One of the most defining moments of Nigerian politics in recent times was the #EndSARS protests. A demonstration that culminated with a government agency charged with protecting the citizens wheeled into a highbrow part of Lagos State.
The Nigerian army had opened fire on young Nigerians singing the national anthem and waving the country’s flag. The aftermath? Bloodied flags, dead bodies, arson, protests and more police brutality. This is not unusual – the Nigerian army had brutally murdered shites Muslims and dumped their bodies in mass graves. But no one would have thought such an atrocity – #EndSARS – would be committed in front of 130,000+ viewers on Instagram live.
The events of #EndSARS and Lekki Tollgate pricked a new consciousness in young people; one of them is Dipo. Dipo, 21, wasn’t planning on registering to vote. He is a student of a tertiary institution in Ilorin, unsure he would have time to come to his local polling unit in Lagos to vote in the Election. The#EndSARS and Lekki tollgate happened, and something changed for Dipo.
Dipo realised that he had to make a statement; he had to get involved, and there was no better way to make a resounding statement than VOTING. Dipo was not the only person for whom #EndSARS was a turning point. For some, the Lekki tollgate switched off the light and hope they have for the country; they’ve recoiled back to their shell and planned to stay off elections in Nigeria.
Is boycotting the country’s election the way to show our displeasure with the politics and status quo? Absolutely not. It is essential to know that If you don’t vote, whoever emerges as the winner is who you voted for. Whether you are at home on Election Day bingeing your favourite Korean drama or at the poll grounds casting your vote, you are making a decision for the country
More than ever, the people must be ready to take the wheels of their countries by voting for the right candidate to set the country on the right path. Voting is not enough; we must encourage others to vote. Some of the techniques being used to enable people to vote include:
Help others set reminders for deadlines
Elections and their process can be overwhelming; you can help people sort the dates for their PVCs collection, election dates, and essential election date information
Many locales have volunteers doing a door-to-door campaign to encourage people to come vote. For example, volunteers of the YMonitor conducted PVC drives where they helped to register for their voter’s card and educate people on the best electoral practices.
Younger people are the least likely to vote; hence it is crucial one becomes an influential voice in talking about voting to one’s friend. For example, you could make a voting day plan with them – carpool to the polling ground, debate the best candidate etc.
Enlist on social media
With the click of a few buttons, you can disseminate information to thousands of people across Nigeria. For example, you could shoot an explainer video about the election.