Now that the elections are over, campaigns have ended, and the next crop of political leaders have taken their places for the next four years. It’s back to business as usual. But should it be? It’s not enough for our interest in politics to spike every four years or just before the election. We need to remain involved and stay interested in between elections. So, instead of hiding behind everyday life and busyness, here are a few things we should consciously expect from our leaders and from ourselves.
Learn about the policies in your immediate local government. Find out who your local government chairmen and councillors are and their track records if any. Most of us are more interested in presidential candidates and what they’re doing but change starts from the smaller constituents. You should find out about your Senators & House of Rep members as well.
Join a political party
You don’t have to be interested in running for office to join a political party. But if you truly want to have a say in the formation of ideologies, policies and programmes and the candidates that are eventually put forward, this is a good place to start. Candidates are decided during party primary elections and only party members are allowed to vote at the primaries. So, your influence begins way before election day.
Respect and obey the laws of the land
If you beat the traffic light when it is red, drive ‘one-way’, evade taxes, throw litter any and everywhere, jump to the front of the queue when fellow human beings like you are waiting as well, you are part of the problem. Good governance and good citizenship go hand in hand. It is hypocritical of you to complain about a corrupt, lawless government when you are as badly behaved as a citizen.
Respect the rights, beliefs, and opinions of others
We can’t all hold the same beliefs, so there’s really no need to fight your ‘neighbour’ if their views differ from yours. You can agree to disagree. It causes more division when we allow our individual choices in politics cause tension in our relationships. So now that elections are over, please make the effort to repair broken relationships. Sometimes peace is more important than being right.
We may feel we are already an overly religious nation but if you believe in the power of prayer, you’ll know that Nigeria may be much worse, if not for prayer. There can never be too much prayer. There’s a place for action and a place for prayer and our country needs continuous prayer.
I’ll end with this quote from former US President, Theodore Roosevelt.
‘The first requisite of a good citizen in this republic of ours is that he shall be able and willing to pull his own weight.’
There are many problems we see in our nation that are not caused by our leaders but by us, it’s citizens. Each citizen has a responsibility to their nation to be the best, the government is not always to blame for every wrong happening in its nation.