Whether we agree or not, elections are clouded by one sentiment or the other. Sometimes we may know when our judgment is clouded by sentiments, other times we might not unless someone helps us point it out. Nonetheless, in electing a leader, we have to focus on the abilities of an individual, rather than the sentiments we have towards them. Here are some sentiments that cloud people’s judgement during elections.
Religion is a powerful sentiment, especially in national politics. Regions predominantly Muslim might prefer a Muslim candidate to a Christian and vice versa. It is the reason why a country like Nigeria always has a mixed ticket at the national level, to indicate inclusion. But the truth is, all of that shouldn’t matter. A candidate and his running mate should be judged on the basis of competence and capacity, not religion.
This is a very strong sentiment in politics. “The man is from my place”, we always hear people say, therefore I will vote for him. The best way to check if your choice is based on ethnic sentiments is to ask yourself: if this man applied to work for me, would I hire him even though he is my tribe? Or will I rather have someone else? The ability of a person to lead should have nothing to do with tribal affiliation. There are local positions that a person from your tribe will occupy at the local government level, focus on that when it’s time. Do not use tribal sentiments as a yardstick to elect an incompetent individual. You may ask, what if my tribe’s man is the best of the lot? If you’re sure he’s the best, that’s no problem.
Personal Benefits or Ambitions
People have made elections transactional. What do I stand to benefit from? Will I get contracts? Will I get a political appointment? Do I have a friend who will? Will another candidate destroy my illegal means of livelihood? Well, when you choose a leader based on the foregoing, then you are wicked! You are a selfish human being! You need to learn to look at the big picture. When electing a leader, choose a leader that will improve the lives of Nigerians at large.