1Abdullahi Alabi, 2 Mubarak SulaimanJamiu, 3Abdulmuthalib AkinkunmiLawal
1 & 2 Department of Politics and Governance,Kwara State University, Malete, Nigeria
3 Director, Alpha Research Solutions, Federal Capital Territory, ABUJA.
Corresponding Author’s E-mail:email@example.com
This paper discusses the impact of identity politics on the Nigerian electoral process, with a focus on the 2019 general elections. The emergence of identity politics, which relies on ethnicity, religion, and regionalism to shape voters’ preferences, has had far-reaching consequences on political discourse and election outcomes in Nigeria and other parts of the world. The paper draws on Social Identity Theory (SIT), as theoretical frame work which posits that individuals derive a sense of identity and self-esteem from their membership in social groups, to explain how group membership shapes attitudes and behaviors in the electoral process. The paper argues that while identity-based mobilization may provide short-term electoral gains for some politicians, it undermines the principles of inclusivity and diversity that are essential for a thriving democracy. The impact of identity politics on the Nigerian electoral process is not always positive, as ethnic and religious identities have often been used to mobilize violence and undermine the democratic process. Furthermore, the use of identity politics in political discourse can lead to the exclusion of certain groups and the formation of polarized and divided communities. The study found that in the 2019 presidential election, ethnic and religious identities played a significant role in determining voting patterns. The study also found that voters were more likely to support candidates who they perceived as representing their group’s interests. These findings are consistent with the predictions of SIT, which posits that group membership plays a crucial role in shaping attitudes and behaviors. The paper highlights the need for political parties and candidates to focus on critical issues such as economic development and security, rather than relying on ethnic and religious identities to mobilize voters. It is also essential to promote intergroup dialogue and cooperation tofoster national unity and social cohesion. Ultimately, the study emphasizes the need for a more nuanced and inclusive approach to politics that recognizes the division and polarization of diversity of identities and interests in Nigeria. The study recommends that political leaders, civil society organizations, and the media should encourage an inclusive political discourse that emphasizes the importance of unity and cooperation over
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