February; The Month of Votes

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This month is important because in a few weeks, we would get the choice to set the pace and path for Nigeria for the next 4 years. It’s also the month that I might stop my political activism. I have used all my platforms to campaign vigorously for the candidate of the Labour Party, Mr. Peter Obi and I have had to deal with some losses; including but not limited to lost friendships, mentorship and allies.

As far back as SS2 when I was the senior prefect of my high school, I have had a mind of my own to the point that my rector said to me one day, “you just think you’re a big boy and nothing that anyone does can scare you”.

I am not shy nor afraid to stand for what I believe in. This is what I have done consistently. As a Yoruba minority in Kogi State University, I was told I could not contest to be the departmental president because I was not Igala (the most populous Kogi tribe). Despite my high CGPA, and amidst the fears of victimisation, I took everyone on and forced an election for the first time in the history of the department. People thought I was crazy, but to me, grades are useless in the face of oppression. What is the use of a First Class degree if it cannot determine how far I get in life? Of what use is my grades if what determines how far I go is my tribe? These experiences formed and shaped many of my orientation.

Many have reached out to express concerns on some of my hard lines, to them, I have no apologies whatsoever. I did not experience a working Nigeria, and anyone who did but watched it deteriorate to what we have now has not earned the right to tell me what to think, do or post. I have dragged governors, presidents and law makers on this space, again, no apology whatsoever. If my contemporaries can be in lekki toll gate to ask for a better Nigeria and the state mobilised to kill them and refused to admit nor apologise till date, I have no regards for anyone who is part of such a medieval behaviour.

I believe I have played my role as a citizen, placing before anyone who have been in my space the choice between life and death. I admonish such people to chose life so they may live. My university professor this week advanced a compelling argument; leaders are representative of a society. Given the choice between criminals, and a man with a compelling trajectory of honesty, transparency and integrity, if we come out of the election with a criminal, that makes an average Nigerian one. Personally, I would not loose sleep anymore over a people who are potential looters. when you vote for a thief, you are a potential thief. It’s very simple!

The players, led by the president has kept the contest fair. GYB has encouraged a decent atmosphere for everyone to campaign freely. That’s what people who wants to earn the right to lead must do. Please keep it up. If the elections are freely and farely won and lost, I’ll be one of the first person to congratulate the winners as I watch us reap the consequences of our votes from May 2023. I wish us a peaceful, free and fair elections.

– Augustine Akande,
Part time Activist and freedom fighter.

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