Vote and Defend Your Votes

2015 New Year Message To Emerging Nigerian Leaders

Godswill, Rev. Agbagwa

President, CSAAE Inc.

Dear Emerging Nigerian Leaders:

Welcome to 2015! If you have not set goals for the year by now, please do so today. In your short list of goals, I want you to consider making civic engagement, especially active participation in the forthcoming elections, a priority.

As you already know, failure of leadership, especially political leadership, is the major cause of underdevelopment in Nigeria. One sure way to reverse this trend is by voting into office leaders with the capacities, competencies and character to bring positive changes to the nation. The forthcoming elections will afford us the opportunities to do so. I want to appeal to all Emerging Nigerian Leaders to take advantage of these opportunities to start effecting the change we want to see in Nigeria.

If you do not have a voter’s card, get one now and be sure to follow INEC instructions so as to qualify to vote. Do not be in a haste to decide whom to vote for and, do not allow peer pressures, religious or tribal biases to interfere with your choice. Take time to study the personal and political records of the various aspirants as well as their manifestos to enable you make informed decisions. The choice of who to vote for is your right. Your vote is your power. Do not give it away for loose change. Think twice! Do you really want to give away your future and the future of your loved ones to the bad guy for just N5, 000.00, N10, 000.00, N100, 000.00 or even N1m?

Soon, some of the aspirants will start recruiting thugs, if they have not already started. But have you wondered why they never use their own children as thugs? Think twice! While their children study or work in organized societies such as the UK, US and elsewhere in Europe, they want to use you for such illegal and violent deals in Nigeria. What if you loose an eye, a tooth, an arm or even your life while “carrying ballot boxes”?

I know that in Nigeria votes do not often count. Yes, votes do not count because we do not want our votes to count. After all, four years ago, when Imo people decided that their votes must count, their votes did count. They voted and defended their votes. Therefore, Emerging Nigerian Leaders can vote and defend their votes. Yes, we can!

Finally, stay away from any form of violence during the elections. While I urge you to defend your votes, please do not do so through violence. In my opinion, as soldiers of peace, non-violent resistance must be our response to any form of election malpractice.