Since the 1960s, Nigeria’s political leadership (both under a military and democratic dispensation) has been determined by a small number of ex-military generals. Over the years, some politicians have studied how the generals operate the system and with good practice, they have become experts in harnessing the benefits of system. In the process, they too have become part of that small group of citizens who decide who governs and how the proceeds of the system are shared.
Here we are approaching another election cycle and the news is dominated by the thoughts and leaning of this crop of leaders, with many citizens believing that there is nothing we can do because these leaders will influence the outcome as they have done before.
There is an urgent need for a Ballot Box Revolution where citizens will mobilise to break the political control of this crop of leaders and allow for a new system that favours the people to emerge. It is a call to not only to disrupt the status quo but also overthrow it.
The crop of leaders we seek to democratically overthrow dominate the two main political parties – APC and PDP. There are also elements of them in Labour Party, SDP, APGA, ADC and UPP however, whatever efforts they make in these smaller parties, they eventually assimilate into the two main political parties after the elections, for the sharing of post elections spoils, according to the system.
Why we need this revolution
Almost 20 years of uninterrupted democracy but very little fruits: The political actors from 1999 till date have failed to set us on the road towards the building of a developed Nigeria. Most of the actors in the current government were part of the actors from 1999.
The system of governance needs to change: Those that argue that President Buhari or former President Jonathan are good men who mean well for Nigeria, cannot deny that their failure is due to a system that compensates incompetent and very corrupt Nigerians with appointments that is an open channel to recoup pre-election investments (this is a nice way to say, we appoint people to go steal our commonwealth). The system can only be changed by new actors and the new actors must be supported and financed by the people, not a few system folks.
We need reformers: With knowledge that it is the people (not the cabal) they owe allegiance to, they will have the courage to undertake far reaching reforms. They will not only initiate reforms but enforce it without fear of upsetting party men demanding compensation.
We need a truly democratic government: A government owned by the people, for the people and of the people. No more cabals running the show behind the scenes.
We need our best and most qualified in political offices: Our best qualified must lead from the front rather than being made running mates to folks not best suited for the job. Our most qualified will restore meritocracy in each government Ministry, Agency, Department, etc. The Police, the Military, Customs, Immigration will also have the most qualified leading and reforming them.
How do we actualise it?
Belief: We must begin with belief that we can mobilise the required number of votes that will get the most qualified candidates into offices. So much energy, focus, drive and ideas will come if we believe in the Ballot Box Revolution.
Decide on candidates and tell: The focus is not just the Presidential election but also the Gubernatorial and Legislature (both state and federal). So, choose your candidates from the good line up of new breed candidates from new political parties. When done, make your choice known to family, friends, contacts via social media and face-to-face interactions.
Mobilise: Use various persuasive tools and techniques to persuade the working class who need political education (not just stomach infrastructure); those who voted for the current government and had high expectation of a change in system and have given up on elections or will return to the previous party (PDP); the newly registered voters who will be voting for the first time; and the many (particularly the middle class) who didn’t vote in 2015 because of the choices available from the two main parties.
Join the political machinery of your candidate: You can volunteer at various levels based on your availability. This will enable you support their efforts and also provide a channel for the feedback you’re getting from the field. It will also provide you with first hand information you can share with your circle of influence.
Keep disseminating information: The revolution will achieve her goals if we move away from attack on personalities and focus on the issues, regularly providing information that showcase solutions of your candidates. This positive and consistent approach will win over some of the undecided and even a few hardcore opponents.
It is possible?
According to INEC report on the 2015 presidential election, the total number of registered voters was 67,422,005 but only 29,432,083 actually voted. That means 37,989,922 registered voters didn’t participate in the 2015 elections.
There are various reasons for this high number but I believe the majority lost faith in the system and also didn’t want to choose between two ‘evils’.
On September 7th, 2018, INEC announced that we now have 84.27m registered voters. This is good news because we now have a target segment of about 55m registered voters (17m newly registered plus almost 38m who didn’t vote last time) for the revolution.
President Buhari won with 15,424,921 votes and we know some will not vote for him in 2019 and also, with two Northern candidates for APC and PDP, the voters of the status quo will share their votes between those two. It is very possible to mobilise millions of citizens who want true change to deliver a new breed into office as President (and replicate this in the other elections).
Again, it will require belief and hard work. Are you willing to put in the effort required to deliver the Nigeria of your dream?
Let the revolution begin.