ELIGIBLE VOTERS SET TO DETOXIFY NIGERIA
The word “toxin” was first used by a reputable organic chemist called Ludwig Brieger (1849-1919). According to my little “...Oxford Dictionary” the word signifies “poison especially of animal or vegetable origin; poison secreted by micro-organism and causing particular disease” To detoxify is to literally eliminate the poisionous substances- the toxins- from our lives. These generation of accidental, selfish, heartless and dubious leaders that have been in the corridor of power in Nigeria since 1960 are toxins that needed to be flushed out from our system. It simply means voting out those inept and corrupt leaders that our nation does not need again. These leaders and their cronies have been the major obstacles to the country's socio-political and economic development since the last five decades. Since 1st of October, 1960, the country has been plague with disease of disunity, pervasive corruption, religious violence, electoral fraud and mal-administration by succeeding leaders in all ramifications. This is the best time to detoxify a nation that has been keeping imbalances on the mind, body and spirit of its populace for a very long time. This is the time to vote for leaders who can stand the acid test of time and lead us to glorious height. The time has come for detoxification, personal repentance and national renewal in order to have a new nation. According to Martin Luther King Jnr, “The world is full of evil not because of those who do evil, but because of those who sit and let it happen”. It is now to stand up and vote for the best.
The past leaders have done their worst to this beloved country and leave us in a state of insecurity of lives and property, darkness when our neighbouring countries are celebrating years of undisrupted electricity supply. About 10 billion dollars was spent on power infrastructure few years ago without nothing to show for it. Many Nigerians are now crossing the boarder to send their children to schools. Our drinking tap water cannot run continuously for a day. Jobless graduates and dropouts have turned to armed-robbers, kidnappers, 419 cronies and even political thugs. Police is very corrupt. Public services embedded with fraud. The Fourth Estate takes bribe to jeopardise the ethic of journalism. Accusation of bribery being levelled against the judges. Most of our roads are death traps. It has now gotten to a stage of importing food to Nigeria with all our untapped natural resources. Train has been forgotten as a means of transportation. It is only in Nigeria that a gubernatorial candidate who won an election in a State have to resume office as Governor about three and half years later because of electoral fraud. Nigerians are now tired of these so-called leaders with only rhetoric, lack of progress and unfulfilled promises.
There is no doubt that Nigerians are wrapped up in the seriousness of their own lives. The wind of change is blowing and the branches of the trees must obey. The recent impressive turnout by Nigerians for the on-going voters registration exercise despite petty human and technical errors made by the electoral commission signify that the people have risen above the precarious situation to perform their civic duties as a step forward in voting the right leaders that will have huge impact on their lives. It is now more important than ever for all eligible voters to get out and register so that they can vote knowing that voting is one of the most important rights they are left with as Nigeria citizens. Nigerians know that voting in the next general elections will not only affect their life but that of their children and grandchildren. Nigerians have learnt that “moving forward is not a progress if we are facing the wrong direction”. Nigerians know that INEC spent 35 billion nairas (233 million dollars) of the taxpayers money to purchase the Direct Data Capturing machines should not be a waste investment. There is no doubt that the coming general elections will lay the foundation of a viable democracy in Nigeria.
The people now want to ensure a functional democratic government that ensures the will of the people and not one that forced the people to follow it. Nigerian eligible voters are targeting 70 millions people to be registered so that their voices will be represented in the next general elections. They want to avoid election rigging and possibly break the record of June 12. 1993 election that was adjudged the most freest and fairest election conducted in the history of Nigeria before it was annulled by the evil genius. The IBB-annulled election cost the nation over 40 billion naira. The large turn out shows that this year's general election will give us the bits of government we like, love and benefit from and takes away the stuff that slows us down and gets us down. Nigerians are now aware that their past corrupt leaders does not design and manage this country to bring wealth, health and happiness into the lives of the populace but to a selected few. We have all know that our government has become so large, expensive and repressive that it is no longer serving the people of this country.
The crop of emerging new responsible leaders after the April general elections will bring core values of honesty, tolerance, humility, religious unity, accountability and good governance to Nigeria. The aftermath of April general elections will surely bring a sense of peace and purpose to the people of Nigeria. All Nigerians will surely have a deep sign of a relief for new set of men and women of great discipline, intellectuals and capabilities capable of building a nation and lead us to what is best for the people. It is now time for a new set of statesmen, politicians with ideas, innovations and integrity, as people must have based their choice on merit and not on party allegiance. Nigerians will be able to witness a functioning democracy that demands the involvement of the people. This is a time when Nigerians will see a new democratic republic based on principles of representative government, the rights of individuals to participate in a transparent political process and an electoral system that encourages participation. It is time when our political leaders will agree that having choices is beneficial under normal circumstances.
This April election will design a good course for the history of our beloved country. It will surely help Nigerians to leave things that hold them back and prevent their progress. It is time to see a new Nigeria where government well-crafted information that changes people's minds will be the thing of the past. Nigerians are fed up of a country where the vice-president is being deprived of having access to his dying president, a country where all the citizens could not know the whereabouts of their president for more than sixty days. All Nigerians look for a new situation where people should never fear their government, and the government should fear its' people. When Nigerians will now have a voice in the political issues, the ability and responsibility to help shape the public policy on a local and national level. A new trend when service learning in the schools will provide opportunity for young people to help in communities development. When the government would be more supported by the people it is supposed to support.
Finally, the right to vote is a fundamental democratic structure of Nigeria constitution and the people's conventional way of influencing government. Voting allows you to have a voice at any level of government, especially in the areas that affect our daily life like taxes, electricity and water supply, security of lives and property, roads, social security and health services. The on-going registration exercise is very important to get what we wish for our country and this will take us to a place where we want to be. It is now the desire of all Nigerians to get the best for this country, especially and more importantly in becoming happier, healthier, safer and wealthier individuals to normal standards. It is very important that people must register before they can vote. People should also remember “bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote”. Every vote has significance and can make a difference.
Voting is your right. If you don't vote, you have no right to grumble when an elected representative fumbles. We are all part of the whole system. We are all part of the whole problems. And definitely we should all be part of the solutions. Nigerians should express themselves with their votes. Every impression without expression leads to depression. The next general election is a test in which all Nigerians have to pass. Remember that without a test, there is no testimony. Failure is never the will of God. We have to let this coming elections bring good testimonies to our life and our beloved country. We should choose our leaders wisely to pave way for Nigeria of our dreams. Our country is in urgent need of climbing to greater heights of excellence and progress with exemplary leaders with the possibilities of accountability, progressive and visionary governance. If all the targeted 70 millions register able voters have the opportunity to register and vote the most qualified candidates in all the general elections, we will surely have a new Nigeria come May 29, 2011.
Adewale T Akande is an Author, Educationist and Road Traffic Safety Consultant based in Alicante, Spain.