It’s another noisy night in front of D block, Obafemi Awolowo hall for the third night in a row. Every night, a different candidate aspiring for a different position. Every night, Awo girls from every other block gather at the balconies of the rooms of D block because they all want a piece of the action. Welcoming is an understatement for how these aspirants have been treated by the Awoites night after night.
Campaign, solicit, appeal, convince, and eventually, win. That’s the process for these aspirants – or at least something along that line. All of this is fine even if some find the noise and being constantly bombarded by people of and/or for these aspirants occasionally annoying. It’s a phase. By the time the election is over, it will all be over as well. Besides, it’s the first in a while; the first since the Student Union was banned. This fact makes the excitement, of course, therefore understandable. Perhaps, that even, can be seen as the reason for such manifestation of naivety and ignorance amongst who, eventually, is and should be the electorate. Perhaps, it’s the fact that they are possibly freshmen – as first year students are often regarded – hence, they aren’t properly informed and educated. A feeble attempt at canvassing support it might even be. Any one of these – maybe even all- is the reason such a bland, inappropriate and ignorant clause escapes the mouth of this Awoite immediately after ‘because’ in her sentence.
“I’ll vote for him because ‘he’s fine’” says an Awoite.
These are her exact words. Nothing more, nothing less. Amazing, isn’t it? That despite so much political education over time, reasons like these are still blurted out by people as regards the choice of their leaders. Maybe, there might not have been that much political education after all. If this is the case, it is scary that the power to decide is in the hands of people with so much ignorance and very little depth to them.
Awoites, Uites, people who make up any electorate in general, the power to participate in politics as a voter, although a right, is sacred. As it goes, ‘With power, comes responsibility…’
Power is great; and the power to vote is no exception. With this power comes the responsibility to choose right. Given that your one decision will give others the floor to continually make decisions for you, it is your responsibility to choose right. You cannot choose right if you do not know what to look for in those you choose. Hence, it is paramount that you do know. Leaders are chosen on a lot more bases than shallow ones like ‘he is fine’ or ‘he looks like a good person’. Not taking this into cognisance equals a readiness to arm with power those who are undeserving. Surely, they will misuse it. Leaders aren’t chosen based on the surface, rather, it is based on how much depth they have – in themselves and their plans. If the electorate open their hearts to this, then, a near perfect government will no longer be far away from us. Not just the government of the Student Union, but of the state at large. Be educated!
To aspirants, campaigners, and everyone else doing a similar job, the responsibility that comes with the power you seek also goes for you. If you want to prove that you are truly deserving, show how and why you are. However, how do you make a man with closed eyes see your magnificence? You open not just his eyes but his mind as well because if you don’t, you might have the most elaborate features but he is unable to not only see them because of closed eyes, but even recognise them after his eyes are opened. Opening their eyes takes the form of all the contesting already being carried out. Opening their mindsis letting them know that what they see is what they need to see and not what they should. What they need to see are the important things that make you a right candidate. What they should see is the appeal to emotion, pity and every other fallacious display. Educate them, and thereby prove your worth as a leader.
Everyone should learn that it boils down to them to make a right decision. Including everyone in the decision making process is what makes for a true democracy. Make a good government, and in the end, all will be pleased.