General Elections 2015: The tasks before us!

by Rev. Uche Dr. Obodoechina

With the publication of the date's for the major elections in 2015, the axe is being laid besides the tree. The processes required for credible elections are being laid bare. Individuals and groups of individuals and organizations are being invited to take part in all the processes outlined for a successful transition to the next level of governance in Nigeria. The tasks before us are enormous.

First and foremost, is the willingness of every eligible Nigerian citizen to decide to take active part in the whole processes designed for the elections. In other words, each individual person should be involved in that sacred duty of entrusting the mandate of leadership to the would-be elected leaders. Given the enormity of responsibility attached to leadership, the duty of choosing our leaders is indeed a sacred one.

And it must not be done by charlatans. It is our experience in the past that a good number of people are indifferent about Nigerian elections. They seem to have lost both interest and confidence in the system. But indifference is not the solution. The Nigerian political situation and the situation anywhere cannot improve if people abandon the legitimate processes for societal transformations and growth. And so the next duty is to arrest and bind the apathy and indifference of some of our country men and women.

Registration of Voters is another major step in the whole gamut of the electoral processes. Citizens with the required age of 18 are expected to register for the elections. Participation in the electoral processes is impaired when citizens are not registered. In fact, while registration empowers the citizens to determine who receives the mandate of leadership, voters cards are the evidences thereof.

It is that enabling instrument and the voice of the citizens. And the citizens have spoken when the votes are cast. Yes, casting the votes is the exercise of one's franchise. It is a sacred duty. Therefore it is not enough to carry the Voters Cards around, or to sell them to pot-bellied political money bags, it is most urgent to cast one's votes according one's consciences and convictions.

Voting during elections is that freedom to exercise one's right of choice. And it is an abuse of rights to neglect to do this. Yet, that too is still not the end. One must keep watch over the votes cast. It is part of our bad political experiences in Nigeria that ballot boxes are often being snatched away from the officials of the electoral body after elections.

Hungry political party agents and thugs are recruited for the purposes of election rigging and manipulations of electoral results. This has occasioned several conflicts and marred several elections in Nigeria. And so, keeping watch over the ballot boxes has become an added duty of the electorates in ensuring credible elections in Nigeria.

At the end, when the matters come to the head, the various legitimate channels of protests for justice and fair play are open to the electorates in case the appropriate electoral body tampers with the elections contrary to the popular decisions of the people!

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