A GEOPOLITICAL PERSPECTIVE OF THE VOTING BEHAVIOUR OF ELECTORATE IN NIGERIA: AN ANALYSIS OF THE 2015 GENERAL ELECTIONS

Johnson O. Olaniyi

Abstract


The imperativeness of election in any liberal democracy is demonstrated by the fact that it serves as the platform through which public office holders are usually recruited. Therefore in view of the important functions usually performed by the public office holders, then their emergence must be devoid of any form of sentiment. This is where the voting pattern of electorate becomes crucial. Since they are to elect representatives of their choice, then they must not allow sectional interest to becloud their judgment. This study has as its general objective an examination of the impact of environmental (geographic) factors on the electoral decisions of Nigerian voters. The specific objectives of the study include: (i) to analyse the factors that can shape the voting decision of electorate in Nigeria; (ii) to examine the extent to which the voting decisions of Nigerian electorate were governed by geographic factors during the 2015 general elections; and (iii)explain the effect which sectional voting has on the cohesion of the country. The research methodology adopted was historical cum descriptive analysis. Some of the findings of this study include: (i)almost the same factors have been governing the voting decisions of Nigerian electorate over the years; (ii) that to a great extent, the outcomes of the 2015 general elections reflected voting on the basis of geopolitical groupings as demonstrated by the result of the Presidential election; (iii) sectional voting is a reflection of a situation where by a voter promotes parochial interest at the expense of national interest; and (iv) the winner takes all syndrome, promotes sectional voting. Based on its findings, the study among others, recommends that; (i) Nigerian electorate should shun sectional or geographic interest by embracing national interest while forming their voting decisions; (ii)Section 14(3) of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria on the reflection of federal character principle on appointment makings should be expanded to cover the electoral process; and (iii) the winner takes it all syndrome in the country should be reviewed to guard against lopsidedness in appointment makings and unwarranted desperation for control of political power by different sections of the country.

Keywords


Geopolitics, Election, Voting Behaviour, Electorate/ Voter, Political party

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