Voting is the only way one can participate in the election of a truly democratic government. Abraham Lincoln described democracy as the government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Hence, without the people, democracy is incomplete.
Voting simply means the action or process of indicating choice, opinion, or will on a question, such as the choosing of a candidate by some recognized means, such as a ballot. Voting is the cornerstone of democracy.
The right to vote has taken many forms in Nigeria’s history.
- From the year 1923 when only adults who accumulate a minimum income of $100 in the year preceding the election, who are also residents of Lagos or Calabar for at least 1 year and are above the age of 21, and who are British subjects or natives of the Nigerian protectorate are granted suffrage to vote.
- To the year 1979 when women of the northern region of Nigeria earned their right to vote. When the voting age was also lowered to 18 years and above.
Currently, there is still an ongoing struggle regarding the role of members of the diaspora in electoral processes. Therefore, voting should be seen as a hard-won privilege that gives us the right to partake in an election, decide who our leaders would be and reap the fruits of democracy.
In Nigeria, a voter is a citizen who is 18 years old and above whose names and details are in the register of voters.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Article 21 essentially states the importance of voting during an election. It said, “the will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret ballot or by equivalent free voting procedures.”
The Following Under-listed Points are the Importance of Voting during Elections.
1. Your Vote Counts: Your ballot can increase your preferred candidate’s chances of winning an election. It can give you the chance to determine whom you want to represent you.
2. Voting Helps in Protecting Democracy: Democracy can’t function well without the full participation of citizens of a country in the voting process.
3. It’s Your Right: Voting is your civic right, and not voting is giving up your voice. Having the right to vote gives you more power. It is important for every citizen to exert that power.
4. Voting Breeds Change: To experience a positive and better transformation in the country, voting gives you the chance. By voting the right hand, you are able to choose agents of positive change who are ready to implement social, and developmental reformations.
5. Voting Holds our Leaders Accountable: Leaders elected through voting are bound to keep to their campaign promises. It gives voters the power to vote out leaders who don’t keep to their promises.
With low turnout, only a few people decide on important local issues. This creates imbalance and makes each vote even more meaningful statistically.
In addition, the right of every Nigerian citizen is entrenched in chapter four of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Exercising this indispensable right especially the right to vote is vital to maintaining a true democracy. It is an opportunity that everyone should leverage on to elect responsive leaders.
Now you have known how important it is to have your voice heard, we look forward to seeing you vote this coming Saturday, 25th February 2023.
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