Effect of Election Irregularities on Socio-Economic Development of the People in Selected Rural Communities of Delta State in Nigeria

Article excerpt

Abstract

Since the fourth Republic there have been trends of bad leadership in the State resulting from election irregularities committed that produce leaders in the State. The nature, extent and magnitude of rigging associated with elections in this state are posing a serious threat to the state quest for stable socio-economic development and democratic practices, as well as the attainment of the long term goal of consolidated democracy. Thus, this study examines the effect of election irregularities on socio - economic development of the rural dwellers in Delta State. The study adopted descriptive survey research of Ex- post facto. The instrument used in this research work was tagged Election Irregularities Scale (SES), which was administered in three selected local Government in Delta South West Senatorial District. Chi square was used to test the hypotheses at 0.05 level of significant

Key Words: Election irregularities, leadership, socio economic development, rigging

Introduction

The layman definition of politics which is the most common definition is the struggle for and the exercise of power and influence in society. But we can say that, not all power and influential relationships are political. That is politics is power but not all powers are politics Nnoli (1986).

Aristotle (384-322 BC) defines politics with the observation that "man is by nature a political animal." In another perspective, Gauba (2003) summarised the definition as "an activity universal to all societies, at all levels and at all times -past, present and in the future. Politics is not only unique to the state, groups, institutions, political parties, and trade unions. It is also an activity that equally exists in the family, school, clubs, and religious organizations as well as in work places. However, Allan et al (2002) defined politics in another perspective as "who gets what, when and how." This definition is credited with certain aspect of political reality, especially what goes on in the politics of most African states.

However, Eghe (2003) opined that democratically elected government is a form of Government in which the people of a particular country who have attained a particular age cast their votes for candidate of their choice. As a result, the government that exists through the majority of the people in a country or state can be referred to as elected government. Thus, election in a representative democracy is a process by which the members of the community or organization choose one or more persons to exercise authority on their behalf.

Political parties are the political organizations which actively and effectively engage in a competition for elective posts or office. According to Mujani (2005), "a political party is an organization of individuals that seek continuing electoral and non-electoral authorization from the public or a portion thereof, for specified representation of that organization to exercise political power of particular government offices, claiming that such power would be exercised on behalf of that public". Smith (2007) defined political party as "a group of officials or would be officials who are linked with a sizeable group of citizens into an organization; Ray (2003) asserted that the major objective of this organization is to ensure that its officials attain power or are maintained in power".

Nnoli (1986) defines power as that non-divisible unit of energy which is capable of causing a change in the actions of its victim, in spite of the victim's opposition to the change; that when a President or Prime minister reshuffles his cabinet, he exercises power over it; a legislature who convinced another to vote in a particular way on an issue in the legislature also exercises power over him.

Moreover, Nworgu (2002) defined political power broadly as the capacity to affect another's behaviour by some form of sanction; that this sanction may take the form of coercion or inducement. …