No Victor, No Vanquished – Jonathan, Buhari, Nigerians and the #GoodCitizen
Bekeme Masade

Tuesday, 31 March, 2015, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria reportedly invited General Muhammadu Buhari to the Presidential Villa, Aso Rock in Abuja, to congratulate him on his victory over Jonathan in the just concluded and much anticipated presidential elections.

For the first time in recent history of the country, the nation had ‘been allowed’ to vote with our hearts – thanks to President Jonathan and Prof Attahiru Jega, INEC Chairman and unsung hero – and the voting process had no ‘systemic’ rigging as well as had strong indications of citizen monitoring. My humble self and many other ordinary Nigerians, some without permanent voter’s cards (PVCs) turned up at nearby voting centers and assisted INEC officials to ensure a smooth process.

This is not to say that the electoral process was free of hitches. I personally faced tremendous challenges while trying to collect my PVC and I trekked a few miles to a polling center which I had not chosen. My associates cycled for miles and many sadly were unable to obtain PVCs. More so, there were technical failures at polling booths with a significant percentage of card reader failures. Collation of results took 2 full days with manual collation and a less than current enumeration process.

Notable Nigerians, including Co-Founder of Transparency International and former Minister of Solid Minerals and then Education, Dr Oby Ezekwesili, took to twitter to express their satisfaction at the outcome of the process.

While parties seeking to avoid ‘trouble’fled the country, prominent businessmen like Tony Elumelu CON and Alhaji Aliko Dangote GCON, were photographed exercising their civic responsibility to the nation.

Be that as it may, the spirit of good governance has been sown at a national level and Nigerians now believe that our voices count. It is in this spirit that I seek to encourage the citizenry to take positive action in the ongoing Electoral Process. For the Gubernatorial and State House of Representatives race slated for Saturday, April 18, 2015, there is still opportunity to be a #GoodCitizen if only you would take advantage of some opportunities below

Be a Citizen Monitor. The INEC electoral officers are little more than volunteers, with many of them, relatively inexperienced National Youth Service Corpers (NYSC). Support them by helping to oversee the process in order to thwart unconscionable agents.

Provide supplies to your local INEC polling center. Local polling centres lack basic supplies like megaphones, sticky tapes, refreshment for officials (or even voters), that would make the process more seamless. Be a #GoodCitizen and provide for the particular need of your locale.

Do your research on the available candidates. Listen to the tide of public opinion but do your ground research. Read up on individual candidates – Google is your best friend, visit their localities, check up their histories; you never know which way you may choose to go.

Understand the voting process in order to minimise mistakes. Three ballot boxes were provided each for the three elections customised in line with the ballot papers themselves – red for Presidential, black for Senatorial and green for House of Representatives. There will be similar guidelines for the April 11 elections, look out for those.

Best of all, be selfless. Inconvenience yourself to get to your polling booth. Sleep over at a friend’s if you’ve moved house, take a walk – chalk it down to exercise, wait patiently in queue – you are not too important. Vote with your gut instinct and for the general good of the nation!

One positive thing President Jonathan will always be remembered for is his legacy of facilitating free and fair elections and being a gentleman by graciously accepting the results; as ‘Mr Wesi’s Chic’ proclaims on Blackberry Messenger, the incumbent is the “Hero of the election, defender of our democracy!…Farewell”.

We look forward to the President Elect, Gen. Buhari promoting the Rule of Law and building strong institutions to harness our budding democracy. There are high expectations of the Integrity General and his Deputy, Oluyemi Osinbajo and hope that they stand firm in pushing the collective national agenda.

Join us as we push for the emergence of a committed cadre of citizens, clamouring for discipline, ethical values and unity. Be a #GoodCitizen!

We are receiving any stories, pictures or articles relating to the electoral process, tweet @CSR_IN_ACTION using the hashtag #GoodCitizen, send photos to our Facebook page or email info@csr-in-action.org.

Photo: itsdumebi.com