Meaning of Political Participation


     Political participation is defined as the process whereby individuals get themselves involved in political activities and the decision-making of their country. Forms of political participation Individual’spolitical participation may take the following forms;

1. Voting in elections: This is one of the ways of political participation and it allows the individual to vote for candidates of his choice.

2. Holding of public offices: The holding of the public office allows the individual to contribute immensely in the area of decisions making and other crucial issues of national importance.

3. Contesting elections: When an individual stands as a candidate on the platform of his party for an elective post, he participates in politics.

4. Supporting Political parties: A wealthy and influential individual, who is no more interested in partisan politics can sponsor or supports a political party.

5. Belonging to a political party: This involves the individual’s active and direct involvement in the political terrain of his country. He participates in campaigns, congresses, etc.

6. Supporting candidates for elective posts: This could take the form of moral or financial importance support.

7. Protests and demonstrations: When citizens demonstrate or protest against any policy of the government, the individuals are involved in political participation.

8. Partial political participation: The individual could be involved in attending partially some of the political activities e.g.
campaigns, rallies, etc.

9. Observatorypolitical participation: The individual is only an observer and takes delight or interest in listening to political
talks, discussions, debates, etc

         The purpose of political participation
1. Decision making: Some people participate in politics to contribute their quota in the decision-making process of the country.

2. Failure of past governments: Some people take part in politics because past governments have failed the people especially
in the areas of provision of amenities e.g. water, electricity, housing, good roads, etc.

3. Correction of the ills in society: The idea of some people coming into the political system is to correct some of the ills in society. For example, bribery and corruption, tribalism, drug pushing, etc.

4. Avenue for money-making: For some people, the essence of political participation is money-making and other gains associated with it.

5. respect and prestige: Some individuals participate in politics because they want to acquire respect and prestige in life.

6. As occupation: Some individuals could claim that politics is the occupation they have chosen and so their active participation is in fulfillment of their political career.

       Factors Affecting Political Participation
1. Lack of trust in the government: previous governments have been failing in their promises, the people may lose confidence and trust in such governments and subsequent ones.

2. Fear of intimidation: This may deny the individual the opportunity of expressing his opinion freely and this may affect his political participation.

3. Apathy or lack of interest: Apathy could create a barrier between an individual and politics. The individual sees politics as not relevant and not worth going into.

4. Ignorance or illiteracy: The effect of this is that the individual may not see the need to participate in politics. He sees politics as a birth-right of the educated class only.

4. Ignorance or illiteracy: The effect of this is that the individual may not see the need to participate in politics. He sees politics as a birth-right of the educated class only.


p dir=”ltr”>5. Frequent removal of elected governments: This involves military intervention in politics, by frequent removal of elected civilian government. This again can work against political participation.

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