Against the background of voters mortgaging their future for present gratification, Evelyn Osagie, a poet and photographer, staged a playlet entitled, “Our Votes, Our Bullets” on Valentine’s Day at the Parliament Bar, Red Street, Jakande Estate Isolo, Lagos.
The outdoor playet staged in commemoration of her annual Word Meet Images 3.0, also featured her Lovelines Poetry Concert and Outdoor “Together Series” Art Exhibition. The Art Exhibition was themed “Vote with Ink Not Blood”. The tripartite art expressions mirrored the power of voters at elections, discouraged any act of electoral violence and the collections of goodies from politicians to influence voting their choice candidate at the polls.
The playlet, Our Votes, Our Bullets, demonstrated by 10 characters, opened in a market setting. It showcased how politicians frequent the market space during electioneering period to persuade market men and woman with all sort of campaign promises. The politicians also offer gifts items to gain the votes of electorates at the polls and instigate youths to electoral violence.
The play showed the market women reject a politician and accepted another. Their grievance was that the rejected politician did not impact their lives while in office but now wants to cajole them with goodie to vote him in again.
The other characters in the playlet used the opportunity of the women’s action to further educate the electorate. They encouraged the electorate to vote wisely and shun selling their votes for money or food items, admonished that electorates joke with their future when they don’t vote their conscience during elections.
Aside the acting, the photo exhibition saw the display of 13 symbolic photographs. The pictures depicted the story of Nigeria – past, present and what the future should be. There were also poetry renditions, dance drama and music performances.
Known onstage as Evelyn D’ Poet, Osagie is a journalist with the Nation Newspaper. According to her, every time Nigeria had an election, there was usually fear in the air if the country would disintegrate or if there would be bloodshed.
“During this election, we want peace and not violence or death. Politicians vying for any position in this country should know they are vying into such positions to serve. It is not by force that you must serve people. People must chose and also accept your service. If they don’t want you, then you go home and do other things.
“Political positions should not be offices where people make money, gather properties or gather wealth and at the end of the day, the people suffer. Rather, it should drive the country to a place of development,” she asserted.
She advised Nigerian youths, who easily take to election violence because of money, to not live for the now; rather, they should drive their passion for the good of humanity.
Veteran dramatist and cultural activist, Ben Tomoloju, who chaired the event, described Evelyn Osagie as a passionate multi-talented artist, noting that her message during this period of election was apt.
“Nigerians should vote critically. They should vote for their conscience. Take your choice from the perspective of who can perform; a candidate who has the ideological commitment to turn Nigeria around. There are many pretenders around. However, we can know the passionate politicians by looking at their past records.
“The first timer politicians should not join the band wagon but to deliver to the people justice and equity,” he said.
Evelyn D’ Poet also used the platform of her annual Word Meet Images event to advocate for the works of artist and talents. She would like their works to be taken seriously in other to bring out the best in them.