I voted for the first time in Rivers State 7 years ago and I remember that the candidate I voted for won. I thought that I would go with my gut while voting, but I saw this candidate and really liked how he spoke to people, so I voted for him. And he actually did end up doing good work after he was elected.
At my polling unit, Bende Street in Rumuomasi, I saw as the Hausa men and boys who lived on the street walked up, about 8 of them, and voted the candidate of their choice. Nobody harassed them. I wonder if that will still be the case today.
Elections are like a reality show in Rivers State, in which all the candidates are contestants and the host is all of us but instead of the hosts to be in control of the contestants, the contestants are in control of the hosts.
The job of the host is to bring out the right contestant, but we have not been able to do that with the candidates of these days.
If you want the right person for the job, you need to do your homework and pick accordingly. Instead, what is obtainable is a kind of imposition by people with money. They decide everything without our input. It is not just a Rivers State thing. It is a Nigerian problem where the democracy we claim to be practicing is nothing but ‘gangocracy’
There have been numerous accusations and counter accusations about imposition of candidates, starting with the Peoples Democratic Party councillorship primaries which led to several ugly incidents, especially the violence that followed.
During an attack in Kula by men suspected to be sea pirates, delegates who went for the primaries were shot at with two persons losing their lives.
There was also shooting incidents in Degema during the chairmanship debate while a state house of assembly member had his car burnt at Oyigbo during the primaries. All these in our bid to elect the right people?
The violence that characterised the preparation for the APC ward Congress is uncalled for. Sad even is the fact that people died as a result of gunshots by the police.
Who sponsored who to cause such level carnage? Why do we keep electing people who can’t practice democracy as it is?
We tend to crib about bad roads and other civic issues, but who voted for that person? We did, so we are to blame as well. While voting, we shouldn’t look at the candidate’s religion or caste — all that should matter is that person will do a good job.
But are they doing good jobs?
When compared to previous years, I think that things are really changing now, for the worst anyway.
Earlier, no one really bothered about the ward Congress or the local council elections, but now, I am itching to go and vote. People are seeing that there are development works that need to be in place, but it is not happening. The people want change, change devoid of violence. How these events will shape up the coming elections is only but imagined.