By Chris Odinaka Nwedo
As we look forward to a secure and healthier Nigerian society, it is imperative to recognise our inviolable roles as active agents in the realisation of a positively working nation state. Without controversy, it is the constructive roles we play as interested citizens that make or mar the nation’s steady progress in terms of solidity, security and quality development which are factors predetermining our national health.
The wide spreading denunciations of a progressively evolving culture of vote buying and selling in Nigeria’s elections verified the recognition of the fact that commercialisation of votes is an intensely idiotic enterprise. Vote buyers are double-crossing entrepreneurs, while the seller is comparable to a man vulnerable who intentionally and tactlessly gave-up the only instrument in his possession for safety. By this, he invariably stirred up all manners of adversities on themselves. A vote seller, in Nigeria, fatally binds himself/herself to treacherous machinations of bourgeoning pitiless vote entrepreneurs-politicians who gleefully hand them over couples of valueless naira notes to harvest their future.
Nigeria is destabilised today due to thoughtlessness of the vast majority of her citizens who mortgage their consciences for things so little and valueless. Out of self-.inflicted ignorance and abjectness, the folks gladly hand themselves over to be enslaved by ‘crude oppressors’ for a couple of meal tickets. This fact supports the hypothesis by Jerry Rawlings of Ghana that ‘Nigerians love their oppressors’. The denigrating attitude has given Nigeria an impression of an enclave where every opportunity is mismanaged. The self-inflicted ignorance and poverty, today, are phenomena driving many Nigerians to desperation. The extreme anxiety for food and ‘basic means’ are potent forces behind the tendencies to crime and criminality among the citizens. This partly explains why many folks see their voter’s cards as accesses to temporal meals during elections. “Politicians on the other hand are always on the stand by to exploit the stupidity. Many of the poverty – stricken voters, like imprudent sex hawkers, do not understand the risks associated with the promiscuity. At the end of this dark tunnel is punishing under development because the future is already traded for a morsel”. Vote trading is one of the ways man deliberately dehumanises himself to a fellow man.
The only way folks can effectively jeopardise their right to good governance, security and quality services is to trade votes for cash. The only real thing the seller buys with the ‘profit’ made in imprudent transaction is captivity. When you are ready and willing to allow a duplicitous politician to buy your vote, conscience and right, that politician ‘rules’ you not on the basis of programmes or party manifestos but rather on the contract that he/ she has bought over your rights of objection to misrule and impoverishment. Having paid you off, you have no right to question the competence nor reproach him/her for exploiting you, because you have become enslaved. In fact, the brazen phenomenon portends danger to the democratic process of electing officers and in turn prevents good Governance.
As we look forward to a secure and healthier Nigerian society, it is imperative to recognise our inviolable roles as active agents in the realisation of a positively working nation state. Without controversy, it is the constructive roles we play as interested citizens that make or mar the nation’s steady progress in terms of solidity, security and quality development which are factors predetermining our national health. It is clear that Nigeria cannot transit for better in absence of active individual and or corporate efforts. We all need to be part of the processes of positive change. It is an inviolable right to be part of, and vigilant participators in orchestrating a brand of change we consider compatible with our collective visions of a progressive Nigeria. It is no longer sustainable in the light of injurious experiences of today to abandon our right to choose our leaders to treacherous gangs of politicians who have reversed the trend of positive growth and development of this country. The deceitful politicians appeared have been tacitly permitted by our stupidity, ignorance and sufferance to run the nation according to their frolics, imposing their will and candidates as we remain pitiably uninformed and complacent. Find a way to make the vote-buyer pay considerably for offering you pittance for your right and life, because, you are not so stupid. Acceptance of a couple of worthless naira to vote against ones conscience is an unparalleled stupidity.
I strongly assumed we have slumbered enough to our grave injuries. We need to wake up to the challenges of eternal vigilance or we remain perpetually wood winked and impoverished by tactless groups of rulers we endorse by sufferance to continuously recycle themselves. There is no gain saying that today we are confronted with intolerably frustrating economic and social settings because we constantly excused ourselves from standing out for our legitimate interest. We failed to live up to our statutory obligation as citizens. We have inviolable obligation to be vigorous participants in electoral processes, with this, we can contributed purposefully in the choice and endorsement of leaders amenable to our corporate interests as citizens of Nigeria.
It is exclusively our duty as Nigerians to do what we can, to be active citizens in political sense. Even when you do not need to be a card-carrying member of a particular party, endeavour to follow the process by voting prudently. As Nigerians, the only chance of triumph in the midst of the current plightful situation in the country is to be dynamic and constructive citizens. Refuse inducement that can lure you to criminal compromise. Certainly, you benefit more, gain more and be more secured when you contribute in making the leaders work for collective national goals. The gains from supporting sectional agendas are temporal tranquilizer to intolerable pains that come immediately the conspiracies expire.
It is pertinent to recognise that the duty of full participation in the national political events are proven tools of watchful vigilance to ensure that our collective will are respected in policy formulation and implementation. Such participation is also necessary components of our obligation as responsible citizens. It is this participation that can be trusted to facilitate indispensable purposeful change without which we remain stagnant and plagued by treacherous folks. The routine nasty experiences of insecurity and socio-economic deprivations of today have all the more challenged us as Nigerians to contribute proportionately in evolving a qualitative society of our dreams. God bequeathed us this geographical expression and we are under compulsion to transform the nation so that it can serve our needs. Healthier and productive Nigerian society should be seen as the qualitative expressions of the inputs of corporate and individual efforts. Nation does not make people, people make nation. It is objectively true that Nigerians are the only ones to make Nigeria a nation. As Nigerians, therefore, we are re-challenged.
My proposition is that it should be our commitment as Nigerian citizens to add value to the nation by not only doing what we are inclined to do as individuals but support corporate efforts targeted at objectively national interest. The logic that a functional society is an expression of active support of the people can no longer be challenged in the light of what is happening around the world. As Nigerians, we should be increasingly determined to be part of the processes that bring positive changes; changes that make our society able to comprehensively cater and care for us. It is self-evident that every enviable society is a product of the contribution of its conscientious citizens.
An active participation in an election is a resounding call for commitment to the goal of responsible citizenship. The 2019 general elections should have been another rare opportunities for redressing the errors of past uniformed choices. The mistakes of choosing to be disfranchised have not been redressed this time around again. Once again, we failed to reaffirm the power of our voter’s cards in many ways. We were quite unable to severely chastise fraudulent politicians and reward the good ones. Having a voter’s card without disposition to make the effective use of it is self-defeating and censurable. The choices we made during the election will contribute in the determination of the nature of future for Nigeria.
Consequently, we need to be willing and prepared to make future choices on the basis of adequate knowledge. We need to voice out courteously our objections to policies and programmes that are objectively incompatible to our collective needs. We have been derailed and driven far away from our proper destination as a nation by ridiculous politicians and their evil philosophies. As citizens, we need to understand that our unchangeable goal in every election should be good leaders only. Good leaders provide dispositions for good policies and programmes. Choice of leadership based on unwholesome influences of religion and or ethnicity is scandalously a debilitating poison Nigerians have sipping with straws of ignorance for decades. This poison has profoundly destroyed our system, institutions and services. This explains why we have been groaning under the burdens of imprudent rulers with scanty of hopes of respite. A good leader ‘on top’ will necessarily change Nigeria for better but not so, for a good religious or ethnic nationalist. Religious and/or ethnic president is a bigot that works parochially against collective national interest. Conspiracies against common national aspirations damage all and sundry at an appropriate time, some suffer the damages parochialism immediately and others later, this is an incontrovertible fact.
The idea of Nigerians determining their fate as a collectivity through the ballot boxes is now more compelling, considering the distressing failures of the present crops of leaders in areas of right judgement. The leaders of all tiers of the governance have not proved to be representing the people; their choices have been summarily antithetical to the interests of the people. They rule the people capriciously according to the dictates of personal political ambitions, defecting irrationally, abandoning alliances and horrifically turning the every truth upside down.
During campaigns the rulers tell lies, make the lies big and repeated the lies for gullible compatriots. The never-ending propaganda of lies is scandalously profane as the conducts of most of the politicians. The conducts demonstrated that these profaning adults are too fallible to be trusted in any way. The demeanours exposed their incapacities in terms of right judgement consequently they can no longer be permitted to go on without vigorous supervision. The puerile finger pointing between the leading political parties trivialise the people and denigrate the nation. Nigeria’s national development is endlessly in battle with hypocritical politicians, ethno and religious jingoists and non-issues that dominate national conservations. Democracy of prudent leaders and active followers will perpetually elude Nigeria if the situations are not robustly challenged.
This nation cannot be meaningful with this brand of fruitless political representation. Nigerians need to speak vociferously with their votes against the evil philosophy of self preservation by the out of control and egocentric politicians. For me, the therapy to the shambolic trends in our political fortune is the conscientious involvement of the people. I believe it is the duty of Nigerians to make contributions in changing the current wrong political orientations that significantly weigh down prospects of a healthier Nigeria. Constructive change of national attitude has become necessary, and it is my understanding that issues of predisposition to service and morality should be given priority in all future choices of political candidates. Without the prudent decision and commitment to doing our best as conscientious citizens we can neither mobilise for better nor strengthen the institutions essential for productive democratic processes.
It is generally assumed that the discomforting social and economic development in Nigeria has their genesis in narrow-mindedness judgement of the past that considered political duty to the nation as indecent and too carnal to the ‘children of God’. Ask the shamefully ignorant ones why they do not vote nor participate in elections their answers are always, “politics is dirty game”.
These infinitely erroneous propositions needed obliteration or the nation is abandoned to the proprietorship of crude Nigerians and the intolerant rampages of nefarious criminals. I think our votes and our voices remain successful channels for constructive influence on the political trend. They can lead the way to formation of values with the potential to inspire accountability in our system of governance. We can insist on candidates who value education, quality infrastructure and national integration and those who recognise and appreciate the strength of strong national institutions.
In fact, 2019 general elections failed a test of perfect time again to demonstrate our power and ability to organize and articulate our grievances. It was a missed time to abide by the proven methods of active citizenship. Many failed to come out actively to vote and campaign against anti-corruption corruption, political indiscretion, favouritism and economic mismanagement, even when they are discomforted by the malfeasance. Yes, it is undeniable that we are living in discomforting deprivation; we have been cannon-folders to the nation’s ubiquitous self-serving politicians and double-crossing fixers who constituted the main structural obstacle to justice, security and deepening culture of freedom.
The fixers are conspirators, even when they profess to work for collective interest and represent spirit of national patriotism their records renounce their claims. And to maintain unlimited accesses to power, the political fixers impose either their siblings or frail warhorses. They conspire among themselves, co-opt rivals, incite hatred with false propaganda and surreptitiously sponsor malcontent and violent groups to terrorise, maim or murder citizens. Bad leaders, reckless politicians and fixers have incapacitating impact on Nigeria’s progress as they endeavour to take absolute economic and political advantages. It is an incontrovertible fact that the manoeuvres of the bad folks have adversely affected objective perception of Nigeria and impeded prospects of quality development.