Voting as Democratic Route to Positive Change
It is very correct that everything connected with nature and natural laws is based upon cause and effect. Invariably, every problem we are all witnessing today is caused by our decisions and hence, we definitely have to be part of the solutions. Gandhi rightly said “We must become the change we seek in the world” some years ago. To buttress this assertion, Barrack Obama said on the 5th of February, 2008 in Chicago, that a “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change we seek”. The development of any democratic nation of the world is a struggle towards three closely related understandings, according to Moore. They includeto check arbitrary rulers; to replace arbitrary rules with just and rational ones and lastly, to obtain a share for the underlying population in the making of rules.In a truly democratic set-up, the mechanism to achieve this laudable feat is through exercise of political right which is the right to vote and be voted for. Voting is an adequate mechanism for a positive change if there is a free and fair election. Voting is a not a yardstick for representatives to disconnect from the citizens after the election and loot the treasury.
The concept of democracy explains the system of governance in which the people choose leaders by casting their votes which is regarded as their sacred power. Besides, to achieve a lasting and ideal democratic regime, an electoral democracy should be along the same line with the liberal democracy which includes the governance by rule of law and the protection of civil liberties. That is why a former American President, Thomas Jefferson opined that without liberal democracy, electoral democracy is “nothing more than mob rule where 51 percent of the people may take away the rights of the other 49”.
Meanwhile, if there is a way a democratic government enjoys authority by voting, there should always be the same format of ballot mechanism to show the way out to wanting government. This is not always the same in African context of democracy due to election rigging and mal-practices on the part of the incumbent government and lack of massive participation on the part of the eligible voters. Though psychologists and political scientists explain non-participation of individual behavior depends of rational expectations and lack of trust for the government of the day, but people's personal participation can influence the outcome of elections and political decisions. There is no party that cannot win or lose an electionin a situation of classical grassroots commitment, effective use of latest communication network and unbiased personal participation. Participation should not be viewed only to win an election but winning for the purpose of changing the nation for the best.
Voting is an important aspect of citizens' responsibility. It occurs when eligible voters of a nation defy sun or rain to go to polls and cast their votes for those candidates they think would make good leaders. The greatest opportunity for a change is voting in a democratic society. A vote is regarded as a present possession that keeps people from repeating the past mistake in the future. What or whom voters vote for determines the things or events that will eventually bless or mar their happiness. The most vital thing to the society is who you want to vote for and not who other people want to vote for. We are in this present situation today as a result of decisions taken and accepted as true. A purpose does what it must, talent does what it can, but en-masse voting brings what you want.All eligible voters should register and vote en-masse for the best candidate with trust, integrity and credibility who will serve them better. Our choice (not chance) determines our destiny. Any eligible voter that refuses to vote has already been defeated by bad representation in government. People that do not vote have to wait so long for the future which has already gone. The less people vote in an election, the more the chances of bad candidates and mediocres to be in government.An adult who does not vote is a slave and at the same time like a person waiting to board a ship at the airport. Sow better seeds by voting for the right candidates and you reap better lives. Your vote can change your life.
Finally, the electoral authority handling elections must be independent and not partial in order to ensure election results that reflect the wishes of the masses. The electoral body has sole responsibility of conducting a free and fair election in any nation and they must be accountable for this activity. The beauty of voting exercise is that you are free to decide within yourself and your conscience the best aspiring patriotic professional candidate of integrity to represent your constituency without any fear or favour. Also, you havethe right of confidentiality in casting your secret ballot without any intimidation. Your vote is your power for positive change. It is your destiny. Your vote is the fight for the future civilization that has to be won. Your vote is not only to win the war but to win the long expected peace and freedom. Your vote will make you stand together until the end. It is the only answer to the problems. George Jean Nathan makes it clearer when he said: “Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote”. Your vote is your voice. The voice of the people is the voice of God (voxpopulli,vox Dei). Remember, you are free to choose your candidate but you are not free from the consequences of your choice.
Adewale T Akande,
An Author and Road Safety Traffic Consultant
based in Barcelona, Spain. [email protected] Tel;0034632511469 (Spain) / 002348125896631(Nigeria)