Monday, 11 September 2017
REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD GET REGISTERED FOR THE 2019 GENERAL ELECTIONS: REASON 5
TO STRENGTHEN THE PEOPLE AS COMPARED TO THEIR LEADERS
Power actually resides in the people. However when the citizens abandon their responsibility of voting and taking part in the electoral process, they abdicate that responsibility to the leaders which is one of the reasons for many elections being less than credible. Keep your leaders on their toes!
If you are observant you will notice that whenever the people agree on anything the leadership of the country usually accedes to the request of the people. The challenge comes when the people are divided and do not speak with one voice. So if Nigerians demand free, fair and credible elections where one man is one vote and one woman is one vote then that is what the people will have. Unfortunately most citizens see themselves as nothing or inconsequential. People will say, “who I be?’’; “wetin my vote go do”. One of the worst statements you may hear is “what can the masses do?”! The perception that the people are weak, helpless and incapable of advancing their views and choices is erroneous, fallacious and absolutely deceitful. The people are the ones with the power in any society that is why successful leaders the world over ensure that they meet the needs of their people and give them the dividends of democracy.
There was a time when elections where so fraudulent that even those who won elections knew that they were not the winners. Many people refused to standup and protect their votes and there was wanton electoral injustice. However fast-forward to the past few years and you can see a tremendous difference. Today we have Nigerians that will provide canopies, chairs and tables for polling officials and voters just to make sure the election in their polling unit is hitch free. Today we have voters who will refuse to leave the polling until the results have been announced even if that is in the early hours of the morning. The resultant effect is that the will of the people is being more and more respected and electoral outcomes are increasingly reflecting the will of the people. This is the major reason why in 2015 an incumbent president could be defeated in election because the people were committed to ensure that their voices were heard. Nigeria has come a long way from what the situation used to be.
However the country should not slack because the 2019 General elections will most likely be the most hotly contested elections in the history of Nigeria. It would be completely unacceptable to leave the outcome to the politicians or other stakeholders. While each stakeholder has their role to play, the people are the most critical stakeholders and therefore need to ensure that the election is an election for the people. For example during the 2011 nationwide continuous voter registration, I remember when some high profile people wanted to register in a particular registration centre without following the line and all the citizens present asked them to go and queue. Because they were with some security officials they tried to make their way to the registration officials but all of a sudden all those on the queue started protesting saying that they would not allow them to jump the line. They persisted with their efforts but eventually had to retreat when the place was getting too rowdy and registration had to stop briefly. The reason the ‘high profile people’ could not jump the line was because the citizens stood their ground. If one or two people had spoken out nothing would have happened but because it was a collective position of everyone there, it could not be subdued. The power truly belongs to the people in a democratic setting and citizens should never allow that power to be lost by not being actively involved in the electoral process. Once we elect good leaders we have hope of things turning out better in the country. The more citizens get involved in elections the greater the control the citizens have over the political process.
If you want to join Nigerians who want to make a difference by exercising their civic rights, please you need to Register to Vote Today! It’s TIME TO GET REGISTERED! INEC has made it very easy for you to GET REGISTERED! You can walk into any voter registration centre, on any week day (except public holidays) between 9am and 3pm and GET REGISTERED (find out more and get the app at www.getregisterednaija.com). Just fix one day before the end of this year to get this done. Just a day! Arrive early and you’ll be registered in no time! If you don’t participate you will risk electing leaders who are not the will of the people. So now is the time. You need to register. Don’t delay anymore.