During the 2019 election, I was opportuned to talk directly to an acquaintance who categorically told me that she has her PVC but she would not vote because according to her, it is a waste of time as she is sure her vote won’t count. According to her, the elite already know who will rule this nation for another 4 years so why bother. True to her word, she didn’t vote.
You probably aren’t surprised by her actions or the thoughts behind her actions, as you probably have those same thoughts running through your mind right now. The same is true for more than half the population of Nigeria when elections draw near. When you throw in the insecurity that accompanies our elections, we often find ourselves asking if there is any point endangering our lives just to cast votes that won’t count.
According to INEC, out of the 84,000,484 registered voters for 2019, the total number of PVCs collected stands at 72,775,585, which represents 86.3% of the total PVCs produced. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that only 34.75% of registered voters actually voted. This percentage represents 28,614,190 people who cast their votes during the elections. More likely, only a quarter of the citizens in the country who collected their PVC voted.
What happened to the other three quarters? Why didn’t they come out to vote? Nigeria has over 100M citizens above the age of 18, but only 84,000,484 citizens register? So, the question that must be asked is where are the other 3 quarters? Why didn’t they come out to vote? Why are only 84 million of more than 100 million eligible voters registered? What is going through the minds of those who sit out the voting process.
A misconception that easily answers all these questions is the entrenched idea among Nigerians that there is no point in voting since my votes won’t count. It is nothing but gross misinformation, driven home by the very politicians who need us to believe that, and decide to stay at home. They have defeated our minds, and by making us believe that our votes won’t count, they make us remain at home when the majority of their supporters come up against the very few that will summon the courage to vote against them.
What Nigerians do not know is that, whether we cast our votes at the polling booth or we remain in our houses, we all vote. Your decision is a vote in itself. Let’s do a simple calculation;
Assuming the eligible youths to vote in a town are 50 in number, 40 registered and on the election day, only 20 showed up because others believed “their votes will not count” and the 20 available are supporters of another party. This means that, automatically, the second party will emerge as the winner. Indirectly, the other 20 silent people were counted as votes too. On paper, the second party emerged as the winner with 20 votes but in reality, they actually won with 40 votes.
A silent voice is still a voice. Never forget that.
Your absence has sent this country into years of hardship and unless you decide to become more involved in the political decisions of this great nation, you will continue to vote for the wrong leaders indirectly.
Just for emphasis, remember “Your voice doesn’t count” is simply a statement used to stop citizens from exercising their rights. This statement is one of the reasons why this country isn’t where it ought to be.
YES, your votes count!!!!!
Remember also, whether you vote or not, we are still going to be ruled by that same candidate you think “they” have selected. Not exercising your right isn’t going to exempt you from hardship, insecurity, unemployment or hunger. So it’s left for you to be intentional about it. YOUR VOTES COUNT. It is time to take that chance no matter how small it appears to have a say in the affairs of the country, for even if it doesn’t work, you are worse off from the starting point.
IF YOUR ABSENCE CAN COUNT, IT MEANS YOUR VOTE WILL BE LOUDER.