THE NIGERIAN JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY AND ANTHROPOLOGY
Volume 15, No. 1 (2017)
Youth Unemployment and Electoral Malpractices in Nigeria
Monica Ewomazino Akokuwebe
Department of Sociology Faculty of the Social Sciences Osun State University, Nigeria
In Nigeria, elections have been marred by various forms of malpractices in which youth often play prominent roles. The economic crisis and the accompanying structural adjustments in Nigeria have resulted in the alienation and marginalization of the youth, thereby exacerbating the whole phenomenon of youth restiveness. The National Bureau of Statistics reported that 42.24% of Nigerian youths were unemployed and 15.2 million youths remain unemployed in the economy in 2016. This unemployment scenario heightens the potential for violence and thus, political elites mobilize the pool of unemployed youths, often along ethnic, religious and party affiliations, as vital violent arsenals to manipulate and disrupt electoral processes. This paper, therefore, examines the nexus between electoral malpractices and youth unemployment in Nigeria. Guided by Rational Choice and R. K. Merton of Anomie theories, this paper argues that the present condition of massive youth unemployment is capable of engendering demographic dividends and national development. The paper concludes that to harness the advantages of a youthful population, the issue of unemployment should be accorded priority attention by among others creating the enabling environment for job opportunities. That way, youth are empowered and would less likely be involved in normless activities including electoral malpractices and violence.
Keywords: alienation, marginalization, youths, electoral malpractices