Its over 170 days to one of the most important events to our democracy as a people. The 2019 general election is fast approaching and the politickings that are going on are quite interesting. Week in week out we hear of how persons are deflecting from one political party to the other and so on and so forth. I wouldn’t be talking out the apparent shame these events have shown today, but rather I would focus more on the desires of the Nigerian people who have always being at the receiving end of all the political actions and inactions.
Democracy, as it ought to be, is centered on the decision of all the people, which means that the people own the democratic system and also should be beneficiaries of its outputs and dividends. There is however no way to actively participate in this process if the people cannot vote or choose their leaders. The Permanent Voters Card in the Nigerian context guarantees this. Thus, if you feel like the last four years of a leader’s term has not be favorable to you and Nigeria and such leader has deviated so much from what he/she promised, you can vote him out by simply having a voters card and exercising your rights. Where a people protect bad leaders instead of the institution of democracy, they have started failing as a people.
Having said this, it takes more than having a PVC to protect our democracy. I must say that I am particularly proud of the call for people to obtain their PVCs, it has been a worthy topic all over media outlets, social media and religious organization and I strongly believe that more people are becoming aware of their rights and how to channel it. For me, knowing how to use the PVC rightly is as important as having the PVC. The last Ekiti governorship election paraded another shade to the problems we have a people, thanks to the media, we saw how people traded their votes for money to the glare of the world. This to me is a major challenge, I would not go over why this kind of thing should be happening in the 21th century and in Nigeria, the purported Giant of Africa. I would rather profess a solution and charge us to take charge of our future.
The solution I would proffer in this situation, is to sensitize our people. The education of the electorates is one of the responsibilities of the Independent National Electoral Commission, but we all know the political atmosphere in Nigeria wouldn’t allow them do this adequately. Thus, it has become pertinent that we do this ourselves, there is a need to let the Nigerian people know the importance of a PVC and the duty of using the PVC right. Old and young, educated and uneducated need to be reminded of the greater harm which looms if they do not use their PVCs right. We all owe it to our nation and posterity to get it right this time, I therefore charge you to sensitize whosoever you can sensitize. You can organize (or sponsor one) talk shows, symposiums and market outreaches just to achieve this goal.
In conclusion, one of the means of protecting our democracy is to give the people the right to express themselves by choosing who governs their affairs next, upon giving them this right there is a need to let them exercise it freely (sensitizing those who may have difficulties in doing so), having given them the chance to do this, then, we owe them the duty to let their votes count.
PS: “Using the PVC Right” in the context of this article simply means voting for a candidate of your choice without any form of inducement from a third party, here the electorate votes for an aspirant because he has been sensitized enough to weigh the agenda and pedigree of such aspirant.