An election is a formal decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual or individuals to represent them in a particular position. Over time, election periods in Nigeria are often characterized by tension, electoral violence, election malpractices, and wars between political opponents.
However, it is necessary for citizens to use election as a medium of choosing and selecting representatives. In Nigeria, The governor is usually the Chief Executive of a state. In the 35 states of the Federation, excluding Abuja, there is an individual overseeing the affairs of that state which is the Governor.
Nigerian Constitutional Requirements for Gubernatorial candidates
Section 177 of the Nigerian constitution stipulates the requirements needed before a person can qualify for election to the office of Governor of a State;
1. He is a citizen of Nigeria by birth;
2. He has attained the age of thirty-five years;
3. He is a member of a political party and is sponsored by that political party; and
4. He has been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent.
The Constitutional Provision of Gubernatorial Election in Nigeria
Election in Nigeria relies on two major legal documents which are the 1999 Constitution as Amended and the Electoral Act 2010. The Nigerian Constitution which is the supreme law of the land has enshrined the conduct of Presidential Election in Nigeria has stated below;
The Registration Process
This is the process that shows that are eligible to vote and be voted for in Nigeria. The registration of voters, updating and revision of the register of voters is quite Paramount before the commencement of any election in Nigeria. However, these activities stops not later than 60 days before election. The only person qualified to be registered as a voter is a citizen of Nigeria; one who has attained the age of 18 years; one who is ordinarily resident, works in, originates from the Local Government Area Council or Ward covered by the registration centre etc.
Primaries are a process by which voters can indicate their choice for their party’s candidate, in an upcoming general election or any other election. It is a mini-election where a political party elects its preferred candidate to go for public office under its platform. During the primaries, parties go through an elimination process where they examine and remove nominees to just one person who will represent them at the general election. The Electoral Act however mandates that all political parties hold primaries. It further states that, A political association that complies with the provisions of the Constitution and the Act shall be registered as a political party for election. Provided that such application for registration as a political party is duly submitted to the Commission not later than 6 months before a general election .
Appointment of Election Date:
An election to the office of Governor is always held on a date appointed by the Independent National Electoral Commission but this date must not be earlier than sixty days and not later than thirty days before the expiration of the term of office of the last holder of that office. However, the Constitution went further to state that where in an election to the office of Governor one of the two or more candidates nominated for the election is the only candidate after the close of nomination, by reason of the disqualification, withdrawal ,incapacitation, disappearance or death of the other candidates, the Independent National Electoral Commission shall extend the time for nomination. Also, for the purpose of an election to the office of Governor, the state shall be regarded as one constituency and every person who is registered to vote at an election of a member of a legislative house shall be entitled to vote at an election to the office of Governor.
Announcement of Election Result:
In an election to the office of the Governor, the result is ascertained by counting the votes cast for each candidate and subject to the provisions of sections179 of the Constitution, the candidate that receives the highest number of votes shall be declared elected by the appropriate Returning Officer.
The governor in office is expected to vacate the seat for an incumbent governor at the expiration of a period of four years commencing from the date, when he took he took the Oath of Allegiance and the oath of office; or when his successor takes the oath of that office, or he dies whilst holding such office; or the date when his resignation from office takes effect; or maybe he otherwise ceases to hold office in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.
Disqualification for Election to the office of the Governor
A person shall not be qualified for election to the office of President if –
1. He has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of a country other than Nigeria or he has made a declaration of allegiance to such other country; or
2. He has been elected to such office at any two previous elections; or
3, He is adjudged to be a lunatic or otherwise declared to be of unsound mind;
4. He is under a sentence of death imposed by any competent court of law or tribunal in Nigeria or a sentence of imprisonment for any offence involving dishonesty or fraud.
5. Within a period of less than ten years before the date of election to the office of Governor of a State he has been convicted and sentenced for an offence involving dishonesty.
6. He is an undischarged bankrupt, having been adjudged or otherwise declared bankrupt under any law in force in Nigeria.
It is the law that the governor of a state cannot hold any other executive office or paid employment while he holds such office.