THE decisions we make at the polls will affect our political, social and economic destiny for the next five years and beyond.
The awareness and education must intensify in the remaining months leading to the election in June.
The kind of government we have next will depend on the kind of lea­ders that we, the voters, choose.
As a democratic society, people of all walks of life will be exercising their freedom to compete for the 109 seats and among them, there will be black sheep.
It is up to the voters to screen and analyse all the candidates, both on party lines and as individuals, before eliminating them one by one until the best three are left.
Out of the three, we must prioritise in order of our preferences before we actually take up positions in the queue at the polling stations.
We do not have to screen all candidates, but select the best five and screen their education qualifications, work experiences, religion, visions, aspirations as well as their social, economic and political backgrounds.
People have to be wary of so-called master sanaps, who are poli­tical rejects that break election rules out of desperation.
They are the ones that accumulate arms and instigate election-related violence and tribal wars that result in the destruction of innocent lives and property.
For us to develop and advance in politics, not only must we elect the best leaders but we must also change our corrupt and traditional practices.
We must put aside our family connections, clans and tribal links, our feuds and rivalries, our personal grudges and immediate personal wants and needs.
We must do away with our wantok system and the kisim na givim or get-and-give habits.
We must refuse cash handouts from candidates because bribery deludes our minds and makes us stumble in our choice of leaders.
We must stop enrolling ghost names and do away with so-called campaign houses, which are no­thing more than brothels and gambling dens.
If we do not change our mentality, we will continue to depend on Australia and other foreign agents.
It is up to us to change for the better.
The opportunity to elect leaders comes once every five years and we cannot afford to abuse it.
The decisions that we make in June will affect our well-being, and that of our children, communities, electorates, provinces and the country as a whole for the next five years and beyond.
We must think big, think national and act saliently.
Francis Níi