An author once wrote that “politics is such a serious business to be left in the hands of politicians alone.” The experience of Nigerians in Nigeria for the past decade is a further proof that every citizen should be involved in the decision-making process of politics. The money and selfish politics of a few elites and aristocrats (about just above 1%) have submerged the rest of the population into untold economic hardships, poverty, uncertainties, deaths, traumas and serious threats to life. The reason why there is an increasing “japa” mentality every day. It is even unfortunate to realize that the illiteracy level has made it in such a way that some youths are still smiling and clapping for them even while they are crying. What a paradox!

One could immediately call to mind the experience of the Israelites in Egypt. For when the Israelites were under Egyptian slavery, oppression and maltreatment of all sorts imaginable says the Holy writ in Psalm 137, their oppressors asked them “Sing for us one of the songs of Zion” but the Israelites to show that they were not happy with their condition immediately retorted: “How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land.” That´s is to say how can we sing, clap, play harp, cymbals and lyre for the same people who are tormenting us day and night; how can we sing and smile with the people depriving us freedom and prosperity; how can we sign and clap for the very people who are torturing and killing us every day.  Unfortunately, this is exactly what some Nigerians have been doing in the past decade. Suffering and smiling; starved and unemployed yet clapping for those whose policies have made them poor, sick and defenseless.

Agenzia Fides in 2020 reported that at least 70 priests and religious have either been kidnapped or killed since June 2015. The same report indicated that at least 12,000 Christians have been killed by either bandits or Fulani Herdsmen. ACN International reported that “Priests have become an endangered species in Nigeria.” In its reports it indicated that over 18 priests were kidnapped in the first half of 2022 while 12 were recorded as killed. The freshest case is Fr. Isaac Achi who was burnt to ashes in his parish rectory by bandits on Sunday morning (Jan 15, 2023) as reported by Catholic News Agency. No one forgets the Lekki Toll Gate Massacre, the gruesome murder of Deborah and the many parishes set in flames resulting in many deaths while worshipping God. In all these, no one has been arrested, prosecuted or held responsible. In high school we were taught that the security of lives and properties is the primary responsibility of Government. What we don’t know is that whether the present Government even knows that to be her responsibility or she doesn’t know how to go about such a huge and fundamental responsibility.

So, before you sell your vote for peanuts this time around, take some moments to reflect. Before you vote for another incompetent, power drunk old man who doesn’t know the sufferings of the masses, reflect about what will become of Nigeria in the next eight years. Before you vote someone who will be flying for medical checkup in London, Paris, the United States, etc. ask yourself whether Nigeria doesn’t deserve an energetic, strong and healthy President and a functional health care system for its citizens. Before you vote for someone who doesn’t live in Nigeria, ask yourself if Nigeria doesn’t deserve a Leader who is truly Nigerian. Before you vote for someone with questionable academic certificates, ask yourself if it is not time for Nigeria to have the Plato´s philosopher-king as her leader; a leader who will value education of the youth population for human capacity building. Before you vote for someone with criminal records, ask yourself whether Nigeria doesn’t deserve a man of impeccable, transparent and trustworthy character to manage her economic resources and save Nigeria from further recession and meltdown. Before you accept the job to be an election day thug or tout, ready to hijack ballot boxes, ask yourself if you don’t deserve better.

It is time to decide who manages the country´s affairs for the next decade. Don’t sit on the fence. Because the result of that election will affect you directly. As Bishop Matthew H. Kukah once said “The President of Nigeria is too powerful to be irresponsible.” As such it is the collective responsibility of all of us to elect someone who is responsible enough to manage NIGERIA.

This article is this author´s effort to sensitize and orientate the Nigerian citizens before they head to the polls on February 25 as part of his civil social responsibility in accordance with his socio-political believes of integrity, equity, justice and peace.

Vote for the future

Vote for your children

Vote for competence

Vote responsibility

Nigeria no longer needs another incompetent and pseudo-President. Nigeria deserves better.

Valentine Umoh