Effect Of Illiteracy On Political Participation

Political Science Education Project and Seminar Material

Effect Of Illiteracy On Political Participation


This research work captioned to explore the effects of literacy on political participation in BirninKebbi metropolis in 2015 general election. The research work examined the factors hindering youth participation in the last general elections where emphases was placed on lack of adequate knowledge and information on Nigerian democracy, lack of adequate education, literacy deprivation, unemployment and absence of free and fair election, which are in place to bring about electoral related vices. The research work assess the factors encouraging participation of youth in electoral process and offer solutions that could encourage youth participation in future coming elections.

Chapter One


1.0 Background of the Study

Illiteracy or an illiterate person according to Ralinema (1995) is one who lives in a state of primary or remote consciousness, subliminal of his roles in society. He is a passive object of history submerged by the exigencies of his daily life. He is paralyzed by his sense of importance an phobia and he is enslaved ignorance of his capacity and potentialities as a human being. He is unable to comprehend the situation or environment which envelops him therefore is powerless to act for his freedom and liberation. He is a liability to the world around him in his mental under nourishment. In this consideration, literacy goes beyond mere reading and writing.

Majid Rahneman (1995) further explained this position by asserting that illiteracy or the illiterate situation does not necessarily change if one is taught ho to read and write.

From the above assertion, it can be seen that political participation depends to a great extent on a literate and reasonable well educated citizenry. This can be achieved by means of a system of general education “mass literacy or better still, political conscientization, an intelligent and in depended press freedom of association and discussion.”

While well educated people are not necessarily political conscious. It is clear that democracy develops successfully only where there is a high degree of literacy. That is why there is high political participation in countries like England, France, U.S.A and Latin American countries where illiteracy is still wide spread.

Political participation requires factual and political education which will encourage independent and critical thinking about public question. It should produce the civic interest and awareness on the part of the citizenry upon which the success of democracy ultimately depends.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

In Nigeria in general and Benue state in particular, political participation has change from the traditional African nature to the western liberal democratic type with the establishment of colonial state and introduction of western education as a tool for political participation because of illiteracy.

the level of political participation of any nation, to a great extent, determine the sustainability of political democracy, while political participation depends on the people’s attitudes, political socialization, culture, religion etc. these variables in turn depend on the level of literacy of the people.

Since the inception of democratic rule in the country there has been low turnout during voting, low participation in partisan politics and general aparthy among the populace especially in Ukum local government area of Benue state and this has been attributed to illiteracy in the study area.

The researcher intends to carry-out this research work, i.e the effect of illiteracy on political participation in Ukum local government area under the following.

  1. Political culture of the people and political participation.
  2. Political socialization of the people regarding political participation.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The research objectives have been raise by the researcher to help in the study and to educate the illiterates about their political culture, in respect of political participation. Also, to enlighten the illiterate people of ukum local government concerning the effect of political socialization and to delimit their political participation.

1.4 Research Questions

The term research question has been defined in the oxford advanced learner’s dictionary to mean a sentence, phrase or word that asks for information.

In determining the effect of illiteracy on political participation in Ukum local government area, the following three questions have been formulate.

  1. Does socio-economic status significantly influence the political participation?
  2. Does illiteracy have significant influence on political socialization at the people and their political participation?
  3. Can education influence political participation of the people in Ukum local government area?

1.5 Significance of the Study

The research work is taken, first and foremost, in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the award of the Nigerian certificate in education (NCE)

Beside the above mentioned significance, it also provides on opportunity for the researcher to venture in to some of possible remote cause of poor political participation in the study area with concentration on illiteracy.

The study will also help in uprooting the consequences of illiteracy on the body politics of Ukum local government area. This study is also intended to prefer workable solution to the effect of illiteracy on political participation by way of recommendation base on findings.

More so, this research will offer ample opportunities for further enquires and research work into the area by other researcher of similar interest.

1.6 Scope of the Study

A study of this magnitude would have been conducted on a national level due to the fact that all and sundry are involved. However, time and financial constraints, have limited it to Ukum local government area.

1.7 Limitations of the Study

This research study is limited to members of the two existing political parties as well as political sympathizer in the four worlds. BORIKYO, MBATIAN, KENDEV and UYAM worlds

1.8 Definition of Terms.

This aspect of the research study gives explanation to some terms as they are used in the context of the research and their terms are: political participation: technically, political participation is considered as those voluntary activities by which members of a society share in the selection of a ruler or rulers directly or indirectly in the formation of public policy. It takes the form of voting, campaigning, making contact, holding both public and party offices.

Political Culture:

Political culture here means the attitudes, sentiments, beliefs ideas and norms that guide the behavior of the people in the political systems. It embraces such things as the history of the political system adopted by people, reactions to election and methods of electing rulers.

Political Socialization:

This refers to the process by which the citizens are educated on the values, attitudes and beliefs of the political system. Political culture is internalized and transmitted through political socialization. Political socialization help to make citizens understand their rules in the political system, raised their loyalty, pride, patriotism and nationalist feelings to the country. Apathy: this is absence of sympathy and indifference to wards political issues.

1.9 Organization of the Study

This research work is divided into five chapters.

  • Chapter one contains introduction to the research work which summarizes background to the study. In this chapter, statement of the problem, objective of the study, significance of the study, research hypothesis, research questions, scope of the study, and organization of the study are discussed extensively.
  • Chapter two of this research work is known as the review of related literature otherwise known as the literature review and the theoretical framework, which reviews previous research work in the field of study and analysis of various principles relating to the research topic.
  • Chapter three is concerned with the research methodology. This discusses research design, the population size to be studied, sample size determination, sampling techniques applied, method of data analysis and interpretation, the statistical tools used in the analyzing the formulated hypothesis .
  • Chapter four of this research work is the data presentation, analysis and interpretation.
  • Chapter five summarizes the whole research project stating the findings useful conclusion and the recommendation and this constitute the concluding part of the research work.

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Summary of Findings

Illiteracy levels alone cannot explain low levels of political participation, but promoting education will go a long way in encouraging their political awareness and activity. In addition, voter education targeted at those with little or no schooling is developed by many organizations to ensure an independent, fair and secret voting. A wide range of programs, approaches and methods exist; what is most important is to find and implement those that have most chance of success in a particular social, political and cultural context. A general first step for all countries, however, is the provision of education for all.

The findings of this research indicate that, majority of respondents based on age are between age range of twenty four years to twenty nine (24-29) which constituted the highest percentage. Moreover, majority of the respondents basd on ethnic groups, are Hausa/Fulani, while the analysis also revealed that most of the respondents based on marital status are singles, also analysis shown that, majority of respondents practice Islam as their religion, however, majority of respondents based on educational status under gone secondary and tertiary education and majority of respondents based on occupation are students.

Likewise, the research findings, revealed that majority of respondents participated in the last general election in which most of them capacitated as voters, while, the majority of the respondents revealed they influenced by money and religion to participate in the last general election with reference to table (4.3.3) revealed that respondents indicated those assess the youth participation in the last general election as good constituted the majority.
However, research findings shown that majority of respondents indicate illiteracy are in place to hinders youth participation in the last general election. Consequently, the research findings shows that, majority of the respondents indicate political elites are the instigators of electoral related vices, in the last general election. Going by the analysis, majority of respondents indicated that literacy will improve youth turn out during the nigerian democracy.

The thirty two (32) respondents shown they are not aware of any non-governmental organization campaigning against electoral vices and majority of the respondents assess the activities of those group as good

5.2 Conclusion

Lack of adequate knowledge or information on Nigerian democracy, coupled with low level of depriviation, unemployment, electoral violence and absence of free and fair elections are in place to affect the youth participation in the nigerian democracy in Birnin Kebbi metropolis.

Consequently, more of the youth participated in the last general election in Birnin Kebbi metropolis are motivated by religion. From their leaders and money given by political elites, political elits are mostly found the instigators of electoral related vices in Birnin Kebbi Metropolis. It is therefore, necessary for all stakeholders in the nigerian democracy to appropriate specific role to the youth. They need to be guided and sport in the initiatives and interest in public and political causes. This is necessary to sustain the democratic culture while educating and empowering the manifest needed leadership attribute that would prepare them for a better society in future. Investing in youth is investment in greater future.

5.3 Recommendations

Considering the outcome of the research findings the following recommendations are hereby made in order to increase the participation of youth in nigerian democracy in Birnin Kebbi metropolis

  1. There is need for government and Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to accord much priority toward increasing turn out youth in nigerian democracy.
  2. There is also need for government and Non-governmental organizations to adopt to increase youth turn out during the nigerian democracy.
  3. Nevertheless, there is need for government and civil society to organize regular educational programmes i.e capacity building in every part of Birnin Kebbi metropolis in which they described how electoral related vices affecting the youth
  4. Those who are educated among the youth should volunteer to educate and advice others on the importance of their participations and problem of electoral realted vices
  5. Media organizations i.e Television, radio, should continue to educate, enlightening and inform youth to participate in nigerian democracy.
  6. There is need for political elite to stay away from money politics that could easily influences youth into electoral vices.
  7. There is need for government to eradicate poverty among youth, through job creation so as to allow successful nigerian democracy to take place.

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