2019 Elections: Why All Eligible Nigerians Must Cast Their Votes
By Sylvester Udemezue
2019 ELECTIONS: Why All Eligible Nigerians Must Go Out and Cast Their Votes for Candidates of Their Choosing
In his early morning address to Nigerians on 22 February , 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, stated as follows:
“As your President, I hereby ask all Nigerians with voting cards to participate in defining the future of our nation by exercising your democratic rights tomorrow. I urge you to go out and vote. I say this because elections are the cornerstone of representative governance. And voting constitutes the highest and best expression of the sovereign will of the people to choose the government that best represents them. It is only upon the freely expressed will of the people that government truly dedicated to the welfare, rights and interests of the people can be founded. Do not allow anyone to discourage you from the exercise of your rights as citizens and voters tomorrow (23/02/2019). To vote means that you believe in Nigeria and the excellent things the future holds for this nation and its people. No matter our political leanings,* we all believe in Nigeria, in the noble principles for which it stands and in the values we strive for our beloved nation to uphold. All who are able, must vote so that we may better perfect this democracy and continue to build the greater nation we seek. Do not be afraid of rumours of violence and unrest. Our security agencies have worked diligently to ensure that adequate security measures are in place. You will be able to vote in an atmosphere of openness and peace, devoid of fear from threat or intimidation.
International and domestic monitors and observers are assured of their safety and freedom of movement needed to perform their important functions….Tomorrow is an encounter with history in which you, the people, shall affirm your collective belief in our national greatness and in our future. I ask that you embrace and hold on to the importance of the moment soon to be upon us. Honour your civic duty as voters by going to the polls tomorrow to vote for the government of your choice, for the government that will lead Nigeria toward its finest destiny. As citizens there is no greater duty than this and no greater honour. Tomorrow, I know you will once again make Nigeria proud of its people.” That’s a great, reassuring speech.
Based on the President’s own assurance of a smooth, free, fair and violence-free elections, I personally and passionately appeal to all Nigerians who are eligible to please go out en masse on Saturday, 23 February 2019 and vote for ANY candidates of their choice in the Presidential and National Assembly elections. I beg you all to let no one deceive or scare you away from voting in the 2019 elections. It is your right to vote; but you have a duty to exercise it, in the best interest of your country. It is irrational, thoughtless and retrogressive for anyone to still think in this 21st century, that “votes do not count” or that “votes would not count.” If your votes truly do not count, the incumbent in Nigeria would not have been voted out in 2015. Further, a few months ago, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the opposition presidential candidate roundly defeated the incumbent. If votes didn’t count in that election, this would not have happened. I referred to these two recent examples ONLY for the sole purpose of demonstrating to Nigerian citizens that votes cast in elections indeed do count. I therefore strongly believe that these 2019 elections in Nigeria, citizens’ votes would certainly count. Our leaders have assured us that the elections would be peaceful and violence-free. Our leaders and the electoral umpire have assured us that the elections would be free, fair and peaceful. So, please be a good Nigerian; go out and cast your vote.
Your vote is your power; you have a responsibility to exercise it. Even if you’re not a politician, you have a duty to vote in order to determine who leads you. Any man or woman who refuses to vote has no protection against bad governance; he is bound by the outcome of the elections. The ignorance of one voter endangers the security and welfare of all others. As Plato once warned, if you refuse to vote or participate in an election, you would be condemned to being governed by your inferiors and by people who are incompetent. The era of “I would not bother voting, because I know my votes would not count” has become a thing of the past. I therefore beg you all, do not be left out; go out and vote. I repeat, votes now count!
Do not cause problems for yourself; because if you don’t vote, you would die complaining and lamenting, and your complaint and lamentations would have no meaning and would not make any impact unless you behave wisely now. Please, be bold, be a good Nigerian, go out to participate and cast your vote, in order to have a say on who governs you. Your vote is never lost, says John Quincy Adams. To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked (David Sedaris). Elections are about the future. It is your future. Stop staying at home on election day. Go out and vote! Vote!
• George Jean Nathan: “Bad leaders are elected by good citizens who don’t vote.”
• Susan B. Anthony: “Someone struggled for your right to vote. Please, use it.”
• Larry Sabato: “The result of every election is determined by people who show up to vote.”
• Thomas Jefferson: “We do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate and vote.”
• Plato: “A major penalty for refusing to participate [and vote]
• is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.”
• George Carlin: “If you don’t vote, you lose the right to complain [afterwards].”
I wish Nigeria a free, fair, peaceful and successful Presidential and National Assembly Elections. May God help Nigeria; may we come out of this stronger. Amen!!