PVC: Deadlier Than the AK47, by Eberechukwu Anigbogu
As inadequate and as problematic as the current liberal democratic alternative is, it still provides the most legitimate and most peaceful way of organizing society in our world today. Liberal democracy may not be the best but democracy is a global ideal that defines our nature as humans. Being democratic has become synonymous with being human. Every society can adopt any of the various forms of democracy in the world today that are different from the liberal variant. Even the few non democratic regimes that exist in our world today, such as Saudi Arabia and China, are struggling very hard to ensure that the people take greater involvement on issues concerning them, since they know that only such democratic approaches would confer an aura legitimacy on their hybrid regimes.
The process of the democratic organisation of societies is more important than the result. Democracy follows processes which require that the opinion of the people is taken into account at the decision-taking point. One of the most critical process in democratic decision taking is that of voting. The sheer size of modern nation-states requires that the democratic process need must be conducted via representation. Although it is practically difficult for one person to represent even the interest of another person just once let alone one person representing the interest of thousands (sometimes millions) of people, not just once but almost all the times for many years.
Despite the above challenge, modern democratic societies must govern themselves in representative capacity. Even if it were possible to gather everyone in a particular electoral constituency, to a particular place, so that they take decision on a particular matter concerning them, such attempt will be clumsy, cumbersome and certainly impracticable, at best and circumstantially riotous at worst. Once the process of choosing these representatives is floored, election becomes selection.
Every representative must emerge through a properly conducted election. Every election involves an electoral process called voting. No one can vote who is not properly accredited. An accreditation is usually carried out in order to identify a properly registered voter. This voter will be denied the right to vote if he or she does not have a VOTER’S CARD. What this means is that if democracy would not turn to autocracy, if civility would not become brutality, if the people will not become vulnerable to the whims and caprices of despots masquerading as democrats, it is inevitable that the voter must posses a weapon with which he or she can fire sincerity and integrity into the lives of the society. This weapon is the VOTER’S CARD.
In Nigeria, this VOTER’S CARD is called the Permanent Voter’s Card, now popularly called PVC. With a PVC in your pocket and your presence at the polling booth on election day, you are like somebody armed with a .45 double magnum or with a .38 police special revolver. With it, you can shoot evil men and women, who have occupied our political space for too long against our will, out of office. Similarly with your PVC you can provide cover for those who are prepared to do the will of the people, so that they can enter political offices. In fact another name for PVC is Pistol Very Crucial for democracy.
This Pistol Very Crucial (PVC) for elections has multiple advantages over Ak47. In the first place, like a pistol, it is hidden inside your pocket. Thus, when anyone carrying it appears, he or she appears harmless. Yet he or she is carrying a very dangerous weapon. The person carrying an Ak47 on the other hand cannot hide it, he is exposed to the person carrying a PVC. Secondly, Ak47 is a Weapon Of Mass Destruction (WMD), but the PVC is a Weapon Of Mass Development (WMD). While Ak47 destroys life, PVC develops life.
The hard truth is that anyone who does not have a PVC IN NIGERIA, especially in IGBOLAND where political apathy is running amok among the people, does not want real, genuine and enduring change. Today, governors are given public holidays in other to enable the people obtain the PVC. Many of them are doing it for the selfish purpose of their reelection. But we can take the holidays, go and get the PVC and use it to vote out the governors that are not doing well. If we continue in this apathy nothing positive will happen, the status quo will remain the same, and the murmuring and complaining would continue indefinitely. If we continue to bemoan the disappointments of the past elections, we will remain in this sorry and sordid state. But if we tell ourselves that we have had enough of this political charred, only then would the will that makes a way possible present itself before us. If we fail to get the political right, if we fail to seize our political space, this poverty, this impunity, this economic quagmire and social fixation would continue to dangle over our heads like the Sword of Damocles! There is no other legitimate and none anarchical way to go. The choice is ours.
Eberechukwu Anigbogu is the Director General, Movement of Biafrans in Nigeria (MOBIN) and Administrator, South East Political Summit.