The right to vote has been viewed by many as a mere civil right, law- dependent, while others see it as a fundamental political right. Yet, to another group, it is just a franchise perfunctorily use to elect those that will govern them. The right to vote is fundamental to Nigerians who have attained the voting age, 18 years.
Now that the General Election, which produced the president-elect, senator-elect and elected members of House of Representatives, is over and we are only a few days to the gubernatorial election, several individuals may have lost the desire to continue in the voting process among whom are university students and business owners. This is because there is a belief that the recently concluded general election results were rigged. These people, therefore, don’t see any need to vote where it won’t count.
Despite the above belief by some people, many people still nurse the desire to vote for who will lead them in their respective states. This desire, perhaps, is influenced by the political ideology and campaign strategies adopted by candidates of different political parties in their respective states. When the polls are conducted on Saturday, 9th of March 2019, every citizen above the age of 18 will be able to cast their votes for their chosen candidates.
The right to vote did not come over night with the ratification of our constitution. Voting was a lifelong dream for many Nigerians. Some people just reached voting age while others are not eligible. The long waited voting rights was also part of the Nigerian constitution that is applied to all citizens, not just the indigenes within the state but to all Nigerians alike.
The universal right to vote became a reality in Nigeria in the 1979 elections when women in the North were allowed for the first time to participate in elections. Originally the right to vote was thought of as a direct consequence of property interests rather than adhering to the person as a political right. It was only gradually that the vote was altered from a property and income right to a political right.
This Saturday is Election Day, a day that should make every Nigerian proud. You can make your voice heard and celebrate democracy, wherever you fall on the political spectrum. It is, however, disheartening that some people will not vote considering some political and sociological factors identified above. Be that as it may, voting is your civil right, join the nation to decide on the future of this country.
See you on Election Day!