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Uninformed And Misinformed Citizenry: A Clear And Present Danger For 2019

Bayo Oluwasanmi

The tragedy of Nigeria’s democracy is that it’s plagued by uninformed and misinformed citizenry. The difference between the two is stark. Uninformed Nigerians don’t have any information about politics. They don’t hold opinions on policy matters

This is election year. It means Nigerians will spend the next few months carefully following the campaigns, securitizing the candidate’s personal life, proposals, and pondering what issues are most vital for our nation’s future.

Our history shows Nigerians are known to jump to believe any half-baked rumor about a candidate that confirms their biases and prejudices. Nigerians are not known to punish incumbents for their political malpractice of misrule, ineptitude, and corruption. Some voters won’t even care who is running for what, who is more qualified for the job to earn their votes.

Some will sell their PVCs for “stomach infrastructure.” Others will serve as middle men for vote rigging. Yet others derive satisfaction as hatchet men for political thuggery and assassination. Indeed, Nigerians as a whole carry out what looks like a giant cartoon parody of democracy. But for 2019, things must be done differently.

We’ve tried Westminster parliamentary system. We’ve tried military dictatorship. Currently, we’re running the American brand of presidential system. Political scientists concur that a knowledgeable citizenry is necessary for effective and gratifying democratic governance.

The tragedy of Nigeria’s democracy is that it’s plagued by uninformed and misinformed citizenry. The difference between the two is stark. Uninformed Nigerians don’t have any information about politics. They don’t hold opinions on policy matters.

Misinformed Nigerians have information that conflicts with the best evidence and expert opinion. It’s very glaring that the most misinformed Nigerians are the most confident in their views and the strongest partisans. These two groups of political ignoramuses comprise of illiterates, semi-illiterates, and educated illiterate Nigerians trafficking 24/7 especially on social media particularly on Facebook and WhatsApp forums.

Nigerians who plan to vote in a general election must first register to vote. Sadly, a great number of eligible Nigerians don’t always register. Democracy is supposed to enact the will of the people. But what if the people have no clue what they’re doing? Going by past elections, Nigerian voters are not politically savvy and sophisticated. Political ignorance is the bane of our democracy. How well informed the average Nigerian voter is, will determine who our next president will be. The more citizens are informed, the more likely they are to make the best choice.

As a nation, we get the leadership we deserve. The Brigade of Old thieves who have been ruling Nigeria for 58 years owe their victory to the uninformed and misinformed Nigerian voters. This must change if we’re to elect the best candidate as president in 2019. The youths especially would have to shift their allegiance and loyalty from the plunderers and wreckers of our nation and our people. The Youths must take ownership of 2019. They must shun the old divisive tactics of divide and rule based on religious differences and ethnic fears employed by the octogenarian despots.

In 2019, the youths must vote for the candidate that looks like them. They must vote for the person that understands where they’re coming from, where they are, and where they need to go. They must vote for the candidate who identifies with their poverty, misery, and misfortune. They must also take it upon themselves to educate their parents, friends, and extended families who to vote for. Mobilization and organization should be their watch word.

They must rigorously examine and scrutinize the records of old politicians. They must seriously ponder on the following questions: Are we better off today than we were three years ago? Where are the two million jobs two years promised by President Buhari? Where are the two million housing units promised every two years? Are we safer today than we were three years ago?

What has Buhari done for us lately? Why is Buhari frequenting overseas hospitals for treatment while millions of Nigerians are dying of preventable and treatable diseases at home? Why are Nigerian roads death traps? Why do we pay the highest tariff in the world for darkness? Why is progress, peace, and prosperity continue to elude Nigeria? When I was in high school, I had two different scholarships. One by my local government, and the other by the Western State government. How many youths today are on local, state, and federal scholarships? Why is life so made unlivable and unbearable in Nigeria? These and other things considered, should drive and determine the choice of Nigerians for 2019.

For democracy, uninformed and misinformed citizens are the most dangerous of all. The more they are wrong about facts, the more they are convinced of being right. Uninformed and misinformed Nigerians are clear and present danger for 21019. Get informed. Get prepared. Get your PVCs. And vote. Let’s go there!

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