In a country where voter apathy is celebrated and gradually becoming a norm, it will take strategic measures to curb this menace in the forthcoming 2023 general elections.
The 2019 election that ushered in Muhammadu Buhari for a second term has the lowest voter turnout ever since the country returned to Democracy in 1999. In a country where 84 million citizens indicated their Interest in voting and registered for the election, less than 30 million eventually participated in the election that ushered in the candidate who led the country for the next four years. This represents about 35% of the total people that registered for the polls.
Numerous changes have been made to combat this widespread issue, including electoral Reforms by the government, ease in the electoral process and a host of others. However, a concept that’s currently untapped and isn’t all that popular in this part of the world is volunteering.
Political volunteering refers to civic engagement, citizen participation, political association and political party involvement, political campaign activity, political meeting attendance, voting, and other participation in conventional political activities.
We are about to enter the heart of the presidential election campaign, and pundits across the nation are describing this election as one of the most unpredictable in Nigerian history. This uncertainty could make any well-meaning Nigerian uneasy, however volunteering represents a medium to get involved and make a difference.
Voting in an election every four years isn’t the core aspect of Democracy; it’s the process in which all members of the public put their core concerns into their hands and try to make things work. Through their deeds and their actions, volunteers try to make society as a whole a bit better.
Volunteering in politics isn’t limited to telling the average citizen to vote for a political party. It involves selfless acts that can influence lives, change the mindsets of citizens about politics, and even go as far as initiating political remodelling in the country. It’s a platform that comes with immense opportunities and vast influence.
Not all changes that occur in society are a result of government efforts; some are a result of individuals tired of various government bureaucracies that hinder progress and change in society. Volunteering in the political sector is powerful because people impact, creating change in the face of a failed system in the country.
Through volunteering, especially for a pressure group in the political season, individuals learn more about the candidates vying for political positions. Moreover, in trying to influence other people to participate in the election process, volunteers should scrutinise the manifestos of other candidates to make conscious choices. As a result, one’s political acumen gets better.
When volunteering for a political candidate, you could become an essential part of making policies that influence the populace. One’s insight into a budding issue might be noticed by a candidate, who can then integrate the idea into a general blueprint.
There are regions in the country that have been deprived of good governance. Going to such localities, informing them of their rights and civic obligations and making them realise that they have the power to elect credible people via their votes is an active part of the whole volunteering process. This allows residents to make salient choices that positively impact their locality.
Active participation in the electoral process makes one see the ‘problem afflicts the whole’ mechanism. When volunteering, issues that have a profound impact on the life of citizens get exposed. One of the first stages of solving a problem is acknowledging that such a disorder exists. The solution then becomes easy afterwards.
There is no better time to become an agent of change than now. Nigeria requires individuals who are passionate about change. Don’t allow apathy to deprive you of influencing societal change.
Volunteering is often most effective when it starts from the grassroots. Engage people around you, influence other citizens to make conscious political choices and watch Nigeria become the place of our dreams.