It is one week to the General Elections in Nigeria and I write all words here with anger- not righteous anger- just plain old pure, Nigerian anger. The kind that makes you surprised that you’re angry. The kind that leads you to shout at the bus conductor who expects you to let your 20 Naira change go although he would never do the same for you. That, which seeps in from time to time, leaving you more confused.
I am a very patriotic Nigerian- there, I said it.
No matter what has happened, from utterly useless regimes to even stupider laws, I consciously chose to keep believing, to defend when deemed necessary. Over time, like the incident involving the Chibok girls, I did have my moments of hopelessness, but I never, ever thought of giving up on my country.
So when the time came for me to get my Voter’s card, I missed my first opportunity when I was 19 years old, but I swore that nothing would stop me next time. I thought, I must vote next time, no matter what! So, four years later, I sought to get it.
This took me two attempts- 3 hours in Delta State and 11 hours in Lagos State.
First, in April 2018, during my internship in Delta, I took some hours off from work to get it from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). I got there at 9am and left at 12pm…without the card. Why?
Well, this was partly my fault. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to vote in Delta so I decided that after getting it here I would transfer to Lagos. When it was my turn to be attended to, I explained the situation to the INEC official who said that I won’t be able to transfer until after the elections. I should have asked earlier instead of wasting the time I did. ( Ps. I don’t understand why I can’t vote anywhere in Nigeria, but specifically where I registered! This is definitely the dumbest policy I have ever come across.)
I was left stunned, wondering why things have to be so darned complicated in this country. I mean, the whole point of this card is to vote, so why would I want it transferred after the elections? I resolved to get it when I got back to Lagos.
I was finally able to go to the Amuwo-Odofin INEC Office when I got back. I got there at 6:37am, wrote my name on the ‘list’ (which was rather pointless) where I was number 143 and finally got the Temporary Voters Card at about 5:36pm. The tales of what happened in these 11 hours are the crux of this story.
Yes, I am still very angry.