There were frenzy and hysterical, at some points, terrifying calls, from virtually every civil society group, and rightfully so, for President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the amended electoral law. Thank God he assented to and ultimately, signed the bill into law, with a caveat to the deletion of Clause 84 (12) which ultra vires the Nigerian Constitution.
Let’s not extrapolate the debate on hypothetical assumptions. What does the new electoral law mean to our democracy? What are its strengths and weaknesses? How do we ameliorate its “weaknesses,” if any, and exploit the potency of the new law for democratic gains?
An informed citizen cannot easily be manipulated. My people perish for lack of knowledge. What illiterate villagers do not know could become a mystery and a tool for their destruction. Now that the President has signed the bill into law, we all must educate our mothers and fathers, as soon as possible, before mischievous and desperate politicians invade their minds with the landmines of falsehood.
This is a clarion call to action. Maybe, we should be reminded that an essential component of national redemption is sacrifice.
“Without the shading of blood, there is no remission of sin.” Heb. 9:12. Justice demands that an offender or debtor must pay the penalty. Christ remitted or cancelled/paid the price for our offence. He met the conditions for our freedom and forgiveness. He, therefore, returned us to that perfect relationship with the Father through His shed blood, as if we never sinned.
This is exactly the type of sacrifice I recommend to sustain the spirit of the newly signed amended electoral law. It is many steps forward in the healing of our Country and State and so should be taken very seriously. It may not be a perfect document, but much better than the de facto, extant, INEC laws.
Nigeria is a complex and pluralistic nation-state with numerous challenges. If NAS can replicate a sustained legislative debate on other crucial issues affecting the nation, Nigeria will emerge from the rubles of distrust to an epiphany of greatness.
It is imperative to note though, that we, the citizens, have a duty of sensitizing the inner city dwellers who do not have the privileged information that we have. We are the creative local journalists saddled with the burden of informing, engaging and empowering our communities as means of sustainable development. This is real democracy: government of the people, by the people and for the people.
Rt. Rev. Daniel Imo
APC Aspirant, Aro/Ohafia Federal Constituency.
Below is a breakdown of citizens’ responsibility to achieve the purpose of the new electoral law as captured by a keen observer.
The logistics for diaspora voting is complex. If the project was combined with the amended electoral bill, it could, probably, have delayed or truncated the signing of the new law.
We all have some roles to play in making the new electoral system work:
1. Become a volunteer field worker, to:
– Sensitize and mobilize
– Inform, engage and empower the sceptics
– Vote, defend/protect our votes
2. Support other civil society groups accordingly.
3. Pilgrimage Politicking
– Diasporans should register at their nearest INEC offices or online.
– They should transfer their polling units to their villages
– Sacrifice their time to travel home to vote
4. Participate in politics
– Good people should run for elective offices or Support good candidates. Without good candidates, we’ll end up voting for the bad and corrupt politicians. Good governance will elude us. Abia State in my mind.
5. The God-factor
– We must pray and fast for divine intervention
– Power is given by God
– The Church must embrace socio-political change as part of her theology and mandate
– Her prophetic voice must be sound and strong without being partisan.
– Politics and other social spaces must be baptized with righteousness and servant-leaders.
In the end, the people will rejoice when the land is saved.
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