Nigeria’s democratic future requires rebuilding trust through transparency
Joshua Awesome is a Coaching Psychologist/Executive and Business Performance Coach who has supported over 100,000 professionals across Africa and the globe. He can be reached via: Joshua@theawesomecoach.com
March 6, 2023127 views0 comments
Imagine standing in a line for hours, feeling helpless and vulnerable as you wait patiently to exercise your right to vote. You’re surrounded by a sea of people, some of whom are physically threatening, harassing, and even beating others who are trying to cast their ballots for the candidate of their choice. This is the reality that many Nigerian voters faced during the recent presidential elections.
The lack of transparency from the Independent National Electoral Commission (I.N.E.C.), the body responsible for overseeing elections, has only added to the growing disillusionment and distrust towards the electoral process.
Nigerians were promised a new electronic voting system that would make it harder to manipulate results, but technical issues and delays in uploading results have fuelled suspicions of deliberate tampering.
Despite these challenges, Nigerians, especially young people, remain determined to make their voices heard and ensure their votes count. They braved long hours of waiting, harassment, and even brought their own ink and lighting to polling stations. This hunger for good leadership and hope is what drives them to push back against a political culture marred by corruption and media deference.
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To establish a functioning democracy in Nigeria, radical transparency is needed to rebuild trust and credibility. Elections must be transparent, completely and widely seen as such. African democracies, including Nigeria, need support from the international community to establish roots and withstand internal threats.
The mental toll of this electoral process cannot be ignored. Nigerian voters faced violence, uncertainty, and disillusionment, which can have long-lasting effects on mental health. However, amidst the chaos, the determination and resilience of Nigerian voters highlight three key takeaways: the hunger for good leadership, the power of hope, and the importance of standing up for one’s rights.
Firstly, the hunger for good leadership is evident in the way Nigerians continue to turn out to vote despite the risks. They are seeking leaders who will put the interests of the people first and work towards a brighter future for all. It is crucial that Nigerian leaders recognize and respond to this hunger with policies and actions that address the needs and concerns of the people they serve.
Secondly, the power of hope is on full display in the determination of Nigerian voters. They are hopeful that their votes will count and that their voices will be heard. This hope is what drives them to endure the challenges of the electoral process and to continue to participate in the democratic process. It is vital that this hope is not extinguished but is instead nurtured and encouraged.
Lastly, the importance of standing up for one’s rights is a critical lesson that can be drawn from the experiences of Nigerian voters. Despite facing violence and harassment, they refused to back down and continued to assert their right to vote. This resilience and determination are essential in promoting mental health, resilience, and empowerment, not only in Nigeria but also in other democracies facing similar challenges.
In conclusion, the recent Nigerian presidential elections have highlighted the challenges and complexities of establishing a functioning democracy in Africa. However, the determination and resilience of Nigerian voters demonstrate that there is hope for change. To build a democracy that truly serves the people, radical transparency and support from the international community are needed. By recognizing the hunger for good leadership, the power of hope, and the importance of standing up for one’s rights, we can promote mental health, resilience, and empowerment in Nigeria and other democracies facing similar challenges.