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Emeka Nwonu: Our Civic Responsibility Extends Beyond Voting

Let the change start with us individually. Only then we can hold those who represent us accountable. Be the change you want to see. To be a part of the future, you have to be involved in building it.

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Now that elections are over, we still have civic responsibilities as citizens. We still have a role to play in governance, and that is to hold our leaders accountable. We cannot simply vote and watch until it is counted, then wait for another four years. We did not spend countless hours and energy during elections for another four years in limbo.

As a people, we have to unite and demand that the government and elected officials do their jobs and live up to their promises. We must demand good governance and the development that comes with it. Politicking is over, now it is time for them to get down to work, and it is up to us citizens to hold them to the task. It is no longer about party or preferred candidate; it is about delivering on mandates. Campaign season is over. Politicians hardly pay for their actions or mistakes in policy making, it is the society that pays over the course of the period.

It is the masses who are at the receiving end, so it is appropriate to stay woke.

Individualism Vs. Collectivism
Individual interests don’t work well under collectivism, and it is bunkers to think that people can fare better in isolation. Sometimes, it seems as if concepts like fairness and public good are abstracts taken from religious books, but in reality, we all need each other.

Unfortunately, many do not realise this until things get bad for them. Being tribal is not a bad thing after all. Politics is about identity, but shouldn’t be in the slave and master dialectic. If you do not define yourself, the society will foist a definition on you.

However, what is bad is the lack of empathy and respect for those outside our tribes or circles. Those who are favoured by a government or particular policies do not care about those whose sources of livelihood have been taken away by those same policies that have brought them wealth. Thankfully, nature has a way of settling things organically, because what comes around goes around, sometimes in different forms. Karma is a thing and it really does run its course.

Strength in Diversity
There is strength in diversity. The fact that we speak different languages, have different cultures, religion and beliefs should not make us enemies but friends. Better fences make better neighbours – we are more likely to be friends when we are neighbours than when we share a room; we just have to be accommodating and respectful of each other’s differences.

The main problem is the gulf between the different classes in the society; the rich have nothing to do with the poor. Their paths hardly cross, and wealth has become the main social differentiator. Our social constructs have been skewed with the ‘Us’ Vs. ‘Them’ nonsense.

We all cannot be equal – asymmetry is a basic fact of life. But disrespect and disregard for those on the lower echelons is what is absurd. We are all human beings and should be treated as such. The supposed rich man cannot sleep in his castle without his poor gateman on site, yet we still think the gateman is a nobody.

The system of governance directs the path of the individual units, and this should be our focus. How and where to are we being led?

Collectively, we fare far better than trying to cause changes individually. We have to find our tribe and build the required coalition. We have to be bold and courageous to speak truth to power, seek changes that positively impact the society at large. Let us turn our societies into places where everyone has a voice and a place. We have been plagued by social divisions, those boundaries – both state and local – were created for administrative purposes, not for us to fight and bicker. Let us look beyond those state boundaries and unite in our thoughts and quest for better governance. Let’s vigorously pursue the better society we want. Afterall, we are firstly human beings, before being members of any tribe, sect or creed.

The politicians keep winning. Whether the country fares better or not, they have one of the highest paying jobs, and nothing to lose if things go sideways. Not even their freedom or ill-gotten wealth is at risk. They are flexible to switch parties or political affiliations. Sadly, their upsides have remained the downsides of many, especially the poor in the society.

Today’s politicians do not have to worry, so long as they play the game. They stay longer and longer on the job. Thanks to the increased life expectancy of modern times for those who can afford the breathtaking solutions of modern medicine.

It is time we changed our followership. We have to stay woke if the country is to evolve for the better.

We can be better followers.

As followers, we can do better to hold our political representatives accountable. They need honest and constructive feedback, void of any sort of sycophancy, if we are to make the much-desired progress as a nation. As followers, we are not honest, yet we expect an honest government and complain that the government seldom does the right things. Let the change start with us individually. Only then we can hold those who represent us accountable. Be the change you want to see. To be a part of the future, you have to be involved in building it. If you live it to others, please do not complain. The price of inaction or complacency from good people is that they are led down the abyss by bad people.

Emeka is a management Consultant and writes about Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Leadership, Strategies, Business Models, Change Management and Digital Transformation. He is an advocate for democracy, good governance, social mobility and financial inclusion. Follow him on Twitter: @Emeka_Nwonu  to see more of his thought and at https://medium.com/@Emeka_Nwonu for his articles.

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