As we go to the polls, some questions
OPPORTUNITY, they say, comes once in a lifetime. This popular aphorism which has been kept in the brain cells of people for so long is being challenged by the unique case of Nigeria and her idiosyncrasies. Nigerians have been inundated with several opportunities, at some point in our history, to destroy and obliterate all shackles and bottlenecks to vibrancy and take a leap to getting transmogrified into a country with fair and exemplary systems, buoyant economy and working institutions enviable in the comity of great nations. What , however, saddens one’s heart is that we have either feigned oblivion about these strangely reoccurring chances or shot the fatal gun of refusal at it due to religious blindness and uncritical belief in ethnic hegemony.
After several flurry of intellectual intercourse and cross-fertilization of ideas among like minds, the offspring we have got is that of stack reality of the existence of another golden opportunity. A seemingly last one at that! The opportunity is so golden that it’s either we clip it tightly with the molar teeth in order to begin our glorious voyage to greater heights or we slack off on it and resultedly begin the inglorious journey to being a failed state or a disintegrated one, God forbid! It’s definitely not a prophecy of doom but a pure common sense!
Considering the criticality cum exigency of the issue at hand, this is, of course, no time for unnecessary rhetoric or showcase of literary skills. It is the general elections! Elections are to the progress of nations as lubricants are to engines. Election marks the period of transition in leadership of world democracies. It’s a period characterized by well-packaged campaigns, carefully prepared propagandas and other activities tailored towards coming out victorious in the elections. It’s a period wherein the eligible citizens stand as witnesses and give to their preferred candidates, the loyalty of their thumbs.
Nigeria, obviously, is in the period of democratic transition. Party primaries have come and gone. Nigerians could observe them together with their intricacies. I will however aver, without any modicum of doubt and for it to be on records, that employing religion or ethnicity to canvass for votes or to cast aspersions on another party in order to reduce their votes is condemnable, criminal, divisive and unacceptable. Nigerians should look beyond religious and ethnic considerations to decide who to vote for. Poverty knows no religious proclamations neither would the life wires of unemployment and insecurity refuse to shock the bare hands of one because of his ethnic identity. Never! Politicians should desist from playing religious and ethnic cards as the consequents of that after the 2011 elections are still fresh in our memories. In as much as I am not endorsing or campaigning for any persons or parties, I believe what should be at the heart of our decision on who to vote for is the candidates’ plans and programmes for the country. What would they do about corruption, a cankerworm that has eaten deep into the fabric of our nation? How do they intend to create gainful jobs for the teeming unemployed youths? How do they want to banish insecurity from the land? What plans do they have for the nation’s educational system? These, inter alia, are the questions to ask not the insignificants.
Moreover, it will be delightful and interesting to see the presidential aspirants slog it out in a debate. This is the time for civil societies, independent media and non-governmental organizations to form a synergy and do this for Nigerians. I also share the concern, in the spirit of fairness, that organizations and bodies other than those with political affiliations and alignment should be in charge of this.
Great Nigerian People! This is another rare opportunity to get it right. We must strive hard to circumvent the reoccurrence of the regrettable mistakes of the past. We must resolve and struggle to make the right choice this time no matter what! It’s of course not a cinch but it’s possible and imperative for our collective future and that of generations to come. My People! As we go to polls in leaps and bounds, let us vote to secure the bright future and glorious destiny of our dear country and continent.
• Lawal is a 400 level student of Psychology at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.
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