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96 hours that will make or mar 35,064 hours

THERE are enough reasons to be despondent if you have lived in these parts in the past 12 years. Elections have become more like circuses. They arrive and depart so quickly that we sometimes wonder whether they happened.

Promises of a better Nigeria preceded independence. Every politician promised to give his life to ensure a better future for Nigerians, something they called the Nigeria of our dreams. More than 50 years after independence, we are living on promises and dreams.

We are still dreaming of a Nigeria where nobody is oppressed, where food, water, electricity, education, housing, and transportation will be available in states suitable for human beings. We all have a part to play in making these dreams reality.

A good start will be to vote responsibly in the next 96 hours. Among the crowd of candidates are men and women who can lead Nigerians to the fulfilment of their expectations. Unless we have other reasons for voting, they should be the ones to get our votes.

Nigerians too often down play the role of the legislature in ensuring democratic conduct and the institution of processes that will guarantee our children and us a more decent future. Without good laws and firm oversight functions on the part of the legislature, the executive would do as it pleases.

The importance of the April 2 elections lie in us choosing those who can carry out their legislative duties effectively at the state and federal levels.  Governments are becoming too powerful. The legislature is the balance needed at this critical moment of the country’s search for development strategies that will liberate its peoples from excruciating poverty.

Our future is in our hands (our votes). It is no longer a manner of speech. Those we elect on Saturday will make or unmake the country. They have four years (35,064 hours) to do so, but the consequences of their efforts or lack of them in making laws that will improve the lots of Nigerians, will be felt years after they are gone.

As we vote we have a responsibility to weigh the options available to us – among the parties, among their candidates and we have to consider the possibilities strong and dedicated legislatures have in curtailing the dictatorial tendencies of the executive.

Legislators who acted as if they were lackeys of the executive exacerbated much of the challenges Nigeria had in the past 12 years of civilian rule.

We have the opportunity of voting, more experienced than 12 years ago, and leaning on high expectations our legislators wasted as if nothing really mattered.

How we vote will decide many things. This is not the time for indifference, no, it is the time to make the best opportunity in choosing law makers who will not only make good laws, but seen to it that the executive respects the Constitution it swears to obey.

We plead with the law enforcement agencies to provide security for our people as that they make these important decisions on Saturday, the first in the series that end April 16.


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