In a democratic state like Nigeria, the importance of a government “of the people, by the people and for the people” cannot be overemphasized. A country like this should be governed by its citizens, which means that any government in power must be endorsed by the majority (while also giving the minority a say). One of the major principles includes giving eligible citizens the right to vote and be voted for. This makes the representative who has been elected accountable to the people who voted them in.

Voting is the best way to engage in political participation and the most common form of political activity by the masses. Government must be based on representation by its citizen’s vows. It should be a right of every eligible individual in all countries. Universal suffrage is a vital basic right, without which so many others are meaningless. As a citizen, voting is one of the most important duties you can fulfill as a responsible citizen of a country and it also serves as a way for you to express your political opinions by voting for a candidate with similar ideology or policies that support your best interests.

The process of voting also gives individuals the chance to either elect or re-elect government officials at all tiers of government. Voting can also help eliminate the possibility of a dictatorship or tyrannical rulership, thereby impacting the lives of both present and future generations. All members of the population are given the opportunity to contribute to the development of their community regardless of their roots, sex, financial situation, or educational background. This is why most voting choices made in Nigeria are distorted, due to inadequate information. Public policy at the local and national level can also be shaped by voting and it is a duty of citizens to vote for a candidate who represents the lesser evil when all the candidates are shady.

Voters displaying their voter’s cards


It is also very important for citizens not to vote for particular political parties but instead, cast their votes for the most eligible candidate, regardless of his or her party. Voting for a candidate out of ignorance, or for money, sex, or religion will result in corrupt and incompetent leaders. This is why it is pertinent to find a candidate that supports your political views and cast your vote for such an individual. The fact remains; each vote counts, therefore you can make a difference with your votes.

So many Nigerians believe voting is a waste of time because the top political parties rig elections. But this is a sham because if your vote does not count, politicians would not spend millions campaigning and trying to sway your mind in voting for them. For rigging to be possible, people’s votes are needed as the inflation of these votes needs to look realistic as well.

On the other hand, apathy to voting could be as a result of illiteracy or unwillingness. This however will not bring change; political apathy and unwillingness to vote usually places a country in the hands of inept and irresponsible government officials. Not voting is indirectly voting against democracy and it also means you are giving up your right to influence government decision. More Nigerians should get involved in elections and acquire political education because they become good and responsible citizens by going through this process.

The Bridge Leadership Foundation is a non-profit leadership and capacity development Foundation established in 2011 committed to raising generations of transformational leaders.

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