A voter is a person who has a right to participate in an election by an elector. In Nigeria, a voter is a citizen who is 18 years old and above and is duly registered whose names and details are in the register of voter. In effect, anyone who can exercise the right to vote is a voter.
However, not all voters can be voted for. Anyone who contests in an election and votes is not only a voter for the purpose of that election, but also a candidate. He therefore plays a dual role at the time he is standing for an election. In the Nigerian context, such a person can only contest as a candidate on the platform or sponsorship of a political party.
Voting is carried out in elections. During such elections, people come out in their numbers to elect suitable candidates they deem fit to govern the affairs of the nation. Voting gives Nigerians the right to select their leaders and to generally have a say in how the affairs of the nation are run. In this article, the importance of voting in Nigeria will be looked into. Lets discuss the most essential voting tips in Nigeria and the importance;
Most Essential Voting Tips in Nigeria
The most essential voting tips in Nigeria is to be a citizen who is 18 years old and above and duly registered whose names and details are in the register of voter. To registered as a voter, an individual must be:
- A citizen of Nigeria;
- Has attained the age of eighteen (18) years;
- Ordinarily resident, work in, originate from the Local Government Area (LGA), Council, ward covered by the registration officers of the Commission for registration as a voter;
- Free from any incapacity to vote under any law in Nigeria;
- Present him/herself to the registration officer of the Commission for registration as a voter; and
- Must not be subject to any incapacity to vote under any law in Nigeria.
Some other essential voting tips in Nigeria is to ideally practice your voting rights and responsibilities. Responsibilities are those duties and activities, which the citizens of a state are expected to be involved in, to demonstrate their love, commitment, loyalty, patriotism and selflessness to the nation. Within the electoral process, here are the essential voting tips in Nigeria:
Register for voters card
It is the duty of every eligible citizen to register and ensure that his or her name is correctly listed on the register of voters in the area where he or she intends to cast his/her vote.
This can be achieved by cross checking the Preliminary Register of Voters during display for claims and objections for any irregularity on the registrant’s details and acting accordingly.
Participate in voting
This is perhaps a voter’s most important responsibility. On Election Day, each voter is expected to take his/her permanent voter’s card and proceed to the polling unit in his/her neighborhood where his/her name is listed on the voter’s register.
Conduct oneself in an orderly manner
For a free and fair election to take place, it is important that voters comply with all laws and regulations governing the electoral process so as to ensure peace and orderliness. Hence, it is the responsibility of the voter to conduct him/herself in an orderly manner before, during and after election and encourage others to act in similar fashion.
Towards this end, the voter is supposed to wait for his turn on the queue, obey the directives of electoral officials, cast his/her vote peacefully. After casting the vote, the voter should leave the polling zone to avoid unnecessary clustering which may result in conflict. Grievances, if any, should be channeled through the appropriate quarters, using the legal machinery put in place, rather than resorting to illegal actions.
Keep Permanent Voter Card safe
The Permanent Voter’s Card which is issued to every voter qualifies him/her to vote in an election. This card must be kept safe. It is not transferable. It must not be sold, given to another person or damaged.
To prevent the PVC from damage or loss, the voter must:
- Keep it safe and only come out with it on Election Day to cast his/her vote;
- Not sit on it as this can lead to the destruction of its antenna. A broken antenna makes the PVC unusable;
- Keep it away from direct sunlight, heat, water or wet surface;
- Not bend it.
Enlighten others about the benefits of participation
Voters should encourage others about the benefits of registering and voting during elections. This will help reduce apathy and ensure that a good number of voters participate in electing candidates into various elective positions.
Importance of Voting in Nigeria
The importance of voting in Nigeria are:
1. Voting Helps in Protecting Democracy
The whole voting exercise is all about democracy, which gives people the right to vote for their representatives. The more people participate in elections and exercise their right to vote, the more important it is for party representatives running for office to represent these voters’ interests.
When people fail to participate in voting during elections, able representatives won’t have the enthusiasm to listen to the voice of the people because they don’t feel their positions would be at risk. When people actually come out to vote for their representatives, this singular act protects democracy.
2. Voting Holds Our Leaders Accountable
Voters have a whole lot of power to choose their leaders. If aspiring leaders are chosen because of their promises, and they then fail to fulfill these promises, voters have the exclusive right to vote them out of power. It is voting that gives people the right to hold their representatives accountable.
3. Voting Protects Our Human Rights as Citizens
One of our human rights as citizens of the country is to have the ability to have a say in who runs the government. In Nigeria, since the beginning of democracy, people have had the right to vote for their representatives. This right to vote also protects and maintains their other human rights, such as the right to freedom of expression, and the right to freedom of association, among other rights.
4. Voting Influences Foreign Policy
Nigeria as a country engages with other countries in international trade. Nigeria also has shared interests with other countries. It is voting that influences foreign policies concerning International trade and foreign exchange. Many people don’t know how much their votes determine these foreign policies. These policies can affect our everyday day lives. Take, for instance, the cost of goods and services, the price of gas and petrol, and even job opportunities.
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