4 Crazy Reasons Many Nigerian Youth Will Sell Their Votes in 2023
By Minkail OLAITAN
The 2023 election is obviously around the corner and numerous people, as is their custom, are currently working tirelessly to make sure that the candidate of their choice emerges as the winner. It is also a common scenario in all democratic systems across the world that a period like this has its distinct, tense atmosphere with many determining waves.
Nigeria as it is, is no doubt a country suffering from many forms of societal decadence, ranging from biased administration, ethnicity, insecurity, educational instability, dilapidated economy, religiosity, lack of effective leadership, threatening unemployment and a host of others. Meanwhile, these entire problems when thoroughly examined, it is striking that the general masses are faultier than the few who are leading. If not, why is the “Who are the voters?” left unanswered among Nigerians?
Notwithstanding, Nigeria’s experience of the “Endsars Protest” led to significant reforms and awakening among the larger population of Nigerian voters who are youth. It is evident with the current intent waves among the youths who are clamouring for the end of the old rule and the beginning of the new dawn in the political landscape, which Nigeria is yet to get over. Who will forget caused by the “Lekki Massacre” with touches of ongoing “Asuu Strike” and incessant killings of the pampered bandits and herdsmen?
All these might have joined together to form a responsive and determining interaction among the citizens of Nigeria, particularly youths, nonetheless that doesn’t mean the youths who are clamouring for the new rule will not sell their votes and voices. Just recently it happened during the election in Ekiti state, that some youths joyfully sold their votes, which is equally detrimental to the state of the nation.
Therefore, based on the following four reasons which straddle the economic, political, and psychological influences, some Nigerian youth would still backslide from their campaign and sell their votes. Now follow closely:
Firstly, a great number of Nigerian youths will sell their votes because they have a very low standard of living. This group of youth believes that the election period is the best time to have their share of government’s fund. This myth has become so generic that Nigerian parents have zeroed the minds of their children that Nigeria had it good in the past and that it is nearly impossible to go back to such a beautiful and peaceful moment. So, on this pedestal have many youths built their agenda – to use their voters’ cards to get their chunk of the national cake.
Obviously, if these people are still walking around with this generational myth, the vote buyers would not have a hard time convincing them to sell their voices voluntarily.
The second reason why many youth will sell their votes during the 2023 election is due to ethnic and religious biases. Nigeria is a country made up of numerous ethnic and religious divides, which are major political determinants. In this sense, many youths’ ideology is to place religion, tribe, and ethnic brotherhood over candidates’ competence. Such people, if their brother or sister, of same village or religion, fails to emerge as party flag-bearer, they will simply sell theit votes, without proper consideration for the country whether it falls in the hands of incompetent, crooks or callous representatives. These people do not fear consequences.
Adetola Babalola, in an article, asserted, “Nigerians must begin to look beyond these affiliations (ethnic and spiritual) to get the right leaders.” But there are pointers this will not change, many youth will because they don’t have direct attachment to persons contesting still sell their votes.
Another reason Nigerian youths will enhance the winning of candidates that have nothing good to offer the country but can induce with money is that they prefer “cruising” to “proper evaluation of candidatures.” They reduce critical political issues that ought to attract adequate attention to mere jokes. Thus, they have no scruples going with candidates that can oil their palm to enhance their propensity for cruise.
Lastly, a great number of Nigerian youths will not hesitate to sell their vote to satiate their excessive craving for instant cash. One of the widely believed truths is that the world has gone wild; the rate at which young people fantasize about money is frightening. They have turned election day into business day – they will not just sell their votes, they will bargain and carefully look for the highest bidder.
Rather, as l identified the four reasons, it is high time the youths did away with what l call “Electoral Ponzi Scheme.” Greediness should be relegated, youth should dare to think beyond the box and create a decent life that will make vote selling and buying stand as a metaphor for taboo. They should dare to work decently for their living and vote for the right candidates, instead of selling their hope for a couple of naira notes. Else many will still sell their votes!
Ultimately, the Nigerian youths should make up their mind and put off the old cloak of vote selling and buying. Unarguably, if only all Nigerians will perfect their ways and jointly fight for their freedom, it will be nearly impossible for the wrong candidates to take charge of any political office on a platter of gold.