As the race to grab political powers in 2019 general elections gathers momentum, it is imperative on all of us to understand that we are all responsible for who becomes our next leader. We are all involved either by commission or omission. We must understand first and foremost that those justling for political offices are doing so for their selfish interests. When they finally grab these powers, they do not punish us because it’s their hobby but because they are only interested in achieving their selfish motives. I point this out so you do not become naïve enough to believe their campaign promises and get disappointed afterwards but for you to develop a participatory mechanism and mindset to hold them accountable for such promises. The new order should be to give every politician a run for his/her promises irrespective of his/her ethnic or party affiliations.
At this point, it does not really matter what you think about the unity and oneness of the entity called Nigeria. We are still one country as presently constituted. Whether it is rightly or wrongly constituted, is a matter for another day. I am mentioning this because ethnicity and religion have become major determinants of who becomes what in Nigeria. But a bad government is a bad government and every bad government deserves a red card. One major group of Nigerians who directly or indirectly contribute to the Nigerian situation are those who do not participate: Whenever you use the phrase political apathy, this group comes to mind. They are the largest group in Nigerian political landscape. They never register during elections, they have no voters’ card and they do not vote neither do they care about being voted for.
In 2015, out of a population of about 170 million, only about 68 million registered to vote. Out of the 68 million that registered, less than 30 million voted. Therefore about 30 million voters or thereabout determined the fate of 170 million. In the statistics above, we see those who registered but for one reason or the other did not bother to vote; they were more than 30 million. Some say they only need the card as a means of identity; some say they were too busy to vote; others claim their votes would not count and therefore, there was no need of voting. There are others who did not even collect their PVC.
The greatest irony is that many of these people have their political affiliations. They are very outspoken. You see them all over social media condemning candidate A and promoting B. They have this impression that any bad government or candidate should lose election by default. The bad candidate will definitely win if you fail to vote for your perceived good candidate. The only way to vote out a bad government is to vote for a new candidate.
If you belong to any of the category mentioned in this group, it’s time to change your attitude. The effects of bad governance do not care whether you voted or not. It does not care whether you voted candidate A or B. Your vote still counts even when you fail to vote because it’s an automatic minus for your choice candidate and a plus for the other candidate. Stop being on the fence! Your refusal to participate is one of the reasons why evil thrive. Remember, if you fail to act, you will surely be acted upon