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Anambra: Vote On Competence Not Sentiment – By Ben Nna Okoye

As we crawl our way towards the 2017 inevitable Election Day, Ananmbra  must educate themselves and make a paramount choice. To be a literate voter is to be an educated citizen–someone who is civically engaged and politically conscious. It means to stay aware of current events and public policy that pertains to you and the community, and to extrapolate how your elected politicians and potential candidates (might) address them. The point is to be able to go to the polls with some degree of presumption, how your recourse (whether candidates or policies) might impact you and fellow citizens. It’s also to be able to stay abreast into what your representatives are executing. They exercise decisions that affect you, directly or indirectly, so you ought to stay patently informed about what decisions they may make.

We face the civic duty to be faithful citizens and the moral summons to be faithful to our consciences. Of the two, the moral obligation to follow one’s conscience comes first. With all of the important issues and challenges confronting Anambra right now, supporting politicians exclusively on their charisma is myopic and catastrophic. Candidates can be judged in two ways: the positions they take on issues and the leadership tendencies and experience they would bring to office. Both are inherently important. Your first step in picking a candidate is to decide the issues you care about and the qualities you want in a leader.

When you consider issues, think about community or state problems that you want people in government to address. For example, you may be interested in 24 hour power supply. Education, Industrial Development, Roads and Bridges, Security etc. These are critical issues.

When you consider leadership qualities, think about the characteristics you want in an effective leader. Do you look for intelligence, honesty, or competence?

Although one should consider a candidate’s position on many issues, the first level of scrutiny, would be the disqualification of anyone who is supporting policies contrary to your believes. This is not to be taken lightly or “rationalized” away because of personal loyalty, town identity or party intimidation or, even worse, special promises by a candidate. Our conscience is not for sale. To vote for travesty, in fact, is to risk non-performance.

Whatever your hot-button issue might be, try to remain cognizant of your lesser issues, because they could easily outweigh your hot button. Throughout the campaign, opinion polls will be taken by a variety of groups to evaluate public support for the different candidates. Polls reveal who is leading at a certain point in the race. As you read the polls, ask these questions: Who sponsored the poll? Were all the figures released? What kinds of questions were asked? Were they slanted or unbiased? Who were respondents selected – randomly or such a way to include all segments of the population? How many people were included in the poll sample?

I’m not compelling anyone to vote for any particular candidate or back the platform of one party over another. What I’m advocating is that you employ critical analysis of all the pertinent issues that are puissant to you and vote your conscience. I expressly recommend that voters take their time to truly explore the candidates they want to support, rather than focusing on the extraneous negativities of the candidates they dislike. It’s not palatable to simply illuminate one candidate’s enervations and vote for the other, and when presented with their debilitations, shrug and move on. That’s the fatalistic way of choosing our leaders.

Finally, I suggest that serious voters conduct their research on more reliable formats such as Newspapers than Facebook memes. The Internet is fraught with distortions, innuendoes and lies. The good news, though, is that we as voters can ameliorate it, by becoming better informed, by focusing on the future, and by voting our consciences, not our fears. If we execute all these imperatives, the political theater would precipitate a very different script.



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