by Debo Adejugbe
As a people, we have been contented to sit idle for so long while the resources of the state are being mismanaged/squandered by a few and due to this unique idling when other people are working, the resolve to stand and be counted is really at its lowest. It is easy to assume that the scale is turning with the turnouts for recent elections but you have to juxtapose the numbers (registered and actual votes) to see things are still not clearer. How come we usually have 97% voters turnout but when the right check and balances are applied, we only get a fraction of such numbers which is also adjudged to be a ‘massive turnout’?
There are factors that can be attributed to these disparities. You don’t have to look too far or consult google to do justice to why there is apathy in the system and that people have been taking advantage of that to ‘vote on their behalf’ in the past. Public infrastructures are nothing to be excited about; roads, hospitals, schools, jobs for the employable among the army of graduates we dish out yearly and the near collapse of governance at all levels. But there is also one important area we (mostly educated) seem to be taking for granted: Hunger at all levels, and as they say, a hungry man is an angry one indeed.
We really should take the Ekiti and Osun experience a notch higher while cautiously commending INEC for its sharp departure from eras past. This buzz has to count for something however minute it might be, in 2015
Contrary to the accepted position among most smartphones wielding folks, the credibility of an election is not hinged on an opposition win. It is also important to note that a PDP win does not necessarily reflect a breakdown of law and order or thwarting of the people’s will. The narratives of 2015 has been developing for a while and if recent elections in Edo (won by APC), Ondo (won by LP), Anambra (won by APGA), Ekiti (won by PDP) and Osun (won by APC) are anything to go by, the people are gradually speaking. We are systematically getting to that point where the people actually have faith in the electoral system with a belief that their will is sacrosanct and must be upheld. The peaceful nature of the elections can only be positives.
So, the major question as we approach 2015 is: what should be uppermost in the mind of a voter? Should it be food, infrastructures, policies and intellectual capacity of the candidate, party politics/manifestoes or other sundry minor/major considerations? To make the choice easier; is it the famed ‘StomachStructure’ or its ridiculously embellished brother ‘TangibleStructure’? It is a question that doesn’t have an affirmative answer. I want all public infrastructures to be at their optimum, which I believe is the dream of every sane Nigerian but there is also an argument otherwise, I expect to eat, get sheltered and have a job while these public infrastructures are being built or maintained.
What then should be the standard for the voters?
Here is where the complex analysis are desired but I’m in no mood, or let’s say ‘in no position’, to analyze this. “It is all man for himself” as 2Face has rightly opined in a song. There is a choice attached to elections, you have to understand what is important to you and those things you can neglect when choosing a leader. Nigeria has an abundance of contestants to choose from but very few leaders who are willing to do what is needed and necessary for the people. Most of those in authority don’t understand balance. If the people have to go through a rough patch to get the society’s basic needs in order, how do you communicate it to them?
In Nigeria, the burden of making our infrastructures and public institutions work is placed solely on the populace. It is unacceptable and you won’t have to look for a clearer reason why they reject your beautiful plans to tend to their stomachs at elections. If the people have to ‘suffer a little’, as many have advised, for us to get the infrastructures that are needed, fine and good but what would the leaders contribute?
The security votes are increasing even in states where there are no security challenges. The feeding and other mushroom allowances for elected officials would conveniently pay the salary of some public officials elsewhere while the lifestyles of those associated with them is highly ostentatious. This showiness and the incredible corruption we are battling in high places is a cause for concern and people are not inclined to suffer the brunt of supposedly fixing our infrastructure while our elites and those in power continue to loot us blind.
One of the major problems we face as a nation is the pretentiousness of few that they know it all. Ask this group what they expect from a leader and they go all philosophical on why a certain candidate is the best and do their best to demean the other school of thought. Believe me when I say I understand the need to be philosophically expectant but if it is done because you get your palm greased and you turn around excoriating those who vote to safeguard their livelihoods and immediate future, there is a moral gap somewhere.
It brings me to the handling of the Ebola case that has turned the country upside down. Leadership is important and one has to agree that we are witnessing an iota of leadership from the Ebola fallout. The leadership of the country failed woefully when precautionary measures could have made it harder for a walking time bomb like Patrick Sawyer get into our shores and as a result, some families are already mourning their living. However, one must commend the Lagos and Federal governments for taking necessary actions to minimize its effect but the little lapses that are being recorded are scary and we expect such loopholes, which allowed a Nurse who had primary contact with Sawyer to travel while under observation, would be corrected. Those under observation must be provided all the basic necessities that will encourage them to stay quarantined as long as needed.
Conclusively, I agree that 24 hours is a long time in any political calculation but the fact that we really don’t have a viable presidential candidate 6 months to the general election is a cause for worry. We really should take the Ekiti and Osun experience a notch higher while cautiously commending INEC for its sharp departure from eras past. This buzz has to count for something however minute it might be, in 2015
Debo Adejugbe is a trained Telecommunications/Electronics Engineer and a certified IT professional living in Lagos. Dad to amazing Hailey and an advocate against Sexual and Domestic Abuses. Debo has political sympathy for the Labour Party. He tweets from @deboadejugbe
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