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The essence of democracy is based on the desires of the people whom such government serves. Because of their contribution to economic and democratic growth, youths have been highlighted as a crucial segment of every country's population.

In the case of Nigeria, youngsters have participated in politics, engineer environmental agitation, the election process, and civil justice, all of which are parts of the democratic experience.

However, in recent times, the country's democratic experience has been jeopardised by youth-instigated violence and insecurity. This study is thus inspired by the necessity to evaluate the issues faced in sustaining democracy in Nigeria, the impact of youths on the sustainability of democracy in Nigeria, and solutions that may be implemented to perpetuate democracy in the country.

The study adopts a survey design approach for data gathering, employing a structured questionnaire titled “Impact and Challenges of Youths in Sustaining Democracy” (ICYSD) and directed by three research topics. A total of 200 youths from the delta region were sampled, with 200 from Cross Rivers State.

Frequencies and percentages were used to analyse the data. The findings indicate that illiteracy, ethnic sentiment, unemployment, and poverty are the primary challenges faced in sustaining democracy, and that the impact of youths on the sustenance of democracy includes manpower provision,

voter strength, electoral violence, and disruption of economic activities, to name a few. This study also demonstrates that democracy in Nigeria may be sustained by empowerment projects, access to education, religious and ethnic tolerance, and job development.



Background of The study

Every country has a governance system; governance refers to how the country is governed. Scholars have identified Monarchy, Democracy, Oligarchy, Autocracy, and Theocracy as government systems that have existed around the world.

However, in recent years, democracy has become a household name around the world and is increasingly being adopted by more countries as such, making it one of the most often used systems of governance.

Although the practise of democracy varies by country, democracy is founded on guaranteeing that citizens' rights are safeguarded while developing and controlling the country's affairs by popular vote. Thus, democracy can be described as rule chosen by the people for the people through an electoral process.

This means that democracy in Ireland differs from democracy in the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and Australia, to name a few. Scholars have shed more light on democracy, pointing out that it is derived from the Greek language and refers to “rule by simple majority.”

As a result, it can be described as the rule of a society through an election process that ensures citizens' freedom to associate in order to actualize their goals and defend and advance their interests. As such, the task of any society is primarily to rebuild and revitalise itself while developing its own capabilities,

educating and mobilising its citizens, which include youths, the middle-aged, and the elderly, and they must continue to allow themselves to be educated and mobilised if the true values of democracy are to be sustained through the consolidation and deepening of equity in the fabrics of any society.

Anyone between the ages of 18 and 30 is considered a youth. According to current demographic forecasts, youth make up more than one billion of the world's population. Scholars have continued to emphasise the significance of youngsters in economic and political growth. People used to be sceptical about young people's abilities, according to Kura.

This created a hurdle for young people to overcome in order to reach their full potential. Nonetheless, despite their mistrust and problems, youth contributions to society growth have increased. Anasi contends that a country's level, security, and rate of development are determined by its creative powers, work force, and orientation.

According to Arubayi, youths are potentially and essentially the necessary resources worthy of investment by any nation, and as such, they are at the heart of any country's sustainable development, and any country that truly seeks to achieve meaningful national development must harness the potentials of the youths.

According to the National Population Commission mentioned in Akinyemi and Isiugo-Abanihe, Nigeria's young population is predicted to be around 140 million. Because of their demographic importance in the Nigerian context, they are valuable contributors as partners, stakeholders, organisers, entrepreneurs, and strategic catalysts for national growth.

According to the age range in which youngsters are classed, they constitute a considerable share of the electorates in the political scene. According to Anasi, they outnumber the elderly and middle-aged in society. As a result, their importance in the election process cannot be overstated.

According to Khasan, they are the mobilizers of political revolutions and transformations, and as a result, they have taken up political positions in industrialised countries. President of France, Emmanuel Macron, Prime Minister of Ireland,

Leo Varadkar, Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, and former President of Nigeria, Nnamdi Azikiwe, are just a few examples of how youths have embraced politics and empowerment.

However, supporters have emphasised the cynicism sometimes associated with youths when it comes to politics. This has subsequently influenced their attitudes towards existing political and organisational structures, affecting their political engagement.

This experience is exacerbated in poor countries by unemployment, a lack of educational options, poverty, and corruption. These conditions are especially evident in Nigeria's democratic system.

Nigeria, located in the western region of the African continent, is the most populous country in Africa, with a population of more than 150 million people. Nigeria's democratic experience is unusual.

Once classified as one of Africa's military dictatorship strongholds, the country has emerged as a model of democratic practise on the African continent.

Prior to the military interruption of the democratic form of governance, the country acquired its independence in 1960 under a democratic parliamentary system, which has since evolved into a presidential system of democracy, producing four republics over a period of several years.

In a country with over 350 distinct ethnic groups, the cultural diversity of the Nigerian population has provided distinct socio-political issues for the country's political landscape, with nepotism, ethnicity, tribalism, and corruption rearing their ugly heads.

These views have been passed down through centuries, and young people have been readily influenced into bloodshed as a result of misgivings towards another tribe sparked by political and religious figures.

As a result, the country is continually threatened by ethnic and religious confrontations, instability posed by unemployed youths, youth protests, terrorist attacks, militancy activities such as oil pipeline explosions, and youth kidnapping, to name a few.

The creation of British Colonial Administration in Nigeria throughout the first three decades of the twentieth century altered the Nigerian economies and societies. In the 1930s, a new wave of anti-colonial actions arose in Nigeria, demanding Nigerian participation in administration.

The rising nationalism movement put the colonial authority under pressure to be more sensitive to the needs of ordinary Nigerians. This resulted in Nigerian self-governance at the regional level, which eventually led to independence on October 1st, 1960 (Falola and Heaton 2008: 136).

The manner in which the political elites mobilised the youth is reflected during elections, because they are frequently mobilised with the promise of sponsorship by the patrons.

The participation of the youth in Nigerian politics is critical. For example, in 1962, Nigerian youth protest was essential in the repeal of the Anglo-Nigerian Defence Pact, which intended to bind Nigeria to the military strings of Britain even after independence in 1960.

Furthermore, the youth contributed to the democratisation battle from the time of military control until the resumption of democratic governance in 1999 (Apam 2010: 37-39). The rise of democracy ushered in the 1999 election of the fourth republic, which took place on May 29th, 1999, bringing to an end the thirty-three year military administration.

People's Democratic Party (PDP), All People's Party (APP), and Alliance for Democracy (AD) were the parties that ran in the first round. However, the number of political parties expanded to thirty (30) in 2003,

and more than fifty (50) in the general elections of 2007 and 2011. In the end, more than fifty political parties ran in the 2015 General Elections. (Ishaq 2008:113).

1.2. Statement of the Problem

History indicates that the achievements of youths in emancipating Nigeria from colonial control and sustaining democracy cannot be underestimated. According to Chika and Onyene, youth participation in Nigeria's democratic process can be traced back to the 1920s,

when Nigerian youths established local newspapers such as the “Lagos Daily Newspaper” by Herbert Macaulay and the “Nigerian Daily Times” by Richard Barrow and Adeyemo Alakija in 1925 and 1926, respectively.

These newspapers were instrumental in raising the consciousness of Nigerian youths, and in 1934, Herbert Macaulay launched the Nigerian National Democratic Party, and since then, politically oriented groups such as the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF), TIV Youth Organisation (TYO), and Ijaw Youth Congress (IYC), to name a few,

have continued to raise and agitate for issues affecting the nation's political landscape. These protests resulted in the House of Assembly passing the Not Too Young to Run bill, which aims to encourage younger engagement in governance. The embryonic democratic process in Nigeria,

however, is not without obstacles; there is still widespread election subversion, political violence, and ethnic-related agitation in the country, all of which are perpetrated by youngsters acting on the orders of political leaders and elders. As a result, the youth are being used as weapons against the country's democratic evolution.

This is supported by the recently completed presidential election in 2019, which saw widespread incidences of political violence and ethnic-related agitation by youngsters across the country prior to the elections.

These activities endanger the country's democracy and must be addressed if the country is to realise true democratic dividends and national progress. As a result, the purpose of this research is to examine the role of youths in sustaining post-military democracy in Nigeria.

1.3 objectives of The study

The primary goal of this research is to investigate the role of youngsters in sustaining post-military democracy in Nigeria. The following goals were specifically addressed:

Determine the obstacles of maintaining democracy in Nigeria.

To ascertain the impact of youths on the sustainability of democracy in Nigeria.

Propose solutions for sustaining Nigeria's democracy.

1.4 Research

The study was guided by the following research questions:

What are the difficulties in maintaining democracy in Nigeria?

What role do Nigerian youth have in upholding democracy?

What steps are required to sustain democracy in Nigeria?

1.5 Significance of the research

The study examined and solved policy implementation challenges in the hope of determining and guiding government politicians and bureaucrats on how to handle policy implementation in every society.

These processes are gleaned in many cases from experts' perspectives on policy implementation as well as from the perspectives of respondents gathered in this study.

The study also made recommendations for youth development in society at the grassroots level.

government. This is intended to guide the lower level of governance with recommendations that will provide administrators with adequate input to enable them to meet their governance obligations in a better and more appropriate manner, particularly with regard to the issue of implementing youth development programmes.

The report regarded the implementation of the National Youth Development Policy as a success.

challenge. As a result, it explored challenges that impede policy execution and advances information that could be valuable for the smooth development of the youth, as well as argued government measures for youth development in its endeavour to ensure the security of lives and property in society.

The study identified various approaches to policy implementation for persons facing comparable life issues. This will thus serve as a reference to the public and advisers on how to avoid unnecessary mistakes, particularly at the grassroot level of society.

1.6 Proposal

The following hypothesis was developed and tested.


Ho: Youths in Nigeria do not play a vital role in upholding democracy.


H1: Youths play important responsibilities in the maintenance of democracy in Nigeria.


1.7 scope of The study

The research was conducted in the Niger Delta region, which includes the states of Delta, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Bayelsa, Ondo, and Edo. The study purposefully chose youngsters residing in Cross Rivers State due to its level of development as well as the state's youth population. The study focused on youngsters from each of the country's 36 states who lived in Calabar town.

1.8 Limitations of the Study

Financial constraint- A lack of funds tends to restrict the researcher's efficiency in locating relevant materials, literature, or information, as well as in the data collection procedure (internet, questionnaire, and interview).

Time constraint- The researcher will conduct this investigation alongside other academic activities. As a result, the amount of time spent on research will be reduced.

1.9 Theoretical Structure

The following theories were investigated in this study:

Democratisation Theory


Theory of


Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs


Theory of Self-Efficacy


(1861) Democratic theory

In the year 1861, the proponent of this philosophy was an ancient Greek philosopher known as Abraham Lincoln. According to the view, huge public participation is a fundamental component of every democratic process. This was one of the notable hypotheses utilised in evaluating public participation.

It was largely used in politics to allow every member of society to actively engage in the political process. According to Desarion and Langton (1997), democratic theory is increasingly influencing public policy decisions, and thus serves as one of the structures through which decision-making is defined and analysed.

Democratic theory supports the idea that everybody who is directly or indirectly affected by a particular decision or activity has the same right as anyone else to make or carry out the decision or activity.

This approach emphasises the importance of everyone participating in community development activities as long as they are citizens of that community. Democratisation entails raising concerns about the viability of democracy.

Literally, democracy means government by the people, by the people, and for the people. Because democracy is about people's power, it emerges from situations that concentrate power resources in the hands of a larger portion of the populace, so that authorises cannot access these resources without making concessions to their beholders.

Because the study emphasised significant participation of young in the day-to-day concerns of their society, democratic theory will be applicable to the current study. The notion emphasises that anybody who is a member of an organisation or unit must be deeply involved when organisational decisions are debated.

Thus, adolescents must be involved in any community development projects; this is because youths are an important section of the community and must participate in the development of their community; democratic ideology requires it.

Theory of Roles

Sociologists proposed the role theory in the 1920s and early 1930s. This theory focuses on the role of growth in explaining why people develop the expectations they do. A role is defined as the set of expectations placed on an individual by society. Individuals are rewarded for upholding their responsibilities; those role requirements form a role or roles.

Roles are thus the outcomes of people participating in purposeful behaviours within an interactional setting defined by group norms and occurring inside a social system.

It addresses a set of interconnected behaviour rights and delegates as conceptualised by social actors. It is an anticipated, free, or constantly changing behaviour that may have been assigned to an individual's social position or social part.

The intended role represents the organization's goal, but the perceived role indicates the psychological organisation. According to (Steimanin, 2000), roles are significant because they organise an individual's behaviour and performance towards other people in highly unique ways.

The normative expectations of the group's members as expressed in its social gathering determine role. As a result, individual activities for acceptable job performance must be motivated. This theory is significant for this study because policymakers,

governments, and community development organisations need to clarify the role of youth and motivate them to participate in the planning and implementation of community development activities in an effective and efficient manner.

Youths' role specification and performance appear to be critical in community development; nevertheless, these whole roles cannot be effectively filled concurrently by one individual in a social action process, but must be performed collaboratively. As a result, there is a need for labour division and responsibility classification.

This is critical because youths who do not understand where they fit in community development efforts are more likely to fail in their tasks. Adequate role expectations among youngsters are regarded as a crucial prescription for efficient and long-term democratic development in Cross River State.

Theory of Self-Efficacy

Self-efficacy theory refers to an individual's belief in his or her competence to organise and execute the behaviours required to a task successfully (Shunk, 2000). This idea is relevant to this research because youths must be counselled, mentored, and encouraged to participate in community development activities.

They must be taught that they are capable of starting, overseeing, and carrying out community development efforts. According to Shunk (2000), individuals who have a high sense of self-efficacy for completing a task work harder and persevere longer when faced with difficulties

whereas those who do not feel efficacious influence individuals' actual performance, emotions, behavioural choices, and the amount of effort expended on an activity.

According to Bandura (1986), individuals' perceptions about their skills and the earnings from their efforts have a strong influence on how they will behave. As a result, some people have a strong sense of self-efficacy, whilst others do not. This idea focuses on success expectations.

However, Bandura distinguished two types of expectation beliefs: outcome expectations (belief that certain behaviours will result in a specific outcome) and efficacy expectations (belief about what one can effectively perform, the behaviours required to produce an outcome). These two types of expectation beliefs differ in that persons can believe that a given activity will result in a certain outcome but may not believe that they can do that behaviour.

This idea is relevant to this study because community development necessitates youth involvement in the planning and implementation of community development initiatives.

As a result, determining these qualities of teenagers is critical for government policymakers, community development organisations, and youth interest groups in order to provide youths with the necessary assistance and counselling.

1.10 Definition of Terms


Youth is the period of one's life when one is young, and it frequently refers to the period between childhood and adulthood. It is also characterised as “the youthful appearance, freshness, vigour, spirit, and so on.”


People's government, in particular: majority rule. a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly or indirectly by them through a system of representation, usually involving free elections held on a regular basis. a political unit that possesses a democratic government.


Election, the official process of choosing a candidate for public office or adopting or rejecting a political proposal through voting. It is critical to distinguish between the form and content of elections. In certain circumstances, electoral forms exist but the substance of an election is absent, such as when voters do not have a free and real option between at least two choices. Most countries hold elections in some form, but many of them are not competitive (e.g., all but one party may be barred from running) or the electoral situation is heavily compromised in other ways.


Politics is the set of activities involved with group decision-making or other forms of power relations between individuals, such as resource distribution or status. Political science refers to the academic study of politics.

Participation in politics

Political engagement encompasses a wide range of actions in which people form and express their ideas about the world and how it is governed, as well as attempt to influence and shape decisions that affect their lives.

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