So, someone posted the following on Facebook,

This is the transaction that takes place when people trade votes for money. They exchange their lives for a pittance.

Then proceeded to show a picture of a man exchanging some Naira notes (offered by a politician) for his head on a plate. In place of the head is a plastic placeholder.

He was referring to the propensity of Nigerian voters (mostly the lower class people) agreeing to sell their vote for small sums – as exemplified in the recent Ekiti State governorship election.

They are basically mortgaging their future for immediate inconsequential gratification, he maintains.

This sounds all good and dandy in theory.

But, is this realistic, being that the typical low class people certainly don’t belong to the audience being addressed.?

I responded,

All of the people agreeing have an internet connection, are obviously educated and can afford a smartphone.

The people this post should be directed at are actually not here..

Take a guy who could not eat throughout yesterday because he is jobless, or a motorcycle rider (okada guy) who cannot make ₦2.000 into his pockets (after delivery for the day) being offered 5K for three-minutes’ “work”. Would he not collect the money? Sure he would. He needs to survive FIRST, before thinking of the future.

Unfortunately, this class of people is the majority that actually bother to vote in elections. The elites that we have here hardly bother.

It’s a tough one….

The one who was frowning at the habit of taking “money to vote”
attempted some sarcasm,

In other words, you obviously would take the money and damn Nigeria if the amount is right on the mark for your immediate subsistence.

Truly, it’s a tough one.

I wasn’t fazed, and said,

Pointing out theory from practicalities. This is just a cerebral exercise not grounded in reality.

The same pittance thing is what makes most Nigerians compromise their principles to get positions with all the party crosscarpeting. It isn’t very different from that roadside pepper seller collecting 5K to vote.

Let’s get hypothetical.

Supposing we replace that 5k pittance with 5 million, 50 million, 500 million (pittance is relative). You can be sure all the people talking and agreeing are just speaking English.. Of course MOST would sell their souls for personal immediate gratification.

This poster then tried to slow down a bit..

He said,

In matters like this, you can only speak for yourself. Especially as you may not even know the people who are talking and agreeing.

I agree, however, that many are transactional and will throw away principles once the price is right.

The engagement we however need to have is how to get the message across to the larger population so that we can make our democracy work. What contribution do you have in this respect?

How do we get people to think beyond self, or put the country ahead of immediate self gratification?.

I confess it is tough getting people to think less of self, especially in a jungle like Nigeria, where it is mostly survival of the fittest.

My final response,

Like I said, it’s good to have one’s feet on the ground. Theory is good, hut practicals are even better

MOST will compromise once the price is right. We both know this, so don’t argue it.

I feel this post is narrow, as well as arrogant, if not really misdirected.

Greed and selfishness have very little to do with class or level of affluence. Morufu taking 5K to compromise is same as an affluent elite compromising based on the promise of an oil block.

Exactly same.

The message should be, think less of self in making decisions that affect the future of your country. In other words, be more selfless, less selfish.

But then there are places of worship to propagate this kind of message, and they have been failing so far.

It IS a tough one.

How do we get people of all walks and level of life to put the wellbeing of the country ahead of personal comfort?

That’s the BIG question!

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