Education Project Topics

Attitudes of Undergraduate Youths Toward Democratic Values: Implication for Social Studies

Attitudes of Undergraduate Youths Toward Democratic Values Implication for Social Studies

Attitudes of Undergraduate Youths Toward Democratic Values: Implication for Social Studies

Chapter One

Purpose of the Study

This study was carried out to assess the attitude and conduct of Nigerian youths so as to ascertain the extent to which they are aware, understand, and have imbibed the democratic values that guide Nigerian democratic process; the extent to which democratic values regulate our youths as participants in the various democratic processes.

Specifically, it is to find out the attitude of youths toward:

the virtues of respect and tolerance while indulging in/carrying out political activities;

the virtues of honesty and patriotism while discharging their civic duties;

transparency and following due process in their civic practices;

the provision of justice for every citizens in our democracy;

equality of every citizens in our democracy;

the principle of one-man-one vote in the political process;

freedom of action in the democratic process.



Background to Youth Participation in Nigerian Politics

The participation of the Youth politics is a process whereby organized groups get involved in decision making and influence the process of power sharing and distribution (Mohammed 2015.

  1. 238). In the pre-colonial era, the Nigerian areas comprised diverse groups, kingdoms and empires with the youth playing a vital role in the development of their various communities. Nigerian youth contributed greatly in the struggle against colonialism as well as in the struggle for the enthronement of democracy and in facilitating national development. Nigerian youth demanded for responsible government and self independence, and it was achieved. For instance, the West African Students Union (WASU) and the Nigerian Youth Movement (NYM) partook in the struggle against colonial government (Ashiru 2010: 52-53). The Nigerian Youth Movement (NYM) was nationalist because it struggled for greater indigenization of the civil service as well as better working conditions and wages for the workers. By 1938, the movement spread rapidly across the country to places such as Ibadan, Ijebu-ode, Warri, Benin, Aba, Enugu, Port-Harcourt, Calabar, Jos, Kaduna, Zaria and Kano (Falola and Heaton 2008: 141).

Similarly, the unions were in control of the press. For example, the Nigerian Youth Movement established its own News paper, ‘The Daily Service’ (Falola and Heaton 2008: 141). The youth were very active during constitutional conferences which led to Nigerian’s independence. Prominent among them were Dr, Nnamdi Azikiwe who established a News paper, ‘The West African Pilot’ which effectively used to mobilize people through the creation of political consciousness and awareness among the subjects, and others like Anthony Enahoro, Herbert Macaulay, Nwafor Orizu, Mbonu Ojike, Adegoke Adelabu, Obafemi Awolowo, Samuel Akinsanya and Samuel Akintola and so on (Ashiru 2010: 53).

There were also the activities of Bauchi General Improvement Union (BGIU), founded in 1943 by a radical poet Mallam Sa’adu Zungur as well as the Sokoto Youth Social Circle (SYSC) set up in 1945. It was  members of the later group became pioneers of the Northern People’s Congress (NPC). Initially the party was meant to serve as a social and cultural organization for the eradication of social injustice, educational backwardness and idleness as well as for the promotion of cultural heritage of the people. It, however, started with the formation of two separate groups in Zaria and Kaduna by Dr. R.A.B. Dikko and Malam D. A. Rafih, respectively in the mid 1948. In October 3rd, 1948 the Rafih’s group met at Kaduna under the name ‘’ Jam’iyyar Mutanen Arewa Ayau’’ (Association of Northern People Today). Nine days later, Dikko’s group was named ‘’ Jam’iyyar Arewa’’ (Northern Nigerian Congress). Eventually, the two groups merged and became ‘’ Jam’iyyar Mutanen Arewa’’ (Northern People’s Congress), NPC) (Elmenari and Barde 1994: 24-25).

The first three decades of the twentieth century witnessed the establishment of British Colonial Administration in Nigeria, which transformed the Nigerian economies and societies. In the 1930s a new generation of anti-colonial activities emerged in Nigeria, demanding the involvement of Nigerians in government. The new nationalist movement pressurized the colonial government to be more responsive to the needs of average Nigerian. This resulted to Nigerian self-governance at the regional level and, ultimately, led to the attainment of independence on October 1st, 1960 (Falola and Heaton 2008: 136).

Political Associations were made in Nigeria in the form of ethnic competition. The chronological formation of associations between the Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa exposes the competition that reigned among the first two groups that had acquired Western Education in the country. Most colonial civil services were occupied by the Yoruba and later the Igbo came-up to compete with them as a result of their educational attainment. By 1940s, the two ethnic groups had formed ‘’Pan Ethnic Associations’’. The Yoruba under the leadership of Chief Obafemi Awolowo formed ‘’ Egbe Omo Oduduwa.’’ The Igbo had ‘’Igbo Union,’’ The two competed for access to British Colonial offices in Lagos and seats in the central government. Later, the Hausas emerged with the Association of ‘’Northern Element Progressive Association’’ (Jam’iyyar Mutanen Arewa). When colonial masters lifted the ban on politics, the mentioned associations turned into political parties. The most nationalist political party was formed in 1944 by Herbert Macaulay, this was named National Council for Nigeria and Cameroons (NCNC). Later when Cameroon was removed, it changed to National Council for Nigerian Citizens (NCNC). With the death of Herbert Macaulay in 1947, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe became the leader of the party. In the North, the (NPC) transformed itself from a cultural organization to a political party (Falola and Heaton 2008: 137-158).

The manner the political elites mobilized the youth is reflected during elections, because they are often mobilized with the promise of sponsorship by the patrons. The participation of the youth in the Nigerian politics is very important. For instance, in 1962 the agitations by Nigerian youth were instrumental to the abrogation of the Anglo-Nigerian Defence Pact which sought to tie Nigeria to the Military strings of Britain even after independence in 1960. Also, the youth contributed in the struggle for democratization throughout the military rule up to the return of the democratic rule in 1999 (Apam 2010: 37-39). The development of democracy ushered in the 1999 election of the fourth republic, which took place on May 29th, 1999, when the thirty three years long military government came to an end. The parties which contested in the first phase were: People’s Democratic Party (PDP), All People’s Party (APP) and Alliance for Democracy (AD). But in 2003 the number of political parties increased to thirty (30) political parties, and more than fifty (50) in the 2007 and 2011 general elections. Ultimately, more than fifty political parties participated in the 2015 General Elections. (Ishaq 2008:113).

The Concepts of Youth and Democracy

The concept of youth is being perceived by individuals and organizations differently. Youth is usually considered as life time between childhoods and adulthood. The second National Youth Policy Document of Federal Republic of Nigeria (2009) defines youth as the young male and female citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria ranging from 18 to 35 years of age. The policy recognizes and anticipates the challenges that the youth may likely be confronted with and pointes out objectives and implementation plans which will be put in place so as to empower the youth to shape their destiny for them to participate actively in shaping the political and economic destiny of our nation. (Suleiman 2015: 1).

According to the United Nations definition (2010), youth are people between the age of 13 and 30 years. They are in the centre between the dependency of childhood and that of adulthood. Thus, the youth are neither as children nor adults. The Youth are very important in the society because they devote much time and energy in sustaining the economy of state in various capacities which includes Educators, artisans, farmers, doctors, scientist, etc. (Abdulkadir 2010: 124-125).





In this chapter, we would describe how the study was carried out.

 Research design

Research design is a detailed outline of how an investigation took place. It entails how data is collected, the data collection tools used and the mode of analyzing data collected (Cooper & Schindler (2006). This study used a descriptive research design. Gill and Johnson (2002) state that a descriptive design looks at particular characteristics of a specific population of subjects, at a particular point in time or at different times for comparative purposes. The choice of a survey design for this study was deemed appropriate as Mugenda and Mugenda (2003) attest that it enables the researcher to determine the nature of prevailing conditions without manipulating the subjects.

Further, the survey method was useful in describing the characteristics of a large population and no other method of observation can provide this general capability. On the other hand, since the time duration to complete the research project was limited, the survey method was a cost effective way to gather information from a large group of people within a short time. The survey design made feasible very large samples and thus making the results statistically significant even when analyzing multiple variables. It allowed for many questions to be asked about a given topic giving considerable flexibility to the analysis. Usually, high reliability is easy to obtain by presenting all subjects with a standardized stimulus; observer subjectivity is greatly eliminated. Cooper and Schindler (2006) assert that the results of a survey can be easily generalized to the entire population..

Research settings

This study was carried out in Edo state .

Sources of Data

The data for this study were generated from two main sources; Primary sources and secondary sources. The primary sources include questionnaire, interviews and observation. The secondary sources include journals, bulletins, textbooks and the internet.

Population of the study

A study population is a group of elements or individuals as the case may be, who share similar characteristics. These similar features can include location, gender, age, sex or specific interest. The emphasis on study population is that it constitute of individuals or elements that are homogeneous in description (Udoyen, 2019). The population of the study were all students from four universities in Edo state.



This chapter presents the analysis of data derived through the questionnaire and key informant interview administered on the respondents in the study area. The analysis and interpretation were derived from the findings of the study. The data analysis depicts the simple frequency and percentage of the respondents as well as interpretation of the information gathered. A total of Six hundred (600) questionnaires were administered to respondents of which 586 were returned. The analysis of this study is based on the number returned.



 Discussion of Findings

The finding from table 1 that shows the responses of youths to the variables on the virtues of respect and tolerance in the political process concludes that youths hold in high esteem the virtues of respect and tolerance why discharging their civic duties. Most of the respondents accept the need and are tolerance of our diversity in terms of ethnicity, religion, cultural differences and party ideology why carrying out their civic duties. This view point tends to negate what prevails in our society. Especially when one calls to mind the rate at which ethnic clashes, religious clashes/intolerance occurs in the north, party clashes during campaigns and electioneering in the country. The majority of respondents (96.9%) also express their acceptance that respecting the rights and interests of others during civic activities like public discussions, debates and making decisions is part of tolerance imbibed by youths. The analysis also reveals that undergraduate youths accept the need and are tolerance of opposition and electoral defeat. But the clashes between oppositions, especially in politics where thugs and cultists are engaged to carryout various political killings and kidnappings and other dastardly acts negate this view points.

This finding and others below are very peculiar to undergraduates and negate the position of Ojo (2003) when he expressed that much of the deviance in political behaviour can be traced to the youths and are correctly attributed to the lack of a democratic attitude of mind… that both elite and youth have surprisingly shown weak commitment to basic symbols and values of democracy. The findings are influenced by their educational attainment or level of enlightenment. This goes to confirm what was posited by NOA (2006) that the disposition that forms democratic ethos are not inherited or passed down through the genetic mode… The disposition must be fostered and internalized by word, study and by power of example.

Table 2 that look at youths responses to the variables on the virtues of honesty and patriotism in the democratic process. The finding concludes that, youths hold in high regard the virtues of honesty and patriotism why discharging their civic duties. In it, patriotism was a strong virtue cherish by the youths as what can encourage the proper exercise of their civic duties. It was overwhelmingly agreed by the youths that without a patriotic spirit it is very difficult to sacrifice their precious time to civic activities. The youths also overwhelmingly agreed that honesty as a virtue, that is being truthful and sincere should be cherished and cultivated by youths. They condemned the habit of using deceptions and falsehood by youths to gain access into elective/political offices and regard it as capable of derailing the democratization process. This also goes to show that amongst the undergraduate youths these democratic values are being/have been internalized by them.

Table 3 illustrates youths’ responses to the variables on the value of one-man-one vote. The finding concludes that youths hold in high esteem the principle of one-man-one vote in the political process why carrying out their civic duties. In it, it was found out that the principle of one-man-one vote is a value the youths have accepted into their life style why discharging their civic duties. When each citizen registers and votes once irrespective of personality, status and wealth, it helps to ensure equality of citizens before the law. One-man-one vote helps to ensure that citizens vote counts. This would prevent the government being in the hands of few selected wealthy businessmen and political godfathers and make the people representative accountable to the people and as such deliver dividend of democracy to the people. This in a nutshell will make the youths to have interest and zeal for civic activities.

The above findings goes to confirm that social studies teachings are having impact on undergraduates who have pass through its tutelage in the course of their academic carrier.

Conclusion and Recommendations

This study looked at the attitudes of undergraduate youths of democratic values and what would be the implication of the findings for Social Studies. From the findings, the following conclusions were drawn:

  1. That undergraduate youths are aware, understand and have internalized/imbibed democratic values while indulging in civic activities.
  2. That undergraduate youths place high priority on the democratic values of honesty, patriotism, respect, tolerance and one-man-one vote while carrying out their civic duties.
  3. That undergraduate youths awareness, understanding, internalization and adherence to democratic values during civic practices is selective of institution types (whether public or private) but not selective of programmes (whether full-time or part-time).

Therefore, the researcher inferred that the learning experiences offered to learners as democratic values through social studies teachings have influenced and imparted them positively in the discharge of their civic duties.

Arising From the above, the following recommendations are therefore suggested:

  1. As noted in this findings that the undergraduate youths imbibed democratic values while discharging their civic duties, and that the same cannot be said of other youths that are not as enlightened as the undergraduates. Hence, the serious level of incivility, undemocratic behaviours and attitudes noted in the various literature reviewed in this work. There should therefore be a serious and concerted effort to ensure that the Universal Basic Education (UBE) programme of free basic nine years education (Primary – JSS III) wherein Social Studies is offered as a compulsory subject, be made not only free but also compulsory for every child.
  2. The literature review of this research work revealed that our core democratic value is constantly changing. More value recently has been added to our core democratic values as a result of changing social experiences and visions of our visionary leaders/presidents. Values such as transparency, due process, your vote must count, one-man-one vote etc are currently gaining access into Nigeria core values. These values need to as a matter of urgency be introduced into social studies curriculum.
  3. All agencies, bodies or organizations such as INEC, NOA, etc, civil society groups and Non-Governmental Organizations should as a matter of national importance be seriously involved to help create the awareness, understanding and internalization of democratic values in Nigerian youths and political parties through workshops, seminars and public rallies. Since many has missed the opportunity of been imparted with democratic values through Social Studies teachings to reduce the acts of incivility constituted by uneducated youths.
  4. Social studies curriculum should also be introduced to all non-formal education programmes such as Adult Education programme, where other categories of youths that do not attend the formal education can be targeted and inculcated with democratic values through such curriculum.


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