Go, Ink Your Finger And Assert Your Right For Credible Candidates By Habib Omachile Rabbiu
The constitution of federal republic of Nigeria gave it citizen’s right to vote and be voted for at an eligible age, we the electorates! We the voters! We the people are the integral component of democracy but, it’s sad that we don’t make use of that power which the constitution bestowed on us. Most Nigerian’s would greatly desire to see a credible election and their votes counted for the candidate of their choice. This would really be the start of our democratic process where we the people decide who governs us and not a few godfathers who have hijacked the process in the past through rigging. The last 15 years has been more of a civilian regime rather than a democratic dispensation.
We have shown our commitment by going out en masse to participate in voting and protecting our votes. But is it only credible elections we need or should we also focus on credible candidates? We should be concern that we may have gotten our goal for our democratic process misplaced. The main purpose of a democratic process is to enable us put into elective offices people we believe are of great vision, courage, character and ambition, to entrust them with the apparatus of government for the development of our nation. If the person we put there does not live up to expectations, we seek another and put him or her in office through elections. The focus is always on having the right person in office and though credible election is a means to achieving the goal it is not the goal itself. In our case, we have rightly emphasized the need to register to vote and to go to vote on the election days but we have ignored the bigger issue – the candidates that will be on offer for us on the voting day. If the quality of candidates is not excellent, we could have credible elections but people lacking in vision, courage, character and ambition in elective offices. You and I know that such people in elective offices cannot deliver the development which we are longing for, despite being voted into office through credible elections. When we consider the enormous task confronting us as an ethnic nation and limited resources to address these problems, there is an urgently need for focus to not only be limited to the elections phase of the democratic process but also the phase that produces the candidates.
The question then is how do we ensure credible candidates are presented to the electorate at elections…Voting for the right candidate can be tricky. They all want your vote so they all make the best promises they can think of. Which one should you pick? How should you choose?
STEP ONE: Make a list of things that are important to you– Values, things you think candidate should achieve etc.
STEP TWO: Motivate these choices– Why are these things on your list? How important are they to you? Mark the most important ones but keep the others as well.
STEP THREE: Look for a candidate you relate to– Listen to speeches, debate, find out about their opinions and, even more important: What motivates them. Opinions can easily be adapted to what the voter wants to hear, motivations are a little more reliable
STEP FOUR: Find out if the candidate(s) you’ve chosen is really the right one. Check their history, find out if they are telling the truth and if they can (and will) actually do what they are promising you.
STEP FIVE: Make a final pick– Take your first list of important things, the election programme of your chosen candidate and any other important information you stumbled upon. Compare them and decide if this candidate (or which one of the candidates meets your demands the most if you hadn’t chosen one yet) is really the one you want to be represented by.
NOTE: credibility should be your utmost desire in a candidate not political party i.e. you can vote a credible chairmanship candidate on the platform of PDP while you vote for a credible national assembly representative on the platform of APC
STEP SIX: Vote! If you have done this right, then hopefully you won’t make the wrong choice. By following the steps and being true to yourself you can be sure you’ve done your best to choose the candidate that’s most suitable to represent you. Then, ink your finger and vote with the believe that you are satisfying your conscience afterall even in defeat, there’s victory!
Habib Omachile Rabbiu