Actualizing Effectual Citizens’ Engagement in the Nigerian Electoral Process: An Opinion Survey (1999-2011)
This study surveys opinion of Nigerians on the factors influencing low voters’ participation or otherwise, in the Nigerian electoral process, it made use of data elicited from respondents’ of the three Senatorial Districts of Edo State. The stratified random sampling technique was utilized to select a sample of 1,200 Nigerians, from the three Senatorial Districts of Edo State. The structured questionnaire and in-depth interview were the measurement instruments utilized while the Chi-Square and Yule’s Q where used to test and determine the degree of association intrinsic in the stated hypotheses. The study revealed that the Nigerian electoral process is inhibited by violence and insecurity and that the INEC, political candidates and parties are failing in their responsibilities to engender active participation of the citizenry in the electoral process. Consequently, some policy advices were made. For instance, it is necessary for the INEC to conduct transparent and credible elections, improve voters’ registration process and ensure effective voters’ education; the Political Parties and Politicians should ensure internal party democracy, provide responsible representation and fulfill electoral promises made during campaigns; the government should provide adequate protection for voters’ and ensure independence of the INEC; while the electorates should resist the temptation to sell votes and to make the right choices of candidates. Thus, the achievement of credibility, fairness and effectiveness in the electoral process, would require the collaboration of all stakeholders in the Nigerian democratic project.
Keywords: Nigeria, elections, voter behaviour, apathy, insecurity, violence