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Illiteracy or an illiterate person according to Ralinema (1995) is one who lives in a state of primary or remote consciousness, subliminal of his roles in society. He is a passive object of history submerged by the exigencies of his daily life. He is paralyzed by his sense of importance an phobia and he is enslaved ignorance of his capacity and potentialities as a human being. He is unable to comprehend the situation or environment which envelops him therefore is powerless to act for his freedom and liberation. He is a liability to the world around him in his mental under nourishment. In this consideration, literacy goes beyond mere reading and writing.

            Majid Rahneman (1995) further explained this position by asserting that illiteracy or the illiterate situation does not necessarily change if one is taught ho to read and write.

            From the above assertion, it can be seen that political participation depends to a great extent on a literate and reasonable well educated citizenry. This can be achieved by means of a system of general education “mass literacy or better still, political conscientization, an intelligent and in depended press freedom of association and discussion.”

            While well educated people are not necessarily political conscious. It is clear that democracy develops successfully only where there is a high degree of literacy. That is why there is high political participation in countries like England, France, U.S.A and Latin American countries where illiteracy is still wide spread.

Political participation requires factual and political education which will encourage independent and critical thinking about public question. It should produce the civic interest and awareness on the part of the citizenry upon which the success of democracy ultimately depends.


In Nigeria in general and Benue state in particular, political participation has change from the traditional African nature to the western liberal democratic type with the establishment of colonial state and introduction of western education as a tool for political participation because of illiteracy.

the level of political participation of any nation, to a great extent, determine the sustainability of political democracy, while political participation depends on the people’s attitudes, political socialization, culture, religion etc. these variables in turn depend on the level of literacy of the people.

            Since the inception of democratic rule in the country there has been low turnout during voting, low participation in partisan politics and general aparthy among the populace especially in Ukum local government area of Benue state and this has been attributed to illiteracy in the study area.

            The researcher intends to carry-out this research work, i.e the effect of illiteracy on political participation in Ukum local government area under the following.

1.     Political culture of the people and political participation.

2.     Political socialization of the people regarding political participation.


The research objectives have been raise by the researcher to help in the study and to educate the illiterates about their political culture, in respect of political participation. Also, to enlighten the illiterate people of ukum local government concerning the effect of political socialization and to delimit their political participation.


The term research question has been defined in the oxford advanced learner’s dictionary to mean a sentence, phrase or word that asks for information.

            In determining the effect of illiteracy on political participation in Ukum local government area, the following three questions have been formulate.

i.  Does socio-economic status significantly influence the political participation?

ii. Does illiteracy have significant influence on political socialization at the people and their political participation?

Iii. can education influence political participation of the people in Ukum local government area?


            The research work is taken, first and foremost, in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the award of the Nigerian certificate in education (NCE)

            Beside the above mentioned significance, it also provides on opportunity for the researcher to venture in to some of possible remote cause of poor political participation in the study area with concentration on illiteracy.

            The study will also help in uprooting the consequences of illiteracy on the body politics of Ukum local government area.   This study is also intended to prefer workable solution to the effect of illiteracy on political participation by way of recommendation base on findings.

            More so, this research will offer ample opportunities for further enquires and research work into the area by other researcher of similar interest.

1.5            SCOPE OF THE STUDY

            A study of this magnitude would have been conducted on a national level due to the fact that all and sundry are involved. However, time and financial constraints, have limited it to Ukum local government area.


            This research study is limited to members of the two existing political parties as well as political sympathizer in the four worlds. BORIKYO, MBATIAN, KENDEV and UYAM worlds

1.7            DEFINITION OF TERMS.

            This aspect of the research study gives explanation to some terms as they are used in the context of the research and their terms are: political participation: technically, political participation is considered as those voluntary activities by which members of a society share in the selection of a ruler or rulers directly or indirectly in the formation of public policy. It takes the form of voting, campaigning, making contact, holding both public and party offices.

Political culture: political culture here means the attitudes, sentiments, beliefs ideas and norms that guide the behavior of the people in the political systems. It embraces such things as the history of the political system adopted by people, reactions to election and methods of electing rulers.

Political socialization: this refers to the process by which the citizens are educated on the values, attitudes and beliefs of the political system. Political culture is internalized and transmitted through political socialization. Political socialization help to make citizens understand their rules in the political system, raised their loyalty, pride, patriotism and nationalist feelings to the country. Apathy: this is absence of sympathy and indifference to wards political issues. 

This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research

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