As general election looms in Nigeria, especially in Rivers State, I don’t know about you but I feel the euphoric cocktail of both tension and excitement as the possibilities of seismic shifts in the political landscape seem imminent and the power to vote brings the citizen into the power play.
Whispers are aloud all over the place as people tout who is most probably going to get what and who is a flat-out loser.
The almighty big word “Vote” comes into play here until the elections proper. But I am particularly thrilled about what this portends for most of us first-time voters,politically inexperienced and the experienced voters as well.
Perhaps I am overly optimistic or absurdly excited and really, there is no real difference between the platforms of each contending political party and, even then, would they even follow through on their promises?
We are living witnesses to the performance of all the incumbents. It is instructive and a yardstick to gauge which way the pendulum should swing from our experience in the past 3 years or so.
DON’T BUY INTO SPIN
As you drive through the city of Port Harcourt, you would see posters popping up in the post no bill spaces, those ads that are ubiquitously conspicuous, defacing strong gentrification projects of both government and private real estate investors around the city, promising free this and that to all and creation of over a billion jobs for a million people .
Well, I don’t know if anybody noticed that recession still persists and with the United States joining the fray of oil producing nations, oil prices are tumbling down and soon the glut effect will kick in.
I don’t know how they are going to create these so-called zillion jobs with poor internally generated revenues and federal allocations. But trust our politicians, they always want to do it all even in the face of dark, harsh economic realities. I just wonder who is fooling who here?
This makes me ponder deep into the recesses of my imagination if our people do really think deep enough or actually have in-depth knowledge or have enough information about candidates, their platforms and their political ideology and historical antecedence to be able to make informed decisions?
Are our people politically educated and engaged enough?
You may want to answer that in the affirmative as everyone, even kids, are caught up in the partisan toxicity that has plagued the entire nation even more so in Rivers State.
Even the press is not immune to it. As we follow mainstream media daily, we have come to see the neck-deep malfeasance of partisan politics obscuring factual reportage and it is difficult to discern empirical facts from propaganda sponsored by acolytes of ill-performing incumbents being touted in good light especially with the preponderance of self fellating by dubious politicians already tangled in the web of financial scams and failed performance.
This leaves you wondering if you are in the same geographical location being reported.
GO BEYOND POPULAR OPINION TO VOTE
So without a critical media playing the watchdog and standard bearer, can we as voters really understand what is realistic and what are the real areas where political parties can make the difference?
We all know what the real issues are that have bogged down development and capacity improvements in Nigeria and our beloved Rivers State but the politicians that are not up to scrap in creating value or social re-engineering ideas are hell bent on holding us back by hijacking power by any means necessary.
Yet, we cannot have a genuine honest organized debate about it?
I am yet to see any grueling debate or hard interviews to drill these players or pretenders. But there does seem to be such an overwhelming and embarrassing proof of incompetence of incumbents that can be seen, felt and touched by citizens yet voters by some crazy reasons play the deaf, dumb and blind-eyed in voting them out.
The need for real change is more expedient now than ever and with growing youths that are tech savvy, any politician that understands the real needs and future resourceful population ought to engage the young electorate.
For example, how many politicians in this election has adopted Barack Obama’s strategy that led to his successful campaign for the presidency.
It is not rocket science to use social networking sites, mobile devices and interactive websites to engage previously hard-to-reach populations in political activity are in the marketplace.
With fresh registration ongoing, the power to effect change starts from getting the PVC. The Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) will do a lot of good by clearly designating new registration centers and broadcasting them online, through radio jingles and newspaper adverts etc to inform potential voters on carrying out their civic duty of registering. I am excited myself that I will be registering and voting in the upcoming civil ritual of affecting government change.
The Port City News advisory is, as you approach the polls, set aside your pervasive sense of distrust and disgust for politicians and do these :
Get registered and be armed with your PVC (permanent Voter’s Card).
Research the potential candidate’s pedigree.Find out, irrespective of the party’s view, who has the credentials to deliver, who has the antecedence of social work, impacting lives with their substance, finance, time and contributions to projects in communities, speaking out on ills and meeting needs of the society and in contact with the people.
Review the scorecard of the incumbent office holders and consider their performance against the odds they faced, solutions and decisions they took in the prevailing circumstances.
Don’t fall for the bombast as they would promise you anything in desperation for your vote.
Avoid partisan bickering over candidates, refuse to sell your votes or take the money, vote your conscience and avoid involvement in political violence or thuggery.
IT IS YOUR CALL
The change you need is in your decision on who gets your vote. Help stop Nigeria’s idiosyncratic epidemic of buying into spin of political parties that have failed the people. Your vote for the wrong party or aspirant can potentially jeopardize and ruin your future and your family’s.
Think and do the right thing, kick out incompetence.