Political participation is defined as the process whereby individuals get themselves involved in the political activities and in the decision-making of their country.


Forms of political participation

Individual’s political participation may take the following forms:

  1. Voting in elections: This is one of the ways of political participation and it gives the individual the opportunity to vote for candidates of his choice.
  2. Holding of public offices: The holding of public office allows the individual to contribute immensely in the areas of decision making and in 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 support 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 support.
  7. Protests and demonstration: 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. Observatory political 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 in order 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, and good roads ..
  3. Correction of the ills in the society: The idea of some people coming into the political system is to correct some of the ills in the society. For example, bribery and corruption, tribalism and drug pushing .
  4. Avenue for money – making: To some people, the essence of political participation is money making and other gains associated with it.
  5. For 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 fulfilment of their political career.
  7. Management of the nation’s resources: Some individuals with enough resources and skill take part in politics, because they want to be involved in managing equitably the nation’s economic resources.



  1. Lack of trust in the government: If 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.
  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.
  6. Poverty: Politics, they say, is money and money is politics. Poverty may deny an individual the golden opportunity of participating in the decision – making process of his country.
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