The times are changing. As far back as this reporter can remember, those who move about at 5a.m. in cities like Lagos are mainly those living on the Mainland and working on the far-flung Island axis; those storming petrol stations in search of scarce fuel (from personal experience), and those returning home from night duties or religious vigils.
Now imagine some citizens queuing up at 5am in front of designated registration centres just to do registration or collect their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) in readiness for the general elections coming up in 2019. At 5am in the dark and there are already queues waiting for registration officials to come around 8a.m.!!!
Some reasons may have triggered this remarkable sense of civic commitment, among them recent instances of religious leaders doing their INEC registrations and picking up their votersâ€™ cards; thus setting examples for their followers. Several churches and mosques have repeatedly directed their members to go and collect their PVCs in readiness to vote in good leaders.
But the most likely reason is that Nigerians are now realising that their votes may really matter when it comes to electing committed representatives during electoral processes. The days of open rigging and disdain for the common manâ€™s vote by arrogant politicians who hand-pick and rubber-stamp selfish leaders are gradually coming to an end.
This patriotic fervour can only bode well for the governance process in this country, where the average citizens can equally have a say in whoever is going to represent them in public office. From all indications, 2019 general elections will be a litmus test on the efficacy of this precious mandate, which belongs to all citizens. Then, true and positive change may yet occur in this nation for overall development…at last!
– Abimbola Akosile