Dr Adekunle Ogunmola, National Commissioner, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on Wednesday said Nigerians should be more active in the nation’s electoral process as it affected them directly or indirectly.
Ogunmola told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that such effective participation was critical to democratic development.
According to him, elections are vital in every democracy because the citizens have the franchise to elect leaders or representatives of their choice.
He also said that citizens were also empowered not to re-elect representatives who did not perform to expectation on assuming elective posts.
“’I want to advise that Nigerians should take the issue of electing people into office seriously because it will impact on them directly or indirectly.
“’When you have representatives that you have chosen via votes of the larger majority of Nigerians in the various constituencies, it means that such representatives have a responsibility of taking care of the people within their constituency.
“These elected officials represent them fully in the various offices they occupy, either at the national or state houses of assembly or whichever office.
“They have a responsibility to the constituents of their various constituencies by pushing forward their needs and yearnings.
“’So, I feel that Nigerians should be more alive and active in the issues of election,” he said.
The commissioner said that voting should be made a compulsory exercise or a criterion for one thing or the other as obtained in some other countries.
“In some countries like Argentina, they make voting a compulsory affair.
“Even if you are not going to vote for one reason or the other, you must notify the electoral body several weeks before the election date, and they have a way of knowing whether you have voted or not.
“In Nigeria, we can get to that level too. I’m sure that by the time we make voting a criterion for one thing or the other in this country, people will get more involved in the electoral process,” he said.
On voter apathy, Ogunmola said that the commission had increased its collaboration with political parties.
“The parties are the ones in need of the votes of the people and should do more than what they are doing right now in the areas of enlightenment and canvassing for votes.
“This will enable more people to come out to exercise their civic responsibility,” he said.
On 2019 general elections, the commissioner said that preparations were in top gear to ensure it was credible.
“I want to assure you that come 2019, we will be able to give Nigerians a very good election,” he said.