2019 General Elections, Selecting Credible Candidates and Citizens Participation! -Ishola Adebayo

October 11, 2018

Credible elections are characterized by inclusiveness, transparency, accountability, and competitiveness. Inclusive elections provide equal opportunities for all eligible citizens to participate as voters in selecting their representatives and as candidates for election to government. This right to participate is a broad concept and can only be subject to reasonable restrictions that are provided by law. Authorities must take steps to assess and remove any barriers to the participation of all citizens. This includes removing barriers for traditionally marginalized populations such as ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities; women, youth or elderly citizens; and persons with disabilities. Reasonable restrictions on participation should be narrow, like a minimum age for voting and standing as an electoral contestant.

Elections are transparent when each step is open to scrutiny, and stakeholders can independently verify whether the process is conducted honestly and accurately. The principle of transparency is linked to the fundamental right of citizens to seek, receive and impart information (which are elements of the freedom of expression), as well as the right to take part in government and public affairs. Elections present eligible voters with important choices. Whether it is a local government area that will affect your community or a national election that could change the direction of the entire country, now is the time to consider the issues which you care about and decide which candidate you support and who get selected in the almost concluding political party primaries as mandated by the electoral body.

Enough is Enough Nigeria (EiE) core campaign towards Nigeria's elections process remains R|S|V|P - Register | Select | Vote NOT Fight | Protect. It is a play on the popular acronym stating that young Nigerians intend to be at the table to determine Nigeria’s future. This campaign continued with the 2015 General Elections and several activities towards the 2019 general elections. The RSVP campaign focuses on ensuring young Nigerians have an opportunity to determine Nigeria’s future. RSVP stands for the four letters that represent the activities young people need to successfully complete in other to have a positive impact on Nigeria’s governance.

At election time we inevitably hear earnest pleas for everyone to vote. Voter participation is a data point often cited in political studies, along with an assumption that the higher the percentage, the better: 100 percent participation is the goal. But in a democracy voting is communal, not individual. Sovereign power is in the citizens as a whole, and your vote has weight in this political era. Even though it’s utterly unlikely that an individual vote will decide a large-scale election, the group of all voters will do so.

Therefore, we all have reasons to vote so far our goal is to have good governance in Nigeria Ultimately, elections are competitive when citizens have reasonable and equitable opportunities to select who get elected to public offices. Political competition is a central component of elections that truly reflect the will of the people. The principle of competitiveness relates to aspects of the election throughout the electoral cycle. There must however be a legal framework that allow citizens to come together present their interests, and provide access to spots on the ballot for independent candidates. Parties and candidates must be able to campaign and allow voters to cast their ballots free from illegal influence, intimidation or violence.

Active citizens! Vote for candidates with these 3 values – Competence, Capacity & Character.

It is hereby accordingly declared that sovereignty belongs to the people of Nigeria from whom government through this Constitution derives all its powers and authority.

-Section 14(2) of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution (as amended)