Adoption of technology, religious sentiments, the rise of third forces, increased political awareness and participation among Nigerian youths drive other factors that tense up the political space ahead of general elections in 2023.
In the 2019 general elections, out of a voting-age population of 106.4m, only 82 million Nigerians registered to vote, and only 28 million of those registered voters eventually voted.
With the likelihood of a third force in the Presidential race for the 2023 general elections, there are some myths and conversations Nigerians must look past to rise and begin the journey to taking back democracy to what it’s really meant to be.
So some of the preconceived notions that we must disregard as we prepare for the 2023 elections include: Social media doesn’t count, that votes don’t count, that voting a dark horse is a “waste” of votes, etc.
If social media does not count, why have the same people who have maintained this position taken roots on social media, albeit doing a haphazard job?
In truth, politics is local and engaging with the grass root is important, especially in deciding candidacy for different electoral positions. However, candidates have been decided by political parties and their delegates. Now is the time to focus on the options presented by these political parties and make a decision.
Furthermore, if votes don’t count, then vote-buying shouldn’t exist. If votes truly don’t count, why do thugs snatch ballot boxes? If votes don’t count, why have we seen videos of children thumb printing on a ballot paper to be sent in for counting? If votes don’t count, why do the politicians bother with campaign promises and buying votes? If votes don’t count, what is democracy?
It is often said that “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”
We have consistently for the last 23 years of democracy in Nigeria given the power to the people with said structures and allies in the legislative arm of governance with nothing to show for it.
If having different people with different political parties and different interests aligned to achieve a common goal will make the difference then let’s give it a chance.
Homepage image source: The Guardian