Like I love saying “power never existed until men saw the need to capitalize on the sudden weaknesses of their neighbours”. Although the issue of poor governance in Nigeria is one that steals our sleep, more important is the grievous sin called ignorance. We wail about how we have been wronged by our greedy, cunning leaders. We seem to have no idea our ignorance has made us puppets in their hands. The typical politician searches for our weaknesses and makes it an anchor for his political campaign. He makes advances at solving our little problems of hunger and clothing, while his dark intentions lurk deep in his cloudy mind waiting to be unravelled at the ascension of office.

Tracking back to the last elections, I remember seeing a friend coming home with a 5kg sack of rice and a politician’s campaign poster. Just recently, I saw this same person disappointed and he couldn’t stop himself from cursing the politician he voted for. It is funny how cheap clothes, little food and a meagre amount of money can manipulate the public into voting for the devil in his regalia. Many fail to realize that clothes hardly last, food gets exhausted in no time and money will never be able to send our children to school. Poverty is a fast-spreading disease in Nigeria but it shouldn’t be taken as an excuse to exchange our future as a nation for hampers.

About two years ago Mr Fayose, the former governor of Ekiti state introduced the popular but shameful “stomach infrastructure”. The idea was one that played on the intelligence of the people of Ekiti. So many people were happy they were finally going to get a share of the national cake in brown envelopes. Only the intelligent would have realized such expenditure would have had no accountability especially when the money was sprayed out to the public from the roof of a government official’s car. This further signifies the successful use of the public’s ignorance by politicians to mismanage and abuse government funds. No one asked if the money shared would affect the economy of the state, no one bothered to know if it would affect the state budget. All the people did was accept the money.

Our youths have been so clueless that they do not understand the difference between employment and an offer to steal ballot boxes, becoming political thugs in the process. They allow themselves to be brainwashed by politicians who promise to give them good jobs if voted for.

These same politicians give them interviews by asking them to handle machetes and guns just to rig elections. The evening news then pops updates on a huge number of youth who had been killed in electoral protests and ballot thefts. Again, the facts and figures show these demons called politicians use the ignorance in us to destroy us repeatedly. I fear our lack of knowledge may even tempt the righteous ones among these political office seekers into becoming the devil.

I’m forced to point fingers at our brothers and sisters in the north as the most ignorant people in Nigeria. Most of them are uneducated and they have no idea of what it means to be led by credible leaders .Their common goals consists mainly food, clothes, water and a bare floor to rest on. Give them any of these on a temporary basis and you’re sure to have them turn up in their large numbers to vote for anybody.

Regardless of our opinions, education is a platform that increases the reasoning and cognitive capacity of a man. Some of us need to know that our myopic thoughts have often led us into being manipulated to vote for our pockets and stomachs, instead of integrity and transparency. Everybody needs to sit down and critically examine every political candidate so as to discern the man capable of bettering our lives in the long term.

Finally, stopping the injustice committed by politicians towards the public requires that we, as individuals, get ourselves educated, enlightened and brushed up. When this is done, we will no longer become the victims of circumstances in the hands of wicked men who help trade our votes for their little and dubious assistance.

It is not enough to fight corruption and yell at poor leadership if we are always susceptible to their tactics. The change we seek as a nation is one that must come from us, we need to know more, understand more and see more before we are able to make the right decision when casting our votes. We must not only seek for the right man to vote in, but we must also be the right person in voting.

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