Participation in election is more than just a voter turnout statistic, but in a deeper level, it has something to do with democratic countries‟ political, social and cultural conditions. This active participation is surrounded by issues such as the question of the legal and factual limitations to voter enfranchisement of peasants, women and ethnic groups in emerging democracies; and the declining voter turnout in both the emerging and well established democracies. Moreover, as purely electoral democracy would evolve towards a more mature democratic polity, some bridges are to be built for the effective linkage between turnout at the polls and citizens‟ capacity to influence governmental action. The later issue involves the leading role of public opinion as a central institution of democracy. Democracy is more than just elections, elections in their turn, have implications which go further than just voter turnout. Participation implies breaking down standing barriers to enfranchisement, be these legal, political or socio-cultural.
It appears that citizens turn out at the polls in direct proportion with their political interest.
Sociological research in the few well established democracies of the 1960‟s consistently showed a strong correlation between a number of so called socio-demographic factors and higher voter turnout. Those were mainly education, middle and upper income, intermediate age-groups, urban residents, and male gender. From all of the above, education proved to be the strongest single determining factor of electoral participation (Lipset, 1981). On the other hand, research in the same period conducted from a psycho-political perspective consistently showed that party identification constitutes a main predictor of voter turnout, followed by an interest on issues and candidates (Berelson, Lazarsfeld and McPhee, 1954). On the other hand, a landmark of sociopolitical research from the 1960‟s clearly showed the crucial mobilizing capacity of political parties across nations (Lipset and Rokkan, 1967).
Participation also implies an active civil society and large public opinion acting in between elections over governmental actions. This relates to the citizens capacity to influence governmental actions. Three main scenarios can be noticed for this political exercise; one is the influencing activities over policy decision through a variety of mediating mechanisms stemming basically from civil society organizations such as unions and professional associations, specialized socio movements, churches and others. A second scenario of participation is that of being able to excite and obtain relevant information from governmental policy issues and nonenforcement activities. This can be done on an individual basis, but most frequently through organizational modalities mentioned above, and conspicuously by the mass media. This later factor is tightly related to the processes of opinion formation and efficacy, public opinion been a central institution of democracy.
Other aspects of citizen participation in government are included in the recently developed methodology for democracy assessment by International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA, 2002). It is citizen participation through different means in-between elections which helps responsive government to develop, and this could also animate voters turn out at election times. This statement should not be taken as just a working hypothesis for a better understanding of participation but as a conclusion sustained by empirical evidence from a variety of historical political environment. It can be stated that to refrain from participation at the polls is to a large extent an aggressive results stemming from frustrated expectations most commonly related to frail or failing governmental delivery (Ladd, 1993; Lopez Pintor, 1995). In classical Greek society, citizens were expected to be directly involved in the very institutions that governed their lives. The ideal of active citizenship has proved highly influential in modern political thought. Modern democratic forms of government, though, have tended to be structured around representative rather than participative forms of democracy. Much of this is due to the complexity and size of industrial society (Marinetto, 2003).
In taking an active role in any democratic elections, ideas of community and active citizenship operates as strategies, enabling the state to govern more effectively. The main concern of this project work is to constructively study the democracy and citizen participation in Ekiti 2014 gubernatorial election.
From inception, Ekiti state situated in the South West geographical zone presents opportunity for us to seek to advance the cause of our democracy. The June 21, 2014 governorship election in Ekiti State, South West, Nigeria, was adjudged to be free and fair, it was a great spectacle between the incumbent GovernorFayemi if he was going to win his second tenure against Fayose (impeached in 2006 under Obasanjo‟s tenure). However, the election was unique in the sense that the incumbent governor, KayodeFayemi lost in the entire sixteenlocalgovernments while Fayose‟s electoral victory was stunning and surprising he won with 56 per cent of the votes, while Fayemi could only win 33 per cent. So sweeping was
Fayose‟s victory that he won in all the local governments, including that of Fayemi (AdeyemiAdeolu 2014). The election was in comparison better than a similar election in Anambra state in 2013 that was marred with irregularities. However, the election indeed present challenges and high points that ought to be x-rayed to allow us to continue perfecting the various processes upon which the governance framework hinges (Daily, Independent, 2015).
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The 2014 Ekiti gubernatorial election was free and fair as recorded by analyst and observers of the election but the entire electoral process to the state was neither free and fair nor credible.Fewcases of election rigging, party politics, pre-electoral violence most especially was the over militarization of the state which prevent the free movement and association of the people under the pretense of maintaining security. It is an abuse of the powers for the institution that ought to ensure that the various rights of the citizens enshrined in the constitution are protected and guaranteed at all times should be used to truncate same, when we deployed the instrument of governmental forces of coercion whose tools ought to be directed against powers that are targeted against the manifest and latent freedoms of the citizenry against same citizens. This grossly violates and vitiates the basic tenet of democracy. It is true that there was peaceful voting in Ekiti but have we examined the full implication of the military crackdown on democratic rule and its consolidation? This is the pertinent question all those starry-eyed analysts jubilating should ask themselves. This underscores poor level of political education and advancement in the country. If history is of any guide then let‟s remember how the second republic collapsed in four years due to similar display of arrogance, power, and ruthless employment of the military for internal pacification. The Nigerian army is currently bogged down with internal security that ordinarily should be handled by the police. Is this not an ominous signal that civilians cannot run democracy without the help from the military? The scenario was also seen in Osunstate August9 electionJust as in the Ekiti state governorship election, there was a heavy presence of different security agencies about two weeks before the election, a move which according to President Goodluck Jonathan was necessary to ensure safety of life and property before, during and after the election. The leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) continually alleged that the heavy presence of military personnel was to manipulate the polls in favor of the PDP candidate. To counter what the APC perceived as potential victimization of its supporters by the security agents, RaufAregbesola told APC members to fortify themselves spiritually with Psalms and Bible verses for Christians, Quran and Quranic verses for Muslims while traditionalists should feel free and be ready to defend their votes with the use of amulets and other charms should the poll turn violent. Two days before the election, people alleged to be security operatives attended at the houses of some APC stalwarts, arrested some of them and shot at the houses of some in a bid to gain entrance. One of those whose houses were vandalized was a former senator and APC leader, Bayo Salami, in Osogbo.
His doors were shot at severally to gain entrance to his house for his arrest without success.
There were reports that soldiers and officials of the Department of State Security (DSS) randomly chased down and arrested APC leaders and members across the state. Former Vice President and APC member, AtikuAbubakar said the use of the military for the purpose of election is an anathema to the very spirit of electioneering politics, because the rules of engagement of the military violates the principles of fundamental human rights which gives the people the power of franchise (Premium Times, 2014). It is better for our arrogant and gloating federal democrats to take a cue from the experiences of the second republic. However, the June 21, 2014 Ekiti gubernatorial election was a great spectacle as far as spectacle goes. It had been touted as the freest election under the present democratic dispensationbut the over militarization of a state for election under the disguise of security in a state of harmony does not make it fair in a democratic system.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The study will look into:
• How election and citizen participation affect democracy
• To critically examine the voters behavior of Ekiti indigenes before and during the election
• To critically examine the behavior of the citizen during their vote if they were really affected by the soldiers and their guns while voting
• To know the electoral process is a paving way to better participatory and good
democratic sustainability in Ekiti State.
• To critically look at theEkiti 2014 gubernatorial elections whether it meets the internal principles of democracy.
• To recommend and propose conceivable methods that will enhance a stronger democratic dispensation and sustainability and increase the participation level of citizens.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
Due to the inept situation and the handicapped democratic dispensation in Nigeria we have faced different challenges or so to say mirage problems so as to ensure an ideal democratic sustainability. Devoid of this, questions have then been raised to be researched in reference to
• What can be done to restore the robbed off democracy in Nigeria?
• With the Ekiti gubernatorial election, what lessons can other states learn? The lesson learnt is it more of positive or an act of warning to other states?
• What is to be done to safeguard the future of democracy in the hands of these inept elites for the generations to come?
• With the 2014 gubernatorial election in Ekiti State and peaceful voting of electorates does it mean that democracy is strong in Ekiti state?
• Is it that people of Ekiti state are capable of making decisions on their own or their decision is been influenced by the so called stomach infrastructure?
• Is the deployment of military into election, a threat to democracy or can it be overlooked?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This research is made to add to existing knowledge and literature. This research is of interest to people who would like to have a broader knowledge of democracy in Nigeria and those who would want to have a better understanding of the election held in Ekiti state, if in actual fact, the electoral process poses a threat to democracy or not. This research is of interest to students of political science, sociologists or researchers studying election and human behavior in discharging a civic duty in relation to Nigerian democratic system sustainability. The most important of this study is to recommend how well we can improve on the electoral processes in Nigeria and what can be done to safeguard the future of democracy in the hands of this inept elite.
1.6 SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This scope of this research work is the 2014 Ekiti gubernatorial election. The challenges that would be faced in carrying out this research work would be financial constraint in going to all the local government in Ekiti state. Instead the researcher will be concentrating on Ado Ekiti and Ikere Ekiti where both parties contested.This research work relies on Newspaper, comments, interview, journalsand the internet.
1.7 ORGANIZATION OF THE WORK
The project paper would be organized into five (5) chapters. Chapter one would be introductory part while the second chapter would be literature review and theoretical framework. Under the literature review, various materials that would be used for the study will be considered. The third chapter would be research methodology while the fourth chapter would be data analysis and presentation and the last chapter will be findings, recommendation, conclusion and bibliography
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
DEMOCRACY: according to oxford advanced learner dictionary, democracy is the rule by the people especially as a form of government either directly or through elected representatives.it could also be a government under the direct or representative rule of the people of its
POLITICAL PARTICIPATION: according to Encyclopedia.com political participation will refer to those voluntary activities by which members of a society share in the selection of rulers and, directly or indirectly, in the formation of public policy.
LEVEL PLAYING FIELD: the term 'level playing field', refer to fair competition
ELECTION: according to Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English election isthe process of choosing a leader, or other representatives by popular votes.
ENFRANCHISEMENT/ DISENFRACHISMENT: according to Dictionary.com
Enfranchisement is to grant a franchise to; admit to citizenship, especially to the right of voting.