On the mind of every Nigerian right now is the upcoming General Election, slated to hold on Saturday, 16th February, 2019. Whether you plan to vote or not, the date is on your mind, because it affects everyone in one way or another. There will be no movement across the country during the period of voting, except walks to various polling units. So, if you are going to vote, here is everything you must equip yourself with before you embark on that life changing experience:
1). Electoral System: The Nigerian electoral system allows for each elected president to serve a term of four years, after which another election will be conducted.
2). Political parties and candidates involved:
— Incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari was selected as the All Progressives Congress candidate in the party primaries held on 29 September 2018.
— Atiku Abubakar, former vice president, is the PDP Presidential Candidate.
— Chike Ukaegbu, founder of Startup52, is the presidential candidate of AAP.
— Donald Duke, a former governor of Cross River State, is the presidential candidate of the SDP.
— Fela Durotoye, motivational speaker and presidential candidate of Alliance for New Nigeria.
— Oby Ezekwesili, former Minister of Education and leader of the Bring Back Our Girls campaign. She ended her campaign on January 24, 2019 to combine support with other candidates to support a bid against APC and PDP.
— Tope Fasua, founder and National Chairman of the Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party.
— Rabiu Kwankwaso, former governor of Kano State.
— Sule Lamido, a former governor of Jigawa State.
— Ahmed Makarfi, former chairman of the People’s Democratic Party National Caretaker Committee.
— Obadiah Mailafia, former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and candidate of the African Democratic Congress.
— Kingsley Moghalu, former Deputy Governor of the CBN and Professor of Practice at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.
— Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim, oil business mogul and presidential candidate for the Peoples Trust.
— Remi Sonaiya, member of the KOWA Party and former university lecturer.
— Omoyele Sowore, human rights activist, pro-democracy campaigner and publisher of news website Sahara Reporters.
— Kabiru Tanimu Turaki, former Minister of Special Duties.
3). PVC: PVC means Permanent Voters Card. This is a card that identifies an individual as a citizen and eligible voter in Nigeria. Without this card, you will not be allowed to vote.
4). Who to vote for: Knowing whom to vote for at the elections is a personal matter one has to decide for themselves, but you must note that you should know enough about each candidate before you vote as well as if they fulfill the qualities they must have to serve as the President of Nigeria. The Qualities of the President of Nigeria are stated in Chapter VI, Part I, Section 131 of the constitution of the country. It states that a person may be qualified for election of the office of the President if:
- They are a citizen of Nigeria by birth;
- They have attained the age of thirty five years;
- They are a member of a political party and is sponsored by that political party;
- They have been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent.
A person who meets the above qualifications is still disqualified from holding the office of the President if:
- They have voluntarily acquired the citizenship of a country other than Nigeria or, except in such cases as may be prescribed by the National Assembly, They have made a declaration of allegiance to such other country;
- They have been elected to such office at any two previous elections;
- under the law in any part of Nigeria, They are adjudged to be a lunatic or otherwise declared to be of unsound mind;
- They are under a sentence of death imposed by any competent court of law or tribunal in Nigeria or a sentence of imprisonment or fine for any offence involving dishonesty or fraud or for any other offence, imposed on them by any court or tribunal or substituted by a competent authority for any other sentence imposed on them by such a court of tribunal;
- within a period of less than ten years before the date of the election to the office of President they have been convicted and sentenced for an offence involving dishonesty or they have been found guilty of the contravention of the Code of Conduct;
- They are an undischarged bankrupt, having been adjudged or otherwise declared bankrupt under any law in force in Nigeria or any other country;
- being a person employed in the civil or public service of the Federation or of any State, they have not resigned, withdrawn or retired from the employment at least thirty days before the date of the election; or
- They are a member of any secret society;
- They have been indicted for embezzlement or fraud by a Judicial Commission of Inquiry or an Administrative Panel of Inquiry or a Tribunal set up under the Tribunals of Inquiry Act, a Tribunals of Inquiry law or any other law by the federal or state government which indictment has been accepted by the federal or state government respectively;
- They have presented a forged certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission.
5). How to vote: To vote, go to a polling unit at a walking distance from your location and join the queue where an INEC official will check if you are at the correct polling unit and confirm the ownership of your PVC.
- An INEC official will use a card reader to confirm if your PVC is genuine. You will be asked to place your finger on the card reader.
- The card readers are expected to match the names, photographs, and fingerprints of all those registered in a polling unit.
- An INEC official will ask for your PVC and confirm you are listed in the voters’ register. Your name will be ticked, your finger will be inked to confirm you have been accredited to vote and your PVC will be returned to you. If your name is not found you cannot vote.
- The Presiding Officer will stamp, sign and endorse your ballot paper. You will be given the ballot paper rolled with the printed side inwards and directed to the voting cubicle.
- You will stain your finger with the ink given and use the stained finger to mark the box for your preferred candidate/party. Be sure that the mark falls within the box of the candidate/party you are voting for else your vote will be void. After that, roll the ballot paper in the manner you were given.
- Then leave the voting cubicle and drop the ballot paper in the ballot box in full view of people at the Polling Unit.
- Leave the Polling Unit or wait if you so choose, in an orderly and peaceful manner, to watch the process up to the declaration of result.
Now, go and vote and secure your future and that of your children.