I went to visit my mum over the weekend and we were having a conversation about something unrelated to politics when she said, “I don’t even know who to vote for.”
Pause. I know your mind will immediately go, how can she not know who Buhari and Jonathan are? Or JK and Ambode? Because that’s what the elections have been reduced to, the presidential and governorship races. What about the Senatorial and House of Representatives seats? The State House of Assembly? That was what my mum was talking about. Beyond GEJ and GMB she has no idea who else is contesting for other positions. She doesn’t even know who her reps at the houses are.
That’s what they are, representatives of each individual that makes up their constituencies.
There was a movement some years back: #KnowYourRep. I faulted that movement because I don’t believe it is my duty to ‘know’ my rep. If my rep was working, if he had a finger on the pulse of my community, if I didn’t have to travel to Abuja, wait for hours, only to be pushed aside by a dozen bodyguards and mobile policemen when oga finally comes to the office, because I wanted to see him; I would know my rep.
I was in a bus going to work and we passed by posters of Oluremi Tinubu. The conductor said to the driver, “Na wa o. Na every four years this babe dey show. Wetin she dey do for that Senate sef?” and the driver replied, “She dey print recharge card dey wait election.”
“She fine sha. I go vote for am.”
That, dear friends is how we pick our representatives; either that or along party lines. I know people that will go to the polls and put ink against everything with a broom or umbrella by the side not caring who they were handing their power to.
Talking about political parties, most party members know next to nothing about their candidates at every level. Most of them are following their stomach. I noticed my cousin was no longer going for PDP meetings. Why? “Dem share money for December and nothing reach me.” Why should he be wasting his time, he asked? My other cousin is a member of APC and gets N3,000 for every rally she attends. I’m sure you know where the crowds at the political party rallies come from, right?
The concentration on the presidential race is counterproductive. So long as we not paying attention to the others, there is a big chance that nothing much will change after the elections. We’ll still have the same set of people overseeing our affairs at the national and state levels.
When my mum made her announcement, I told her to look at the things that are important to her in the community and compare with four years ago, were they better? If they weren’t, then she should vote for a different person. That was the best I could come up with. If you have a better idea please let me know in the comments section.
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