My election takeaway…

I have never been one to be so keenly involved in politics. I hate political arguments because they bring out the worst in people. You know people that you have high regard for and they just make the most ignorant comments all in the name of political argument. That notwithstanding, the 2015 presidential elections have been very interesting. Although we’re still awaiting the outcome of the vote collation, these are the things that I realised from the elections:

1) There is power in unity. It’s amazing how much power we hold as a people when we become united. Yes we may not have been united concerning the choice of who to become the next President but we were united in one thing; our desire to make our vote count. I saw people in large numbers watching the counting of votes so keenly. Some were even people who don’t usually get themselves involved in political matters. They say Nigerians lack follow through but in the 2015 general elections, I saw follow through.

2) Nigerians can go the extra mile. We love our comfort, let’s not deny it. A lot of Nigerians cannot put their money where their mouth is. It’s just talk, talk…no action. To a large extent, I saw action in these elections. I saw people actively canvassing for change. I saw young people go the extra mile to sensitise people on the need to collect their PVCs and vote. I saw people going out in the streets en masse, withstanding all sorts of weather conditions just to vote and I saw Nigerians wait until late at night just to monitor the whole voting process. These elections have brought out a different side of Nigerians. The noise and banter on Twitter is beginning to translate into positive action.

3) Divided by tribe. Even though we were united in our resolve to make our votes counts, this tribal division still exists. I heard things like “When Jonathan was there, what did he do for Yoruba people” or “Igbos can never vote for an Hausa man” and so on. When we will acknowledge the fact that we are all Nigerians? Talk to the common man on the street and he is mainly after the interest of his own people. Even as the results were being counted, the fruits of tribalism were obvious from people’s comments. It’s appalling to say the least. When will Nigeria truly become one nation?

4) A better Nigeria is possible. I have heard it over and over again, that Nigeria cannot move forward because Nigerians are set in their ways. It is said that we can never change. I beg to differ. I saw a hunger and passion in Nigerians that I have never seen before during an election. I saw tenacity. I saw the old clinging to hope and the young fighting for their future. If we all remain this concerned about every aspect of our nation, Nigeria will definitely move forward. Just see the changes that our president made just to woo Nigerians as the elections drew closer. Trust me, if we stay united and act where we need to, we will actually be instruments of change.

Whatever your personal preferences are in terms of who should have won the elections, please do not resort to using violence. It’s not worth it. Let’s think of how to move our country forward rather than find every avenue to bring about unnecessary divisions. I believe in Nigeria and I know that the best is yet to come for us.

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