Keeping track of things weekly makes you realise how much time flies and how short life is.
Today, I woke up to another Friday, with a choked schedule, a thankful heart, and a weekly piece deadline. In trying to figure out what my thoughts regarding Nigeria’s 2023 election will be today, I remembered the conversation I had with a friend last Friday after he read my blog post.
Capacity to vote
A tweet shared by Zeal A. Jacobson, read “‘Everyone get your PVC’ is the very democratic thing to push. Imagine a dozen doctors in a psychiatric home asking for a vote with 200 inmates & asking all inmates to ‘get their PVCs’. When the inmates, in a ‘democratic manner’, win a vote to lock up the doctors…what next?”
Every conversation we are championing around the state of the nation is consciously or unconsciously founded on the hope that we are making a better decision come 2023. As much as I do not agree that we are exactly where we were in 2015/2019, I worry about the expectations for and possible outcome of the next general election.
If so much of our progress and sustenance as a people and country is to be decided at the polling unit and not in the sheer functionality of a system or institution, then it’s safe to agree with my friend as he worries about the people’s capacity to vote.
How many Nigerians (with a PVC) have the cerebral capacity to vote? According to him, “many Nigerians lack voting capacity because voting capacity requires long-term decision-making ability that requires seeking and using knowledge and information which is gotten via an education.” Most Nigerians are schooled but not educated and that’s for those that even went to school.
On the 10th of August 2022, Labour Party announced that Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour (who only joined the party from PDP about a month ago) has emerged as the Lagos state gubernatorial candidate after he defeated Mooshood Salvador (also a former PDP chairman in the state who also defected last month…lol) amid the familiar drama.
Beyond the drama at the Labour Party, what’s even more interesting to me, as it relates to this piece, is some of the reactions I caught on Instagram following the announcement. 99% of comments on major Instagram blogs that reported the news focused on the aesthetics of the LP candidate. Comments like “fine man, is he married? my ovaries, etc.” flooded comment sessions.
Please do not misunderstand me, there is absolutely nothing wrong in giving compliments where it is deserved as Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour is a fine man indeed, however, this speaks to the thought process of the new crop of the nation’s voting population who are seemingly eager to vote and have the power to make choices that will decide what the future holds for the nation and themselves.
If 10 illiterate bus conductors and one Harvard graduate bank Managing Director need to vote on how to use the bank’s funds, what do you think will happen? The bank MD will try to ‘rig’ the election to have his way and the bus conductors will fight and burn things down.
Worthy of mention is the fact that the majority still think changing the country is a one-man job. They are happy to be distracted from their individual roles and heap all their hope on ‘one man’, without looking at the composition of their representatives in the state house or NASS.
The point I have been trying to make is that a lot more work needs to be done. We must consciously and deliberately have open-ended conversations, ask the right questions, and guide our brothers and sisters where necessary. It is time we rise above the dirty playground games of focusing on one man’s health condition, age, or the other’s choice to carry his bags and walk by himself.
Governance is beyond the aesthesis of appearance; it is hard, dirty work on the side of the elected and the electorate. And the work must start from now. We are in a deep mess, and to get out of it requires coordinated actions and holding each other (and self) accountable.