1.1 Background of the Study
The civic competence of many Nigerians has become a subject of debate as a result of inappropriate behavioural manifestations. Apparently, there is widespread of impudence, political jingoism, inter-religious crises, as well as inter and intra ethnic violence in the country (Adetoro, 2014; Omiyefa, 2016). Among these crises are the youth restiveness in the Niger Delta, socio-cultural and religious militancy in the North, call for confederacy and secession among various ethnic nationalities. Iyamu and Otite (2005) as well as Adeniran (2015) observed that Nigeria as a nation has been besieged by an array of social, economic and political problems which include corruption, loss of value, negative attitude to national issues, lack of patriotism, political gangsterism, immoral behavior, ethnicity/tribalism crises and a host of other vices.
Several scholars have decried the general neglect of civic duties by citizens and public officers as there are prevalence of immorality, dishonesty, unpatriotic and disloyal practices among the rank and file of Nigeria citizenry (Fabiyi, 2009, Kehinde-Awoyele and Jekayinoluwa, 2012, Mofoluwawo et al, 2012). In a specific case, Mofoluwawo et al (2012) lamented that youth incivility has become the order of the day, while civil virtues in all spheres of life have totally declined. They contended that incessant cult activities, kidnapping for ransom, oil bunkering, armed robbery in the country and the recent menace of Boko-haram are the consequence of incivility of youths.
Notable attempts have been made by government in Nigeria with a view to tackling these vices and at the same time inculcating the rightful awareness, skills, values and attitude in the citizens. Such attempts include the introduction of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in 1973, War Against Indiscipline (WAI) in 1984, amongst others.
Political participation according to Rasheed citied Barret and Smith (2014), has taken different forms toward conventional form which involves electoral processes such as voting, election campaigning and non-conventional forms which occur outside electoral processes for instance signing petitions, participating in political demonstrations. Rasheed citing Falade (2014) sees political participation as that involvement of the citizens in the political system. It is an aspect of political behavior which focuses on the way in which individuals take part in politics. It is a voluntary activity and one may participate in it either directly or indirectly. Citing George-Genyi (2016) Rasheed succinctly puts that there are various ways by which the people are involved in the political system, this includes electing political leaders, formulation of policies, community activities and other civic engangements.
He also noted that political participation equally describes the voluntary or non-coercive involvement of citizens in the political affairs of their country. The above definition does not rest on the use of force.
A critical review of the study of Niemi and Junn (1998) as pointed out by Rasheed (2017), using the National Assessment of Education Progress survey, found a positive relationship between civic coursework, civic and political knowledge. He further examined civic education and civic knowledge. Tourney-Purta (2002) reported the result of a study that links formal education with civic knowledge and engagement. Although these studies actually incorporated civic skills with the ambit of their analysis, they did not employ political and community engagement as outcomes.
Youth restiveness is a global phenomena and those in Nigeria has become a behavioural pattern which has degenerated into a tropical global issue. Youth restiveness reflects man’s negative side of social development. According to Happiness (2013), this negative development is rather unfortunate and has become one of the many security challenges facing man in contemporary society. Prior research has proven that lives and properties worth millions of Naira has been lost or vandalized, and some razed down restive youths. Happiness citing Chukwuemeka and Agbara (2010), observed that human society and in fact the entire universe is simply and squarely a complex entity. In view of this, she further puts that individuals and groups have their complexities, needs, aspirations, hopes, goals, opinions, views and values which could be social, economic, religious, psychological or political. Consequently, there are bound to be restiveness among group of people especially youths who are at their prime age.
The realities of the activities of the oil multi nationals and aggrieved youths in Niger Delta communities are laudible in the youth violence that dislocated the development paradigms in these communities. The communities are noted for their peaceful co-existence among themselves and stranger therein the youths are law abiding and committed to the course of the oil multi nationals and Nigeria state, until recently, when the oil multinationals and Nigeria State started interfering in the politics of the youth leadership of the communities as an approach to destablise the community leadership. Their intention was aimed at giving the oil multinationals and Nigerian state an ample opportunity to exploit and cay away with oil resources of the community without any interference (Wilson, 2013.)
The effects of youth restiveness on the political participation of students of Delta State University in Ethiope East Local Government Area of Delta State has been a phenomenon that has emanated social issues on the educational state of the society, thus this research is carried out.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
From experience with youths during elections and other civic activities, the extent to which youths are aware of, understand and/or have internalized these values is not certain. There is apprehension when one takes a hasty look at the undemocratic attitudes, level of impertinence prevalence among our youths and the ultimate manifestation of negative behaviours in our democracy. With the above scenario, what can we say about the present attitude of Nigeria youths towards democratic values? How much does social awareness have to offer in promoting these values in the youths? The study also wishes to ascertain the causes of youth restiveness in Nigeria and its effects.
1.3 Research Question
To conduct this study, four research questions were raised
1. What is the effects of youths restiveness to the virtues of respect and tolerance in the political process
2. What is the causes of restiveness among Nigerian youths?
3. What effect does youth restiveness have on Nigeria political process?
4. What ways are appropriate for curbing youth restiveness in Nigeria?
1. There is no significant difference between male and female youths to the virtues of respect and tolerance in the political process during restiveness
2. There is no significant relationship between the causes of restiveness and political participation.
3. There is no significant influence of youth restiveness on people’s political participation.
1.5 Purpose of Study
The purpose of study is to examine causes, effects and ways of curbing youth restiveness in the political participation of students in Delta State.
1.6 Significance of the Study
Youth restiveness is a social vice that is giving the entire nation sleepless nights. The causes are multifaceted and hence curbing it demands multi-dimensional approach. This study therefore will be of immense aid to individual students who is unaware of the cankerworm of restiveness and its effects on the political process. Individual researchers who wish to use it as a reference point for further research.
Individual political leaders as it will serve as a valuable tool for them to identify the causes and the consequence of youth restiveness on the political process and further seek solutions and immediate response.
1.7 Scope and Delimitation of the Study
This study seeks to find out the effects of youth restiveness on the political participation of students in Delta State University. Thus, my scope of study will be centered on Delta State University, Delta State. Data will be carried out in five faculties of the university to determine the effects of youth restiveness on the political participation.
1.8 Limitation of the Study
In carrying out this study, some limitation has been pointed out, such limitations includes: constraint of researching data from the internet and from textbooks, constraints of ascertaining the population and sample of study, constraint of analyzing the data obtained in relation to the research questions posed for the study. The above limitations compelled me to limit my study to five faculties in Delta State University.
1.9 Operational Definition of Terms
Incivility: A rude or impolite act
Chauvinism: The belief that a country or race is better than any other
Succinctly: Using few words to express an idea
Complexity: Complicated part
Secession: The act of separating from a nation
Unpatriotic: Lack of love for one’s nation
Crisis: A difficult situation that needs serious attention
This chapter is primarily aimed at examining the various literatures that are related to this study, and researches made and expressed by different scholars, writers on the topic “Effects of youth restiveness on the political participation of students in Delta State University”.
The effect of youth restiveness on the political participation of students is a worldwide typical issue and as a result of this, different types of literature on the issue have emerged from different scholars.
This chapter will be reviewed under the following subheadings
1. Concept of politics and political participation
2. Understanding the nature of youth restiveness
3. Effects of youths restiveness on political participation
4. Benefits of political participation in Nigeria political development
5. Summary of the study
2.1 Concept of Politics and Political Participation
Politics as a concept has been conceptualized by different scholars from different perspectives and their different views portrays different messages on the concept. Bluhm (1978) sees as a social process, culminating in the decision making for a group. Similarly, Easton (1965) defines politics as an authoritative allocation of values for a society within the political system.
A policy is authoritative when the person to whom it is intended to apply, or who are affected by it considers that they must or ought to obey it, otherwise it remains un-authoritative. While Lasswell states that politics is the study of who gets what, when and how in a given society. For this study, politics implies the allocation of values – political power and political participation among the students in Delta State University in Abraka community. Politics shows the relationship involving students of Delta State University living in Abraka community and the government on the issues of who possess the power to control policies and resources of the community, and how many youths are direct beneficiaries of the resources at what point. Of course, power being a scarce value, but desired by all must be struggled for before acquiring it. The quest for power and the struggle for it in Abraka community resulted to conflictual relationships in the community, and the persistent struggle between various youths for the power to control and appropriate resources meant for the development project resulted to violence in the community. Politics will be used as a vital variables in this study to prove the interest of individuals and groups to struggle for power and use same for the allocation of Abraka resources to individuals and groups for the development of Abraka community and otherwise.
Political participation describes the voluntary and non coercive involvement of citizens in the political affairs of their country (George-Genyi, 2016). This definition points to the fact that political participation should not entail the use of force. In the same vein, Uhlaner (2001) sees it as political engagement. Riley, Griffin and Moery (2010) noted that political participation is seen as a set of rights and duties that involve formally organized civic and political activities. While Verba et. al. (1995) characterized political participation as an activity that has the intent or effect of influencing government action either directly by affecting the making or implementation of public policy or indirectly by influencing the selection of people who make those policies.
However, the essence of political participation in any society, either civilized or primitive, is to seek control of power, acquisition of power and to control decision making (Arowolo and Aluko, 2010; Falada 2014). Consequently, political participation, particularly in the electoral process, is a fundamental requirement of representative democracy because it is a means of contributing one’s quota to the political system and the overall development of the Nation. This why Adelekan (2010) emphasized that ideally, democracy means individual participation in the decisions that involves one’s life.
In a democratic system, there is a necessity for the citizenry to be fully involved in the democratic procedures of the choice of rulers and effective communication of the public policies and attitude. Any claim to democratic regime or state must essentially embrace a high degree of competitive choice, openness and enjoyment of civic and political liberties and political participation that involves all groups of the society (Arowolo and Aluko, 2010; Falade 2014).
Scholars studying political behavior have identified a number of ways in which political participation is important in a democratic society (Verba and Nie, 1972; Nwankwo 2002; George Genyi, 2016). Powell (1992) for instance, recognizes the participation by citizens in competitive elections as a distinctive feature of democratic policies, noting that substantial citizen’s involvement in meaningful elections both reflect and encourage a sense of democratic legitimacy that will help to contain violence and encourage regular competition.
Verba and Nia (1972) had earlier mentioned that if democracy is interpreted as rule by the people then the question of who participate in political decisions becomes the question of the nature of democracy in a society.
Political participation is therefore, at the heart of democratic theory and at the heart of democratic political formula, (Verba and Nia, 1972). This is why Patrick (2002) maintained that a combination of political knowledge and civic competence are necessary for democratic citizen with civic consciousness. In particular, knowledgeable citizens are better citizens of a democracy in regard to their possession and use of civil skills (Comber, 2005).
Regrettably, there is low level of political participation amongst Nigerian citizens (Falade, 2014). Many Nigerians are indifferent in political matters. Deceit and unfulfilled promises by political leaders discouraged the number of Nigerians from participating in election and other political activities. Falade (2008) argued that politicians make series of promises during election campaign whereas most of these promises are not fulfilled after they have been voted into power. As a result of this, some voter loss interest in the election process. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), noted that Nigerian’s participation during the general election in 2015 was relatively low. This low voters turn out is in contrast with happenings across the globe with more countries taking their civic duties considerably more serious than Nigeria (Zachary, 2012).
Community engagement in public affairs serves as an important link between the government and the governed. It affords citizens in a democracy an opportunity to communicate information to government officials about their concerns and preferences, and put pressure on them to respond (Verba et. al. 1995). As a result it enables citizens to make input into the political system by appropriately channeling their demands and support. Understood in this sense therefore, community engagement enables the society to consciously set goals and civic target. Community engagement for civic consciousness is consequently, a source of procedural utility – the valuation is for the political process in it’s own right rather than it’s political outcomes (Stutzer and Frey, 2006).
To this end, citizens develop a sense of trust and confidence when they are involved in the political process and become confused and estranged from it when they are limited participatory opportunities. The levels of youth engagement for civic competence have become a popular issue in recent years in both public discuss and academic scholarship. This gave birth to the concept of community – civic engagement which is a broad concept, encompassing a multitude of ways that citizens can connect with the larger society (Pritzker, 2008).
It also entails diverse types of activities including working collectively to solving community problems, belonging to community organizations, attending meetings about issues of concern, volunteering, making donations to charity, e.t.c. (Barett and Brunton-Smith, 2014).
At formal level as related to civic behavior, it involves a range of different forms, including paying attention to the news media/newspapers, magazines, television, radio, internet e.t.c.), having political beliefs, understanding political or civic values and holding opinions about and attitudes towards political or civic matters.
2.2 Understanding the Nature of Youth Restiveness
The National Youth Development Policy (NYDP) defines youth as people who are within the age bracket 18-35. The youths constitute over 40% of Nigeria total population. In Abraka, the youth is that segment of the population that are of middle age, full of energy and ideas on the modalities for effective Abraka community development or otherwise, and occupies higher numerical strength in the community. Ozohu-Suleiman (2000), regards the youth as the most active segment of any community population that determines the peace and stability of the community. The same youths determines the degree of disorderliness and instability of any community, particularly when they are aggrieved.
Elegbeleye (2005), sees youth restiveness/violence as sustained protestation embarked upon to enforce desired outcome from a constituted authority by an organized body of youth. This is characterized by violence and destruction of lawful activities and destructions of life and property.
Youth violence in communities in Ethiope East Local Government Area became inevitable due to the prevailing conditions in communities. So for youths to play their expected and functional role as democratic citizens, there must be serious participation in the entire democratic process. The decision of the youths to participate or not to participate depends on their awareness, adherence and internationalization of these democratic values and this has serious consequences on democracy and the general policy.
Youth restiveness has been a device used by the youth to get what they want from the relevant authority. Chika and Onyena (2010), asserted that youth resistance to conditions, issues and unwelcomed leadership regimes dates back to 1934 when Herbert Macaulay floated a political party to kick against dependency with fellow elite youths that had contact with the west. In addition, political parties like the National Council for Nigerian Citizens (NCLC), the Northern People’s Congress (NPC), the Action Group (AG), has their youth wings as vibrant as the other parties. Since then, there has been proliferation of youth associations like student unions, ethnic clique and cleavages as well as clannish orientations among students which appear to have legitimized restive reactions among the youths in campuses. The phenomenon of ethnic militia such as the Odua People’s Congress (OPC) in the West, movement for the actualization of the sovereign state of Biafra (MASSOB) in the East, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) in the North and Tiv Youth Organizations (TYO) in the North Central Movement for the emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), movement for the survival of Oboni people (MOSOP) both in the south south. This local forces which chain relevant in crime prevention and control but whose activities are parallel and control but whose activities are parallel with state recognition as threat to national security.
Youth restiveness may be caused by a number of factors. Chukwuemeka (2008) observed that composite unemployment in Nigeria increased from 3.8% in 2006 to 4.2% in first half of 2011. He further stated that structural unemployment result in talents not being used when they are available. Hence, idle mind is definitely the devils workshop. Similarly, Coleman (1996), observed that psychological variables and deprivation is the basic product of conflict and restiveness of any kind. He further argued that the more wide spread and intense deprivation is among members of a population, the greater is the magnitude of violence in one form or the other.
In the foregoing therefore, one can argue that the unequal socio-economic development of the various ethnic groups in Nigeria led to inter ethnic and intra-ethnic conflicts. For instance, Chukwuemeka, Anazodo and Nzewi (2011) found that dissatisfaction of the people of south-south region especially the youths on the level of attention given to development of their region and the damages to their ecology by oil spillage are the major causes of the alarming rate of youth restiveness.
Youth restiveness may occur as reprisal attack. For instance, the Tiv youths did a reprisal attack on the Jukun’s in Makurdi following the Tiv massacre in Taraba state and in Zaki-Biam by Nigerian soldiers. Chika and Onyene (2010) in their study attributed youth restiveness to adults’ coercive control over their children, denial of participatory opportunities to youths, resource scarcity, financial constraints, leaders failures, peer groups and foreign interferences.
2.3 Effects of Youth Restiveness on Political Participation
The effects of youth restiveness on political participation of Abraka cannot be overemphasized. It should be noted that among others, it brings about an impede in the developmental process in the community. All and sundry both within the community including students who are integrally domiciled in Abraka and the nearby neighboring communities like Oria, Urhuoka, Obiaruku are also affected.
The effects of youth restiveness on the political participation are as follows:
1. Loss of lives and properties: As it is commonly said “the aftermath of violence is the loss of lives and properties, youth restiveness has resulted in countless loss of loved ones, family members, young and old ones, thereby reducing the level of political participation.
2. Public Panic: The event that has happened in the past years during the election period brought panic to student living in Abrakas. The electoral malpractice which led to sporadic shootings left a mark after a long time. It should be noted that youths were the sole instrument used by desperate politicians to perpetrate these activities.
3. Low Level of Political Culture: The incessant crises that have resulted during political meetings has culminated to sending a futuristic message to the upcoming young ones that the notion “politics” is an undesirable notion.
4. Insecurity and distortion of government development projects due for Abraka: The violence resulted as a result of aggrieved youth made Abraka a security risk community in the last decade, and the fear of insecurity has deterred the government at all levels from investing in Abraka for a meaningful community development. Our study observed that while James Ibori’s government was developing the State, Abraka which harboured the State University was yet untouched.
5. Human rights abuses and upsurge of social vices: During crisis, both state and non-state security agencies operate jointly. The various security agencies rather than securing the lives and properties of people, ends up accusing indigenes without established facts, humiliating and raping women, engaging the children on forced labour, and even killing and torturing the residents. During the crisis period, Abraka became a safe haven for kidnappers and cult activities.
2.4 Benefits of Political Participation in Nigerian Political Development
The benefits of political participation cannot be over-emphasized, it encompasses the individual through several groups in the society. It encourages responsible citizenship which is the hall mark of every promising society. Our study will critically study civil competence as a core benefit of political participation.
The national council for social studies (2013) sees civic competence as the possession of required skill, knowledge or ability to engage in active participation in societal life, school and local community activities. It includes the knowledge, attitude and skill which build people’s abilities and make them to be participative and responsible citizens at state and national levels (Adediran, 2015). It highlights the importance of knowledge of the development of and institutions that reflect democracy, justice, equality, citizenship and civic rights.
Indeed, civic competence is said to be a veritable tool for promoting sustainable development and improving the capacity of the people to address environmental, political and developmental issues (Lukman and Audu, 2014). Civic competence is concerned with three different elements: civic knowledge, civic skills and civic disposition. Civic knowledge refers to citizens’ understanding of the working of the political system and of their own political and civic rights and responsibilities for instance, the rights to freedom of expression and to vote and run for public offices and the responsibility to respect the rule of law and the rights and interests of others). Civic skills refers to citizens ability to analyse, evaluate, take and defend positions on public issues and to use their knowledge to participate in civic and political processes (for instance, to monitor government performance or mobilize other citizens around particular issues). Civic disposition is defined as the citizen’s traits necessary for a democracy which include tolerance, public spiritedness, civility, critical mindedness and willingness to listen, negotiate and compromise.
Other benefits of political participation are as follows:
a. Good Governance: When all youths are colossally involved in choosing their leaders through election, their leaders show appreciation through accountability and responsibility. Corrupt government can be recalled and voted out of power. Good governance can be reflected in form of provision of social amenities. For instance , construction ot good road, provision of primary health care, provision of clean pipe borne water e.t.c.
b. Peace and order in the society; massive political propel government to be responsible, thereby bringing about an equitable distribution of resources within and among groups in the society. This goes a long way in discoursing restiveness and agitations in the society, bringing peace and order in the society.
2.5 Summary of the Study
The review has looked at the concept of politics and political participation, also understanding the nature of youth restiveness and its effect on political participation.
The review has shown politics as an authoritative allocation of values for a society within the political system. The review has also shown that political participation is the voluntary and non-coercive involvement of citizens in the political affairs of their country.
This review has shown that youth restiveness is a device used by the youth to get what they want from the relevant authorities.
In a nutshell, the chapter pointed out that the obvious effects of youth restiveness on the Nigerian society are loss of lives and properties, which constitute a major threat to security of the state as strategies employed include mass agitations, protests, demonstrations, looting, vandalism, cultism, ethnic militia, political thuggery among others.