• Features
  • Updated: February 20, 2023

ANALYSIS: The Role of Family In The 2023 Presidential Election

Recently, two things have bound families together: festivals and elections.

Most people like to go home and vote. Therefore, they register themselves in their home states.

What role does the family voting bloc play and is likely to play in the forthcoming general election?

The Nigerian kinship system is a communal lifestyle where interests and relations are scattered around communities, extended relations and close-knit groups.

Oftentimes, the group value individual relationships with the other members rather than nation-building.

Because of either a bond of marriage, adoption or through blood, many Nigerian families have become more assertive and cherish making collective decisions.

The fact that many of them are travelling to cities or out of the country is not stopping them from adopting a consensus candidate during an election.

In most cases, the breadwinner of the family’s candidate is the anointed candidate of that family.

How family voting works

AllNews Nigeria spoke with many potential voters who stood firm that their identity should not be named because the election is close, and they won’t want to vote under pressure. 

A seventy-five-year-old grandfather of eight children told AllNews Nigeria that fifty-seven close relations of his will vote in the forthcoming presidential election.

He said he had told them where to vote in the 2023 polls because he had carefully assessed all the presidential candidates. 

“As soon as the leading parties announce their flag bearers, I try to examine them as much as possible.

"I have a master's degree in political science. So, I know what I need to consider.

"I often look at the candidates’ antecedents, accessibility to the people, competence, commitment and charisma”, he stated. 

He added that after concluding, he would summon every member of his extended family to a meeting of community choice. 

“At the meeting, I will report the results of my findings to the family, and we will brainstorm and ruminate on it.

"We will agree to disagree and arrive at a satisfying conclusion at the end of the day.

"Any family member who could not join us at the meeting would call me to ask me where we all stand and will vote on the premise without objection,” he detailed.

Another respondent, who only identifies himself as Issa told AllNews Nigeria that the voting arrangement in his family is based on the candidate the community jointly anoints. 

“During landlord association meetings, there is always a discussion about which candidate  the community must adopt.”

He added that the communities adopt the candidate because of the benefits they think such a candidate would render to the community. 

He state that each family would vote based on their father’s directive on the arrangement at the landlord meetings.

Mary Gift, an indigene of Anambra State who has been a resident of Oyo state for more than twenty years said she and her family vote based on her husband’s family directive. 

“On election day, we receive calls from my husband’s family, and we follow the exact voting pattern.

"We hold our families in high esteem, and one of the ways to display that is by following their lead.

"There is a cogent reason for them to tell us to vote in a certain bloc”, she defended. 

But it is not ideal

Femi Famurewa, a public affairs analyst, told AllNews Nigeria that voting based on the family directive is one of the dangers of representative democracy in Nigeria. 

According to him, the family voting bloc negates the freedom of choice and association that democracy entails.

He disapproved of the practice, adding that it is a politics of lethargy, myopia and calumny.

“In clear terms, I believe that the family bloc voting pattern has no political advantage to the country.

"It is mostly about settlement and family entitlement”. 

He expressed shock that such a brand of the voting pattern still exists in the country and tasked potential Nigerian voters, particularly the youths, to upset the destructive trend.

“The youths should wake up. Let no one decide who you should vote for.

"In the forthcoming 2023 election, vote for the candidate you score as the most credible in your assessment, 

The role

What the family voting bloc does is limit the voting choice of every voter to the options provided by their kindred, family or people, which could, at the end of the day, be a wrong choice.

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Yusuf Adua
Yusuf Adua

Yusuf Adua is an investigative journalist passionate about politics, solution-based reporting and f...

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