By Bamigboye Judah Segun
It is the election season once again. Barring any last minute alteration, the 2019 presidential election campaign would kick off by midnight of November 18- 16 days time, precisely.
From church rostrums to beer parlours; social media to barbing salons, cynics of and disinterested individuals in the political process have begun a nationwide campaign, in which they rabidly denounce and discourage citizens participation in the political process come 2019.
These rabbing rousing crowd of social moralists usually hinge their disinterest in the political process as a form of protest against the inability of the political class,through the machinery of government, to orchestrate a meteoric transformation of the citizenry into a promised utopia over the 19 uninterrupted years of democracy in the federation.
However,on a closer introspection,one would discover that these same individuals are usually citizens with a sordid contempt for the rule of law, and are serial violators of civic duties and responsibilities.
A major determinant of once citizenship, in any sane democratic clime, is the possession of a valid voters card and the regular use of it during periodic elections of political holders to elect one’s leader of choice.
The possession and use of voters card during the process gives one a voice in the growing cacophony of voices in determining the choice or choices of leaders in the elections.
With regular participation in the polls, the individual portrays himself as an active and concerned citizen in the collective search for the public good and overall development of the society.
Franchise remains the most popular, civilized and peaceful means by which the rank and file can oust a political leader who is generally believed to have used the perquisites of power as an avenue for feathering his nests,and for primitive accumulation. Not violence, not mass killings, not coup d’etats have shown so much flexibility or tranquility in their mode of operation.
Facts from history shows that in the ancient democratic society of Athens(the very cradle of democracy), EVERY member of the society met in the market place(Agora) on periodic basis to brainstorm on critical political and social issues affecting the state.With the rise in population and the social technological and economic advancement in modern societies, this democracy has been substituted with a more refined form of the indirect democracy,which bequeaths to every citizen qualified by age to vote and be voted for.
The emerging narrative that the myriad of problems bedevilling Nigeria cannot be solved by any individual hence Nigerians should not vote in 2019 is patently false and ludicrous. Harbingers of this fallacious claim further espouse the notion that only the potential reign of a supernatural theocratic entity could put an end to our national albatrosses. Hogwash!
From the gangling Abraham Lincoln to the sagely Mahatma Ghandi; From the iconic Nelson Mandela to the ever transformational Lee Kwan Yeu who oversaw the unprecedented transmogrification of Singapore from a third to first world nation in a fleeting period, democratic participation of citizens has effected lifelong veritable changes in the life of the citizens,in gargantuan dimensions.
One of the greatest merits of the Democratic dispensation is that it allows the citizenry to make mistakes. But no other form of government, nor attitude to governance, allows people the carte Blanche right to atone for their errors through the same voting process. Popular participation has thrived in south Africa, transformed Britain, strengthened the United States of America, and united the world in the ceaseless fight against the lethal fangs of tyranny, despotism, genocide and other forms of political aberrations.
In the light of this, ever Nigerian-18 years upward- should get their voters cards, keep it safely and watch with keen interest the electioneering campaign as it brings up issues and debates on improving the standard of living of the average Nigerian.
The 2019 presidential election might have over 60 candidates contesting on various platforms, the electoral process allows for every individual to make their choice without inducements, or intimidation.
The 2019 presidential polls is a referendum on the present government in power. We should not stop asking the following questions: Has the government in power lived up to expectations? Where are we on economic growth? Are we better off than we were four years back on security? Can the average Nigeria put food on his table? Are we more united as a nation? Has the government of the day ran an inclusive one? Is the fight against corruption gaining traction?Are our joblessness and economic hopelessness indices reducing as a nation?
Why every Nigerian should vote in 2019 is because it is the best way to solve every of these questions, and rekindle their belief in the possibility of a politically vibrant, economically strong and environmentally safe Giant of Africa.
Bamigboye Judah Segun is a Public Affairs Analyst.