(By Odusote Oluwakayode)
“Our vote is the priceless joker needed to create a positive change and not the norm of selling birth rights for a piece of porridge. Our vote can help eliminate the unworthy and improve the quality of the leadership of our country. Persons with questionable characters should not have a leverage of governing us in any capacity“.
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Whatever the case, especially in our polity, part of a politician’s tool is to make available, in large quantity, self glorifying essential commodities needed to satisfy the belly of some ignorant electorates. Such campaign materials are not designed to educate or enlighten the electorates about proposed developmental programmes but to further deceive and enslave. Ours is a nation with politicians whose bid in governing a nation is to take care of self and loyal subordinates first before sharing the brunt.
Beyond deceptive jingles and chants, the inability to feel – deep into grassroots, impacts of a transformation programme from a government whose excuses most times – in the event of alleged cases of corruption and cordoning corruption, has been laid on time and a need for citizens to exercise patience has guaranteed the assigning of a president as being lame, ineffective and sluggish.
The just concluded gubernatorial election in Ekiti state is the latest in the charade of exercise that politicians would use material gifts to coerce electorates into selling their golden votes cheaply. The Osun state election is the next focus while the grand finale of general elections in 2015 is just close by. As we approach these elections, electorates must express concern regarding the frequent instances of intolerance, intimidation, and lust for power that consume most politicians. Our politicians have become gladiators fighting a “do or die” politics. Responsible politics demands a fair assessment of one’s opponents and ideological conviction for a vote from the electorates.
The present atmosphere of fierce competition between political parties and candidates are not the trend that will uphold the tenets of democracy. The will to abide by the rules of democratic engagement are the surety to its survival. There is need to consistently remind ourselves of the noble goals of political activity. Politics should aim at the promotion of the common good and the service of all the people and not of the individual candidate or political group.
Irrespective of the country’s economic situation, we – the electorates have a duty to hold our votes dear to bring about the needed change. We have the chance to choose those who will represent us by taking advantage of the impact assessment parameter to review the performance of our present representatives, weigh them in the balance of truth, justice and unselfish service. If we find them wanting, the option is to reject them and elect others in their place.
Our vote is the priceless joker needed to create a positive change and not the norm of selling birth rights for a piece of porridge. Our vote can help eliminate the unworthy and improve the quality of the leadership of our country. Persons with questionable characters should not have a leverage of governing us in any capacity.
As electorates, we can help secure a society where election will be free, transparent and fair by taking responsibility of our well thought out and sincere decisions in casting our vote wisely. Before free elections would become a reality in our country when the politicians take upon issues ideologically to address increasing cost of living, lack of basic amenities, unemployment, corruption, poor education and health services, lack of infrastructures and poor power supply; we owe democracy a duty to uphold service above self.
Campaigns are supposed to be issue-centred. In developed countries, candidates weigh each other on critical issues affecting the lives of their people, especially during presidential debates. They make it a matter of duty to sincerely explain how they intend solving identifiable problems in every facet of their lives and how to make life more convenient for their people.
They hardly engage in deception, lies, slander, and insults. They have no room for such petty ideas because the people they hope to govern are enlightened – they can’t be easily fooled. This is the kind of campaign approach one expects our politicians to emulate. Only those candidates who have nothing to offer the electorate resort to lies and slander.
Elections are times to review our past in order to prepare for better political choices for the future; it is a time to vote for honest and selfless leaders. Those whose only discernible aspiration is deception and aiming to steal don’t deserve our votes.
If rigging of election is no longer fashionable due to determined electorates’ vigilance at polling centers, the use of the military to monitor or supervise elections should be jettisoned totally and right thinking citizens must condemn the idea. These are subtle and enormous moves towards voter suppression that could sweep many parts of the country as we approach the 2015 general election, and disproportionately disenfranchising people through fear.
If the police cannot be fortified to guide polling units, maintain law and order, then the government should be responsible enough to accept the fault of failure. The militarization of election will surely confuse and disenfranchise.
However, the electorates can’t afford to be frustrated; therefore, logging off from getting involved with the nation’s political activities is never an excuse. Rice is not the guaranteed way to rise from poverty – our active involvement is. Frustration must not be allowed to set in. Our desire to be involved must not be drowned by the politricks of some politicians.
Remember, your vote is a key to effecting positive change in our country – not there country. So, Vote wisely.
“Opinion pieces of this sort published on RISE Networks are those of the original authors and do not in anyway represent the thoughts, beliefs and ideas of RISE Networks.”