1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Good government is required in every human society. Individuals in such societies must be informed on political issues in order to have a constructive view of governance and what democracy is all about. As a result, political education can be described as the process of raising political awareness or sensitizing citizens in a society. Political education, according to Ball (2014:63), refers to the formation and growth of people’s attitudes and beliefs about the political system.
Lack of political education is directly responsible for thuggery, political violence, and ethnic and religious sentiments. These open the door for politicians to take advantage of the general public’s lack of political education to exploit and dump them. As a result, mass political education has the beneficial effect of reducing ethno-religious and cultural barriers. Such progress will promote peace and unity in Nigeria, as well as long-term democracy in which public participation is encouraged, resulting in the elitist nature of government being broken down.
The commitment to democracy and political education by statesmen, political philosophers, and the general public is now widespread and reasonably genuine for Nigerians and people around the world. But to what purpose has that dedication been made? In this research, an attempt will be made to analyze some of the most widely discussed and debated classical documents, ideas, and theories in order to at least make a statement about the nature of democracy and political education, as well as their essence.
There are concerns about whether democracy is a method of making decisions, a process of deliberation, a negotiating process among competing interests, a market place for ideas, a system of leadership competition, a frame of mind, or the system of involvement in government itself in an attempt to make a statement on the essence of democracy (MacDonald, 2012).
Appropriate, well-structured, well-coordinated, and articulated political education is critical for any polity’s long-term democracy. Unfortunately, it appears that since Nigeria’s independence in 1960, various government regimes have not given political education the priority it deserves. Efforts made thus far, although haphazardly, through the National Orientation Agency and government-owned media (print and electronic), have taken the form of propaganda in support of government policies.
Political education seems to have received lip service from the formal education market. Informal political education organisations have filled this void in the field of political education. The content of these informal agents’ political education has resulted in the emergence of a political culture of terror, ethnic politics, and contempt for constituted authority, political class economic sabotage, ethnic and religious conflicts, and a general lethargy in Nigerian politics.
These attitudes and perspectives are harmful to democracy’s long-term viability. Nigeria’s modern political age has seen the rise of massive bureaucracies and the state’s increasing role in organizing and controlling social life. The weak and unorganized can be easily manipulated by centralized organizations and concentrated forces. Nigeria’s decision to hold another election in 2023, after twenty years of democratic transition, demonstrates that democratic values have been generally embraced, despite the many problems that have plagued the process.
The time is ripe for civil society to brace itself and the citizenry to demand the exercise of power in a genuinely participatory democracy as the state shows increasing commitment to its stability. The first step is to educate itself and the public about democratic values, as well as to build an atmosphere in which more citizens contribute to development by registering to vote and voting, in order to pave the way for greater citizen participation in decision-making, as well as increased promotion of justice and equality.
As a result, the purpose of this research is to determine the importance of political education in a democracy in order to determine the impact of political education on citizen participation in politics.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Nigeria as a country is diverse; it is an amalgamation of tribal nations that were coerced into joining forces for the British colonial power’s benefit (Olaniyan, 2013). Mutual political mistrust, hostility, tribal/ethnic association, and displays of allegiance, along socio-cultural and economic lines, are all repercussions of this merger.
In Nigeria, the combined results of these are reflected in a leadership and dominance battle. These issues have hindered progress and instilled in the public an unpatriotic attitude toward state affairs. “Educating the masses politically forms the cornerstone for political stability and economic growth of any country,” Fanon (2014:145) argued. The importance of political education cannot be overstated in Nigeria’s search for long-term democracy.
The country’s obvious lack of this has been the source of conflicts and political uncertainty. The study explores the impact of political education in maintaining democracy in Nigeria against this backdrop.
1.3. AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The major aim of the study is to examine the impact of political education on a stable democracy. Other specific objectives are as follows;
- To examine the impact of political education on a stable democracy in Yelwa, Bauchi state
- To examine the factors responsible for political instability in Yelwa, Bauchi state
- To examine factors militating against political participation in Yelwa, Bauchi state
- To examine the relationship between political education and sustainable democracy in Yelwa, Bauchi state
- To examine the relevance of political education in a democracy
- To proffer recommendations on how political education could ensure sustainable democracy
1.4. RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- What is the impact of political education on a stable democracy in Yelwa, Bauchi state?
- What are the factors responsible for political instability in Yelwa, Bauchi state?
- What are the factors militating against political participation in Yelwa, Bauchi state?
- What is the relationship between political education and sustainable democracy in Yelwa, Bauchi state?
- What is the relevance of political education in democracy?
- What are the proffered recommendations on how political education could ensure sustainable democracy?
1.5. RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H0: Political education has no significant impact on democratic stability in Yelwa, Bauchi state.
H1: Political education has a significant impact on democratic stability in Yelwa, Bauchi state.
H0: There is no significant relationship between political education and democratic stability in Yelwa, Bauchi state.
H1: There is a significant relationship between political education and democratic stability in Yelwa, Bauchi state.
1.6. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The significance of this timely and topical study is twofold: practical and academic. Practically, this study will be of paramount importance to the elections management bodies in Nigeria especially the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the registered political parties, authorities of the non-governmental organizations, the national and state governments as well as the general public for the following reasons:
This research/study is significant as it aims to provide lasting solution to factors militating against political participation in Nigeriaand its adverse effects on the democratic process in Nigeria. It is also relevant to researchers, policy makers, practical statesmen, students. The study will also contribute to the body and encourage other writers or researchers to carryout similar work in the field.
1.7. SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is restricted to the impact of political education on a stable democracy, a case study of Yelwa, Bauchi state.
1.8 LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint– Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint– The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Political Education: All formal and non-formal teaching and learning processes with the aim to develop civic competences.
Election: This is the formal way of choosing someone who will govern the public, by means of electing or voting for that person or political party (Eulau, Gibbins and Webb, 2019).
Political Party: Is defined as an organised group of people with at least roughly similar political aims and opinions that seeks to influence public policy by getting its candidates elected to public office.
Democracy: Is defined as a political system that is run and controlled by citizens of the country. Democracies are made up of elected representatives and require that governmental measures be voted on by these elected representatives or the people. Democracies are not universal and are implemented and enforced in different manner.
Democratic Consolidation: Is the process by which a new democracy matures, in a way that means it is unlikely to revert to authoritarianism without an external shock.
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