2015 POLLS: A TRANSFORMATIONAL CHANGE!
It was a bright Monday morning that ought to mark the start of a work-laden week (the election week) with the hustle and bustle on campus. But for me, the opposite was the case because I had less class activities for the day. Hence, the need to address social issues revolving around me. At this hour of the year, the topic of discuss on and off the streets was uniform, the general elections. To every participant in the electoral process, time seem to tick slower by the day. Their expectations are way up high and the polity (of course), over heated. All hands are on deck as (most) citizens seem set to exercise their civic responsibilities.
As soon as class ended, everyone got talking about one thing or the other. My friends got chatting about the election process and as soon as I approached them, the question that was put up to me was “how many more weeks will we stay at home for the post election violence?” Surprised at their question, I responded in the negative relaying my optimism towards a violence free elections and post-election atmosphere. They laughed at my optimism telling me that ‘well-known’ politicians were already smuggling arms into to town and with the presidential election in few days time, the stage was set for a ‘clash of the Titans’. Some students were also rumoured to have been offered a certain ‘mouth-watering’ amount to help propagate the violence. So I put it to them, “who amongst you is willing to go to war at any cost?” One of them responding, “Guys don wise up ooh! I still have people who care about my well-being.” I was surprised at his response and felt he just didn’t want to be tagged a bloody tout. But I was wrong, and in fact everyone there present rejected the offer, no matter how irresistible it was. What made me astonished at their response was the fact that these were youths that had no money. They should have fallen cheap prey to the preying claws of their predators. Rather, they stood their ground to protect restore their lost dignity and integrity.
SYNTHESIS: MY COKE STOREY!
This reminded me pf a scenario that played out in 2011. I almost shared a coke with a politician (like share a coke with Basheer!). After accreditation with voting about to commence, a popular (political) stalwart in my area made it up to me. After exchanging pleasantries, we delved into discussions, analysing the chances of the candidates, who was likely to win and who was there to make up numbers. I never knew it was a decoy! Soon he put up the question of who my candidate was. I declined to divulge his identity telling him I had my candidate at heart. Citing my unwillingness to disclose my candidate, he tabled an offer to persuade me. He told me who his candidate was (unfortunately, it wasn’t mine) and cited reasons why he should be voted for, a major reason being an opportunity to get offers (like the one he tabled) from him (the candidate) if voted in. I smiled, knowing what he was saying was an unedited script of an average politicians’ promise when they seek political office. I was quick to ask what the offer on table was and he said and I quote, in his words “For now, we can just refresh our appetites with a bottle of coke and we will see how things unfold after elections.” I could not believe what my sense of hearing was transmitting to my brain. That a coke that was sold for 50Naira (as at then) was all my vote was worth? I turned down the offer (hoping for a more lucrative one) even though, I was hell thirsty that sunny afternoon. But I had my integrity to protect. A GOOD NAME, is said to be better than GOLD and SILVER.
Back to 2015.As I parted ways with my friends, I kept wondering what their driving force was. They seem to have undergone some sort of metamorphosis. They seem to have ‘wised-up’ for real. They now value their lives more than the temporal steed-pen they’ve traded their future with in the past. They are now ready, not only to have a say in the electioneering process but to also have a meaningful impact in their society. I feel a sense of responsibility on their part. They don’t just want to make up numbers, they want to stand to be counted. Some have called it a ‘Generational Transformation’, others have tagged it ‘The Needed Change’, either way, it is obvious that youths now have a redefined thinking. A ‘Transformational Change’ in thought. They now see themselves as the Leaders of today, from within and by example. Going by this, I feel they have proven their critics wrong. They now make their own decisions themselves without any form of material influence.
In a wrap, Politicians need not be told that the only way out for them is to convince the electorate on either their achievements or prospects, based on their track records. The days of the ‘money bags’ should, by now be alienated. The electorates, on their part should know that an attempt to accept any gratification for exercising their franchise is indeed, a ‘bad barter’. They should see this period as the only opportunity to correct their predicaments and amend their wrongs. After all, the power to determine their leader(s) lies, exclusively on their thumb prints......Ceteris Paribus!
|Voters displaying their PVCs.|