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It is no news that the Independent National Electoral Commission is constitutionally empowered to engineer and all electoral process in Nigeria, but the seeming declining interest to participate on the electoral system by the electorates’ calls for questioning. This study therefore intend to examine the effect of insecurity and voters apathy in Nigeria electoral process with emphasis on 2015 election in Rivers State. The study adopted both Survey Research Design for the study, while Rational Choice Theory was chosen as the theoretical foundation. The study hypothesized that there is a correlation between electoral violence in all its ramifications and the apathetic behaviour of voters in Nigeria. Findings revealed that poor political and voters education in congruence with low level of education, illiteracy, especially whereby majority of voters (about 50%) neglect to pick up their permanent voters cards; and could not be accredited to vote; that the nature of Nigerian politics is another factor since Nigeria politics is labelled politics of acrimony, bitterness; that since elected representatives fail to deliver on their campaign promises, that the electorates have lost trust in the government and finds it difficult to participate in the electoral process.




  • Background of the study

The beauty of democracy depends not on the number of registered political parties in a country but rather on the degree of popular participation in the democratic process. Taking an actual part in the government does not mean that every citizen will have a portfolio in government house and begin to govern. It implies that every adult, citizen has a compulsory role to play in the choice of who governs either by contesting or by voting credible representatives to form the ruling class. In other words, every citizen must play a part in the democratic process. Robert Dahl (2014), argues that effective participation is a criterion for the perfect democratic governance. Voting at elections is one of the easiest ways for citizens to participate in the democratic process. According to Huntington (2015), a political system is democratic to the extent that its most powerful collective decision-makers are selected through fair, honest and periodic elections in which candidates freely compete for votes and in which virtually all the adult population is eligible to vote. Unfortunately, the spate of bombings, kidnapping, massive fraud and harassment associated with the electoral process in Nigeria not only tarnish the image of our democracy, they also grossly affect voters‟ interest in politics. Voting, which is an important ingredient of democracy, is thus seen as the business of party supporters and political thugs who are paid peanuts to turn the whole process of election into a violence-packed political jamboree suitable for only fiendish individuals with violent minds. This unfortunate political trend in the country does not encourage popular participation in politics. Many Nigerians now see politics as a dirty game and so believe that active participation in political activities is tantamount to embarking on a journey of no return. The true meaning of politics has been wrongly interpreted by the attitudinal expressions of our politicians who venture into politics not with the mind to serve but to be served. They interpret politics to mean a platform for selfish aggrandizement of wealth and fame. Winning of elections in Nigeria does not depend on the people‟s choice but on the number of political thugs, cultists, political god-fathers and mothers at the disposal of public office contestants. Overall, the electioneering processes of Nigeria over the years have been characterized by several untoward tendencies ranging from massive frauds, rigging, intimidation of both opponents and potential voters, state interference, lack of ideological conviction of the ruling class, lack of continuity, violence, to mention a few, hence apathy naturally sets in. Despite the electrifying effect of the Nigerian 2015 general elections, it was discovered that less than half of the registered voters, 42.76%, officially voted (INEC, 2015). In fact as it would be argued in the course of this study, since 1999, the country witnessed its major lowest voters’ turnout during the 2015 elections. This which has been pecked at 43.65% compared to the 54% in 2011 or the 57% in 2007 and lastly the 69% and 52% in the 2003 and 1999 elections respectively. What this can only mean is that the lowest rate of voters’ turnout in the last election is a continuous spillover of the yet to be mitigated overtime increase of voter apathy in Nigeria. It is against this backdrop that this study opines that until there is a drastic change around in the country’s electioneering process, the electoral body manning up over their responsibilities, this misfortune will continue to aggravate. With respect to the level of backwardness of the political culture in Nigeria, this which is basically characterized with violence, unideological, money, ethnic and quite recently, religious politics; this paper is of the contention that the electoral body must as a matter of urgency rise to the task of revitalizing the country’s electioneering process. This ugly scenario has far-reaching implications for our nascent democracy and national security.


This study examines the destabilizing effects of insecurity and how they influence the degree of voters apathy in the political process in Nigeria. At a workshop on voter apathy organized in Abuja by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on 9th June, 2011, Prof. Attahiru Jega, the chairman of the Commission, noted that Nigerians‟ participation in the electoral process was low, saying that only 35% of the 70 Million registered voters took part in the 2011 general elections (Sesan, O. 2012).It has become extremely worrisome that over the years, there seems to be significant decline in the rate of voter’s turnout during elections in Nigeria. Going through the analysis of official records obtained from INEC website, it revealed that 52.3% of the registered voters voted in the 1999 elections; the figure rose to 69.1% in 2003, then went down to 57.4% in 2011, 43.6% in 2015 and only a handful of 34.74% of the registered voters actually voted in the just concluded 2019 presidential elections (INEC, The News Agency of Nigeria, 2019 in the same vein reported that the 34.75% of voters in the 2019 general elections represents 26,614,190 electorates who cast their votes during elections and that 33.18% representing 27,324,583 of the 82,344,107 registered voters were valid votes that led to the final decision of INEC, hence the declaration of Muhammadu Buhari as President on the Presidential and National Assembly elections held on 23rd February 2019. The above scenario presents a gloomy picture of voter participation and democracy in Nigeria especially when recourse is made to the fact that Nigeria’s population has been approximated to about two hundred million (200m) persons. Supposedly, the affairs of Nigeria state is supposed to be run by elected officials whom greater majority of the electorates elected, but the electorates feels disenchanted and allows of the affairs of the greater population to be decided by few inactive politicians. Again, when very few people vote, the politicians elected do not represent the beliefs and values of the general population. Voter apathy is therefore been compared with a sort of political depression, where one feels helpless and unable to influence important events.


The study has one main objective which is sub-divided into general and specific objective. The general objective is to examine insecurity and voters apathy in Nigeria electoral system with emphasis on the 2015 election in Rivers state. The specific objectives are;

  1. To examine the effect of insecurity on voters apathy in Nigeria elections
  2. To ascertain if there is any relationship between insecurity on voters apathy in Nigeria
  • To examine the effect of voters apathy on the credibility of the electoral process
  1. To proffer suggested solutions to the identified problem

The following research questions were formulated by the researcher to aid the completion of the study;

  1. Is there any effect of insecurity on voters apathy in Nigeria elections?
  2. Is there any significant relationship between insecurity on voters apathy in Nigeria?
  • Does voter’s apathy have any effect on the credibility of the electoral process?

The following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher to aid the completion of the study;

H0: There is no significant relationship between insecurity on voter’s apathy in Nigeria

H1: There is a significant relationship between insecurity on voter’s apathy in Nigeria

H0: insecurity does not have any effect on voter’s apathy in Nigeria elections

H2: insecurity does have an effect on voter’s apathy in Nigeria elections


It is believed that at the completion of the study, the findings will be of great importance to the Nigerian independent electoral commission as the findings will be of great importance in helping them to formulate policies that will aid greater participation in politics in the forthcoming elections. The study will also be of great importance. The findings will also be of great importance to the researchers who intend to embark on a study in a similar topic, as the findings of this study will serve as a reference point to further studies. The study will also be of great importance to academia’s, students, teachers, researchers and the general public as the findings of the study will add to the pool of existing literature on the subject matter and also contribute to knowledge.


The scope of the study covers the effect of insecurity and voters apathy in Nigeria’s electoral process with emphasis on River state 2915 general election. But in the course of the study, there are some factors that limited the scope of the study;

AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study

TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.

FINANCE: The finance available for the research work does not allow for wider coverage as resources are very limited as the researcher has other academic bills to cover.



Insecurity is a feeling of uncertainty, a lack of confidence or anxiety about yourself. Put aside your insecurities and start acting like the smart, capable person you are


Voters are people who have the legal right to vote in elections, or people who are voting in a particular election

Voter’s apathy

Voter apathy is a lack of interest among voters in the elections of representative democracies. Voter apathy or lack of interest is often cited as a cause of low turnout among eligible voters

Electoral system

An electoral system or voting system is a set of rules that determine how elections and referendums are conducted and how their results are determined.


This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), statement of problem, objectives of the study, research question, significance or the study, research methodology, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlight the theoretical framework on which the study its based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.  Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.