Welcome to Nigeria’s campaign season where the citizens are in a frenzy and the presidential candidates are in their shiny attires, equipped with Grammarly proofed scripts. Where citizens are killed and kidnapped, and our candidates wear a smile as their cronies share salt and seasonings. Oh, I haven’t put you off, have I? We’re getting to the good part…well, not so good part.
Somewhere in a forgotten community, there’s a man going about convincing impoverished Nigerians that the 1000 naira note in his hand will offer them a bright future; good schools for their children, a house away from the slum, clean water and job opportunities for everyone. The only catch is to come out to vote and an extra 1000 naira will be given to them.
There’s a woman visiting market women in their stalls, overlooking the puddles from rainwater and poor drainage. Those things don’t matter to her, her quest is to get gullible Nigerian women and convince them of HER candidate and a promise of reduced stall rent and free Ankara.
This reminds me of the story of Halima, a young woman who felt helpless because of the dire situation in her community and her lack of resources to create the much-needed change. She had the opportunity to sell her vote and ignore the plight of her fellow women especially when their children began to die due to poor health care system, but she refused to sell her vote. She knew if she did, more children would die, famine would result due to lack of borehole and clean water, and the community would only continue to degrade.
I read an article of a community in Benue with no borehole throughout the years, only a river that served them until climate change which affected the rainy season. These people were forced to dig a hole beside the dried river, the water they got was brown and filled with dirt. They drank from it, bath with it, washed with it. Even their clinic made use of the water because the hand pump created years ago was no longer effective. According to them, no government agency has visited them in the last 50 years, they’re only remembered during campaign season. Tragic, a live action tale of Halima’s Vote.
The solution is to stop lamenting and start demanding! Like Halima, don’t let your lack of resources hold you back. This fight for a better Nigeria can only be won if we ignore our selfish desires and figure out ways to start effecting change in our country. We need one another as painful as that may seem, we have to say No to vote selling, call out every media propaganda and demand justice for every sleepless night, every raid, every kidnap and insecurity. 2000 Naira or more might fill your belly today, you might even be promised government appointments but what you cannot run from is the greedy jaws of corruption…it will reach you one way somehow. In the end, all of us will eat the fruit of our participation in, and silence around corruption. You can stop it now if you take steps to save our tomorrow, today. Say no to corruption!