In as much as 1one4.com is an Islamic publication and thus apolitical, we cannot divorce ourselves totally from what is happening around us hence this admonition on how we should conduct ourselves before, during and after the elections.
From social media, to print media and broadcast houses, we wake up and sleep with different stories and write-ups hoping to sway our votes in favour of one candidate or the other and I believe everyone should by now be able to make an informed decision on who to voting for. I, for one, have made my decisions but increasingly I have found it difficult to discern the game-changing policies, any alternative strategies for development, the disruptive, revolutionary ideas and innovative plans that should ideally take our country to Eldorado. We have been bedeviled by the same kind of rhetoric and propaganda that have largely left us with motion but no movement as a people. May Allah (SWT) help us.
We should ordinarily be voting for politicians that are visionary, knowledgeable, capable, and have the intelligence and the capacity to lead a diverse and complex company like Nigeria. We should be shopping for leaders to re-direct and fund education, provide healthcare, housing and mass transit for all, a leader who would tackle poverty and unemployment decisively, provide adequate infrastructure and break that power sector jinx. We need leaders who can guarantee the security and welfare of the citizens and dislodge insurgents and bandits hell-bent on turning our country to a pariah state whilst displacing people from the only places they know. This election should not about sentiments, it should not be about ethnicity, religion, tribe or tongue, there is need to get beyond all of that and vote for someone with the skills required to lead and make meaningful progress. I am not campaigning for anyone; I do not even believe the capability I am looking for is in any of the two dominant parties. It is regrettable that we could not get a formidable third force together. Be that as it may, we have to make do with the candidates we have been saddled with for another four years of our lives.
As Muslims, on election days here are admonitions on how to conduct ourselves:
1. Be part of the exercise – All Muslims of voting age who are duly registered are enjoined to be a part of this exercise, it is a civic responsibility. You should be ready for the sacrifice; it will take your time, effort, energy, and you may encounter screaming sun or rain. Be prepared to exercise your significant franchise. You may need an election kit – water, snacks, painkillers, put on comfortable clothes and shoes, face cap, umbrella. Most importantly, you also need a world of patience. After voting, do not turn your back on the ballot, observe things for yourself. Make sure votes are well counted and nothing is distorted. The absolute will of the people should prevail.
2. Be orderly – In as much as some leaders are already championing violence, you owe it to yourself to be orderly and well comported. There are penalties like jail terms for impersonation, unlawful possession or selling of voter card, bribery of INEC officials, spying to know who voted for who, voting where you are not registered, inciting others, campaigning around election grounds, destroying or snatching election materials and underage or multiple. Remember as Muslims, you are the only Qur’an some people will ever read. Be a good example to others. We are the best of mankind.
3. Vote your conscience – Forget about what you have read, forget about propaganda, advertisements, and promotion, forget about social media, forget those fake project pictures; vote for whoever you believe can make a remarkable difference to lives in the next four years. Vote for candidates with a decent track record, vote for the ability to plan, implement and get verifiable results. Don’t vote for people after just the perks of office, candidates that are only interested in self-aggrandizement, people of questionable character and integrity, people that have kept us perpetually backward. Do not vote for inexperience, people that do not understand how to apply themselves to their jobs. We need peace, prosperity and freedom. Remember with your vote, you are making a decision that will shape the future of the country, its citizens and the world.
Any politician offering you money, food, vegetable oil, kerosene or whatever in exchange for your vote is going into power to steal from you and I. He will replace whatever he gives you in billions of dollars. Do not accept inducements. My brothers and sisters, vote wisely and don’t fall for scams.
4. Be accepting of results – Know that results may not go how you have voted, as long as it is from a credible process, you should be accepting of this. Democracy is about the will of the majority; do not foment trouble because the other political party won. If the process has been adjudged fair and your candidate lost, take it as one of those things and remember another four years is right around the corner. And if there is distortion of results, there are avenues to seek redress.
5. Do not be used for fraud – At some point, you could be approached by politicians or security agents to be part of some electoral fraud. Do not accept this, walk away or find a way to report to higher authority. An election should be about the will of the people and who the people want to be led by, not about a corrupt politician.
6. An absolute and resounding no to any form of violence – Keep safe, if you smell violence, leave immediately. Do not put yourself in the line of fire just so that someone realises a sordid ambition. We are all aware of these politicians and their children safely tucked away in foreign lands. Do not lose your life over an election or ambition, leave quickly. Wherever there is violence, the election is likely to be canceled anyway.
7. All power belongs to Allah – At the end of all these, power belongs to Allah (SWT). Anyone not decreed by Allah to win and lead will not smell power.
8. May the best candidate win – Amin. May the candidates that will make our lives better and easier win. The ones that will provide a formidable environment to make us reach our fullest potential as human beings. May the best candidates who are genuinely about service, who see beyond nepotism, religious bigotry, ethnic sentiments, regional divisions and who genuinely understands governance win. Amin.
These are my admonitions and it is written with the hope that as Muslims and even non-Muslims we all adhere and make the best of this process and our country should be better for it. Remember, anything we do, we will die and account for our actions on the day of reckoning.
Have a peaceful election. Salam Alaikum waramatulahi wabarakatu.
Founder & Editor in Chief