VOTER’S apathy has become a great challenge to Nigerian democracy. The issue has become a canker-worm that has refused to die since the 2007 general elections in Nigeria. The cause can be attributed to ballot box snatching; votes not counting and lack of interest in the political process. This caused low turnout during the voter registrations in 2011 election. Apparently, electoral process is a major pillar of democracy as the voters remain the most important stakeholder in the procedure.
This is apparent as the electorates tend to lose confidence when democracy is imperiled. The main objective of any electoral process is to confer universal suffrage on the eligibility of voters who would exercise their franchise under an atmosphere of free, fair and credible election which in turn confers legitimacy on those elected. Thus, elections are necessary but it is disheartening that the electorates are losing confidence in the electioneering process.
The just concluded governorship and house of assemblies’ elections across the 29 states witnessed a lot of issues like low turnout of voters. This is not the first time Nigerians will experience this as the 2003 presidential election also witnessed this set back. It is on record that voter turnout stand at 53.7 per cent in 2011, 57.7 per cent in 2007 and hit the jackpot of 69.1 per cent in 2003. This is indeed an indication that something fishy is going on in the conduct of Nigeria election. Looking at the nexus that exist in vote buying, voter apathy and the declaration of inconclusive results in some states across the country, it is clear that something is not right.
The practice of do or die game of politics by politicians and desperation on their side to grasp power is becoming intolerant, unacceptable and a major cause of voter apathy in the country. This unfair game of politics has led to voter inducement, violence, harassment and intimidation of voters as well as poll officials and even observers.
The most important election that will shape the lives of the people in terms of education, water supply, agriculture and health care system is the one at the grassroots level that is the state elections but Nigerians seems to give less importance to it. Some have this notion that State Governors and House of Assemblies are not doing anything apart from sharing the grant from the Federal level.
- Idris Mohammed Funtua,