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(OPINION) Idoma people, it’s time to vote or shut up

Written By Idoma Television on Monday, December 28, 2015 | 11:16:00 PM

By Adah Anthony Adah

March 28, 2015 would forever be a day to remember for me. Yes, the day would go down in history as a day the unimaginable happened. It was the day Nigerians trooped out to vote in a new President against all odds. 

For me, the events that marked the day in my small village where I voted would forever reshape my sense of conviction about many things as they relate to how to demand and be served what you deserve by right.

l remember waking up and setting out very early in the morning on the day to the embrace of a huge crowd that had gathered in front of my family house, in the serene locality of Olago, Okonobo-Edumoga in Okpokwu Local Government Area (LGA), Benue State. Like an angel sent with an unusual message, I told them in a thunderous voice, “We have won already.”  The cheers that greeted this statement was deafening. So loud it was that the next village would later confess that they heard it like it were next door.
We quickly prayed and ate Okpa and kunu (a local snack and beverage) because we had little or no time to afford the luxury of eating a properly prepared meal before heading out to the polling unit which was just two blocks away from my house.
I felt this unusual excited when it was my turn to vote. The feeling was pleasantly amazing to me, as that was not the first time I would be voting. For me, the mere thought of casting my voice to what I wanted for Nigeria as an elected leader was super exciting.

The turn-out was massive and impressive that I couldn’t help but dance “Eguma”, an Edumoga traditional dance steps when Muhammadu Buhari officially moved from being addressed as General Muhammadu Buhari (GMB) to President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB), after defeating the incumbent in a historic election that generated so much attention globally and locally.
What am I driving at?

Well the answer is very simple. We as Nigerians need to truly tap into our power of voting. According to Merriam-Webster, the word vote means “a usually formal expression of opinion or will in response to a proposed decision; especially, one given as an indication of approval or disapproval of a proposal, motion or candidate for office.” So if I am formally giving my opinion of a matter and despite how many arguments, debates or comments or advertorials that I put out to the society about my feelings towards an issue or person, at the end of the day I can only buttress my opinion by either going out to support for or against the matter.?

In Nigeria, we usually see the maximum voter turnouts during presidential elections. Many Nigerians are of the feeling that the one who is pronounced ‘leader’ of the land in the guise of a president makes the greatest impact when it comes to the people. Not true. In fact, it has been proven that the state and locally elected officials have a rather more direct and enduring impact on the society.
So now comes the question; why should I vote?

I try to put this in a perspective using a scenario. Assuming I am the CEO of a firm called ?Triggerphobia Inc., with a shareholder based of 11.8 million. By all ramifications, my company must be regarded as one that is thriving in business. However, I want to make some necessary but dramatic changes that will affect the entire status of the company. This could be a huge risk, knowing fully well that such decisions remain untested within the ambit of the firm’s operations.
One very critical fact is that I am not allowed to implement these changes unless the shareholders vote and agree to it.

 So I pitch my idea to the shareholders through the executive board, which causes a division of opinions among the shareholders, some of whom preferred to go with alternative options. At the end of the presentations a vote is called. If only 1.9 million of my company’s shareholders voted, the results of their vote would be binding on all 11.8 million shareholders.
What I am invariably saying is that, if you choose not to come out and vote during elections, you have chosen to remain silent on issues of governance. At that point, you also lose the right to complain about whoever is voted into office. 

The advent of social media has given birth to some Facebook-puppets and gangsters who, in most cases, do not even know the names of their wards and polling units. 

Ironically, this group of people are bent on causing disaffections amongst genuine voters. On this count, I am calling on well-meaning sons and daughters of our great Idoma nation to shun malicious and insulting pattern of campaign and address the issues at hand.

I leave you with some reality check to ponder. Look at our roads, water, electricity, hospitals, education, security..IS THERE SOMETHING TO SMILE ABOUT?

Hon. Adah Anthony Adah (JP) is the APC Youth leader, Zone C, Benue state
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