Meaning of Political Apathy

Apathy means the feeling of not being interested in or enthusiastic about anything. Therefore, political apathy is defined as lack of interest in taking active part in politics either by voting or being voted for or having no share in political activities.


Forms of Political Apathy

The following represent forms of political apathy:

  • Disinterestedness in Politics or Governance.
  • Refusal To Participate in Election Process.
  • Nonchalance To Election Malpractice.
  • Nonchalance to Bad Governance.


  1. Disinterestedness in Politics or Governance: Disinterestedness in political activities or governance may stem from lack of trust or confidence in the system or the perceived fear that politics is dirty and dangerous. Thus, citizens will voluntary or involuntary shun their right to vote or be voted for.
  2. Refusal To Participate in Election Process: It simply means deliberate absence or rejection of the idea of participating in voter’s registration or actual voting exercise. Political apathetic individuals in this category lack total interest in political activities. They probably have little or no knowledge about political aspirants or the party they belong. Such persons will never be enticed by promising political reforms or free and fair electioneering process often because they have no faith in the system.
  3. Nonchalance To Election Malpractice: This suggests an unconcerned attitude to election malpractices like rigging, ballot snatching, thuggery and other inadequacies. Thus, this form of political apathy may manifest when citizens refuse to condemn or join peaceful protest against election inadequacies.
  4. Nonchalance to Bad Governance: This in Nigerian parlance is often described as “suffering and smiling”. Nonchalance to bad governance suggests the silence or unconcerned attitude of citizens to political office holder’s excesses and unfavourable government policies.


Reasons for Political Apathy

Some of the reasons for political apathy are as follows:

  • Bad governance.
  • Unfulfilled political promises.
  • Election Malpractices.
  • Godfatherism and Thuggery.


  1. Bad Governance: This suggests a situation whereby the government is not governing a country well. It could mean incompetence in leadership style, embezzlement or mismanagement of public fund.For instance,when the government fails to cater for citizens by providing or maintaining basic amenities, by making good and profitable policies, providing adequate security etc.; the citizenry may gradually lose trust and confidence in such government and electioneering process.
  2. Unfulfilled Political Promises: One of the most important features of election period is the campaign. During campaigns, political parties present manifestoes of what they intend to achieve if their candidates are elected. Political candidates also make promises as well in order to win elections. However, citizens feel cheated when those promises are not fulfilled. They would easily lose interest in political participation when the dividends of democracy is not visible or felt.
  3. Election Malpractices: This is the act of influencing people in a dishonest way in order to win election or get what one want. For example, assuming all the election is done through rigging, people will lose interest in voting in any election. Whenever there is any election to be conducted they will have no confidence in an election.
  4. Godfatherism and Thuggery: Godfatherism refers to the powerful influence of political lords who often handpick or impose candidates to participate and win during elections at all cost. Godfatherism is closely connected to the act of thuggery. This is because thugs or aggressive individuals are often used to achieve some of their sordid objectives. Godfatherism and thuggery, no doubt cause lack of interest in elections as citizens are not presented with trustworthy candidates. They may not participate during elections because of criminal act of thugs who often attack voters and disorganize polling booths.


Failure of Leaders to Protect Interest of Followers

Failure of leaders to protect the interest of their followers could be attributed to these factors:

  • Selfishness.
  • Party interest.


  1. Selfishness: This is the act of caring only about oneself rather than about other people. In a situation where a leader does not care about the things that would help the people, and only cares for himself, and the things that will favour him, (that is selfishness). Any country that has selfish leaders cannot grow and develop.
  2. Party Interest: Party interest is a political situation where a politician is expected to act or vote on an issue not based on merit but on the party’s dictate, suggestion or decisions. For example, a Senator who is elected on the platform of a party is expected to vote on issues as he sees it but such a Senator could be asked by the party to vote on party interest rather than popular views of the citizens.


Factors that Promote/Guarantee Employment

There are various factors which promote/guarantee employment, some of them are as follows:

  • Establishment of skills training centre.
  • Responsible government.
  • Education.


  1. Establishment of Skills and Training Centres: Establishment of skills training centres create room for self employment because many people have not been employed either by government, private or by companies. These programmes were established to support skills training centers. For example, National Directorate of Employment (N.D.E) and National Poverty Alleviation Programme (NAPEP). Their main aim is to help people to acquire skills in various field of endeavour. At the end of their training, the trainees are assisted financially to start on their own. In most cases, the trainees are assisted with the tools with which to function. For example, a fashion designer can be given a sewing machine and a little capital to start up. There is an agreement on how such fund would be paid back little by little. These organizations have helped many who would have been jobless to acquire the skill in particular areas. They are now self employed and now also helping others to acquire the same skill. Therefore, establishment of skill training guarantee the same skill, and employment.
  2. Responsible Government: Responsible government is when the government has positive thinking toward the development of a nation. If there is responsible governance, there should be a need for establishing a body that would be responsible for creating employment for people or there should be a need of creating more industries, companies etc in which people can be employed. For example; we have industries that produce bottles, glasses etc, people gain employment in such industries to earn a living. Likewise, the companies that are producing beverages like, pronto, bournvita, ovaltine, milo etc. Responsible government should focus attention on establishment of companies and, industries because they contribute a lot in the development and the employment of youth in Nigeria. Also, plans for establishment of industries and how they will function properly must be taken into consideration. There are a lot of mineral resources in Nigeria, so industries that will utilize them should be established. For example, Agricultural, petrochemical industries should be established, in order to guarantee employment. They should also create a law that would be guiding the policies of foreign investment. This will also help in guaranteed employment.
  3. Education: Proper plan of how to educate people in the country will reduce illiteracy, if it cannot be eliminated completely. Universal Basic Education (U.B.E) is a programme designed to educate the citizenry. It is planned to strengthen the 6-3-3-4 system of education. This education programme is to plan on the project which will include provision of necessary facilities such as, building of schools, training of teachers, and making good curriculum available for the students. When teachers are trained, there should be a need of getting employment in schools. They should be trained in various courses to enable them to have gainful employment in the area of specialisation. An educated society would have a productive atmosphere. Once people are educated they have the access to work in various fields such as science and technology, company, government parastatals, industries, mechanized farming etc.

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