South Africa's Presidential Elections: A Learning for Nigeria

South Africans conducted their civic duties today by voting at the Presidential elections for the
next president of their choice. Today, 7 May 2014, the Presidential election were conducted in South Africa. I am privileged to be in South Africa at this time, attending an official meeting. When I learnt about the date of the elections and realizing that my colleagues and I will already be caught up here for a meeting gave me a sense of concern. I had wondered if this meeting we were attending in South Africa was the right timing or the right choice of location. I had a sense of concern due to the different electoral violence that some countries experience during electoral processes

I am very impressed to have observed how peaceful the election processes were in South Africa with citizens quietly casting their votes and afterwards, going about their daily businesses. It would have been had to believe walking down the streets here that the presidential elections happened today if you have not previously read, heard or watched the news on the planned elections. The process was very peaceful and no visible element of desperation displayed by the candidates and their supporters or members of their political parties. This gave me reasons to think about the electoral processes in my country where electoral violence, stealing of ballot boxes, alleged rigging of the elections, aggrieved contestants contesting results have consistently re-occurred during elections in the past years.

The selfish interest and quest for power in a desperate manner have overtaken every sense of responsibility for serving a nation with the main purpose of the interest of the people at heart and as their priorities. Politics have become a 'do or die' affair where politicians are interested in leading the people whether the people they are fighting to serve wants them or not. By February 2015, Nigeria will be conducting the next presidential elections. I hope that Nigeria will learn from South Africa in the next presidential elections. Nigerians are tired of electoral disturbances, violence and the negative aftermath of elections.

Nigerian leaders and aspiring leaders also need to understand the essence of community service as well as the concept of volunteering. I have always been of the opinion that every political leader or aspiring leader and as the case maybe be, receive in-depth training on community service and volunteering. This will help these politicians understand what community service is and not for everyone. Some are called to lead and do understand what the people expect from them. In order to lead and get engaged in community development, you must have the interest of the people and community at heart as well as understand that leading is a deliberate selfless action and not a self-seeking service. We hope our nation becomes great someday! Long live Nigeria!!

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