VOTER'S TURNOUT AND DEMOCRATIC consolidation
VOTER'S TURNOUT AND DEMOCRATIC CONSOLIDATION
1.1 Background of The Study
Voter turnout is the most common form of democratic engagement. While turnout is a simple statistic, it indicates concern about outcomes, constituent satisfaction, political beliefs, party voting distribution, and other markers of democratic efficacy. Recognising the importance of citizen involvement in democracy (Dahl and Stinebrickner, 2005),
it seems reasonable to assert that turnout is likewise vital in democratic consolidation. Unsurprisingly, political scientists have long been interested in determining the factors that influence turnout.
Today, democracy is unquestionably the most desired form of government throughout the world. One of its guiding ideas is the engagement of the people in determining who governs them.
As a result, it is important to recognise that a functional democracy necessitates an informed and active public that understands how to express its interests, act collectively, and hold government officials accountable through a credible election process (National Democratic Institute, 2011).
Credible elections may thus be argued to be a precondition for democratic government, political stability, and national progress. Nigeria's first attempt at parliamentary democracy occurred after independence in 1960, but was thwarted by a military coup in 1966 (Dudley, 1982).
Nigeria transitioned from military control to presidential democracy in 1979. The democratic administration was deposed once more in 1983 by a military coup; the third democratic attempt in Nigeria began in 1989 but was abandoned in 1993 due to the annulment of the presidential election, which would have marked the high point of the transition (Joseph, 1991).
Following tremendous internal and international demands on the military government, as well as the unexpected death of then-military Head of State General Sani Abacha, the military government finally handed over control to an elected civilian government in May 1999 (Osaghae, 1998).
Since 1999, elections in Nigeria have grown more regular; between 1999 and 2019, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) held six consecutive general elections for the first time in Nigeria's political history. Since 1999, Nigeria has made exceptional progress towards the consolidation of democracy (Oyovbaire, 2008).
1.2 Statement of the Problem
In a country of over 180 million people, one would expect to see more persons on the electoral roll and longer waits at polling booths throughout the election. However, turnout appears to be deteriorating between the 2015 and 2019 general elections.
The question of voter turnout arises in all developed democracies. Even the world's oldest democracies are suffering from a lack of voter engagement. Of course, every country has its own causes underpinning low voter turnout, such as widespread distrust in the political system, challenging logistics, a lack of public awareness, and the belief that one vote makes no difference.
In the case of Nigeria, one of the major impediments to improving statistics has been the failures of the national election authority, the Independent National election Commission. During the 2015 General Election,
INEC failed to produce the required Permanent Voters' Cards to nearly twenty million Nigerian residents out of a registered sixty-eight point eight million. 2017 (Funmilayo).
1.3 Objectives of The Study
The study's primary goal is to;
To investigate the influence of low voter turnout on Nigerian democratic consolidation.
To assess the impact of election violence on voter turnout.
To investigate the Independent National Electoral Commission's (INEC) influence in voter turnout during elections.
The following research questions will guide the study's course in order to get a sound conclusion:
How does low voter turnout effect Nigeria's democratic consolidation?
What effect does election violence have on voter turnout in Nigeria?
What steps has the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) taken to reduce incidents of low voter turnout?
1.5 Research Theories
For the study, the following null hypotheses are proposed:
Turnout during the polls has no bearing on Nigeria's democratic consolidation. (Ho) In Nigeria, election violence has little effect on voter turnout. (Ho)
1.6 Significance of the Research
The study's findings and results will provide the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and all relevant stakeholders with a more reliable and scientific way of ensuring that our democracy is effectively consolidated, through proper voter education and awareness creation.
The study's findings would also assist Nigerian voters greatly by highlighting the perils of political indifference towards democratic consolidation. According to the security firm, the study will demonstrate how appropriate security may increase voter turnout.
Academically, the study adds to the corpus of current work on voter turnout and democratic consolidation in Nigeria. It will also act as a guide for researchers, provide data on which additional studies can be based, and assist other researchers in further research analysis.
1.7 Scope of The Study
Although Nigeria has held six general elections since the return to democracy in 1999 (in 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015, and 2019). The study's scope is limited to the two most recent general elections, which were held in 2015 and 2019.
1.8 Research Limitations
One of the most significant drawbacks of our investigation has always been the lack of time. Because the time frame for this study is relatively short for a full research job, acquiring enough material becomes quite difficult.
Finance is also one of the study's constraints. The researcher encountered budgetary constraints in order to satisfy all of the necessary educational requirements, including this research study.
Some respondents approach questionnaires incorrectly. The majority of respondents did not return their questionnaires, although some did. As a result, the researcher had to wait and collect each questionnaire sent.
1.9 Organisation of the Research
This research is divided into five chapters. The first chapter should include the study's background, a statement of the research problem, the study's aim, research questions, and other relevant information.
The second chapter would include a review of the literature on the subject. In chapter three, the methods used in the study will be described. The fourth chapter will concentrate on the display and analysis of obtained data. The final chapter, chapter five, would include a summary of the findings, a conclusion, and relevant suggestions.