As the reality of the Osun State Elections on Saturday, 22nd September tolls heavily on us, it is a good time to investigate why such an important civic duty as voting comes into play in how we collectively engineer our society as the majority deems fit. The elections tomorrow reminds us of even larger elections coming up in February 2019 comprising elections for the presidency, gubernatorial as well as the national and state assemblies.
One of the beautiful things about modern democracy is that anytime, a vote remains reserved for the average man to exercise at his discretion. Yet, this golden card everyone has to deal is not being effectively made use of. People hardly vote; those who vote are heavily bought off to cast their votes against their conscience or gumption.
Bare it in mind that some platforms/organizations make use of unequal voting patterns where preference is given to some class of individuals over some other classes. But as long as that remains a no-go-area in democracies, why are the people not always willing to cast their votes? The Nigerian situation comes to mind where out of approximately 180 million people and out of the people who are qualified to exercise their suffragette, only a meager 84.2 million people registered to vote as at 31st August 2018.
Considering the low voter turnout on election days, an even smaller number of voters are available to vote on election days. We await the voter turnout statistics from Osun’s election tomorrow; we hope it is going to augur an improvement in that which we are to expect come Elections 2019.
A limited number of people consider voting a civic duty in Nigeria. Many are of the opinion that if they boycott elections, they are effectively protesting the hypocritical nature of rotten politics practiced in our climes. There is no disservice to the polity worse than such thinking. By simply abstaining en masse from voting, a dictating minority will thus be effectively empowered to impose their own unpopular principles and values upon the majority once they gain access to official powers. Hence, it is a civic duty to ensure that the right people are chosen for public office as deemed fit by the mature quota of the populace.
It is also well known that some religious fanatics abstain from voting as a result of dogma, but what these crops of people do not realize is that as they cannot in the least isolate their realities and their lack of electoral choice. They are as much exposed to the sufferance and mess of their No-Choice as those who actively exercised their suffragette.
More so, if the elite abstains from elections, they have only actively left their fates in the hands of the un-enlightened populace whose often-bad choices or electoral decision could prove fatal for the whole populace. Even if this is a flaw in the constitution of democracy where a minority have a dominance in decision-making because the majority have abstained from their duty, it is pertinent to then remind ourselves again that the survival of the human civilization rests on elected leaders who are capable of not making fatal decisions whether by omission or by commission.
Even Aristotle corroborated this notion when he remarked that if the enlightened sect of the society isolates themselves or intentionally disenfranchising themselves by boycotting elections or politics at large, they have done nothing other than allow idiots to rule over them.
Therefore, as Osun people go to the polls tomorrow, it is a moment to reflect on the impending implications of the one man, one vote vital tool in societal engineering through the choice of candidates; and if perchance, our choices as a nation would be for the best for once – leading us into a collective prosperity.