I arrived at the table late for lunch on Friday. The “group” had already taken their seats and were almost through with their meal when I arrived. I managed to secure an empty seat and settled in, trying to catch up on the conversation that I had missed.
It was then I remembered that Lagos State had declared the day a work free day for civil servants to be able to collect their voters’ cards. I interjected the discussion that was going on and I asked the “group” what their plans were to collect their voters’ cards. The response I got ranged from sheer apathy to one bothering around a loss of faith in the electoral system. As it is with me, I raised the need for us, as the educated and privileged to participate in the electoral process by going out the next day to pick up our permanent cards. With some reservation but a deference to the wisdom in my advice, everyone agreed to pick up the cards and one person added “even if I so decide not to vote later on”.
Fast forward to Saturday, I woke up from a very nice night rest. One of the not so many that I have had in a long while. I freshened up and remembered that I had a conflict – a need to get to Oyingbo and also to pick up my voters card in Lekki. I got in the car and with my fellow sojourner, we were off to Oyingbo in no time. I made mention to the other fellow with me that on returning from this foray to Oyingo, I needed to pick up the card. Well, Oyingbo will always be Oyingbo. The experience during this sojourn is a cause for another write up. It took some time but I eventually left Oyingo disappointed. My brain ran through the choices I had and the decision that I had to make. I concluded that it was better off that I pursue a different course of action, I got in the car and we headed back to Lekki. I must have been asleep for the whole journey and got a jolt from the voice reminding me of the plan to pick up the card.
I alighted form the car, with a couple of steps taken in my flight up the staircase, I was in my room. I shuffled through my very few possessions and within minutes was able to fish out my temporary voters’ card that I was issued in 2011. I got back into the car and off we drove into the inner side of Jakande looking for the INEC centre where I originally registered. We overcame the gullies in the middle of the road, manoeuvred around the broken down refuse truck and managed not to knock off the wares displayed on the side of the road. We eventually got to the building. I came down, expecting to meet a crowd of fellow Lagosians queueing to pick their cards. Alas, this was not to be. I was pleasantly surprised and for once thought that maybe there was great planning behind the process and this had ensured that no one needed to be on the queue at all. I looked for INEC officials but saw none. I looked for displayed lists of registered voters and again I saw nothing. I got confused and thought maybe I missed the centre. A few guys were hanging out in front of the building and not far from them was a ladies hair salon. I approached the guys and asked them for directions to where I can pick up the cards. “Oh, you are in the right place” was the response I got. The lady braiding hair in the salon added that picking up the voters card has been delayed by another week and that I should plan on coming back then. I said my thanks. Dejected, I went back to the car and headed back to my abode.
As I lay on my bed, I thought of my dear Professor Jega. I thought of my dear eko o ni baje governor – Babatunde Raji Fashola. I asked why my dear professor caused this great display of crap incompetence to happen. I thought of how BRF would have been disappointed for giving public servants in Lagos state a work free day in order to be able to exercise their civic responsibility and this was marred by the organizational incompetence of the team that my dear professor is responsible for. Then I thought of the always vocal Lai Mohammed and how he would craft this inaction into tales of sabotage and collusion between INEC and PDP against ACN.
Oga Jega, the polity is already heated up and you need to stand tall and make a difference. Please let’s have our Permanent Voters’ Cards and do not directly or indirectly disenfranchise us. As I write this piece, I look forward to the “I told you so” conversation that I will have with “the group” on Monday during Lunch.
All thanks to my dear Professor and his team.