Sunday, April 2, 2023

Your Election Your Future

We, as the people, elect the candidates who will make our life better, happier, richer and easier. Given human nature, we all want comfort, peace, ownership and stability. As citizens of Nagaland, both young and old, we need to choose the candidates who have the strength and courage to fight against corruption, the integrity to fight for the welfare of their constituency, the empathy for the needy and poor, the humility and patience to tackle the challenges of this generation, and the knowledge and global vision to lead a region that is changing and upgrading every second.
As a democratic country, we have been given the privilege to vote for any candidate we choose. Let us use this privilege and cast our vote responsibly for candidates with character, integrity, education, visionary and humility. I speak for myself as one born and brought up in Tuensang, belonging to the Eastern Naga tribes. The stakes for us are so much higher than at any other time. As we fight for the equality in development and progress, the Central government and the rest of Nagas will be watching our choice of candidates that will represent our region. We cannot be irresponsible and let all the development and progress pass in front of our eyes by electing weak, dishonest and corrupt candidates. We eastern Nagas have a huge responsibility to elect candidates that have a deep understanding of the needs of the people and the region. These five years are so crucial for our region in terms of development and progress. We need to prove to the outside spectators that we are capable of our own destiny for a better tomorrow. We will have no other excuses for our failures and we cannot blame others, when we are given the opportunities for development and progress.
As Nagas, we have been known all over the world as a Christian state. A tiny state with around a two million population, is well known all over the world because of our commitment to follow Jesus Christ. God is still blessing Nagaland because our God is a God who forgives. We often become worse than a beast and a devil during election times. Our Christianity is lip service only, which is very sad. If we want a better, richer, peaceful and Christ-centered state, I beg both the young and the old not to sell your votes. Vote honestly for the candidate for whom God is leading you to vote. I want to share one example with the readers. My late father, being a prominent person in Tuensang, was often sought out by many candidates for his support. They would come with a bag full of cash to seek his support. If he did not have the fear of God, he could have accepted the bag full of cash. Being from a large family, at any given year, two or three of his children were in college: Delhi University, Bangalore and Shillong. He would tell them, “How am I going to pray to my Heavenly Father to bless my children if I take this cash?” He raised and educated all his children by honest living and hard work, often giving up their own well-being and needs. All of his eight children graduated from universities. Today even his grandsons have achieved well in their careers and education in the United States of America. A good tree bears good fruit. Our parent’s remained faithful to God’s commandment, “Thou Shall Not Steal”.
Look for candidates with a global vision:

  1. Who focus on much needed necessary investment in under-developed areas.
  2. Who focus on the working class people as they are the backbone of the state. When working class people suffer, there will be instability in the region or state.
  3. Who focus on regional equality. The grievances of the eastern Nagas have to do with regional inequality. Only certain parts of the state are benefiting and enjoying the prosperity of the state. A healthy regional prosperity will bring peace and harmony. When the eastern region becomes a healthy and prosperous region, it benefits all the inhabitants of Nagaland.
  4. Who focus on good policies for development, with accountability. Even if it is a good policy, without accountability, the policy cannot survive corruption. The Bible says, “The Love of Money” is the root of evil. Money is not evil. It is our love for money that destroys the very purpose and policies we plan to implement.
  5. Who focus on sustainable investment, particularly local infrastructure like good reliable roads and bridges. Without good and reliable roads and bridges, we cannot transport goods. The local economy and region cannot sustain if we cannot sell or exchange goods.
  6. Who focus on long term investment goals on education, hospital, roads and energy. In the eastern Naga region, long term investment goals like education, hospitals, roads and energy are very crucial. There is a huge gap in the wealth, education and distribution of power between the eastern Naga region and the rest of the Nagas. The education system in the eastern region has to be re-thought and re-invented from preschool to higher secondary. Proficiency in reading and writing is very low in schools and colleges in the eastern region. None of the schools has any classes that give priorities on STEM courses (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).
  7. Who focus on attracting skilled and talented young people especially the STEM majors. STEM graduates are very much needed to help the region and the state grow and develop.
  8. Who focus on bold new ideas for the betterment of the young people. A strong and global visionary leader will not be afraid of bold new ideas to rebrand and retool the region and the state.
    Ason Ongbou Chang

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