VOTE WISELY

VOTE WISELY

It’s another season of political jamboree. Since politicians have been given the green light by INEC to go ahead with electioneering campaign from 18/11/2018, the whole place is already hyped by political activities. Politicians, characteristic of them, have started making promise, sic, campaign promises, giving the electorate reasons why they should give them their vote; reading out their programmes or campaign promises, If you like.

If a book was to be judged by its cover or the surface of an ocean were to determine its depths, then with those stupendous promises, we are about to enter a new era of bliss in Nigeria. But experience has proven that a book cover may not be a true reflection of its contents so that it should not be used to judge its contents; cover is packaging. The real content is inside. Also, the look of the ocean surface should not be used to determine its depth. Therefore, we should not allow fake promises to carry us away to where we did not intend going. We have heard it before, over and over again. While the politicians keep wising up, the real people that own the power – the electorate- keep growing in their gullibility. Maybe because the psyche of the people have been so bastardized by many years of hardship and manipulation, or because of the high degree of poverty to which they have been subjected by their political rulers

In as much as I am not campaigning for any political party or candidate (of course, you can be actively involved in politics without being a politician), some pertinent question you need to ask them, if you have the opportunity, are:

Let’s start with those that are already occupying political office in the National Assembly:

  • Since you have been a member of the National Assembly, what are you contributions to your constituents/constituency or the people you are supposed to be representing?
  • How many laudable projects can you point at in your constituency as directly sponsored by you?
  • Whatever you have been able to do or achieve in your constituency, as our representative, is it or are they what we wanted or asked you to go and do for us
  • Since we put you there to represent us about three years ago, how many times have you come back to report to us about the mandate we gave you?
  • Are you aware that you are not there by yourself and for yourself?
  • How have you spent our money (the constituency allowance) that you have been collecting?
  • Now that you are asking us to return you to the National Assembly, what are you going to do there again?

I observed that many of them, after they got the people’s vote and found themselves in the National Assembly, we never felt their impact or saw them again. The only way we know they are still there or are still representing us is when we see them on television, or in very rare occasion, on newspaper; or very recently, when we started seeing their posters and billboards all around us again as usual. Well, maybe that’s our dividends from them – their well-fed faces being shown to us, telling us how they are faring sumptuously with our common wealth.

If you are satisfied with their achievements, why not, vote for them to continue with their achievement. If not, be wise, vote for someone else; test a new person, you never can tell, you may be voting for an angel…or….

But, if you are carried away by their posters that you can see every everywhere, mmmhhhh, then we have a long way to go. Yes, they can produce any quantity and quality of posters. They have the resources; but how does that affect your life, community and constituency positively?

Let’s be wise. Don’t vote for posters, vote for achievement and credibility.

For the fresher to the National Assembly:
The following questions are such that we would like for them to answer:

  • What is your antecedent as a candidate? As one that is coming to represent us, what have you been able to achieve in your present state or office as a leader?
  • How much have you been able to impart the lives of the people around you now?
  • Why should we trust you with our mandate?
  • What do you have to offer? Is it just your wealth that you have to showcase? What are you bringing to the table to make a difference?
  • Are you going to run with our mandate or your own personal agenda?
  • Are you going there to represent us or to rule over us?
  • Are you going to use our collective wealth to make life better for us or you’re coming in to enrich yourself, your party and your sponsors with our common wealth?
  • Are you going to be accountable to your people or when you get there you become lord and distant yourself from them?

Now, let’s come to you the electorate
If you’re asked, ‘Why do you want to vote for this fellow” what will your answer be?
What’s going to be your reason for voting for him/her?

There is something that is as constant as the Northern Star, these politicians know what they want – YOUR VOTE. To serve you? Mmmmmmmh. We can’t really say about that for all of them.

So, it appears to me that the problem is not really with the politicians. They know what they want. Then, who is the problem with? The problem is with us the electorate, who most of the time, do not really know what we want and so can be easily manipulated by the politicians. Their strategy has not changed much: keep the people in ignorance and poverty; dangle 5k in front of them as incentive to buy their vote during polling; during electioneering campaign, roll out the road construction machines that have been packed for the past three plus years and place them at strategic spots or do some road repairs such as grading; dish out some programmes that should have been in place ever since for the benefit of the people…and so forth…and unfortunately, the electorate allow themselves to be carried away by those things and subject themselves to another term of poverty and deprivation. What a vicious cycle.

TO BE CONTINUED…
Aghedo R. Uyi
uyiwrites@gmail.com

POLITICS, BE ACTIVELY INVOLVED

POLITICS, BE ACTIVELY INVOLVED

IT IS YOUR RIGHT

Whether you know it or not; whether you believe it or not; whether you like it or not, we are all involved in politics – either actively or passively. But I prefer active participation to passive participation, because in most things in life, being active is better than being passive. Activities, not repose, make things happen.

HOW TO BE ACTIVELY INVOLVED IN POLITICS

You can be actively involved in politics in one, or all, of the following ways:

  1. By registering for a voter’s card if you are an eligible voter (if you are 18+) and then exercising your franchise by voting during polling exercise;
  2. By being a registered member of a political party and being actively involved in the political affairs of the party;
  3. By supporting a political party or a candidate of a political party, either financially or otherwise;
  4. By voting during polling exercise;
  5. By being a candidate in a political contest.

HOW TO BE PASSIVELY INVOLVED IN POLITICS

People are passively involved in politics, when:

  1. They do not register for voter’s card, or they register for voter’s card but are not bothered about collecting it when it’s ready, or they have a voter’s card but refuse to vote during polling exercise;
  2. They are not concerned about who wins in an election that should concern them;
  3. They are not bothered about who governs them;
  4. They are ignorant about the political happenings taking place around them;
  5. They do not participate in politics at all.

Because politics is a game of number, those who refused to be actively involved in politics, especially by refusing to vote, have actually taken a stance – they have either helped the wrong candidate to win because they denied the right candidate their vote, or they have caused the right person to lose the election because they refused to vote for them.

People have several reasons for refusing to be actively involved in politics. I may not be able to mention all the reasons here now; that will be in a later post. For now, let’s focus on reasons why some people refuse to vote during a election.

Some of the reasons include:

  1. The claim or belief that their votes will not count;
  2. The claim or belief that election results are already predetermined by the powers that be;
  3. The claim or belief that unscrupulous politicians will rig the election in their favour contrary to the people’s decision;
  4. Fear of violence in polling unit. (This, of course, can be taken care of by good security systems).

 

But is it really true that votes do not count as some people try to make us believe?  I do not think so. I think votes count, and these are the reasons for my belief:

  1. If votes do not count, why do politicians/political parties allegedly try to influence people to vote for them by offering them money and other incentives during polls. If it’s true that they do that, should that not tell you that your votes counts, otherwise, why would someone be ready to pay for it?
  2. Why do politicians/political parties spent huge sum of money on electioneering campaign – print media, mass media, social media, postal, etc. Of course, it’s because vote counts.
  3. Why do politicians/political parties work very hard to win the heart of people towards voting for them, even to the extent of making unrealistic, false promises, if votes do not count?
  4. Ballot box snatching & stuffing: if votes do not count, why do politicians, allegedly, through their cronies, involve themselves in it?
  5. If votes do not count, what do you say about several elections results that have been upturn by courts based on evidence from polling exercise?
  6. Rigging election, though possible, is not an easy thing, since collation and counting of election results are not under the absolute control of any political party or the ruling party; it is the function of an independent body (INEC) under the watchful eyes of other stakeholders including external/international observers. So, rigging of election, while very possible, is not an easy or a cheap endeavour.

Let nobody deceive you, vote counts. The politicians know that, so let’s prepare to use our votes to determine our future.

If you don’t exercise your franchise by voting, it means you refuse to use the power at your disposal to determine your future, but rather left it in the hands of other people to do. That doesn’t seem very wise to me.

Not voting, as I said earlier, could also mean that you are just helping the wrong candidate to win the election by not casting the vote that would have produced the right person. Remember, if good people refuse to act, evil thrives.

Unfortunately, the way many people participate in politics is to criticize, condemn, talk about the faults of a politician/political party, or even eulogize a candidate or party; after that they go into repose. People are not rewarded based on what they know but based on what they do. Knowing the right or wrong candidate is not enough; wishing that a particular candidate/party wins or loses is not enough. Demonstrate your position, stance or knowledge by being actively involved in the process, especially and majorly through voting during polls.

That votes do not count must have originated from unscrupulous politicians as a strategy to disenfranchise people from exercising their civic responsibility and determining their future by themselves, so that their cronies and loyalists can have a field day. It is popularly spread by those who have lost confidence in the system. Don’t be one of them. Your vote counts.

Your vote is your power to creating a better future for yourself. Be prepared to use it at the appropriate time. God bless Nigeria

By

Aghedo R. Uyi

uyiwrites@gmail.com