The Ballot Revolution
Preokosifa, Oyinprebi Prosper
A few years back in the northern part of Africa, there arose a mighty revolution. One that attracted the attention of the international community. It was the Arab Spring, and it was more of the Arab world, starting from Egypt, Tunisia. a bit in Saudi Arabian, Iran and then spreading into Libya. It brought pleasant and unpleasant results leading to deaths in scores.
The revolution ousted out several Arab governments and the great Gaddafi of Libya who died in heat of the whirl.
No revolution is carried out in a cosy status quo, it could have been stirred structurally or in a transient.
In Nigeria, there are a thousand and one reasons for a revolution, ranging from unstable social equilibrium; economic or fiscal strains, injustice in the justice system, government policies that tend to suppress the commoners while benefiting the ever-favoured elites, international relations that are froth with tendencies that will put the nation into bondage.
Only recently, Nigeria was listed as poorer than India, how low can a nation go? She celebrated her independence at 58, but is she standing independently? Or still internally colonized by the elites in the country by other forms of shackles.
Transparency International has ranked Nigeria to the 148th position out of 180 corrupt nations in the world, climbing down from what it previously was.
And of course, the scandals of the decade, the credential scandals that rocked top government functionaries that should be custodians of credibility, impeccable lifestyles worthy of emulation. But rather have brought shame and disgrace to the country on an international standing.
All these and much more have led to pollutants like corruption, incessant rise in crime rates and atrocities in the society.
All across the country, one can feel, hear and see frustration and anger on most citizens across the nation. People are complaining and murmuring but nobody is stepping out from the discomfort, but seeing the blizzard situations as an act of god with street comments like ‘ na God hand we dey’.
What we need right now is a Ballot Revolution, one where your permanent voter’s card becomes the instrument for change
What we need is people galvanizing their anger and frustrations towards the 2019 elections to vote out the pharaohs of the nation, refusing the vote buying, ousting out those not performing, rather than casting their votes the wrong way.
What we need is people coming out to defend their votes under the sun or in the rain.
What we need are youths refusing thuggery and ballot box snatching but ensuring that their future is no longer mortgaged by self-centred politicians.
What we need is the elderly citizens coming out en masse to secure their legacies by ensuring that their votes count.
In a democratic setting, the utility of the permanent voter’s card, PVC, is golden and such holds the power to elect a person or a government. It is salient for citizens of voting age who have obtained their PVC to not merely see it as a privilege, rather come out and use it as an instrument for change, by electing candidates of their choice into various political offices.
The PVC is not enough. The citizens need to get involved by getting past complacencies. There are those who have vehemently refused to get their PVC’s. Statistics showed that Nigeria population is made up of 180 million people, of which 68.8 million were registered to vote in the last 2015 general elections. This indicated that just 38 per cent were registered by the Independent National Electoral INEC, to vote. This was really low. This insinuates the lack of interest by the citizenry to vote. It is time to grow out of beer parlour criticisms, talks and vote.
In any event, the ballot is mightier than the gun. What we need is a ballot revolution.