By: Adeniyi Omolara
Voters are lasting optimists who hardly learn from experience. They keep hoping and believing that for every election, the candidates elected would do justice to their political promises and improve the condition of things when they get to power. Every politician knows that the most effective way to win an election is to shower people with great promises that they obviously cannot keep when they mount the throne.
The Students Union election is fast approaching and every candidate is trying to outdo the other with laudable promises and each candidate has turned into a good Samaritan for the sake of the election. One of the candidates was complaining about students becoming aware of their tactics as he was chided by a 200 level student, when he tried to be her messiah on a long queue. The young lady apparently was aware of the way campus politicians behave when they are canvassing for support. Older and more cynical voters have probably built up enough defence mechanism so as to avoid impending disappointments. But the truth of the matter is no one is completely immune from the propagandas and empty promises of these politicians. However, here are some defence tactics to ensure you do not entirely fall prey.
First, do not vote based on sentiments. Avoid voting for a candidate because of your personal affiliation with him or her or because your friends or godfather considers such candidate as the most capable man or woman for the position. Do not let another person influence your opinion; instead, endeavour to think independently and ask logical questions like: “who really is this candidate? What does he has to offer? Has he proven himself to be worthy of such an office before contesting or did he turn an angel overnight?
Comrades, do not be carried away by false generosity. A politician will do anything just to get your vote. They will hail you, cajole you, offer to help you with your assignments, organise tutorials for you, and literally lace your shoes if you ask them to! But what happens when the snail reaches its destination, it will recoil right into its shell. Be wise!
Colourful posters and exciting jingles should not be your yardstick in testing a candidates capabilities. Instead, attend the manifesto night and the press night to listen to their agenda and get the opportunity to ask crucial questions. However, do not be deceived by some unrealistic plans. There is no need here to detail the many campaign promises that have failed but do not forget that a particular UISU president promised arts festival that he could not fulfil and a particular hall chairman failed to install the 7 Up stand he had promised. Adekunle Gold’s “empty vessel lo ma n pariwo” (the empty vessel makes the loudest noise) especially rings true for most candidates. Listen to points, not noise and texture of a candidate’s voice.
To crown it all, always remember that this election will come and go; these campaign promises will come and go; but the Union will still remain. The power to vote for the candidate you believe in is solely in your hands. Therefore distrust all empty political promises completely and “shine your eyes” to vote wisely.