Hey son, how are you? Have you done your voter’s registration?
No dad, I haven’t because I don’t have time.
Are you not registering people, why can’t you do yours?
Ok dad, I will.
That was a phone conversation between me and my dad back in 2011 when I was an NYSC ADHOC officer for INEC. I gave my dad the flimsy excuse of me not having time because I couldn’t bring myself to tell him I didn’t believe in the future of Nigeria through that election.
From my elementary social-study days (I think they call it Civic Education now). I know it’s my right to vote and be voted for, but I have never voted and neither do I think I want to be voted for except of course God says otherwise. Now before you think of lecturing me about how my vote might invoke change by voting for the right person, or how my not voting is letting the wrong candidate win there are some pertinent questions I need to ask you:
Who is the right candidate for the job?
What is our yardstick for knowing he is the right person?
How sure are we that he is not just another old wine in a new bottle?
These questions and many more that may arise in-line with it are simply to assure me that the candidate I am voting for will make a change before I queue under the sun or in the rain, invest my time and voting right to vote for the individual.
Back to that 2011 election, my friend called me and he went on about how I should vote for a particular Presidential candidate and I was like; bro, relax! What assurance do I have that if I vote for his preferred candidate and he wins; he will save a drowning nation? He was quiet for a while, after which he responded that his preferred candidate is passionate about Nigeria and I replied ‘time will tell if he is truly that passionate’. And of course, as fate will have it; he didn’t win and this made his kinsmen from the north to unleash bokoharam menace on us.
My question was and still is: since he claim to be passionate about the nation, why hasn’t he done anything to pacify or solve the situation because he is considered one of the political top shot from the North and his action also propels this question : must someone be in power before he can effect change? Don’t answer that because we all know Mandela was not the president when he started the struggle against apartheid in South Africa.
If you have read thus far, I know you’re asking yourself what is the point of this whole article? My point is; everywhere I turn in this country, nothing is working and I dare state this fact hoping we will be on the same page, or how else does one explain all these. Our borders are so porous that a man infected with a deadly viral disease could stroll in and put the whole country in panic mode, thirty-five policemen were abducted in one place at the same time and these are the men who supposed to protect us(lol), as a country we can’t boast of twelve hours stable power supply in the 21st century, university are lowering jamb cut-off mark to accommodate below average students; no one wants to read anymore, doctors are striking and patient are dying, a country of over 170 million citizen and enormous land mass, yet we can’t be identified as a country exporting one particular agricultural produce; bokoharam keeps terrorizing, killing and kidnapping every day, yet we go on peace-keeping mission, more like we have not removed the log in our eyes and we are trying to remove the speck in the eyes of others.
All I have enunciated above are like scratching the surface of all our problems. However, this is a lot of blame to place on one man (ruler) or a section of people (government). Guess what; YOU and I are also to blame for everything and I will answer any doubt you have about this statement simply by defining democracy..
Democracy is government of the people, by the people and for the people. That is, if we choose to blame the government for our problems, who are the government…..the people, who voted them in…..the people! Unless the government are Aliens or the government totalling 3million person exaggeratedly are more powerful than 167million people…..then YOU and I are to be blamed too.
For a country with growing vast population with huge land mass and numerous natural resources, we are meant to be among the countries that dictate the pace in the world but instead we are reduced to a developing nation who receives alms from every tom, dick and harry. Any foreigner considered a quack in his country can come to our country to teach us how it is done because we are too vulnerable to have standards.
You know what, I take back my earlier statement that nothing is working in Nigeria; the only thing working for us is God. We are quick to call on God for most of the problems he has so graciously bless us with solutions to already but we ignorantly refuse to look within; but who am I to fault that because he is the one who has kept us together as a nation despite our real insurmountable situations and I am worried how long that will last if we refuse to consciously change our ways and start building a nation together with God as our bedrock.
2015 elections is but few months away and I can’t help but ask, which way forward NIGERIANS.
P.S: what do I know, I am just another citizen running my mouth lol.
Babalola Michael Tayo