Youths And Political Participation In Nigeria
This research work captioned to explore the effort, role and contributions of youth in electoral process, in Kaduna north local government area Kaduna 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 electoral process, lack of adequate education, 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.
1.1 Background of the Study
One of the challenges facing Africa today is how to provide opportunities for the continent’s more than 200 million youths so that they can have decent lives and contribute to the socio economic and political development of their countries (G. Genyi, 2016). According to the United Nations (2010), Africa’s population as of 2011 was estimated at 1.05 billion and is expected to double by 2050. About 70 percent of Africa population is 30 years of age or younger.
In 2011, youths, who are defined here as those between 15 and 35 years of age, constituted 21 percent of more than 1 billion people in Africa, whereas another 42 percent was less than 15 years old. Slightly more than half of the African youth population is female, and there are more rural dwellers than urban dwellers. With such a large proportion under 15 years of age, Africa’s youth population is expected to grow in the years to come while the Youths population in other parts of the world shrinks (Gyimah- Brempong and Kimenyi, 2013:2).
Since Nigerian independence in 1960, Nigeria has been struggling to install a viable and durable democracy but its dismal politics characterized by consistent inability to conduct credible and transparent elections in which its citizens have access effectively protected opportunities to exercise their franchise but in the choice of their leaders, has made the agenda of democratic sustainability largely a mirage. This accounts for the so many failed attempts at democratic transitions (Dudley, 1982; Akinsanya, 2005; Agbaje, 2005).
Youth political participation captures the involvement of youths in responsible and challenging political action that meets genuine needs of the people with opportunities for planning and/or decision-making affecting others in the political system. That is to say a political participation which involves recognizing and nurturing the strengths, interests, and abilities of young people through the provision of real opportunities for them to become involved in decision making that affects their daily life (Aniagoh, 2016).
Youth political participation fosters a sense of citizenship and makes policy processes more transparent and accountable towards young people. At the same time, helps the youth build self-confidence, develop a sense of initiative and acquire and test skills that are relevant for the workplace, such as communication, negotiation or teamwork, in a practical environment (EACEA, 2010/03).
1.2 Statement of the Problem
A close observation of the degree of political participation and training of youths in Nigeria tend to reveal that they have not been actively involved in the process of sharpening the political system. It is rather unfortunate that with the large population of youths and the kind of influence they can weigh on national development, they have been relegated to the background as the elderly politicians use them for various vices.
Nigeria is living witnesses to the fact that some youths are used as political thugs and touts during campaigns and election periods. For instance the youths criminals organization known as ‘Yan shara has being executing their evils operations especially in areas of Kawo, Unguwan Kudu and Tudun Wada. These criminals engage in different social vices using traditional weapons and their activities usually increase by significant percentage during campaign periods or election. In other instances, they are recruited as personal bodyguards to corrupt politicians.
While youths are being deployed as campaign agents for crowd mobilisation at rallies to chant political slogans and for successes at elections, at the end of the day they are relegated to the background. Even some positions they naturally deserve like the national youth leader, etc are assigned to people like Ibrahim Dasuki Jalo who is 46 years of age! That is far outside the scope of a youth.
After elections, the hopes and aspirations of the youths are usually ruined. All campaign and pre-election promises of vital appointments and jobs made by the so called elderly politicians, which mostly entice the youth to engage in sometimes untoward activities at campaign rallies remain largely unfulfilled after elections. It is noteworthy that on the rare instances those promises are fulfilled. But since the youths have a future ahead of them, they have to strive to seize such opportunities so as to secure their future in public life. It will be wise to have youths in various advisory boards, commissions, ministries, etc.
1.3 Research Questions
- Is the orientation of youths affecting their active participation into politics?
- What are the factors affecting youth’s contribution to political development of Nigeria?
- To what extent has government encouraged Youths political participation in Kaduna North Local Government Area of Kaduna State?
1.4 Objectives of the Study
The objectives of this study are as follows:
- To provide the necessary orientation for the Youths to actively participate in politics
- To find out the factors hindering youths from contributing to political development in Nigeria
- To examine the level of encouragement of Youth’s political participation by Kaduna North Local Government in Kaduna State
1.5 Research Propositions
- The youths political participation is affected by their political orientation
- Poverty is one of the factors affecting youth’s contribution to political development.
- Lack of encouragement by the government affects the political participation of the youths.
1.6 Significance of the Study
As an academic venture, the significance of this type of study is so enormous that one cannot comprehend such with or limited ordinary words.
This study is to unmask the nature and character of the Nigeria political system and then use such as a prelude for analyzing the nature and character of politics in Kaduna north local government area of Kaduna state with particular reference to the degree of participation of youths in the polity.
1.7 Scope and Limitations of the Study
This research will be focusing on political participation of youths in Kaduna North local Government Area of Kaduna State from (2015 – 2017).
1.8 Research Methods
The research will make use of both primary and secondary sources of data collection. “Speifel (2000) defined primary source of data collected as firsthand information from the original source. Such data are usually obtained from the field through interviews and questionnaires, survey or recording of official transaction. For this research, Questionnaires would be designed and distributed to respondents and later collected and analyzed by the researcher.
The secondary source of data would be obtained from the review of related literature. In other words, the consulted published and unpublished works, journal, newspapers, magazines and seminar collections relating to the study, also the researcher intends to utilize the qualitative research method in analyzing this paper. Qualitative research which is used to uncover trends of thoughts and opinion and also dive deeper in the problem, this method varies from structured to semi-structured techniques some of which includes “focus group discussion and interviews”
1.9 Conceptual Clarification
According to the Nigerian National Youth Policy (2009) the youth shall comprise of all young males and females aged 18-35 years, who are the citizens of federal republic of Nigeria.
According to Eakin (2010) political participation is the process through which the individual plays a role in the political life of his society and has the opportunity to take part in deciding what common goals of the society are and the best way of achieving these goals.
1.10 Organization of Chapters
This study comprise of five chapters.
- Chapter one is deals with the background of the study which is characterized by introduction, statement of the problem, research questions, objectives of the study, proposition, scope and limitation of the study, research method, significance of research study, definition of concepts.
- Chapter two contains review of related literature and theoretical framework.
- Chapter three contains the evolution of (Kaduna North Local Government of Kaduna state).
- Chapter four will contain data presentation, analysis and interpretation.
- While chapter five will comprise of summary, conclution and recommendation of the study.
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation
5.1 Summary of Findings
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 electoral process.
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
Lack of adequate knowledge or information on electoral process, 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 electoral process in kaduna north local government area kaduna metropolis.
Consequently, more of the youth participated in the last general election in kaduna north local government area kaduna 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 kaduna north local government area kaduna Metropolis. It is therefore, necessary for all stakeholders in the electoral process 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.
Considering the outcome of the research findings the following recommendations are hereby made in order to increase the participation of youth in electoral process in kaduna north local government area kaduna metropolis
- There is need for government and Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to accord much priority toward increasing turn out youth in electoral process.
- There is also need for government and Non-governmental organizations to adopt to increase youth turn out during the electoral process.
- Nevertheless, there is need for government and civil society to organize regular educational programmes i.e capacity building in every part of kaduna north local government area kaduna metropolis in which they described how electoral related vices affecting the youth
- 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
- Media organizations i.e Television, radio, should continue to educate, enlightening and inform youth to participate in electoral process.
- There is need for political elite to stay away from money politics that could easily influences youth into electoral vices.
- There is need for government to eradicate poverty among youth, through job creation so as to allow successful electoral process to take place.
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