Dear Registered Voter,
In less than 5 days, it will be election day, or as some call it, the day of accountability. We have prepared for this day for months, been subjected to endless bickering by some politicians, and, have gained insight into the men and women who have brought themselves forth to serve our great nation through leadership.
It might not seem like it, but you, dear registered voter, have the opportunity of a lifetime. The opportunity to select Ghana’s next leader and to help steer the course of our immediate future. For our country’s sake, don’t take that opportunity for granted. Many Ghanaians, myself included, do not have that opportunity, and as a result, cannot participate in this solemn duty to our motherland. Nobody should be telling you who to vote for, but we can only implore you to do your best in choosing Ghana’s new path and the people who will lead us on it. You might think your vote doesn’t count. After all, what’s one vote out of millions? You might say that regardless of whether you vote or not, our leaders will not fulfill the roles they signed up for, or worse, might rob our nation blind. You would not be a willing accomplice in such treachery. Your points are valid. But before you conclude your decision not to vote in Ghana 2012 election, hear me out on a number of things.
Your vote counts. It might not seem like it, but all you have to do is look around at just how much money our politicians are pumping into their campaigns, and there is your evidence. Why would they go through such fuss if it didn’t count? Your vote counts – again, look around, and you will see the poor living conditions, poverty, corruption – all our problems under the sun – and there lies your opportunity to help change it all. Your vote counts – it is important for Ghana’s very future. As they say, little drops of water, make a mighty ocean. Ghana is where she is today because of the seemingly minute actions of Ghanaians – some of us included – in the past. The fact that you do not feel the earth move, doesn’t mean it won’t make its way around the sun. Your vote counts. It counts in ensuring that our leadership is reflective of our aspirations as Ghanaians today. It counts in sending a strong message to Ghana’s youth and children who are not voting on Friday, about the importance of civic involvement. Most importantly, it counts for you to fulfill your responsibility as a citizen of Ghana. We always say the politicians and leaders don’t do their jobs. By not voting, you’re not doing yours either.
Some might try to sway you with promises of this or that, or worse, with threats. Be patient. Listen, but don’t react. Your moment of action will be when you place your finger on the ballot paper and select the person YOU believe will serve Ghana the best. Take note, I didn’t say “lead”, I said “serve”. Because, that’s what it is going to take to make the moves we all dream about for mother Ghana. Perhaps, now more than ever, we have a unique opportunity – a literal minefield of wealth. However, our oil resources will only last so long. We have from now and the next 30 years to lay the frameworks for ensuring that we as a people will never have to work, without seeing its gains. Study, without platforms to participate. Be born, without knowing if we will survive. This is probably our only chance at getting it right, and your vote counts in ensuring that we take the first step in doing just that.
True, it might seem as though this whole political game is a rat race, and that the calibre of our suggested leaders isn’t good enough. Keep that in mind – for the future. But for now, choose between “the lesser evil” if you must. Now, we have been taught in the past to vote on the basis of who our parents, grandparents voted for. Or even, to pick the one individual who is from the same village, city, region, ethnic group as we are. As they say, if you keep doing the same thing, you will keep getting the same results. How about we try something different for a change? This might sound corny, but vote with your heart and mind. You might still be undecided, but take a moment to review the manifestos, their plans for steering Ghana’s future, and pick the one which speaks to you the most. Vote with conviction – that this person, above all others, is most suited for the job of being Ghana’s steward; of SERVING her best.
Your vote is your voice. And every voice counts. It could be that the person you voted for might not win. But you won. You exercised your right. Beyond that, your vote will constitute a clear signal about the collective consciousness of Ghanaians. And this, dear registered voter, is also crucial for Ghana’s immediate future. At the end of the day, you have a role to play in all of this: to vote, to keep the peace, and in the aftermath, to hold our chosen leaders to task. Yours is a solemn duty to our great nation. Do not take it lightly. Your vote counts. May God bless Ghana, and grant us yet another successful milestone in our common history as Ghanaians. Peace.
Jemila Abdulai is the creative director, editor and founder of the award-winning website Circumspecte.com. A media and international development professional and economist by training, she combines her business, communications and project management expertise with her strong passion for Africa. Besides writing and reading, she enjoys travel, global cuisine, movies, and good design.