VOTING BEHAVIOUR AMONG NIGERIA’S UNIVERSITY STUDENT, A CASE STUDY OF BABCOCK AND UNILAG
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Presently, the call for freedom and democracy echoes across the globe. The world has witnessed phenomenal shift from authoritarian style of governance to democratic rule. The fact still remain that state is no longer interested in interacting with other state where democracy is not practiced just like student politics in various higher level of learning in Nigeria.
The struggle for democratic government in Nigeria during military era is almost the same as anti-colonial struggle. This is because both the promoter and supporter of democracy in Nigeria are highly committed and dedicated before the transition comes to reality. In the process of achieving it, many of them lost their life, some were even detained while those who escaped the two gone on exile (Saliu, 2004:4). Now that democracy becomes Nigerian “Public good”, credible institutions are required to defend the system. It is in this context that democratic sustainability become imperative. Thus, democracy requires among others the supportive structures, such as political parties.
Voting behaviour is a form of political behaviour. Understanding voters’ behaviour can explain how and why decisions were made either by public decision-makers, which has been a central concern for political scientists Goldman (2006), or by the electorate. To interpret voting behavior both political science and psychology expertise were necessary and therefore the field of political psychology emerged. Political psychology researchers study ways in which affective influence may help voters make more informed voting choices, with some proposing that affect may explain how the electorates make informed political choices in spite of low overall levels of political attentiveness and sophistication.
To make inferences and predictions about behaviour concerning a voting decision, certain factors such as gender, race, culture or religion must be considered. 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 attitude, 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 (Diener, 2000). The degree, to which voting decision is affected by internal processing systems of political information and external influences, alters the quality of making truly democratic decisions (Andreadis & Chadjipadelis 2005).
As it is now prevalent, the previously mellow emphasis placed on the more knowledgeable, nubile, energetic and charismatic young voter to produce change in the Nigeria democratic stagnancy is seeing a monumental expansion. Such a blatant and direct statement comes with proof of not only increased levels of political participation by the youth but also more open sharing of thoughts and ideas about the process itself. Allowing consideration on dimensions of age, political immaturity and volatility in decision making, many recently conducted research indicated that almost half of the first time voters in Nigeria were ‘fence sitters’ or eleventh hour decision maker. It is these undecided, issue based, rational thinking young voters who played a rather important role in the 2015 General Elections in Ogun State, causing disconnect with the ruling party’s status quo styled campaign strategies (Pandian, 2015).
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
With the introduction of democratic norms, the level of political awareness among students participation seems to be very low. It was observed too that majority of voters lack basic knowledge about the entire political process to take rational decisions on election matters. This manifests in their traditional voting pattern as they vote on the basis of religion and ethnic ties rather than on political ideology and other important issues that are critical to human existence.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The main objective of this study is to determine the extent to which the voting behaviour perception in Nigeria elections particularly Ogun State.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study will be of significance to students of different higher of learning as it would enlighten them on how to carried and conduct students government violence free elections and how it will prepare them for future leadership experience in Nigerian government as most students may be involved in politics.
The work will be of immense benefit to politicians, government agencies and other stakeholders who will appreciate the need to embark on sustained and an enduring enlightenment political campaigns rather than their periodic ritual which is only embarked on during elections as it is customary in Nigeria.
To media professionals who offer consultancy services to politicians as well as package their campaigns, they will see the need to re-engineer their tactics and strategies for optimal result.
It will also contribute greatly to the academic community by providing insight into the changing voting pattern of Nigerian electorate and student’s government. Interested scholars can thus, build on findings of the study.
Finally, this study will also help to serve as literature (reference source) to the public, individuals and corporate bodies into what to carry out on further research on voting behaviour among Nigeria’s university students.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study concerns with voting behaviour among Nigeria’s university students with a particular reference to selected universities which include University of Lagos, Lagos, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Babcock University, Ogun and Covenant University, Ogun.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS