates?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
These null hypotheses will be formulated in this study:
- There will be no significant relationship between voters’ awareness of party manifestoes and voting pattern by the electorate.
- There will be no significant relationship between awareness of the party manifestoes and the attitudes of voters in an election.
- There will be no significant gender difference in the voting pattern of the electorate due to awareness of party manifestoes.
- There will be no significant relationship between voters’ awareness of parties’ manifestoes and their pattern of voting.
- There will be no significant difference between the attitudes of educated voters and that of the uneducated ones in Nigeria.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The results and recommendations of this study would be beneficial to the following individuals:
- The Electorate: They would be able to have an insight into the awareness of party manifestoes in Nigeria. This is because, this study will enable them to understand that the awareness of party manifestoes would help them to know how to vote in any elections in the country.
- Politicians would also understand through this study that for them to win creditably in any election in Nigeria, they should have good manifestoes that are beneficial to the electorate. This study’s recommendations will enable the politicians to bring their party manifestoes to the knowledge of the electorate before voting in an election.
- This study will create awareness to the individuals in the society, as it will enable them know about party manifestoes. This is because, many people do not know about party manifestoes, while some people do not even care to know about party manifestoes before voting in Nigeria.
- This study will contribute to knowledge in the society. Again, it will serve as reference material to the researchers and the scholars alike.
- The insights politicians would receive in this study will help them to put up good manifestoes when vying for elective posts in the country.
1.7 Scope of the Study
The study covers the assessment of the level of awareness of the electorate of the major political parties in Lagos State, Nigeria.
1.8 Definition of Terms
(1) The Electorate:
This refers to eligible voters or those who have rights to participate in any election of the country, who are up to 18 years or above. The electorate are those who vote in an election to select those who would rule them.
(2) Party Manifestoes:
This connotes a written document that contains the plans of action on what a political party sets out to perform after being voted in power by the electorate in a general election conducted in a country. The manifestoes are plans of action of a political party which helps the electorate to elect the party with the best manifestoes which bothers on development issues.
(3) Political Awareness:
This means the information being passed across to the citizens concerning political parties’ establishment and what they have in stock for the electorate and the nation in general.
monarchical arrangement is one in which a single ruler rules a state or a kingdom and the rulership passes on to a relation of the king after death or incapacitation. It means an absolute rule of a state.
This refers to government by the highest social rank, it is the ruling body of nobles; the social class from which these nobles come.
This means a country practicing a government by a small group of all-powerful persons.
This refers to the government of the people, by the people and for the people. This is a government where the masses hold much influence. A system in which the electorate or the masses are more powerful and decide who rules them.
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