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Observer Diary: Your Votes Do Not Count

The recent Governorship elections held in Edo and Ondo States have made the improvement of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) glaring for all to see. 

However, recent observations still show the distrust which the masses are having about the electoral body. The electorates as a result see the election process as a period of cashing out on the contesting political parties, regardless of competence.

It has often been debated, since the first Presidential poll held in 1979, if the votes of the people truly count in Nigeria. Meanwhile, the body in charge of organising elections has changed its name and undergone reforms since their inception in 1960 after gaining Independence with the name Federal Electoral Commission (FEC). 

There have also been several instances where the results declared by the electoral body had been altered or nullified in court cases. These have evidently played a role in the reputation damage accorded to the electoral body.

The political apathy often witnessed in Nigeria election is also another issue to worry about. Taking the Edo election as a case study, it was observed that over 1.7million citizens have obtained their voter’s card in the state, but the number of voters present on election day did not exceed 560, 000, showing a below-par rate of approximately 33% electoral participation in the state, while Ondo state witnessed a 41% political participation as only 607, 902 electorates exercised their franchise on the D-Day out of 1,478, 460 cardholders.

All these, among others, have made the electorates place their votes up for the highest bidder, a long-existing situation gaining more prevalence in recent times. What the electorates have been unable to notice is the positive reform in INEC, especially following the proclamation of a travel ban on political persons in Nigeria by the US and other countries. According to conspiracy theorists, the proclamation is a disgrace to the nation at large and has made the electoral body tighten their seatbelts to ensure transparency while preparing for subsequent elections.

What is left, however, is the reform which the masses need to undergo. Selling votes under the pretext of its irrelevance to the final outcome is one of the causes to the dilemma we’re facing now as citizens.

A drop of water makes an ocean. If the citizen’s votes do not count, why then are the politicians buying them? The change we seek begins with our attitudes. It begins with our votes. Do not sell your votes, because your vote counts.

God bless Nigeria

This story has been published on CAMPUS REPORTER with very minimal editing to preserve the original voice of the author.

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