LOCAL GOVERNMENT AS agent OF POLITICAL MASS MOBILIZATION IN NIGERIA
LOCAL GOVERNMENT AS AGENT OF POLITICAL MASS MOBILIZATION IN NIGERIA
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Local government has been defined differently by scholars and writers alike, but the one that will serve as our introductory definition is one that views local government as a grass-roots participatory democratic process that entails breaking down a country into smaller units or localities for the purpose of administration, with residents of the various units having an exerting influence in government affairs. N. U. Akpan (1982).
One of the reasons for local government's establishment was to ensure grassroots democracy. Thus, in order for local government to be relevant in the framework of grassroot democracy, people must first be politically mobilised.
This implies that there must be a procedure in place to raise people's understanding of and acceptance of political principles that are critical to political development,
while also encouraging them to participate in government operations. As a result, the achievement of effective political participation in local government political issues is improved.
Nigeria, as we all know, is a developing country with a large proportion of its inhabitants living in rural areas. The majority of these Nigerians who reside in rural areas have been marginalised, disregarded, and abandoned over the years. To achieve effective political growth in the country, rural residents must be deeply involved in the politics of their areas.
During General Ibrahim Babangida's reign, the first significant move towards opening up, developing, and integrating rural areas was taken. During his reign, the Directorate for Mass Mobilisation, Social Justice, and Economic Recovery (MAMSER), now known as the National Orientation Agency, was established with the goal of politically educating and enlightening the people,
while the Better Life Programme (BLP), Family Support Programme (FSP), and National Council for Women Society (NCWS) were established with the goal of mobilising and protecting better lives for rural women,
thereby fostering the realisation and appreciation of women. The dictatorship also aimed to strengthen grassroots democracy and mass engagement by establishing local governments as the foundation for a new social and political order.
Local government, being the smallest and most approachable element in our system of government, should be able to play a significant role in breaking down societal barriers.
As a result, it has been common knowledge that in order for meaningful and exceptional achievements in political development to be realised, an endeavour should be made to mobilise the people to attain this goal. As a result, there is a need to consider local government as a method for political mobilisation in Nigeria.
However, local government in Nigeria has not played a substantial role in increasing political mobilisation. The shortcomings of local governments in evolving and developing methods to mobilise rural inhabitants, other than those planned by the federal government, necessitate a shift in focus.
For political mobilisation to be recorded and for local governments to ensure it, it is necessary to recognise the elements that influence political mobilisation. Political socialisation can be defined as the process of conveying, acquiring, and modifying the political culture of a specific political society, according to Verba (1961).
It can also relate to the transmission of political attitudes, ideas, knowledge, and preferences from generation to generation. Nigeria's political socialisation process differs significantly from that of the world's more industrialised countries.
Citizens of Nigeria, unlike their counterparts in more established nations, are not born into a national political culture to which they are socialised from an early age.
Divided by tribe and religion, and rooted to a small geographic area due to their reliance on an agricultural economy, most areas are first specialised to a parochial or traditional culture of their own immediate environment.
Because the young Nigerian is not a “tabula rasa” on which the values of the new national political system can be simply written, the process is basically one of re-socialization. Not only must we learn our values and role expectations, but they must also be harmonised with the old and frequently incompatible millieu standards.
Political re-socialization of young Nigerians is more difficult since those who desire to re-orient his values (in most cases, political leaders) have severely little resources.
As a result of the way and manner in which we are socialised, it is difficult for the average Nigerian to be easily mobilised politically, and this affects the amount of engagement in political activities.
Political communication has an impact on political communication. Communication is essential in politics. Effective governance necessitates some form of communication between the government and the governed.
I may quickly add that if there is a communication gap between governors and governed, mobilising these individuals to achieve desired political goals will be challenging. The frequency with which people communicate provides insight into intra-societal social isolation, distance, and alienation.
Education has an impact on mobilisation as well. The key question at hand is, what is education? How do local governments, in particular, respond to entire mobilisation and emancipation of the people from the doldrums of ignorance and political backwardness, and how far have they gone in accomplishing the desired goals and educational objectives?
Education has an important part in political growth by providing skills and ways to improve human competencies. Another function of education is to promote literacy, which aids in the spread of communication among individuals and groups in the country.
Mass education campaigns are required so that people can grasp issues, evaluate manifestos, constructively criticise the emerging leader, and mobilise their children to attain political goals. Perhaps the most important job of the MAMER Directorate was to increase the political maturity and consciousness of the people in this country.
Political education in the Nigerian context can be defined as a process of mental liberation that breaks down the great majority of Nigerians' indifference and culture of silence, empowering them to engage effectively and meaningfully in the process of nation building.
As a result, in recognition of local government as a strategy for political mobilisation in Nigeria, and using Udung Uko local government in particular and the country in general, in order to justify local governments system and existence in terms of increasing people level of awareness so as to recognise political values that enhance participation of the people in government affairs.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The local government system has been considered as a tool for increasing political engagement in this country's politics. The major goal of establishing local government and subsequent changes was to bring government closer to the people in order to meet their needs while also advancing socioeconomic and political growth and public welfare at the local level.
Among the most difficult concerns for academics in studies like these are how politically mobilised the people in local government are, what agents bring about this mobilisation, and what factors influence political mobilisation.
It is apparent that government attempts at both the central and local levels in developing methods for successful political mobilisation of the people for political growth are usually unsatisfactory. Even where they exist, they are not pursued objectively enough to deliver the desired result.
It has also been discovered that inadequate political education results in a low level of political consciousness among rural people, making the task of mobilising them politically for meaningful involvement in political activities Herculean. This has had a significant impact on the country's political growth.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The following are the motivating motivations for the research:
To emphasise the significance of active political mobilisation in the evolution of any polity.
To discover what prevents the people of Udung Uko local government area, as well as other Nigerians, from being actively mobilised for meaningful participation in their country's policies.
To investigate specific ways in which the government, groups, and individuals can contribute to enhance the level of political mobilisation in their country's politics and administration.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
It is hoped that by the end of the project, the findings will assist individuals at the grassroots in exercising their right to vote in both primary and general elections.
It will encourage individuals at the grassroots to actively participate in the decision-making process in governance.
The research will aid in the creation of opportunities for people to operate and perform well while holding public office.
1.5 THEORY OF FRAMEWORK
It is always a necessary methodological necessity in every scientific investigation to create a context in which the researcher can examine the subject of his study. As a result, the research needed to look into theories related to the subject matter and choose the one most acceptable to the researcher.
Thus, the theory of political mobilisation proposed by Karl W. Deutsch has shown to be extremely valuable in this study. Deutsch described social mobilisation as the process by which large groups of old social, economic, and psychological commitments are undermined or broken down, allowing people to be open to new patterns of socialisation and conduct.
Political mobilisation is the process of improving people's consciousness, which leads to the recognition of political values, as well as involving the public in government matters. Political mobilisation results in active political engagement. This implies that political mobilisation precedes political participation.
The administration of former Nigerian President General Ibrahim Babangida devised plans to enhance the level of mobilisation of the people in their country's politics. MAMSER (formerly known as the National Orientation Agency) was one of the programmes whose major goal was to educate and mobilise the masses for active political engagement.
The campaign intended to be viewed as a significant step forward in the direction of individuals and society. The entire campaign was centred on three major programmes, namely;
Mobilisation of the People
Education in Politics
Campaign for Mass Education
The focus of mass mobilisation was on ways and means of mobilising Nigeria's labour resources to increase productivity and achieve economic recovery and self-sufficiency. While both political education and mass education campaigns intended to instill in the populace a new and constructive political consciousness.
This was done in the expectation that a politically aware, efficiently mobilised, and properly motivated populace would be the most effective deterrent to bad administration. Deutsch, Karl (1961).
1.6 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
Secondary sources of information, such as textbooks, reviews of existing papers, reports, and journals, were employed to obtain data for this study.
1.7 SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This project is concerned with political mobilisation. The geographical focus of this research is limited to the Udung Uko local government region. However, this investigation was predicated on time, financial, and other constraints.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Certain concepts used in the work are defined here.
A form of government in which the government is controlled by the public as a whole.
A grassroot participatory democracy approach that entails dividing a country into smaller units or localities for administrative purposes, with residents of each unit exercising control over government matters.
Acronym for mass mobilisation for social justice, self-sufficiency, and economic recovery.
Mobilisation of the People
This is the process of gathering, harnessing, actualizing, and using potential human resources for development purposes.
This is fundamentally the construction of democracy. It is a stage in the evolution of democracy from the traditional to the modern democratic systems.
Education in Politics
The process of raising people's consciousness in order for them to recognise political values and become more involved in government issues.
Participation in Politics
It involves actively including people in the creation of institutions and the design of policies and programmes that serve the interests of all, as well as effectively contributing to