Francisca EkwuonuI belong to an association run by elected officials and guided by a constitution. It was time for another election and members unanimously chose a date to elect a new executives. On the day, we came out with enthusiasm, ready to uphold our constitution. I, particularly, was more excited than everyone else because I was ready not only to showcase myself as an Emerging Nigerian Leader (ENL) but also to ensure that worthy people were elected to run the affairs of the association.
Elections do not go too well in Nigeria because everybody wants to win and for the wrong reasons too. I was determined to ensure that our election went not only well but was also free and fair by any standard. But I was in for a shock.
Unknown to me, a group had conspired to scuttle the election or rig it. All they wanted was for the incumbent to continue, contrary to our constitution. The annoying thing was that the current officials were corrupt and inefficient. We needed a change and I was determined to help bring it.
When I recalled that Our 3rd Emerging Nigerian Leaders Foundation Conference focused on corruption and how to avoid it, I was all the more determined. I wanted to stand for what was right but the problem was, I was standing alone, it seemed. Everyone was afraid to speak out. Yet I persisted.
I moved a motion to continue with the election, countering an earlier misguided motion to cancel it and return the incumbent. To my surprise and delight, a lot of members supported me. At that point, I realized that what people wanted was someone to speak up first. They too did not like what was going on. Typical human nature!
At last, new and committed individuals were elected while unruly and undisciplined people who wanted to hijack the organization for selfish interests were voted out. I went home feeling fulfilled and proud I did my duty as a young, Emerging Nigeria Leader. But that was just the beginning.
Lesson: Do not be scared to stand up for what is right, even when you think you are standing alone.