By Anu Shoremekun
As events leading to the 2023 presidential election reach a climax with the emergence of flag bearers of the various political parties, the baton of power has now moved from the powerful delegates to the voters that would ultimately determine who becomes the next President of the federal republic of Nigeria.
Like the two sides of a coin, the votes by delegates have elicited mixed reactions. For some, the delegates did the right thing by voting their preferred aspirants while to others the delegates betrayed them by rejecting their aspirants and voting for the highest bidders.
Which ever way the delegates and their votes are adjudged, one incontrovertible fact is that they too are Nigerians and are not completely insulated from the rot in our society.
Having listened to the plans and programs of some of the aspirants, especially those of the two major political parties, it is arguable that the most cerebral aspirants were slaughtered on the altar of politics.
Though some may argue that you don’t blame the delegates becaause the primaries is a game of politics and not an academic contest, one thing we must know is that the politics enthrones leadership which has bearing on us all.
A startling revelation of the quality of who this powerful delegates are came to the fore when one of the major political parties had to raise the need to guide some delegates on how to write the name of the aspirant they intend to vote for during the primaries. Given this, how do you expect those who can’t write names to decipher the best aspirant with policy and plans that can move the nation forward. This again is the tragedy of our politics that would be interrogated some other time.
What is of concern at this point is the goodnews that while the curtains are closing on the delegates, a door is opening for a larger participation of Nigerians in determining who they want as their next President. To this end, aspirants who have scaled through their party delegates and have become candidates will now come to solicit the votes of Nigerians ahead of next year’s election.
As the marriage with delegates is now threatened by the beautiful brides who will determine the next President, Nigerians are presented a chance to retrospect and settle for the best among all the candidates.
In doing this, we must critically evaluate the antecedent, plans and programmes of all the candidates and put the interest of the country first as we vote in the next election.
Let is be stated that if we decide to toe the pecuniary way of selling our votes for the little little more, we then are not better than the delegates that are accused of voting the highest bidders .
It must be stressed that elections are not won on wishful thoughts but through the ballot which avails us the opportunity to truly participate in determining who leads the country from May 29, 2023.
The charge, therefore, is that for those who are yet to register to vote, there is still a chance to do so by going to any INEC office close to you to participate in the ongoing continuous voters registration (CVR).
In the same vein, for those who may have relocated from where they were originally registered to vote, the CVR presents an opportunity for them to transfer their polling unit to their new place of residence. Please, grab this opportunity while it lasts!
Ultimately, for all of us, it is time to critically assess the candidates as they come to canvass for our votes so as to ensure that only the best based on our conviction should get our votes. Let me remind us that people have voted based on inducement or sentiment and this did not insulate them from the adverse effect of bad governance.
You may wish to equally note that poverty or hardship has no religion or tribe. Fuel queues affects us all, erratic electricity supply is a nightmare we all suffer, insecurity is a threat us all, unemployment is a challenge present in all families, poor infrastructure is a bane across all shades, and the country’s alarming debt profile due to reckless borrowing is a debt we collectively owe as a people. We face all these due to poor leadership we have had either by voting wrongly, rightly or staying aloof.
Now that delegates have rightfully passed the baton over to the larger electorate, we must utilise the opportunity maximally by electing right leadership and this can only be achieved by our votes which must be wisely offered.
As a parting shot, I leave you with the following questions; Are you qualified to vote? If qualified, have you registered to vote? If relocated, have your transferred your polling unit to your place of domicile? Are you prepared to vote at the next elections? Are you pledging to vote for the best candidate with a good plan and programme for Nigeria? Are you prepared to vote without sentiment or pecuniary consideration?. If your answer to the foregoing questions is “YES”, I congratulate you on your resolve to elect a right leader in 2023.
May Nigeria be Great!
▪︎ Anu Shoremekun is a public affairs analyst based in Abuja and can be reached via WhatsApp on 07052549523.