In Nigeria, the process of getting a voters card is tiring. It is like they specifically made it so stressful so that people will not vote. In this 21st century, one would have expected them to not complicate such a routine task. Not only is it really stressful for the average citizen to go through their process or lack of one, it becomes doubly complicated for people that work 8am to 5pm daily. From lack of electricity to petrol scarcity, to rumored impending toll fare hike of over 100%, etc. Could it be that hell is actually on earth? Were we born to suffer? I ask this because it seems everything that is supposed to come to the masses, one way or the other tends not to, you always have to struggle to get your entitlement.
Here’s a brief summary of the process. First, you start by writing your name on a piece of paper that will be transferred to the main book (Book!!! believe me it’s all still very manual) and then you are told to come back after a few days to get the form and get your details captured. I left work earlier than usual on Tuesday to get this done, knowing deep down that I was in for the battle of Mozanga. I already knew it would entail such long processes and waiting times that would make me want to strangle someone. Imagine my surprise when the young man at the registration center told us that the only thing we could do that day was to write our names on that very ‘important’ paper and come back again. Writing your name isn’t even a guarantee because a lady we met said she had been coming back daily with no hope of being attended to. My question was, “what happens if this paper gets missing” before they transfer the names to the main book of life?” I guess one would have to return to write their name on another piece of paper and start the process all over again. Funny again, how we make things more difficult than they should be. I decided to leave as soon as loud arguments ensued between one of the people and the registration staff, after which the registration team threatened to put an end to registration for the day. I really don’t blame them; if the country were better, they wouldn’t be sitting in a stuffy primary school, without power and have multitudes breathing down their necks, performing a task that would have been made easier than it has been shaped out to be.
One would have thought that with the flock of IT startup companies and young Nigerian entrepreneurs who are IT geniuses they would have designed a site or an app that would enable people to capture their details online, submit and shorten this process. This way INEC would not have to do so much work and the masses wouldn’t have to be stressed out from a simple procedure. Is it that no one thought of it? Is this not a way that would have helped? Or am I just lamenting for nothing? Does no one think there is another way to make getting this card easier? Because this time I really want to vote as every election is determined by the people who show up. Like Lincoln said, elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.”
Notwithstanding the struggle and the fight to get this almighty voter card, we shall get it and we shall vote because “elections belong to the people”. We can’t afford to sit on any more blisters when the ones we have are not totally healed. According to Suzy Kaseem, “Our freedoms are vanishing. If you do not get active to take a stand now against all that is wrong while we still can, then maybe one of your children might elect to do so in the future when it will be far riskier — and much, much harder.” We need to start now, make things easier and much better for the future generation.