Opinion: LG Poll – Hope, hopelessness and the way forward

A man casts his ballot as Nigerians vote for a second day in Lagos, Nigeria, Sunday March 29, 2015. Voting in Nigeria's elections continued in certain areas on Sunday after technical problems prevented some people from casting their ballots on Saturday and despite extremist violence in the northeast and protests in the south. (AP Photo/Kunle Ogunfuyi)

by Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour

APC – 6,191  PDP -990  KOWA-696   ACCORD-338  AD-70

HOPE

First I must thank the 696 people that came out to vote for me under the rain despite the floods and REFUSED TO SELL THEIR VOTES (special shout out to WEMABOD estate) I thank my friends and family for their overwhelming support …The amazing people that donated to my campaign, people that joined us on rally’s, tweeted /shared on Facebook my campaign team that embraced hope against all odds and put in work to make a difference. In the wards I visited today I was overwhelmed with emotion at the mothers & fathers that asked I not give up, the youth that went to register to vote after they met me but were not allowed.

HOPELESSNESS

I took part in this election on 3 fundamental beliefs.

  • I would not buy votes or engage in ASO-ebi and rice politics.
  • I wanted to win to be able to make impact, not win to maintain the status quo of mediocrity.
  • Spending time and re-orientating voters would reduce voter apathy and increase voter turnout.

I do not want to focus on the 6 attempts at rigging that we stopped

  • The mysterious Ballot box at Olobo Alausa that no one was allowed to vote in but the agent Lasiec official insisted agents sign the form so he could take the ballot box away…
  • The ballot box that happened to be in Ikeja without KOWA logo on the ballot…
  • The lack of a card reader which allowed people use voter’s cards that don’t belong to them to vote. ( we prevented this at some polling units)
  • Illegal attempts to use Temporary voters card
  • APC agents wearing the tag of AA at polling units and actively bribing and attempting to double print despite not having an agent in the election…. (we chased them away)
  • Party leaders were driving around with Ghana must go and stacks of PVC, giving young men voters cards (that don’t belong to them) with N1000 to go and vote, all of whom roamed around till they could find an agent that won’t notice their face.
  • Then the many attempts to bribe our agents…

Yes, we know they will rig and buy votes, nothing new there…but that’s not what the REAL issue is.

My focus is on the current voting population and how this needs to change;

Going into this election my confidence was at an all time high….The first sign of trouble was when 10 ladies came to a Kowa agent and said “ we want to vote for KOWA, see our card, how much are you paying”  our agent said “KOWA does not buy votes” ….they said “ok” proceed to walk away come back and vote and then show the same agent N1,500 that PDP paid each of them..After that it turned to a PVC market, people were pricing and negotiating their vote. On certain streets in Anifowoshe, votes were sold for as high as N2k and as low as N200..That’s how like a bad Nollywood movie all those KOWA “admirers” “chairman hailers” started asking how much we are paying. “ Oga we like KOWA, we wan vote KOWA but APC dey pay”.

On the other hand, we won very nicely in places like Wemabod estate….and therein lies the Hope in the midst of all this hopelessness……

How do you help a people that don’t want to help themselves..?  The issue is not APC rigging it’s the man who walked through flooded streets somewhere in Lagos and sold his vote for N1000. It’s the middle and working class that chose to sleep in yesterday … The unbothered aka the politically illiterate.

An impoverished, hungry, illiterate and ailing electorate is the Nigerian politician’s dream.

Why?

There’s a reason our schools and hospitals are the way they are.

Wait, you thought it was a mistake?

No o.

They have us exactly where they want us.

Cornered. 

Nigeria is a phenomenon that is carefully and deftly scripted.

Nigeria didn’t just happen.

It is a work of art.

-Wole Okulate

Just seeing the amount of money that was shared yesterday I can understand why no LG chairman feels the need to do anything while in Office and the cycle continues.. The poor vote for money and the leader further impoverishes them.

The key to liberating this country is in the hands of the educated, the Nigerian working class and  Youth online, that can afford to buy data but are not registered to vote and don’t know the role of their executives/representatives.

We need to change the current voter demographic which is the creation of a political elite, fuelled by poverty, ignorance and drug addiction …not so much focusing on political victories but more like a network…we need to reach out to the many thousands that have lost hope in the political system. Our main political contest is against voter apathy and it must be engaged consistently not just close to elections.I assure you if we do not….Nigeria is going to get much much.

I assure you if we do not….Nigeria is going to get much much more worse.

Those politically inclined in our generation need to stop spending time chatting in WhatsApp groups to themselves / twitter and let’s start engaging people with action and low cost-high impact projects…we need to actively create our own voting demography that won’t only show up but can’t be bought…I intend to do that in Ikeja and I hope like minds will join in this effort..2019 is less than two years away.

 


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