The vote – Your right, your power
In voting, people express their wishes, their choices between two or more candidates for a political position in a state. In a democracy, your right to vote is the power you have to decide the “fate” of the aspirants. That power is very significant and should therefore be jealously guarded and judiciously used as a misuse amounts to shooting oneself on the foot.
In most climes, the days where autocracy reigns are over. The days are over when a ruler with his few associates arbitrarily exercises political power and unduely holds the citizens to ransom without being questioned. knowledge has generally increased and the ruled do ask questions now, desiring to have a stake in the governance of their state and in related issues that affect their lives. The increase in knowledge has contributed to the birth of democracy which is described is a system of government in which the people freely choose their representatives in government usually through the ballot box by means of vote cast in an election. This implies that the candidates are at the mercy of the voters and that he/she whom the majority considers most appropriate for the position, based on his/her past records of good works, that gets the ticket. Aspirants’ good works are what attracts the votes of the electorate.
No doubt, when people use their voting rights well and vote the right person, the states and, indeed, the citizens usually witness developmental strides and progress. Similarly, a wrong voting produces a bad leader who, in mismanagement of state resources and indifference to the plight and welfare of the masses, plunges the state and the people back into retrogression and impoverishment.
Good enough, the right to vote and be voted for is enshrined in the Nigerian constitution. It therefore behoves the citizens to recognize this right and take advantage of it to better their lives by voting in the right persons into political positions. A wrong vote is a vote for the wrong candidates. A wrong candidate is one who does not hitherto have a good record of good works among the electorate but suddenly surfaces from the blues and wants to win elections by any means, including rigging, thuggery and other kind of electoral malpractices. He does not yet have among the people a track record of patrotism, honesty, accountability and consistent participation in community or nation development; the only thing he can depend on is inducement of the electorate with plenty of “cash” and “stomach infrastructure” such as rice, salt and other food items in order to becloud their sense of judgement and mislead them during vote cast.
Since every privilege walks alongside certain responsibilities, the citizens must do all it takes to be eligible to vote. They should register with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and get their Permanent Voters Card (PVC) without which they will not be accredited for voting.
As the 2015 general elections draws nearer, every Nigerian should “shine” his eyes to do the needful. The political parties, on their part, must direct their respective candidates and supporters to shun any act that could undermine the voting rights of the people. Too, the INEC should monitor its officials to play the impartial umpire and shun all forms of electoral malpractices and anything that could subvert the votes and mandates of the electorates in the forthcoming elections at all levels – local, state or federal. Remember, your vote is your power, use it well.