The Nigeria 2015 Presidential election is just some days to go. Political parties are rounding up their campaigns. Their teeming supporters are excited that the D-Day is fast approaching. I find it very important to lend my voice in the campaign and election procedings to shun electoral violence. This election has already stirred up a lot of tension in the past. I am one of those who believe that postponing the elections reduced some of the burning tension otherwise we couldn’t have escaped violence in some of the states in this country. Shifting it, I believe, has worked on the psychology of Nigerians somehow. The fear, terror, anxiety and atmosphere, which the February 14th date carried, has dissipated. There were debates that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was not prepared for the elections. Some said it was a tactic that enabled the incumbent to buy time in order to win the election. Well, whatever it is, time has shown us that the decision to postpone was the best. The atmosphere then had a hundred percent potential to break into violence.

What we demand now from the government and INEC is an election that is credible. We demand an election that is free, fair and void of violence. We want to see an election that is void of rigging. We want to see an election that represents equity and fairness no matter who the candidate is, what political party he/she belongs to, what religion he practices and what ethnic group he/she comes from. We want to see an election where everyone’s right will be protected and no eligible voter will be disenfranchised for any particular reason. We desire an election that lacks the possible outbreak of violence before, during and after. We all want to vote without fear of possible attack by anyone. We all after voting would like to sit back and protect our votes. We desire an atmosphere of peace.

Any politician that buys arms for you or tries to cause violence through you during this election wants you dead. There is a saying that, “In politics there are no permanent friends or enemies, but permanent interests”. The cross carpeting of politicians from one party to another confirms the above statement. You have seen many politicians move from one party to the other because they failed primaries in their former party. And suddenly the party they have been for several years becomes evil. Then the regular name-calling and attacks via the media that has characterized our political system continues. This time it is against their former party. Then the new political party becomes righteous. It is important to note that most of these politicians irrespective of party affiliations are friends. They wine, dine and do businesses together. While they incite you to fight and kill yourselves for them. It is unfortunate that some of us are been controlled by their words and money. This is why you must shun violence now and forever.

It is sad to make mention that the spirit of politics in this country is still selfish, wicked and evil. It is full of hate, witch-hunting, greed and name-calling, blackmail, shifting responsibilities, painting the opponent black, religious and ethnic propaganda. All of these are what politicians have been selling to their followers, which is gradually forming a system of belief. It is this belief that breeds a society that cannot escape violence.

We honestly need to purify politics in this country. And it takes a complete change of mindset to do that. People need to start thinking differently. We all need to embrace peace, discourage this ethno-religious mentality that makes us look simple-minded before the world. We need to stop looking at the leaders and politicians and start looking at ourselves. These so called leaders didn’t fall from the sky. They came from among us. We elected them to lead us. They lived among us, they think like us, speak like us and act like us. The evil we see today was born from the womb of the society, which we all created. This is to say that if you have the kind of mentality the average Nigerian has, you will do the same as, if not worse than our politicians do if you happen to be elected into office. Transformation/change can only come when we allow ourselves to be purged of all the wrong ideologies.

It is no longer news that money has been changing hands as a result of electoral campaigns. This evil trend of canvassing for votes unfortunately cuts across both urban and rural settings. Even in the villages, money, wrappers and foodstuff are being shared to buy the hearts of voters. Whether you collected these gifts or not is not the issue now. As far as this election is concerned, what’s been done has been done but please, do not let what you collected twist your heart to cause trouble during or after the election. For the sake of your life, your family and this country, shun electoral violence.

Fellow Nigerians, perpetrating violence for the sake of this forthcoming election is no wisdom at all. Do not allow politicians use you as a mercenary for fighting, killing and destruction of property. Any politician that encourages you to be violent for any reason does not have your best interest at heart. It would interest you to know that for most of them their families are presently not in Nigeria. Youths of our dear nation, you have your whole lives ahead to live. Do not waste it all in the name of this election. People call us the leaders of tomorrow. In fact now we have started rejecting that statement because in this country, tomorrow has remained a dream that may never become real. But the truth is, should that tomorrow eventually come you would lose the chance because you wasted your life fighting for someone who cares nothing for you.

I know you have dreams of a bright future for yourself. I know you have a desire to see Nigeria become better. I know you desire a great nation that will provide you with opportunities to express your greatness. The hard truth is that only one person will win in this election. If it is not your candidate that wins, please do not follow the path of violence. If you feel the election is not free and fair, allow the law take its course. Justice can be won in the court. Violence is not the way to express your anger and dissatisfaction. And how does the destruction of property change the situation of things. How does killing someone else affect the politicians you are fighting for? Do you now see that electoral violence makes no sense at all?

Violence has never described a society in a good way. Take your time to think very well about whom to vote for. I would plead here again; please do not vote because someone is a Christian or Muslim. Do vote because one is Hausa and the other Niger Deltan. Vote based on your conviction. Vote for the candidate you think is credible and able to lead this country very well. Vote based on the confidence that if you put your business in any of their hands you think they would make it grow and bring you profit. Vote based on the fact that your children in the next four years after graduating from school will not have a hard time gaining employment. Vote to fight corruption, vote for regular power supply. Vote because in the next four years you don’t want to be found in one of the Internally Displaced Persons’ (IDP) camps in Nigeria. Vote because you want to see a Nigeria that is free from this cancer called Boko Haram. Vote for that person you believe can run the affairs of this country successfully. Vote for someone you believe will make Nigeria the envy of the world. Vote for your future. Vote for your destiny.

I believe that soon Nigeria shall become the country of our dreams.   Nigeria shall be great. But it lies in our hands to work out this greatness. One way to start is by voting for the right candidate in this forthcoming election. The power is in your hands. Vote conscientiously, vote wisely. Shun electoral violence, because “na person wey die naim lose”. If you die for a politician, he may gain from your death but you, you would have lost everything and for no worthy cause. Long live Nigeria.


About Sola and Chris Chukwunyere

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