Poverty remains the hydra-headed bane of modern democracy in African countries due to its attendant effects on the mental ability of the electorates to rationally choose their preferred candidates. With majority living in abject poverty and inability to access basic and pressing amenities, their susceptibility and vulnerability to electioneering tricks and tactics of the political predators increases. This makes vote selling and buying the norm during election period as electorate perceived this as the only way to get their share of the national cake.
On this premise, this study interrogates the effect of poverty on voting behavior in Nigeria using a quantitative research design. Well-structure questionnaires were administered to four hundred respondents who met the screening requirements of the study. Specifically, the study was situated in Lagos state, considered to be representative of Nigeria as a whole due to the influx of different calibre of citizen to the state in search of greener pastures.
Both descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyze the data and the findings indicate a significant relationship between poverty and voting behavior in Nigeria. Poverty influences the decision of the electorates to mortgage their future by selling their votes to a candidate they didn’t have sufficient information about. Based on the strength of this findings, the study recommends that civil society should take the initiative to educate the citizens on the importance of their votes and the need not to compromise their future for money.
Key words: Political thuggery; Financial attractiveness; Elective offices; Unemployment; Poverty; Security agencies; Vote buying; Vote selling; Democratic rights
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