2023 General election: Three factors electorates must jettison


FIC Report (Edo State) – Democracy is a system of government which most countries in the world are clamouring for. In fact it has been said at some quarters that the worst form of democratic government is better than the best form of military government.

For many years, Nigerians clamoured for democracy . The military juntas’ intervention or interruption denied them (Nigerians) the opportunity of enjoying democracy for some years. However, they finally got it in 1999.

Since 1999, Nigeria has been enjoying the democratic system of governance. It has been on smoothly without any interruption.

The current democratic experience in the country will be 24years old in 2023 when the country is expected to go into another election.

The submission of many Nigerians is that the democratic government operated in the country is good and they want to continue to enjoy it. Nigerians have indeed enjoyed some dividends of democracy. However there are areas that they are yearning for improvement.

The only way a democratic government can be beneficial to citizens is for the right or capable candidates to be voted into elective offices. It is only when tested and trustworthy candidates with enviable antecedents are voted into offices that democracy can be a blessing to the citizens.

Whenever incapable candidates are voted into leadership positions, they ultimately visit economic draw-back, insecurity, infrastructural decay and all forms of ills on the country and her citizens.

Two important questions that need to be answered are, why do the wrong or incapable people sometimes get elected into offices? What is the implication of voting the wrong and unqualified people into offices?

Of course the implication of electing incapable candidates into offices is suffering and lamentation by the governed, occasioned by failure of the government.

Even the Holy Bible says that when the righteous are on the throne, the people rejoice. This should not be interpreted to mean those who are spiritual alone. One can be highly spiritual and still not perform creditably when it comes to doing the job of governing the people . Better put, when capable hands are in government, the people rejoice.

The capable hands are people with antecedents, people who have the requisite qualifications to lead the people ; people who are tested, trustworthy, reliable, bold and result-oriented. It is only when such people are in authority that the much needed dividend of democracy will adequately get to the citizens.

How will the electorates get the aforementioned type of candidates who are result oriented?

This is simple. First is to know why the electorates usually vote incapable candidates into offices. Three major factors are responsible for this . They are, religious consideration, tribal sentiments and vote buying or selling.

For capable candidates to be voted into elective positions in the 2023 general election, the above factors should be ignored or jettisoned by the electorates when considering candidates to be voted for.

It is unfortunate that most Nigerians have been engrossed in tribal and religious sentiments as the 2023 general election draws close .

Some opinion leaders are already directing people of their tribes to vote for only candidate’s that hail from their tribes. Most people from the Southern zone are routing for a President from their zone, while those from the Northern zone are saying that they deserve to present the next President of the country. Some church leaders are clamouring for a President of Christian faith. There are some videos on the internet showing some Pastors directing members of their congregations to vote for a particular presidential candidate, simply because he ( the candidate) is a Christian. The muslems will definitely not be left out too. They are also campaigning for a President of Islamic faith.

Some people are already thinking of the amount of money they are likely to realize from sales of their votes at the polling booths. It has become a regular thing for people to sell their votes at polling booths on election days.

In the above case, the antecedents or capability of the candidates are not considered in making choices. This has been the voting pattern in Nigeria for many years now. This pattern has sacrificed quality for mediocrity in government in the past and will sure do same in the 2023 general election if the situation is not well handled.

For Nigerians to vote into offices, capable candidates that can transform the economy of the country, provide infrastructure and boost the security, religious consideration, tribal sentiments and financial gratification from the sale of votes should be jettisoned by the electorates. The electorates should consider the antecedents, health condition and capabilities of candidates as parameter or requirements to be met before voting them into various elective offices. If this is done in 2023, the right candidates will be voted into various offices and Nigeria and Nigerians will be better for it.

By Amarachi Linda Egwaoje,
FIC, Benin.