Nigerian election as basis for political struggle – Part 2
Many voters are inclined on tribal or religious basis and often marginalise better political candidates. There are also ‘like–minded’ groups aligned as parties and this is vital to democracy in our country.
They ‘aggregate’ diverse views of people for legislations that are beneficial to their causes. Such interest groups include business-men, professional organisations, labour groups, interest groups (for example, ‘right of women to vote,’ ‘right for free speech’ or ‘free association, and others.). Also, there are minor public opinion groups particularly embracing those with corrupt political machineries that have acquired billions of Naira or Dollars illegally to sponsor elections. Through their political affiliations, members of such groups are nominated to party offices and easily influence political candidates for elections because they have access to money required for propagandas by candidates who may not be financially buoyant. There is a greater need to separate votes for political patronage from voters that are indeed responsive to general concerns. The pursuit of decent political system will make elected officials more responsive to their constituents than ever before.
Our votes should be cast for political candidates who believe that elected people will be responsible for good welfare of caring for the people and also provide adequately for their livelihood, housing, health care, education and social services. Those who deserve our votes must appreciate that “to be successful in life is inconvenient and if otherwise, everybody would be successful.” And to be selfish is laying the sure foundation for future political failure. Therefore, in casting our votes, it is necessary to weigh the collective achievements of political candidates vying for elections in the interest of their parties. It is important to check their inherent strengths and weakness, and at the same time, their opportunities and threats that portend the future societal growth.
Therefore, in casting our votes, we should avoid unresolved political crisis, tribal threats, social unrest and display of military might, particularly by militants. Our votes should be cast for political candidates who realise that our voices are relevant in the scheme of governance and that we deserve recognition. Our votes should be cast for those who will listen to our youths, oppressed people, heed complaints or concerns of those who felt marginalised and dialogue with aggrieved people. Those who have the innate ability to improve the general welfare of citizens and those oppressed or marginalised deserve our general votes.
We should cast our votes for politicians who “will not eat alone.” Our votes must be cast for those who can offer help, give their time, expertise for national growth and also share the national cake freely so that good welfare will be available to all citizens. The ability to invest time and energy to build personal relationships devoid of party line and personal sentiments makes a good leader. Political leaders must remember that the more people that they help, the more followers that they will keep for long term affiliations. Our political candidates should be those who have learnt to improve social relationships and not only for the ‘Election Day’. Elections can be brutal, messy and invariably produce many losers than winners. However, we must remember that elections provide the political pivot upon which democracy turns and make reasonable progress. Nigerian voters should remember that “hunger is not caused by the scarcity of food but by the want of superb democracy and leaders with foresight who can do the right things. We must vote for political candidates who believe “that we can struggle together to make the world a better place for everyone to live in.”
George H.W Bush, the 41st president of the United States, was the son of a privilege citizen who joined the Navy at18 years old as a bomber pilot in the World War 11and a fighter for the United States. He was defeated in his second bid for the presidency by someone considered as a “draft dodger” who dubiously avoided military service to his country, stayed off the army and participated in an anti-war demonstration in England when he was a ‘Rhoden Scholar’. This candidate was no other than Bill Clinton.
The defeated Bush was so hurt but he believed in ‘honour, duty and country. He said: “I think of our country and the people that are hurting, and there is so much we didn’t do. And yes, progress that we made, but no, the job is not finished, and that kills me.” In his loneliness he said, “be kind, be generous of the spirit, be understanding, let people know how grateful you are, don’t get even, comfort the ones I’ve hurt and let down, say your prayers and ask for god’s understanding and strength, then finish with a smile.…do what’s right and finish strong.” Today, George H.W Bush is the only president since John Adams to see his son, Jeff W. Bush become the two times president of United States in his life time. In this century, George Bush second son, Billy Bush will become the 3rd Bush to be President of the United States.
In the future elections, Nigerians should vote for men/women of the people who have fought for them in order to improve their wellbeing with a collective vision of better quality of life for all and generally with high tower of integrity and sense of decency. We must start thinking of casting our votes wisely while remembering the sacrifice of our revered activists and leaders who gave so much of their lives and belongings to the making of Nigeria. We should not forget people like Sir Abubkar Tafawa Balewa, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, Gen. Aguiyi-Ironsi, Dr. Abubaker Olusola Saraki, Joseph Tarka, Peter Enahoro, Mrs. Margret Ekpo, Ms. Young. Mrs. Janet Mokelu, Mrs. Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, Hajia Gambo Swaba, among others. These are people that Nigerian history cannot forget. We must remember their struggles that must not be in vain. Let our votes be meaningfully cast for reasonable politicians who can elevate the nation to the next developmental level as our past aforementioned heroes gave their best with consideration for others and without asking for something special in return. They never ‘ate the national cake alone’ and that quality will make their memories ever-green in our memories.
Olu wrote from Washington D.C.
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