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A word to the wise: spur of the moment decisions are ALWAYS the best ones. 

Case in point: Last month, a friend and I decided to take a quick a study break to attend an info session hosted by the MIT Nigerian Students Association. The topic was Vote or Quench, a non-partisan, social media-driven, grassroots campaign created to empower, engage and involve Nigerian youth – at home and in the Diaspora – in the push for democratic reform. Founded in March 2010, Vote or Quench (VOQ) drew inspiration from the successful Citizen Change “Vote or Die” campaign from the 2004 U.S. Presidential elections. Even down to the name. “Quench” is a synonym for “Die” in Nigerian pidgin English. VOQ started as a simple idea by a twenty-something year old and in less than a year, has grown into a full-fledged movement.

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I’ve had discussions with friends about Nigerians of the Diaspora working collectively to ignite change back home, but they’ve always been relegated to dorm rooms. Here is a group that is actually working to make this a reality in the public space. It was a done deal. Where do I sign up and what can I do to help?

Vote or Quench had me at “Hello, this is our mission” and pulled me in with each sound bite about the group’s journey and future initiatives.

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“…Jan 11th #IfNaijaVotes Twitter campaign draws thousands of responses…including Nas & Angela Simmons…March 3rd US State Department’s Maria Otero gives VOQ a shout in her “Remarks to the Youth” reception…March 25th Vote or Quench teams up with other groups to host “What About Us?” the first-ever youth centered presidential debate in Abuja, Nigeria… debate will be a sounding board for Nigerians by relaying questions submitted globally via whataboutusnigeria.org…this event is unprecedented in Nigerian history…acclaimed novelist Chimamanda Adichie as moderator…4 presidential candidates confirmed…this revolution will be televised… transmission to 20 million Nigerian homes…coverage by CNN & BBC…30 and under demographic represents nearly 70% of Nigerian population…the youth voice won’t be silenced.”

Clearly this is a dope initiative and organization. Show your support by following us on Twitter @voteorquench, watching the live streaming of the debate on March 25th at 2pm EST and the recording following the debate on Vote or Quench’s YouTube channel.

Two words to the wise: spur of the moment decisions are ALWAYS the best ones. Change is a collective effort & charges us all to action. 

 –Chi Achebe (Vote or Quench contributor)

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