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Political Jargon And The 2023 General Elections Nigeria



Political Jargon And The 2023 General Elections Nigeria

Have you ever heard anyone say, “Spare me those jargons“? It is instructive to know that “jargon“, a mass or an uncountable noun, does not mean nonsensical words. The term refers to the special or technical words that are used by particular groups or people, especially in their work. Also, such words may be unintelligible to people outside of the users’ fields. The word is otherwise known as argot and, in informal contexts, they are slang.

Slightly differently, jargon could also mean obscure and often pretentious language marked by circumlocutions and long words. Within the orbit of this second sense, this piece will acquaint the readership with some special words that are used in political discourse with a view to widening the readers’ vocabulary, on the one hand, and improving their political knowledge, on the other hand. The piece will also sermonise on the need for all stakeholders to ensure a free and fair election as Nigeria prepares for its general elections.

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For starters, politicians are advised to be reformers and not demagogues. While a reformer is someone who tries to change and improve something such as a law or a social system, a demagogue is a political leader who seeks support by appealing to the desires and prejudices of ordinary people rather than by using rational arguments. The development of the country lies in the hands of leaders who have the interest of the citizenry at heart, and not those who are out to stoke the embers of enmity and ethnic diversity.

In view of this, all the people connected to the 2023 general elections in Nigeria should endeavour to play their roles justly. Returning officers, practically speaking, should avoid being bought over to avoid uproar. Be in the know that a returning officer is an official who is responsible for arranging an election and who formally announces the result. As a nation, we must collectively prevent gerrymandering so that the desired people will get into office. Gerrymandering is the act of altering political boundaries in order to give an unfair advantage to one political party or group of people.

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Moving on, citizens should do well to exercise their franchise. The right to vote in an election is called franchise or suffrage. We must know, as a country, that we have a role to play in transforming our nation; and one such role is to exercise our franchise as a civic duty.


Undoubtedly, voter apathy which is a lack of interest among voters in the elections of representative democracies hinders the development of a country. We, therefore, must all exercise our franchise without heating up the polity. A polity is an organised society such as a nation, city, or church, together with its government and administration.

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Importantly, too, canvassers should beware of harassing voters. A canvasser is a person who tries to get political support or votes, especially by visiting all the houses in an area. While such activity is within the ambit of the law, canvassing must not come with any form of harassment. It should be mentioned that a canvasser is different from a party agent.

The Nigerian Independent National Electoral Commission (2006) defines a political party agent as an accredited representative of a political party or candidate designed to witness the voter registration, display of the PRV, polling and counting processes on behalf of his/her political party/candidate at specific registration, polling and counting venues.

So while party agents are allowed to be close to the voting area, canvassers work from a distance. It equally bears mentioning that party agents should not be too close to polling booths. A polling booth is one of the partly enclosed areas in a polling station, where people can vote in private. It is essential that these enclosed areas are not crowded by officials, party agents and canvassers.


Moreover, it is of paramount importance to mention that citizens should not resort to violence in the event that there is suspected manipulation in the voting exercise. Instead, the aggrieved side can file a petition. An election petition is a procedure for inquiring into the validity of election results at any level. The country has election tribunals in place. Election tribunals resolve disputes arising from suspected electoral malpractices.

In conclusion, it is the natural and constitutional duty of all citizens to ensure a peaceful election in a country. This is the hallmark of patriotism. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!

(c)2023 Ganiu Abisoye Bamgbose (Dr GAB)
Department of English,
Lagos State University

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