Elections: Why We Must Go Beyond Getting Our PVC BY SYLVANUS ETENG

In Breaking News, Opinion, Politics

There are several reasons why many do not have their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) before elections. These range from being underage, to change of location, ignorance among others.

The PVC is the power that the voter wields in the Nigerian political system today. But, many still allow themselves to be controlled by politicians who see themselves as lords over subjects. This group is controlled in a manner akin to slavery, especially during electioneering periods instead of participating actively – a right that they enjoy. Most times, it is glossed over as just “politics.”

But, what exactly is politics?

The Oxford advanced learners dictionary, 8th edition, described politics as “the activities involved in getting and using power in public life and being able to influence decisions that affect a country or a society.” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, describes it as, “the practice and the theory of influencing other people on a civil or individual level.”

From the above, it is clear that politics is all about the influence that impacts on the society at the different levels and scales, hence, the need for all to participate not on the periphery, but actively as the decisions every individual makes in politics will affect not only them but every other person as well.

Therefore, those who collect money and other things during politics from their political godfathers only to submit their PVC cards to their masters; as well as grouping themselves to other political wards where they are not supposed to vote only to register there, are not doing well for themselves and the society at large.

It is common knowledge that a round hole deserves a round peg, and only a square peg will fit a square hole. This is the same for elections, where we all select leaders. But, despite the adage, ‘once beaten, twice shy,’ this has not been the case. This forces me to think that the hope of having good leaders elected on merit and devoid of corruption remains a mirage.

But, that is possible only if the people act of their own volition and not on the whims of some politicians. How can this be done? By getting PVCs and voting during elections. However, the challenge of thuggery also poses a threat. And, it is common knowledge that most of these thugs do not have PVC.

Thuggery is an anti-social act and behavior that has eaten deep into the fabrics of societal instability in recent times. Thuggery, especially in politics, in whichever way it is perceived, remains an unacceptable way of life. More worrisome is the fact that some elites seek and render support to those involved in thuggery. And, the thugs are youths who are supposed to take up the mantle of leadership tomorrow, you see them walking into the welcoming embrace of the sponsors of thuggery activities in their various communities and villages.

Thuggery has continued in the name of “Oga says,” we must deliver this ward, area council, or State. The youths are often dumped after the elections. This is aided by political mentors who only give hot drinks and a few bags of rice, guns, and cutlasses to their subjects, (the youths) who have little or no idea nor awareness of the effects of this thuggery in society. This act of thuggery retard the growth of democracy wherever it is being practiced, as no society survives true democracy with the presence and encouragement of thuggery.

More shocking for me, is the fact that one has to be an adult to be considered eligible to vote. And, for you to be an adult, there are some parameters in life one needs to meet up with. When one parameter is missing, then the adulthood in you is questionable, especially when you have failed in your part to do the right thing. This is the situation with thuggery.

Therefore, we all need to be guided by the mistakes of the past, so they don’t repeat themselves. The electorates should benefit from the people voted into power even though there is the concern that those who have good and innovative ideas are not always favored because the bad ones always overwhelm the good ones.

Fellow countrymen, gone are the days when things were done blindly. Today, we have to decide who governs us through the PVC. Let us do well to troop out and cast our votes and participate actively in the political processes.

It is no secret that if you are not informed, then you are deformed. And when you are deformed, it, therefore, means you cannot perform. It is only those who are informed that can perform.

The challenges mentioned above must be addressed by all of us from the family, to traditional rulers, government, mass media, religious organizations, and the society at large. We should note that tolerating the act of thuggery is destructive to our society.

Sylvanus Eteng is an IT student from the University of Calabar with CrossRiverWatch.

NB: Opinions expressed in this article are strictly attributable to the author, Sylvanus Eteng, and do not represent the opinion of CrossRiverWatch or any other organization the author works for/with.

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