2023 elections are coming up, and every political party is striving for the win. Meanwhile, ASUU is still on strike and the value of our currency seems to be dropping like water from a leaking tap. Inflation seems unending and insecurity is on the verge of extreme concern.
This is the perfect time to care about politics!
I get it, politics is an uncomfortable topic. it’s easier to be politically apathetic, especially as a young person in Nigeria. But politics is a big aspect of our lives, one that should be taught more often in schools, in detailed and interesting ways.
As elections are around the corner, I believe we should be more politically active than ever. Fortunately, the interest of Nigerian citizens in the affairs of our government has never been as piqued as it is now. However, more effort can still be made. This is why I am creating awareness on ways that we can engage more in politics.
Politics: The methodology and activities associated with running a government, an organisation, or a movement.
Government: The body with the power to make, and/or enforce laws to control a country, land area, people or organisation.
Democracy: Is a form of government where the power to rule rests on the people through elected representatives.
Election: A process of choosing a leader, members of parliament, councillors or other representatives by popular vote.
Electorate: The collective people of a country, state, or electoral district who are entitled to
Political apathy: A lack of interest and enthusiasm in the affairs of the government and political-related issues.
Political Party: A political organization that subscribes to a certain ideology and seeks to attain political power through representation in government.
Why You Should Care about Politics?
Politics affects every aspect of your lives
From state laws and traffic regulations to even the price of garri in the market, politics affects everything.
Choosing not to participate in politics will not change the fact that these things will affect you one way or another.
Nigerian youths are directly affected by politics too, especially those in federal schools who are sick and tired of staying at home due to the ASUU strike.
The failure of the Nigerian government to adequately fulfil and settle the demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities shows how unimportant our educational system is to them. They barely care because most of their children are either done with school or are schooling abroad/in private universities.
Religion does not dispute politics
This is the pitfall for many Nigerians as the majority of Nigerians are strictly religious. Many people see politics as a “dirty game”, so they prefer not to get involved for fear of being caught up in the “sin.”
But here’s a question: How can we complain that politics is a dirty game when we keep leaving it for dirty people to play?
There is nothing religious that prevents you from being politically active. In fact, most religions preach obedience to constituted authority and by the Nigerian constitution, every member of the electorate is obliged to vote and participate in other political activities.
If there’s one thing your religion will preach about, it’ll be against corruption, not politics. Politics is not corruption. There is corruption in politics, but it does not mean that politics in itself is corrupt or bad.
Evil is what happens when good people keep quiet.
If we want the bad people to leave the government, then good people must push to be in government.
We are responsible for upholding democracy.
Nigeria practices democracy– or at least that’s what our constitution states. A very big part of democracy is the freedom to choose our leaders, through elections.
Thus, shying away from elections would be shying away from the responsibility of choosing your leaders. And I get it, “your vote doesn’t count” because despite the stress you go through at the polling booths in order to vote for the right person, the “big men” still manage to pull some strings and manipulate events in their favour. Does this mean we should stop voting? No! Not voting would be giving them the entire liberty to do whatever they want. We need to keep voting, while also pushing and working towards eliminating the forms of electoral malpractice.
And if you think your vote doesn’t count, think again. Will politicians go around giving out money and bags of foodstuff to people in exchange for votes if their votes didn’t count?
Ways to Engage in Politics.
Participating in politics isn’t as hard as it sounds. In fact, by reading this blog post, you’ve already shown that you care which is good. (Another way you can show that you care about politics is by sharing this post:-))
Here are some other ways you can participate in politics:
1. Start by voting.
It’s the simplest, most straightforward way to start, and you do it only once in four years.
And it starts by getting your Permanent voters card (PVC).
I understand that standing under the hot sun waiting for INEC workers with incompetent service is annoying. But sometimes we need to discomfort ourselves for a good cause.
Also, going to vote on an election day can be discouraging due to risk factors. Still, we must persevere. It is for our good, the the good of the future.
Remember, your vote counts!
2. Learn about political terms and events.
If you’re not up to the legal voting age, you can still be part of politics by learning about political causes and events.
Read books, watch the news (as boring as it seems), and educate yourself on the affairs of the government. Learn what certain terms mean and understand how things work in the arms and tiers of the government. This will equip you going farther, to make meaningful decisions about whom to vote, what political parties to join and how to handle your political aspirations as you grow older.
As someone who is still learning a ton of stuff about politics, I’d recommend you check out this article.
3. Join insightful spaces and discussions on social media.
Twitter is the number one place to get into what’s going on in the political sphere. You can get updated on every event that’s happening across several spaces and tweets.
It’s important to mention that at times, you’ll come across unreasonable tweets and comments concerning people and politics. Resist the urge to respond if you cannot come up with a diplomatic and reasonable reply to such tweets.
4. Fight against corruption by not being corrupt yourself.
The first best way to solve a crime is by not being the criminal yourself.
Most people say all Nigerians are corrupt and I can get why they would think so. It’s hard to find honest people with integrity in these trying times. However, don’t succumb to this stereotype and engage in acts of shame just because “everyone is doing it.”
Evil should never be the new normal. Even if everyone is getting bribed and bribing and cheating and doing fraudulent activities, don’t join them.
Dare to be different!
Another way though uncommon is to volunteer.
This could be through joining campaigns and movements both online and offline. You can also volunteer to help in PVC registration in your local area.
(Check out ways to get involved in politics.).
6. Raise awareness
Finally, the last way you can participate in politics is by simply raising awareness.
Just like in this post, you can tell people the importance of politics and encourage them to register for their PVCs.
No matter the political apathy in Nigeria, we youths should ensure that we don’t get caught up in the webs of indifference and ignorance. We are at the point when Nigeria – in the pain of her labour– needs to give birth to a brighter future.
We are the leaders of tomorrow, and tomorrow is here!
Stay Safe, Stay Happy.