Last Sunday thousands of eager Nigerian fans tuned in to watch the final moments of the Big Brother Naija reality show, where the winner and runner-ups took home prizes in cash and endorsement deals. I can’t say I was interested in it, but this year I don’t know if there was anyone who uses social media that didn’t know at least one contestant’s name during the time it aired. It was everywhere.
Due to the fact that it was a fan-voted show, viewers were encouraged to vote for their favs via SMS in order for them to remain in the house. Weekly voting, with each text costing N30, and you could vote more than once. Boy did Nigerians vote! This year’s contest was reported to have about 170 million votes via SMS, racking in about 5.1 billion naira.
Now I’m not coming here to talk about how much the organizers gained from the whole show, however when I saw the statistics I realized something. We Nigerians can actually consistently stay loyal to a cause. I mean, the country’s economy is still on the rocks, and the decisions made by the Executive sometimes are just………., but a good portion of us were willing and able to text away, week by week, thousands of naira (for voting, data to keep up with updates etc) for a show that most of us will have no real benefit from, asides the entertainment. It was very fascinating for me.
A large proportion of voting population are youths, INEC (Independent National Electoral Commission) estimate that youths in Nigeria (18-35years) make up about 63% of the eligible voting population. Many of us must have contributed in some way to the BBNaija voting statistic. The question is, if we can consistently use out time and resources for a show that most aren’t gaining from, how much more are we capable of when it’s a cause that is profitable, and can bring us much good? Elections are coming up next year, and statistically youths make up a considerable number of the voting population. I’m encouraging everyone reading this today to actually do something. Get educated on the aspirants, get your PVC (Permanent Voters Card) or at least have a desire to get one. Get informed. And on that day, please go and vote! If you’re dissatisfied with the current state of affairs in this nation you can either talk about it all you want , or actually do something about it.
I know that there are people who will bring up the ‘rigging’ arguments, and to them I will say this: the usual occurrence during elections is that a lot of people end up not voting, so there is a lot of room for extra votes to be fabricated in order to match the estimated population size of the region. If everyone goes out to vote, the room for any group to right will be very narrow, and the public will most likely notice if any foul play takes place.
Please decide to do something today. The mindset of complacency that a lot of us have needs to be destroyed. I believe that things CAN actually be better. Nigeria doesn’t belong to only the politicians and policy-makers. Nigeria belongs to each and every one of us. Yes, you, Nigeria belongs to you too. It means that we have the power to vote out a system which does not make the nation progress. It means that each of our voices and choices matter, and together our collective decision is more powerful than the chanting of all sorts of mantras. I’m not saying that talking is not important, it is. However we need to translate our words into positive actions that will ensure that we still have a country to call home. That’s what democracy is. At least, that’s what it should be.
Thank you for reading. Till next time!
Images from: Getty
#Nigeria #NigerianYouth #GoVote #DoSomething #2019IsComing