1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Periodic free and fair elections constitute one of the most significant institutions of liberal and participatory democracy. Elections involve a democratic process of choosing who governs a particular group, society or state. As a critical aspect of democracy elections can take different forms depending on what the polity in question deems appropriate for use (Robert & Obioha, 2011). However, Ujo (2014) makes the distinction between elections and voting. He asserts that election is an umbrella word with a wide coverage that includes other activities before, during and after voting. These activities include planning, voter registration, and constituency delimitation, arrangement of the polling stations, polling procedure, vote counting and announcement of results. However, voting is the actual process in which individual choice is made from various alternatives. The extent to which elections contribute to the development and sustenance of democracy, particularly in those that are new and developing, is largely dependent on factors which influence the electorates in making their choice. Studies have been conducted to show the interplay of electoral choice, outcome and ethnic structure (Norris & Mattes, 2013; Glaeser 2011; Posner, 2015). These studies demonstrate that African elites often manipulate ethnic splits to win elections, thereby showing that election results in African countries usually follow ethnic lines. Nigeria is undoubtedly one of the most heterogeneous countries in the world. With a population of over 186 million (World meters 2015), Nigeria is also the most populous black nation with over 250 ethnic groups and several sub-groups (Olayode 2015). Despite these characteristics, the country’s political scene is dominated by three major ethnic groups, namely Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo. Other sub-groups exist but are regarded as minorities. The existence of sub-groups among the large and dominant groups raises the fear of dominance of the minority groups by the major ethnic groups. Consequently, politics is played by these ethnic groups and sub-groups in such a manner as to maintain the domination by the majority groups or to prevent and resist domination by the minority groups. Nigerian Government has successfully conducted the 2019 general elections despite the failure the country recorded in the use of card reader that was initially acquired by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure that only the registered and accredited electorate voted in the elections. Nevertheless, it is very easy for anyone to blame the federal government for failing to conduct very credible elections except for those that understood the influence of ethnicity and religion in the Nigerian politics. It could be recalled that the present Nigerian political system evolved from the British colonialist constitutions. So, when the European guided political philosophy was eventually formulated as a paradigm for development in Nigeria, the leaders soon discovered that the model was essentially abstract in nature as it paid no attention to the historical specificity of the people, but treated development as something that was no way connected to the Nigerian peoples and culture (Ake, 2013). In the series of the colonialist constitutions, the Clifford Constitution of 1922 made it possible for Nigerian citizens to elect their own representatives into the legislative council in Lagos, the Bourdillion Constitution of 1939 created the platform for regional government, the Richard Constitution of 1945 offered Nigerians a better platform to participate and discuss their own affairs, the Macpherson Constitution of 1951 established a central Legislative and Executive council for the entire country, the Lyttleton Constitution of 1954 made Nigeria a federal state, while the 1960 Constitution granted political independence to Nigeria. Although ethnicity has always been a major impediment to the peace and development of Nigeria, its effect was not as pronounced as it is today. The ethnic virus has been one of the most important causes of social crisis and political instability in Nigeria; and ethnicity has been perceived in general as a major obstacle to the overall politico-economic development of the country (Otite, 2015). Unarguably, Nigeria is a country that is blessed with enormous human and material resources, but ironically, the same country has become the bastion of inequitable state policies, injustice and barefaced corruption, etc., where ethnicity has pervaded every facet of the Nigerian life, and more fundamentally determines who gets what, when and how (Lassswell,2008). Ethnicity has been considered to be the cause of the 1967-1970 Civil War in Nigeria, elections which have been rigged and those which have failed can be blamed on ethnicity dimension. Therefore, this study seeks to provide answers to the following questions: What are the effects of ethnic politics in Nigeria’s political victory? Why has ethnicity persisted in Nigerian politics? What factors encourage ethnicity and ethnic politics in Nigeria? And in what practical ways could this ethnic coloration be contained.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The dangerous monster known as ethnicity has remained a dominant factor that shapes the outcome of election results in Nigeria. Although, this ugly menace manifested glaringly in the 1979 and 1983 presidential elections, this phenomenon however took a nose dive during the 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015 and the 2019 presidential elections as manifested in the outcome of these elections. In these elections the winners secured substantial votes in other than their own across the country. Following this development, Nigerians and the stakeholders in Nigerian electoral process heaved a sigh relief. Unfortunately, this ugly menace resurfaced during the 2015 and 2019 presidential election as the candidates of the two dominant political parties (PDP and APC) only secured majority of the votes cast only within their ethnic home lands but failed abysmally in other ethnic groups. Despite the attendant implications which this negative trend portends for good governance and democratic consolidation in Nigeria as evident in the rising spates of separatists agitations across the country, the outcome of the election was highly celebrated and viewed in many quarters as a welcome development, on the flimsy explanation that it was the first time an incumbent president lost election to opposition party. Granted that the election really marked a water shade in the annals of the development of Nigerian democracy, it is more rewarding to understand the implications of the resurgence of ethnicity in voting behaviour among Nigerians rather than paying fleeting attention to the development. The need to interrogate this development becomes more imperative when weighed against the backdrop of the danger this negative development portends for the Nigerian state especially when the ruling party (APC) has begun to base its political appointments and allocations of other socio-economic values on number of votes it secured in each geopolitical region.
1.3 AIMS OF THE STUDY
The major purpose of this study is to examine the effect of ethnicity on political victory in Nigeria. Other general objectives of the study are:
1. To examine the nature of the 2019 general Election in Nigeria.
2. To examine the political behaviour of Nigerians in a democratic setting.
3. To examine the effect of ethnicity on political victory in Nigeria.
4. To examine the extent ethnicity permeates political victory in Nigeria
5. To examine the voting pattern in 2019 general Elections in Nigeria.
6. To examine the factors that made the outcome of the election different from the previous Elections in the country.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. How was the nature of the 2019 general Election in Nigeria?
2. How is the political behaviour of Nigerians in a democratic setting?
3. What is the effect of ethnicity on political victory in Nigeria?
4. To what extent does ethnicity permeates political victory in Nigeria?
5. How was the voting pattern in 2019 general Elections in Nigeria?
6. What are the factors that made the outcome of the election different from the previous Elections in the country?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
H0: There is no significant relationship between ethnicity and political victory in Nigeria
H1: There is a significant relationship between ethnicity and political victory in Nigeria.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The issue of politics and ethnic conflict has been a major obstacle to the eradicative of a stable Nigeria. As our problem of statement has emphasized there is urgently of the need to address the issue of ethnicity to avert further disaster. The relevance of this work is that it unveils the implication of class struggle in fermentation ethnic conflict should start seeing themselves as one indivisible nation that should be fighting for development of the ruling class in fighting for development of the ruling class in causing confusion in the nation. This work will also contributes to the various writings e,g journals and textbooks that have been highlighting on the dangers of ethnic crisis and how to handle it finally, it will help policy makers in the country and the world over to know the root cause of ethnic conflict, so as to explore strategies by which the negative effects of ethnicity could be mitigated in the future. Thus making lasting policies that will obliterate ethnic chauvinism and its consequent effect on national stability and development. Thus this study will help the Nigerian government and students in further research
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is based on examining the effect of ethnicity on political victory in Nigeria, a case study of 2019 general election.
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 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
Political Instability: political instability” is defined as the propensity of a change in the executive, either by “constitutional” or “unconstitutional” means.
Ethnicity: Cox (1970) sees ethnicity or ethnic group generally as a socio-cultural entity “while inhabiting the same state, country or economic area, consider themselves biologically, culturally, linguistically or socially distinct from each other and most often view their relation in actual or potentially antagonistic terms” Azeez (2011) sees ethnicity as a sense of people hood that has its foundation in the combined remembrance of past experience and common aspiration.
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