Sen. Hope Uzodinma, representing Imo West, has called on Nigerians to always use their votes to elect political leaders they could trust and hold accountable.
Uzodinma made this call in an interview with journalists in Abuja on Monday.
While commending Nigerians for sustaining democracy for 18 years without interference, he said the occasion of Democracy Day anniversary should be used as an opportunity to have deep reflection on the power of their votes.
He said that their vote is a great weapon to elect the right candidates and voting out the wrong ones, adding that without it, no political office holder could assume office.
“The awesome power of votes must be used wisely to elect God fearing leaders, who will protect and defend the interest of the people, particularly the less privileged.
“If the voters fail to use their votes wisely to elect credible leaders, they should have themselves to blame; they should desist from electing leaders who do not care about their interest.
“I enjoin all Nigerians to use this auspicious occasion to resolve to use their votes wisely and to defend each vote during elections.
“This is the only way to ensure that your votes count and that those you want are those elected into office.
“I advise Nigerians, particularly Imo people, to ensure that in 2019, the full power of their votes is brought to bear in electing people of their choice.
“I thank my constituents for having faith in me and I promise to stand by them at all times,’’ he said.
On the gains of democracy, the lawmaker said democratic rule had benefitted Nigerians in several ways.
He stressed that though Nigeria had not enjoyed all the gains of democracy, the current level of infrastructural development among other things couldn’t have been achieved in a military regime.
According to him, democracy remains the best form of government globally and it has provided better life for Nigerians than military rule.
“We are not there yet but we will continue to struggle until we get there because with democracy we can say what we want, do what we want.
“We are better off in a democratic setting. We are better off disagreeing to agree, having the opportunity to air our views and affording every Nigerian the opportunity to contribute his or her quota to the development of the nation.
“We, however, condemn those who willingly refuse to obey the rule of law, which is the governing principle in any democratic setting.
“Democracy as practiced in Nigeria is done primitively but democracy as practiced in America and Europe is done under a civilised platform.
“That has informed the number of challenges faced in practicing democracy in Nigeria, but we should continue to work hard to grow it,’’ he said.
Uzodinma called on public office holders to always obey the rule of law in the interest of the nation’s democracy.