Right to vote and be voted for, must be a bedrock in any democratic state likewise in Nigeria.
Franchise under democratic system of government gets the same priority accorded as right to life.
It must be protected, though the constitution didn’t directly provide any proviso with regard to right to vote and to be voted for, however it can be seen under the interpretative say of section 77(2) of CFRN as amended:
“Every citizen of Nigeria, who attained the age of eighteen years residing in Nigeria at the time of the registration of voters for purpose of election to a legislative house, shall be entitled to be registered as a voter for that election”
Respect of human right, fundamental freedom and genuine election are essential elements of democracy, as such the right to vote is an indispensable right and the fulcrum upon which democracy rests.
Franchise is a universal democratic issue in which every democratic state must adopt, under the Universal Declaration of Human Right Article 21 states that
” the will of the people shall be the basic of the authority of government this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine election which shall be universal and equal suffrage ”
And also this right enshrined in the International Covenant On Civil and Political Right (1966) particularly article 25, which recognized that “every citizen has the right to vote and to be elected at genuine periodic election which shall be universal and equal suffrage ”
Since Nigeria took democratic system of government as a model for administration, franchise must be in existence in order to met the universal democratic model. Notwithstanding, if people place a premium on our voting right as we do to right to life and dignity of the human person, people must decline to sell they votes for just mere kobos or a plate of pottage, this understanding can only be achieved through a renewal of our minds, and the recognition of right to vote as fundamental human right and these will go a long way in reshaping the mind of the citizenry.
In this regard it, is believed that although this may not solve our electoral challenges, it would be a formidable step on the path toward achieving true democracy.
Umar is a 300-level student of the faculty of Law, University of Maiduguri, Nigeria.