Exactly for what will you cast your vote tomorrow?


Has there [not] come upon man a period of time when he was nothing; Indeed, We created man from a mixture of sperm (and egg) that We may try him; and We made for him hearing and seeing; We guided him to the way, be he grateful or be he ungrateful. (Quran 76: 1-3)

Such is the question that you have to ponder as you make your way to the polling booth tomorrow in order to cast your ballot for one of the numerous candidates that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has registered for the coming elections. Thus tomorrow is your day of reckoning. It is your day of opportunity. For you and millions of Nigerians, tomorrow is the day of decision. It is going to be the day you would be invited, once again, to decide the direction of this country during the next four years.

Apart from being your day of reckoning, tomorrow is quite ironically the day you would be reckoned with in the sense that it is probably going to be the first and the last day between now and the next four years when your voice would be heard, when your presence would be recognized, when you would be treated like a king despite the inconsequentiality of your status and the austerity of your station. This is because politicians get to remember the worth of the electorates only when it is time for elections. The last time he showed up on the failed roads to our village when he came here to campaign four years ago. He showed up again, since four years ago, last week Friday!

Ironically again, dear Sister, tomorrow is equally the day your worth would be measured in naira and kobo- the day politicians would offer you money in order to buy your future; the day you would be reminded that in their own reckoning your worth is nothing more than a bag of rice, a jar of chocolate and a pack of candy.

Tomorrow is equally their day – agents of these political parties. Tomorrow they shall traverse the corners of this city with packets of five thousand naira notes in search of voters who would want to sell their conscience. Tomorrow, these agents shall be some thousands of naira more comfortable; they shall add extra naira to their greed and incontinence from the wads of naira notes they would have removed from the monies that were meant to be given to ‘buy’ the voters future. After all, this is a game of deceit and deception. Hungry voters in league with greedy politicians.

But by the dusk tomorrow, they would have discovered that, as it is on the day of resurrection, no amount of money would be taken from them as ransom for the regime of infamy and arrested development they seek to foist, one more time, on the open and dark recesses of this village, your village and mine. By the dusk tomorrow, the day of reckoning would have dawned on us all- that no nation rises when its citizens prefer hand-outs to constructive work; that civilizations are not built when nations opt for the easy path to success and comfort.

Thus while contemplating tomorrow, while seeking to know the unknowable in regard to the portents of the future, I remembered the subtle realities of our lives as humans- that human decisions are sometimes superior to their conditions; that a conscious and well-thought out decision is capable of turning otherwise hopeless conditions around; that people are not products of their conditions; rather they are products of their decision to remain in their condition.

Now if the above is true, it then means decisions that must impact given conditions must be freely given, visionary and hardheaded. Such must be taken and indeed are usually taken by those imbued with introspection; those with genuine concern for the next generation. Decisions with the potentials to positively impact the future are usually taken by those with the awareness that every choice has a price tag: either they stand for righteousness and be pilloried and attacked by agents and patrons of the underground or queue behind and beside irreverence in order to partake of the feast of sleaze and scum which their coming together promises.

In the Quranic passage quoted above, the Almighty reminds humans of their lowly origin; of their emergence from that vegetative and helpless state in the womb into the world of wonders where humans enjoy the position of primus interpares in the cosmos. Long before that, his predecessors had been inheritors on the land; they had been heirs to not three but two estates: that of belief and disbelief; that of gratitude and censure. In other words, hardly has there been a time in human chequered histories when people were in a state of quandary in regard to that which is right and wrong. There has never been a time when the day becomes conflated with the night; when right appears to be wrong. Tomorrow’s election accentuates this reality.

In other words, tomorrow is the day you shall cast the stone either for the future of dignity and prosperity for this nation or that of enthronement of the bourgeoisie who have sold the wealth of this nation to themselves while the majority continue to wallow in abject poverty. They sold the national communication outfit to themselves; they sold the electricity company to themselves; they buglarize and balkanize the Nigerian Airways. Like jackals, they disemboweled the wealth of this nation so that they could become unconscionable owners and leaders of flourishing private companies and industrial outfits. Remember, the ballot paper in your hand has become that proverbial pebble with which you would have your say in the direction of this country in the next four years. It is a trust. You shall be called to account for it on the day of resurrection.

Thus, following the Quranic style, I say as follows: by the dawn when it unfurls the portents of righteousness; by the dusk, when the stars shall rise again to herald the emergence of the new moon; by the womb, the bearers of the high and the low; by the wind that scatters rains of mercies across the farmland of the dissolute and the righteous; it shall be freedom for this nation from principalities that seek to return its ship to the storm of infamy and corruption; it shall be freedom from those who have found riches simply through the heinous appropriation of the commonwealth; the dawn shall witness the freedom of this nation from agents of darkness who seek to turn this hungry land into estates of their fiefdoms.
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