Patterns of Political Culture and The Paradox of Political Participation in Nigeria: An analytical Evaluation
by Victor E. Ita, PhD
In any democratic political system, the prevailing political culture determines the level citizens' participation in the electoral and governance processes. This paper evaluated the patterns of political culture and the paradox of political participation in Nigeria. The paper analytically explored the published opinions of scholars on the issues of political culture and participation as applicable to the Nigerian situation. The paper posited that there is a direct relationship between political culture and political participation in the Nigerian political landscape. The paper observed that Nigeria has not yet developed a stable political culture nor satisfied the minimum conditions required for a democratic election as no election in Nigeria has ever been free and fair, and held in atmosphere devoid of fraud, intimidation and massive rigging. This as the paper noted is engendered by fragmented nature of the Nigerian polity and the prevalent parochial-subject political culture. Moreover, it was revealed that the citizens' low and minimal participation in the electoral process in Nigeria is a product of multiple factors such as absence of stable democratic culture, low level of political discourse, political thuggery, ineffective accountability, weakened political socialization processes and structures and absence of politics of new breedism. Consequently, the paper suggested among others that political and social programmes to educate and enlighten the Nigerian politicians and the entire electorate should be carried out with focus on the contents of democratic culture and the benefits of orderly electoral process and stable democracy.