In a few days, Nigeria will be holding her presidential elections. The battle for the soul of the country, victory in the election is fierce for the two front line political parties. Unfortunately, I won’t be voting in this elections even though I possess a PVC. I registered in Edo state and I’m therefore ineligible to vote in Lagos. It is possible to transfer your PVC if you relocate but the steps in the process are tedious and time consuming.
During elections, Youth Corpers are expected to participate in the conduct of the election. They make up the bulk of the “foot soldiers”. Again, I will not be participating in the election even though I’m a corper. The post election violence of four years ago is still fresh on my father’s mind and no amount of money, pressure from the corp officials or other inducements would make me defy his wish that his only daughter not participate in the election. Besides the violence, the body language and utterances of our local politicians have made us wary.
This afternoon I went to the INEC office in Surulere to opt out formally. When I entered the compound, a young man walked towards me with a smile. He was tall, slim and very handsome. His name was Y- his voice was even melodious. And he told me who to see for NYSC matters and how to locate his office. While we were talking he refused to let go of my left hand (I lived in “Ekosodin” for six years so I know better than to snatch my hand from slightly suspicious characters). As he held on, he used his hands to emphasize his directions and was almost giving my palm a slow massage while surreptitiously searching for a ring.
After seeing the official, the first person I encountered on my way out was “Y”. He was puzzled at my brief visit until I explained the circumstances and his countenance changed. The laconic flirt became a fast paced, hard talking sales man who marshalled various reasons why I should vote. His clincher had me in stitches, I couldn’t help laughing at the Nigerian politicians and their playbook. His last and most important point was- he was a party observer and we might end up in the same polling booth, he could even try to swing it. I smiled at him and told him that he couldn’t change my mind, you should have seen how quickly he disengaged himself from me. I guess it’s a new strategy, “political romance”.
While watching a documentary on Nigerian elections, I told my dad how my visit to INEC office transpired (I skipped the meeting a guy part 😉 he doesn’t need to know everything). He was glad I didn’t let anyone pressure me into agreeing, he wanted me in his sight during the period. “The money isn’t worth losing a limb or one’s life for” he said.
I reminded him that I had a project in April and the money would have been a boost and relief for me, I said that casually but his response shocked me.
“I’ll sponsor your project, Adaeze” he replied.
I smiled sheepishly as I gathered my plates from the dining table.