Back to: Jss2 Civic Education (NVE)
Topic: Qualification for Registration for Election in Nigeria
WEEK: 7 & 8
The right to vote and be voted for is a fundamental right guaranteed by the Nigerian Constitution. However, not every Nigerian citizen can participate in the electoral process. To be qualified to vote or run for political office in Nigeria, one must meet certain requirements as stipulated in the Electoral Act.
For registration as a voter, the individual must be a Nigerian citizen, aged 18 years or above, and must have a permanent address in Nigeria. In addition, the person must have a valid means of identification, which may be a National Identity Card, a Nigerian Passport, or a Driver’s License.
For a qualification to run for a political office, the individual must be a Nigerian citizen by birth or descent, must have attained the age of 30 years, and must be a member of a political party. The person must also possess a minimum educational qualification of at least a School Certificate or its equivalent.
Furthermore, the candidate must not have been convicted of any crime involving dishonesty, fraud, or corruption, and must not have been declared bankrupt. The person must also be of sound mind and not have any mental or physical disability that may impair their ability to perform the functions of the office.
Qualification for Elections
According to Nigeria’s Electoral Act of 2002, a person must meet all of the following requirements in order to be eligible for voter registration in the country:
i. He has to be a citizen of Nigeria Anyone who wants to run for political office in Nigeria needs to be a citizen of the nation.
ii. Age: A person has to be 18 years old in order to be eligible to vote in an election. This means that those under the age of 18 are not allowed to vote. However, candidates for elected roles such as president, house of the senate, or governor of a state must be at least 35 years old, but candidates for the house of representatives must be at least 30 years old.
iii. He is required to be a member of a political party In order to be eligible for election, a person is required to be a member of one of the political parties that have been officially registered in the nation. In Nigeria, running for office alone is not a recognised option.
iv. Educational Requirement The West African School Certificate (WASC). is the bare minimum educational requirement for a Nigerian citizen to be eligible for election to the country’s parliament
v. Not convicted of any crimes: In Nigeria, a candidate cannot run for any political office if they have been convicted of any crimes in the past. This indicates that he must not have any prior convictions for any kind of criminal offence.
vi. Sanity: Candidates for elected positions must demonstrate that they are not deranged in order to be considered. Consequently, he must have a clear head on his shoulders.
Payment of Taxes: The applicant is required to present proof that they have paid their taxes on time over a certain period of time.
Responsibilities of Voters
- Registration: One of the primary responsibilities of voters in Nigeria is to register to vote. This ensures that they are eligible to participate in the electoral process.
- Stay Informed: Voters should remain informed about the candidates, their policies, and their plans for Nigeria.
- Vote: The most important responsibility of voters in Nigeria is to exercise their right to vote. By casting their ballot, they can help determine the outcome of the election.
- Promote Peace: Voters should also promote peace during the election period by avoiding any form of violence or intimidation.
- Respect for Others: Voters must respect the rights of others to support different political parties and candidates.
- Report Violations: Voters should report any cases of electoral malpractice, including vote buying, intimidation, and violence.
- Monitor the Electoral Process: Voters should monitor the electoral process to ensure that it is free and fair.
- Participate in Voter Education: Voters should participate in voter education programs to learn about their rights and responsibilities.
- Encourage Others to Vote: Voters should encourage their family, friends, and neighbours to participate in the electoral process.
- Hold Elected Officials Accountable: After the election, voters have a responsibility to hold their elected officials accountable for their actions and decisions.
- Right to Vote: Every Nigerian citizen who is at least 18 years old has the right to vote.
- Right to be Registered: Every Nigerian citizen who meets the criteria for voter registration has the right to be registered to vote.
- Right to Secret Ballot: Every voter has the right to cast their vote in secret, without any undue influence or interference.
- Right to Free and Fair Elections: Every voter has the right to participate in free and fair elections, with equal access to information, resources, and opportunities.
- Right to Information: Every voter has the right to access information about the election process, candidates, and issues.
- Right to Equal Treatment: Every voter has the right to be treated equally, regardless of their ethnicity, religion, gender, or other personal characteristics.
- Right to Non-Discrimination: Every voter has the right to participate in the electoral process without being subjected to discrimination, harassment, or intimidation.
- Right to Lodge Complaints: Every voter has the right to lodge complaints about the electoral process, and to have those complaints addressed in a fair and transparent manner.
- Right to participate in Political Parties: Every Nigerian citizen has the right to participate in political parties and to support the political party of their choice.
- Right to Observe Elections: Every voter has the right to observe the electoral process and to report any irregularities they may witness, as long as they do not interfere with the process.
Procedure for Voting
- Register to vote: To be eligible to vote, you must be a Nigerian citizen, at least 18 years old, and have a valid voter’s card. Registration is conducted periodically by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and can be done at designated registration centres.
- Know your polling unit: On your voter’s card, you will find your polling unit. This is where you will go to vote on election day.
- Arrive early: On election day, arrive at your polling unit early to avoid long lines and delays.
- Verification: Before you can vote, an INEC official will verify your voter’s card and your identity.
- Cast your vote: After verification, you will be given a ballot paper. Mark your preferred candidate by thumbprinting in the appropriate space on the paper.
- Counting of votes: After voting, the ballot papers are counted at the polling unit in the presence of party agents and observers.
- Announcement of results: The results are announced at the polling unit and collated at the ward, local government, and state levels by INEC officials.
Importance of Election
- Democracy: Elections in Nigeria are essential in promoting and maintaining democratic governance, which is a fundamental aspect of modern societies.
- Political Representation: Elections provide the opportunity for the people of Nigeria to choose their representatives who will represent their interests at various levels of government.
- Accountability: Elections hold elected officials accountable to the people they serve by making them answerable for their actions while in office.
- Transparency: Elections promote transparency in the political process, ensuring that the results of elections reflect the will of the people.
- Civic Participation: Elections encourage civic participation by providing the people of Nigeria with the opportunity to have a say in how they are governed.
- National Unity: Elections serve as a means to promote national unity and foster a sense of belonging among the diverse ethnic and religious groups in Nigeria.
- Peace and Stability: Elections promote peace and stability by providing a peaceful and orderly means of resolving political differences and choosing leaders.
- Economic Growth: Elections play a vital role in promoting economic growth by creating a stable political environment that is conducive to investment and economic development.
- Human Rights: Elections promote respect for human rights by ensuring that the people of Nigeria have a say in how they are governed and that their basic rights are protected.
- International Relations: Elections have significant implications for Nigeria’s international relations, as a country’s democratic credentials often influence its relations with other nations.