Why You Should Register to Vote
Where do I begin? This government, as well as all the others before it, has been useless! It is a big scam! Right now in Nigeria, we have the feeling of being stagnant, no movement at all. We can’t even begin to consider the direction the government is heading because there is no motion in the first instance. There is that ominous sense that those running the affairs of this country have run out of ideas and are just waiting for time to pass. We have a president that has gone AWOL on us, a national assembly that couldn’t care less, an anti-corruption agency (with an “acting” chairman for more than a year) whose priority is trying to outdo Nollywood, a rotting economy festering like a sore, and Fulani herdsmen on a killing spree across the country. Nobody is responsible for anything; nobody is in charge. Even the 2017 budget has not been passed, and this is May!
Consequently, Nigerians have railed against the ineptitude and insincerity of the government. Nigerians are angry and that is understandable. But then, all that anger has not changed anything. The political elite do not care. If they did, they’d at least have pretended they were working. But no, they are blatantly and criminally insensitive. They know nothing can be done to them.
I don’t blame them though. They are our creation. The only thing that has remained consistent with the uselessness of our governments since 1960 is the apathy of Nigerians towards voting. Voting is the cornerstone of democracy, but sadly far too few Nigerians vote; they would rather sit at home on Election Day and complain about how the election doesn’t change anything. But they are wrong, our votes do matter.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word ‘vote’ means, “a usually formal expression of opinion or will in response to a proposed decision; especially: one given as an indication of approval or disapproval of a proposal, motion, or candidate for office.” That means, if you are formally expressing your opinion of a matter, irrespective of how many arguments, debates, fights, tweets, or facebook posts you put out to the public about the issue or person, at the end of the day you can strengthen your opinion by either voting in support or against the matter.
If you do not like the direction Nigeria is going — or stagnating, and you want things to change, then you must vote. If we were in a jungle without laws, we would have picked up guns and machetes, kill all the politicians and start afresh. But then, we are in a country with laws, a supposedly “civilized” society. Voting is the only chance we have to shun or accept the status quo. The only way to cause change is to change our political leadership through OUR VOTES.The next general election is in 2019, which is not as far as you think. 2019 will be upon us before you know it. Already, the politicians are trying to change the narrative with their armies of bootlickers to favour them. They are oiling their propaganda tools. We too must prepare a counter move to vote them out!
To be able to vote, however, you must possess a permanent voter card (PVC). No PVC, no voting! To get a permanent voter card, you must register with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). INEC commenced the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise on the 27th of April, 2017. The aim is to capture those who have never registered before. So, if you are 18 years and above; if you have not registered before; and if you registered but your name is not in the register of voters, visit INEC office in the Local Government Area where you are. The time is 9 AM to 3 PM, Mondays to Fridays. You will have to present yourself to registration officials, as registration by proxy is not accepted. In case you have moved away from the area where you registered originally, you can transfer your registration to where you wish to vote.
It is not enough to complain, and to abuse politicians. That does not affect them in anyway. Our politicians have lost the capacity to feel shame. Voting is the only way we can get at them. There is power in our votes; let’s use it. Don’t think that our votes are inconsequential. That is what the politicians want us to believe, but it is a lie. The first step to using that power is acknowledging its efficacy. There is nothing as scary to a politician as a people who know the power of their votes. Right now, Nigeria is at a point where Nigerians need to truly assert that power. So,
If you feel that the hardship is too much, go and get your PVC;
If you are unemployed and can’t find work, go and get your PVC;
If you think that the economy is being managed poorly, go and get your PVC;
If you feel that official corruption is too much, go and get your PVC;
If you feel politicians are insensitive, go and get your PVC;
If your governor is useless, making promises he never fulfills go and get your PVC;
In fact, if you are just tired of the status quo, go and get your PVC.
It might seem that your individual vote is inconsequential and cannot change anything, but collectively as an aggregate, as a community, as a local government, as a state, as a region, and as a country, our votes can cause the change that we want! It’s easy to feel helpless and say, “No need. They’ll just rig the election again!” But you must know that it is not easy to rig an election where people come out en masse to vote. If you are in doubt, ask the former strong man of Gambia, Yahya Jammeh. He was in power for 22 years with the help of some unexplainable election results, but when the people came out en masse to vote, they removed him.
We too can begin the process of removing this satanic political class whose only focus is looting the wealth of the nation while we suffer. Go and get your permanent voter card, and as you do so, educate those around you to get theirs too. Let’s be ready for 2019. And by the way, while we are waiting for 2019, if there are local government elections in your state, go out and vote.
Voting is a force. It is power wielded. Let’s unleash it!