September 21, 2014 by Kambili M.A. Chimalu
I have had a few friends accuse me of being unpatriotic, so after examining my life, I asked myself, “Self! How can you make your blood run greener?” I was forced to acknowledge that I haven’t displayed fervent patriotism and admiration on how elections are conducted in Nigeria. I also noticed that a lot of voters are unaware of the intricate workings of voting in Nigeria, so I have decided to be more patriotic by educating our young voters on the artful façade we employ in the name of voting.
I have taken the liberty of outlining the questions one must answer before voting during the upcoming election:
- Is the Candidate of my Tribe?: This is perhaps the most important question a voter must ponder. We must not overthink the constant issues that plague our society as a result of tribalism in voting because that is for “tribe traitors.” In fact, if there is a possibility that a candidate from an “inferior” tribe, with better policies and qualifications, stands a chance of winning, we must aim to subvert the democratic process by joining our exemplary citizens, Shekau and Asari Dokubo, in threatening total violence/civil war. What does it matter that we are Nigerians first and Igbos, Hausas, Yorubas and Ijaws second?
- Is the Candidate of my Religion?: This is another important question to ponder. We must endeavor to distrust people who hold beliefs that are not purely identical to our own. We must not vote for candidates based on the understanding that religion and state are two entirely separate institutions that should be separated by a thick impenetrable wall. why listen to the candidates explain their policies and plans on how to move Nigeria forward when we can listen to them pledge eternal devotion to our God.
- Is the Candidate of My Party?: We must ignore the fact that there is no discernable difference between all the major political parties in Nigeria or the fact that the different parties are constantly engaged in a battle to determine who is the most corrupt, incompetent, and far removed from the everyday realities of the ordinary Nigerian. When there is a power struggle under the umbrella of a party as a result of greed, we must come out in droves and sweep the “new-party-same-as-the-old-party” to power. We must flow and ebb with the tide of greed.
- Who is the Candidate’s Godfather?: We understand the nature of Nigerian politics, so any candidate that seeks to undermine the very essence of Godfatherism must be rejected. When the candidates present their Godfathers, we must ensure that the Godfathers are members of the wealthy elite that have been governing us into the ground.
- Has the Candidate “Dashed” Me Money?: Thick fat envelopes are part and parcel of any election cycle, so each voter must make sure to get his/her own share. If you do not get a fat envelop, you must at least make sure that money has been rained down on you from helicopters at campaign rallies. A candidate that personally showers money into the crowd will get special consideration.
- Has the Candidate Given Me Other Material Gifts?: People are suffering in Nigeria for lack of the basic necessities that are essential to the dignity and survival of every human being. The big question then is whether the candidates have followed the dehumanizing practice of giving clothes and bags of rice to the naked and starving masses. we do not need to know what platforms the candidates are running on. The bags of rice and yards of cotton are platform enough.
- Has the Candidate Promised Me Benefits?: Your vote is an important weapon that you cannot fire recklessly. The candidate must have promised you and members of your family governmental appointments and contracts. There is a Minister’s seat with your name on it, so hold out until it is promised to you.
- What is the Candidate’s Affinity for Embezzling?: We must be wary of voting for people who have not displayed a mastery of the fine art of embezzlement. Candidates who believe that our national treasury is not their personal bank account must be accused of treason and properly punished. We must screen candidates to show that they are competent in the art of stealing. Did the candidate embezzle funds as a local government chairman? Did the candidate embezzle pension funds at the state level? That’s who we are looking for.
- What is the Candidate’s “Hate” Record?: We must begin by reviewing the candidate’s track record when it comes to hate. Has s/he shown a willingness to fan the flames of ethnic superiority, religious bigotry and social intolerance. The candidate must display a willingness to abhor all groups different from our own.
- Is There a Gun Pointed to My Head?: Voting centers are often fraught with violence in the form of thugs that have come to ensure the smooth sailing of the democratic process. The sight of guns aimed at voters should not be a cause for concern. If there is a gun pointed at you, you must endeavor to vote according to the guidelines that have been set on this list.
Disclaimer: In true Nigerian fashion, I must confess that I have not been paid by any “ogas at the top” to make these guidelines public, but I will not object to someone passing me a Ghana-must-go bag full of Naira notes under the table.