The Oasis Reporters
September 10, 2017
In the run-up to the Anambra State governorship election, feelers are emanating that politicians remain their old selves and their desperation seem to know no end. There are indications that political agents are buying voter’s card off people.
It’s not for peanuts though.
According to a Leadership Newspapers report, “for as low as N5,000 , prospective voters are willing to mortgage their future and those of their children. In some areas, it was also reported that the card can be sold and bought for N7, 000 or N10, 000 for hard bargainers”.
This is not a new trend except that Voter’s card used to go for some cups of rice, loaves of bread or, for those who prefer to be monetised, N500 in the past. That they are demanding for N5, 000 is, indeed, an improvement, as bad as it is.
“The explanation has always been that the voters are ignorant, poor or both. But instead of selling their cards, they should also ask themselves why they are poor or even ignorant. Part of the reason is that they choose to live for the moment as tomorrow, when it comes, in their mind, will take care of itself. That tomorrow must come with bad governance, corruption, fraud and embezzlement of public fund. Schools will not be built, health facilities will not be provided for, roads will not be constructed and salaries will not be paid. Worse, the people will not have the moral courage or effrontery to confront the leaders to ask questions. Because they sold that right when they sold their cards”, opined the Newspaper in it’s editorial.
Politicians are not one’s Santa Claus, or “Father Christmas”. Rather than making politics that of service to the people, it becomes an investment that must be recouped at a later date when the election is over and as soon as victory is achieved.
Public enlightenment campaigns must be intensified to nip this ugly trend in the bud. The National Orientation Agency (NOA), and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) must step up and do the needful to let the voters know that their power over office seekers is the voter’s card that has the capability to stop bad politicians from getting close to the offices they aspire to and sack them when the need arises.
Anambra State is a strictly business place and the state is always awash with excess cash. It has the largest market in West Africa and bank branches in the city of Onitsha are known to service the cash needs of other branches in the entire south east and south south regions, in most cases, extending to the Middle belt and lower western region.
Traders come all the way from Congo, Zaire, Niger Republic Cameroon etc, just to buy from Onitsha market traders.
Cash rules in the State of the astute business men and women who rose from the nadir of a flattened city during the Nigeria/Biafra War between 1967 – 1970 to pre – eminence in money matters within such a short time after the war.
INEC and the media owe posterity a greater commitment in nurturing the ideals of democracy which should be what all should aspire to. Let them teach the people the value of the Voter’s card. It is an important means of identification in unexpected areas of Nigeria’s recognition like banks, government offices and industry. Losing that important tool would be like mortgaging the future.
Showing the people their best interests in retaining the card is very important in convincing them.
Telling them too that the card has an identity chip that in future, could be integrated to becoming a bank ATM card through the Bank Verification Number (BVN) would go a long way in dampening enthusiasm for the quick sale of that valuable asset. Moreover, whoever loses it to politicians might have a difficult time replacing it in the future without proper explanation, since finger prints are embedded in it to know serial card applicants.
Leadership [ dot] ng contributed to this report