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1.0 Background to the Study
Apathy is the mental state of not caring much about something or about anything at all. It is the suppression of passion, emotion or excitement for something. We have political apathy, social apathy e.t.c. But for the purpose of this study, we shall be looking at political apathy and its effect on democracy.
Political apathy is defined as the lack of interest in taking active part in matters of politics either by voting or being voted for or having no share in political activities. Political apathy is expressed and measured by degree of phobia and non-participation in political activities in a country. Political apathy is a symptom as well as a cause of weakness in the system. It signifies a failure to involve all members of the society in their own governance, or failure to inspire interest and loyalty such failure may be dangerous to democracy, for when every large number of people exist outside the normal channels of politics and are enabled to shape their lives, the political atmosphere becomes potentially exclusive.
Democracy in general thrives on the principles of effective political participation. But the increasing failure of many individuals to participate in politics especially in selection of leaders through voting leads to out raged of apathy. Democracy and democratic theory presents voting as unique activity which forms the basis of political equality and civic rights in a society. Voting is a paramount importance and it contributes to collective outcome, rather than the individual outcome. Election or voting is the most common means of participations in a democratic system and this explain why much attention is given to the rise in voter’s absentation.
The relationship between apathy and democracy cannot be overemphasized. Democracy is a system of government that promotes greater participation of citizens in the government of their making and the ability to appraise and criticized constructively the activities of the government of the day. But when such is achievable, than one can deduce that democracy has fail in such a country or society. The effect of political apathy on democracy in Nigeria generally and particularly in Chikun Local Government is alarming.
Political apathy in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State, has shown its ugly head through the following:
Poor voter’s turnout due to lack of political mobilization and awareness on the part of the political elites. And also poor political culture, the people of chikun of local government area of Kaduna State has an underdeveloped political culture which lead s to political apathy in the area. Inecs’ incompetence has always been a major contributor to apathy in the area, there is also the issue of inadequate polling units, people had to come from different parts of the area because polling units are far off from them. Failure to keep to election promises also served as major contributor to political apathy. People do not longer trust their leaders so they find it hard come out for elections.
All these mentioned above are the major causes of political apathy in chikun local government area of Kaduna State. Until these issues are addressed, political apathy will continue to again upper hand and democracy will lose its value in chikun local government area and Nigeria as a whole. So therefore, this study will look at ways to curb these issues and to proffer solution to those threatening issues in our country.
1.1 Statement of the Research Problem
The exercise of the citizen’s participation in election in politics in Nigeria generally and Kaduna State in particular has not be encouraging. Nigeria government since 1960 has been looking for the best way to ensure that citizens are responsible for choosing their own leader. These have led to many reform policies and programs from both military and civilian government over year. Unfortunately, the more reform policies and programs, the lesser citizen’s participation in election activities.
There are political, social-cultural and bureaucratic constraints to political participation which include embezzlement corruption and false promises by politicians.
Considering this problems, this research is aim to investigate the factors responsible for political apathy in Chikun Local Government Area, such as inadequate polling units, religion, lack of political awareness and failure to keep to election promises by political elites.
1.2 Research Questions
The following research questions shall as guidelines toward the achievement of the objectives of this project work:
1. Does political apathy have effects on democracy?
2. Does corruption, embezzlement, and false promise by politicians affect the voting behavior of the People of Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State?
3. Does the behaviour of political elites affect political participation?
4. Is there any degree of confidence of the people of Chikun local government area of Kaduna state on electoral system?
1.3 Objectives of the Studies
The broad objective of this study is to explore the problem that has been in place in the democratic drive that is political apathy, the specific objectives which the study is design to pursue are:
1. It will help to investigate effect of political apathy on democracy in Chikun Local Government Area.
2. It will help to understand the major causes of political apathy in Chikun Local Government Area.
3. To know the degree of confidence the people have in the electoral system of their state country as it is assume that this is reflected in the participation I electoral policies.
1.4 Research Proposition
The research hypotheses that will serve as the yard stick for this project are hereby proposed:
HO : political apathy has no significant effects on democracy.
H1: Political apathy has significant effects on democracy.
1.5 Justification of the Study
This study is significant because it is aimed at explaining political apathy in the context of good governance. It will also help to curtail the numerous problems of low voter’s turn-out and participation during all election. It will also serve as a quote for future elections in Nigeria. This work will serve as a reference material for future researches in the area of political education and voting behavior.
1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study
Owing to financial and time constraints, the researcher’s ability to exhaust all relevant materials was limited: however the researcher put in her best in consulting relevant data between 2011 and 2015.
1.7 Research Methodology
This research will adopt both primary and secondary data. The primary sources adopted in this study include administering of questionnaires randomly to selected wards in the Local Government Area. This helped us to gain an insight into the origin and development of political parties and nature of their operational patterns in the country. Content analysis of secondary data as a method of investigation is adopted in this study.100 copies of questionnaire will be share to various part of Chikun Local Government to get their views of the topic at hand.
This involves reading meaning into materials that are collected for the purpose of achieving reliable and verifiable conclusion.
1.8 Definition of Terms
The definition of terms in this study is as follow political apathy:
Is the indifference on the part of any citizen of any country with regard in their attitude towards political activities?
Political apathy is defined as the lack of interest in taking active in politics either by voting or been voted for or having no share in political activities.
Maqstadt et al (1993:584) defines election as an organized process in which people in which people vote to choose a person, to a position of public importance such as presidency, or a group of people to represent them in national or state assemblies.
Political education is therefore, civic education or, as Amy (1987:287) describes it; “the cultivation of virtues, knowledge, and skill necessary for political participation”.
Democracy is a Greek word “demos” which means “the people” and “Kratein” means “to rule”. Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 1865) defined democracy as government of the people, by the people, for the people.
This is the body which has the responsibility for the conduct of election I the country. Nigeria operates adult suffrage thus adult citizens above the age of 18 can vote and the voted for, according to the 1999 Nigeria constitution. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) which was set up in 1998 is typical example of electoral body.
1.9 Organization of study
Chapter one contains the introduction, which is made up of statement of problem, research questions, objective of the study, research hypothesis, significance of the study, and the scope of study; chapter two deals with review of relevant literature and theoretical framework, chapter three focuses on historical background of the study, chapter four deals with research methodology, data presentation and analysis, while chapter five caps it up with discussions of findings, summary, recommendations, conclusion, limitation of study, and suggestions for further studies.
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