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GENERAL ELECTION AND VOTING BEHAVIOUR IN NIGERIA.) COMPARISM OF 2015& 2019
1.1 Background of the Study
An election is a formal group decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual to hold public officeRobert, (2011).However, elections have been the usual mechanism by which modern representative democracy has operated since the 17th century Ugwu, (2010). Elections is also a process of selecting people to fill in offices like the legislature, the executive and for regional and local government a certain period of time as enshrined in the constitution of the country e.g Nigeria’s public office holders is a fixed term of four (4) years with an option for second term. The history of elections in Nigerian state has been characterized by threats to statehood based on the manipulation of ethnicity as divisive mechanism for the acquisition of political power by political actors, the fragile nature of political cum democratic institutions is acquainted with poor democratic culture among Nigerian citizen (Omodia & Egwemi, 2011).
From a general perspective voting behavior is a form of political behavior. To make inferences and predictions about behavior concerning a voting decision, certain factors such as gender, race, culture or religion must be considered Andreadis, Ioannis, Chadjipadelis, 2006). Moreover, key public influences include the role of emotions, political socialization, tolerance of diversity of political views and the media. The effect of these influences on voting behavior is best understood through theories on the formation of attitudes, beliefs, schema, knowledge structures and the practice of information processing. For example, surveys from different countries indicate that people are generally happier in individualistic cultures where they have rights such as the right to vote. (Beck, 2002) Additionally, social influence and peer effects, as originating from family and friends, also play an important role in elections and voting behavior. (Goldman, 1966). An important question in this context is how to disentangle the social contagion by peers from external influences. (Andreadis, Ioannis, Chadjipadelis, 2006). The degree to which voting decision is affected by internal processes and external influences alters the quality of making truly democratic decisions.
Voting behavior is the main form of political participation in liberal democratic societies and the study of voting behaviour is a highly specialized sub-field within political science. The analysis of voting patterns invariably focuses on the determinants of why people vote as they do and how they arrive at the decisions they make. Sociologists tend to look to the socio-economic determinants of support for political parties, observing the correlations between class, occupation, ethnicity, sex, age and vote; political scientists have concentrated on the influence of political factors such as issues, political programmes, electoral campaigns, and the popularity of party leaders on voting behaviour. However, both disciplines share the same terrain, and increasingly have tended to overlap in their analytical approaches Harrop and Miller, (1987).
According to Shambers, (2008), a number of different approaches to the explanation of voting behaviour can be distinguished in the literature. Structural or sociological approaches concentrate on the relationship between individual and social structure, placing the vote in a social context, and examine the effects on voting of such variables as social class, language, nationalism, religion, and rural-urban contrasts. Ecological or aggregate statistical approaches relate voting patterns to the characteristic features of a geographical area (ward, constituency, state, or whatever). Social psychological approaches relate voting decisions to the voter's psychological predispositions or attitudes, for example his or her party identification, attitudes to candidates, and such like. Finally, Shambers, (2008) rational-choice approaches attempt to explain voting behaviour as the outcome of a series of instrumental cost-benefit calculations by the individual, assessing the relative desirability of specific electoral outcomes in terms of the issues addressed and policies espoused by the different parties or candidates. Each of these broad approaches tends to be associated with different research techniques and each makes different assumptions about what motivates political behavior.
Religion is another factor that influence, the voting behavior of the masses during the two elections in Nigeria. Voters tend to wield towards their religious groups. No party in Nigeria is tied to religious groups, but most times Muslims are supportive of their members just like Christians. In the US Catholics and Jews are generally supporters of the Democratic Party (Makodi, 2014).Ethnicity is a factor considered by the electorate in line with their voting pattern in Presidential or national elections. Ethnic solidarity have been evident since the first republic till date. In Nigeria different governments most especially the military government have tried to force Nigerians to express their will through cross ethnic parties. As stated by Obayelu (2007) who classifies corruption in three categories; bureaucratic, economic and political corruption. While Gyekye (1997) expanciates on political corruption as the illegal, unethical and unauthorized exploitation of one’s political or official position for personal gain or advantage.
Moreover, political behaviour is influenced by several factors. Indeed, Miler (1992) has noted that there is no such thing as a free choice in politics, that people’s preferences are influenced and conditioned by the social and political context in which they live. Besides, their political actions are distinct from their preferences. Invariably, “political behaviour depends upon the interaction between personal preferences and the political context, since institutional incentives and constraints affect the translation of preferences into action”. These factors operate on political behaviour from three dimensions, namely social characteristics, inherent social characteristics and environmental factor.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The electoral process is a complex process that encompasses the good intentions and undesirable outcomes of election administration, particularly in emerging democracies where general elections are often marred by culturally hued electoral malpractices. In Nigerian case, the problem remains that the voting behavior is immensely characterized by a culture of electoral malpractices like illegalities committed by government officials responsible for the conduct of elections, political parties, ethnicity, religion, groups or individuals who lacks the knowledge of voting process processes should be conducted in the light of INEC Electoral Acts. However, the present study seeks to examine thegeneral election and voting behaviour in Nigeria: Comparism of 2015 and 2019 presidential elections.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The following objectives guided the study
- To examine the relation between ethnic group and voting behavior
- To examine the relationship between religion and voting behavior
- To examine the relationship between political campaign and voting behavior
- To examine the relationship behavior manifesto and voting behavior
1.4 Research of the Study
The study shall answer the following
- What is the relation between ethnic group and voting behavior?
- What is the relationship between religion and voting behavior?
- What is the relationship between political campaign and voting behavior?
- What is the relationship behavior manifesto and voting behavior?
The following null hypotheses shall be tested
- There is no significant relation between ethnic group and voting behavior
- There is no significant relationship between religion and voting behavior
- There is no significant relationship between political campaign and voting behavior
- There is no significant relationship behavior manifesto and voting behavior
1.6 Significance of Study
This study has both theoretical and practical significance.
Theoretically, the study would add to the existing knowledge on electoral process. It would also serve as an addition to the existing literature on electoral process thus serve as a source of secondary data for future researchers.
Practically, the study would help Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) who serves as the “watch dog” of the political transition programmes of governments and policy makers to strive and develop a workable theory and principles founded on the people’s culture, aimed at guarding and guiding the electoral process of Nigeria and undue excesses and recklessness of political leadership.
1.7 Limitation of the Study
In every research work, it is likely that the researcher may encounter some limitations. The researcher encountered some challenges during the period of carrying out this research. Some of these challenges include the dearth of materials for a proper and effective research work constituted a major limitation. Again, how to get the true and required information from the masses through questionnaire also constituted a constraint in the study.
Finally, there was the problem of convincing the masses on the primary objectives of the questionnaire so as to give the true and required information. However, the intervention of the PROs in the community who took time to clear the air and convince the populace helped the investigator to administer the instrument successfully.