Scholarly inquiries have shown that any activity that shapes, affects or involves the political sphere, ranging from voting to attending a political rally or even sending correspondences to a representative is political participation.
Furthermore, activities that have a broad range of actionable involvement through which people develop and express their opinions in the world and how it is governed and do what is needful to take part in and shape decisions that make or mar their lives form part of the ingredients of political participation.
For the sake of academic elaboration, there is the Conventional Participation, which are activities expected from good citizenry. For some, participation occurs every few years to election time though persons strongly committed to politics are likely to get involved on a regular basis. Examples of conventional participation include voting, volunteering for a political campaign, making campaign donations, belonging to activist groups and also serving in a political office.
Unconventional Participation are those political activities that are legal but most of the times considered inappropriate like signing of petitions, staging demonstrations, protests and supporting boycotts. That is to say that some of the activities of separatist tractions that hinges on boycotts, demonstrations and protests all are part of political awareness, thus, participation.
Illegal Participation are unfortunately those activities that break the law like terrorism, political assassination, sabotaging an opponent’s campaign through theft or vandalism.
Idealism, responsibility, self interest and even enjoyment are part of the reasons people participate politically.
This discourse is intended to narrow down on voting as an ingredient of conventional political participation, hence in electoral systems, voter registration is that fundamental requirements that persons otherwise eligible to vote must register on an electoral roll, which is usually a prerequisite for being entitled or permitted to vote.
In Nigeria today, it has never been witnessed, the willingness, eagerness and zeal of persons to get involved or participate in the electoral or political process as observed recently because there seems to be a kind of reawakening among the citizenry that indeed, power resides with them to determine who governs and setting the pace on how they are to be governed.
Across the length and breadth of Nigeria, there is this upsurge amongst particularly Nigerian youths who are self motivated to obtain the Permanent Voter’s Card, PVC, targeted at making them the most critical stakeholders in the decision making process.
There is this eagerness to making a decisive change because of the obvious abandonment by leadership, irresponsible and irresponsive representation, motion without movement and most importantly, loss of interest and lack of performance by behemoth political associations as presently configured in the country today.
Nigerians have, as a result of the frontal and practical involvement in the voter registration exercise, become tired of the present status quo and from opinions sampled, are very much ready to see that what is right is done, at least for once.
Majority of the eligible populace are of the view that 2023 election is going to be a litmus test as to whether the country is ready to move forward or otherwise. Having seen much of the old brigade who have held Nigeria to the jugulars, it is obvious that a sort of engaging revolution is birthed, where the citizens are poised to wrestle the land out of those who do not want to realize the fact that over 250 million Nigerians cannot continuously be pawns in a few’s inordinate game of chess.
This is a clarion call. Whatever bug that has bitten Nigerians that has ignited the burning desire to be part of the political process should bite deeper.
Nigerians have slept enough when there is much work to be done.
Let the revolution begin.
Henry Onyema Madubuike