I went for a vigil last week. During the course of the service, just about the time we were expecting the Reverend to mount the pulpit and deliver the sermon; he instead came on stage and started to recognize the presence of the politicians vying for different offices across the nation. I grimaced. And so did a number of persons around me.
‘Why would our beloved Reverend call out politicians when we were expecting him to bless us with the word of God and lead us in prayers?’‘This isn’t right!’‘This is a church program, why mix it with politics?’‘What’s going on?’‘Ahn an…’ on and on went the rhetorical questions I could hear people asking out loud. No one was pleased with what was going on onstage. I naturally tuned out of the service because I felt I left the comfort of my bed only to be in the gathering of brethren to pray and listen to the word of God, not for a political campaign.
It turned out that one of the contestants for Lagos state gubernatorial was a classmate of my Reverend and though they both graduated from my Alma mater, I wasn’t pleased that the service had to ‘pause’ just so we could listen to some sort of campaign. There were about twenty politicians from different states across the federation who came out on stage that night. They were given the mic one after the other to “talk” to us and the first set started by appreciating the Reverend for the opportunity before going on about their agendas and why they should be voted into office.
One man surprised me though. When it was his turn to address us, instead of following the status quo, he went on his kneels as though in worship and solemnly he said, “Father, you see my heart. You alone know what I have in mind for my people. You know I have their best interest at heart, but if there be another man who will do the job better, let that man win. But if you know that I am the best man, please see me through.” (Paraphrased)
I was moved. I only realized I was jamming my hands together and howling when the people around me turned to me with dagger looks of betrayal. I found myself trying to explain what happened and why I had to leave the ‘this-is-not-right’ clique. They honestly made me feel like I betrayed them.
This man singularly changed the narrative that night. You could see the embarrassed looks on the faces of some of those who spoke before him, and those who did speak after him followed his lead, seeing how the congregation reacted to the man’s prayer. One or two persons even knelt down too.
The way our politicians make it seem as though getting into office is a do or die affair leaves me wondering if they ever had the people’s interest at heart. A man said something to me the day I went to collect my PVC (gist for another day), he said the only reason he was there to collect his PVC was to vote for a particular candidate who so far in his campaign has never shared money so people would vote for him. He said he felt convinced that the man was the best candidate for that office because he was not willing to buy his way into the office. I agreed with him.
Also,while listening to a radio show last night, a caller called in and said to the governor hopeful that he (the candidate) doesn’t have courage for the office because he’s not taking ‘it’ by force. What the heck does that even mean? Is that what we think getting into office is about? By fire by force? Oh, how my heart bleeds.
I’ll like to ask you as a citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria these salient questions;
1.Do you have your PVC?
2.Why did you collect your PVC in the first place?
b.Do you intend to go out and exercise your franchise as a citizen of this country? I’ve heard people say they did because they have no other means of identification while some mothers actually mentioned that they collected it because their children’s schools now request for it. Some, just for bank transactions.
3.If yes in 2b above, what informed your decision about the candidate you intend to vote for?
4. If no in 2b above, are you not voting because you like many others believe the results of the elections have already been decided even before the elections take place or you have other germane reason(s)?
The objective of this post is to implore you to please VOTE WISELY. The power lies in your PVC, the power to decide. We’ve passed the age of just voting for a party or voting because a candidate’s campaign posters/jingles are catchy and everywhere.
“It’s time to stop letting things happen to you and take charge in influencing the outcome that will be your future” – Rex Adebanjo
This is my Nigeria. This is your Nigeria. This is our Nigeria.