As social beings, men cannot avoid living in groups in order to survive and achieve comfortable living. But the survival and comfort of the individuals depend on how well the socio-political and economic environments of the society are managed. Effective and massive political participation of the citizens in the management of their own affairs are necessary for the political and economic stability of the society. The role of political education in enhancing this stability becomes priceless. Political education in Nigeria since independence is far from being ideal. The political integration without the socio-cultural integration of the diverse peoples of Nigeria is responsible for most of the problems in the country. Factors like ethnic politics, greed, religious dogmas, etc., have impeded effective political education in Nigeria. It is, therefore, the intention of this paper to examine the concept of political education. The paper also seeks to investigate the problems of ineffective political education in Nigeria. It will also explore the best possible avenues for imparting political knowledge to the citizens. It will equally make recommendations on how to achieve political stability and enhancing enduring democracy in Nigeria.
The historical background of any nation greatly affects its political development. The entity known as Nigeria was a colonial creation. The integration of more than 250 different linguistic and cultural groups into one political unit has a big impact on the political development of the country. Before the colonization of this area, each of these cultural groups had its own pattern of political administration and succession. Political education was then easy since the citizens grew within the cultural environment and imbibed the norms of the society.
On the attainment of independence in 1960, a new (alien) system of administration came into existence. The euphoria of independence made some people think that sooner or later, ethnicity would give way to a united, strong nation. However, that has not been the case. A wrong political foundation was laid by the founding fathers of the nation. Political activities and the formation of political parties were regionally/ethnically based. The orientation of the citizens was towards their regions rather than the nation. Consequently, there were political rivalries between the regions and among the political parties.
The First Republic was characterized by politics of bitterness, hatred, intolerance, ethnic chauvinism and wanton destruction of lives and properties. In the Second and present Republics, a little lesson was learnt. The 1979 and 1999 Constitutions provided for the formation of political parties with national rather than ethnic outlooks. But notwithstanding this provision, ethnicity has continued to play a great role in Nigerian politics. Other factors that have hindered political stability
and enduring democracy in the country include greed, religious dogmas, political violence, political assassination, rigging of election results, snatching of ballot boxes, etc. according to Ojo (2014), violence has become synonymous with Nigeria’s political culture such that virtually all elections held so far in the country are violent ridden.
The above factors usually create lukewarm attitude among the citizens. Arising from this is the high level of political apathy in Nigeria. Political apathy refers to the citizens’ indifference to the political activities of their country, sometimes occasioned by the activities of the politicians and sometimes by ignorance. It means also low level of political participation.
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