MIXED BAG OF FORTUNES

The party primaries have come and gone. It left behind gales of dissatisfaction and wider disunity amongst the losers and the winners.

The process of healing the wounds it created will now begin but that is politics for you.

The question we have to ask ourselves is whether the process has successfully produced the leaders we so desired?

And whether it has met democratic international best practices of selecting political leaders?

To say yes or no depends on which side of the divide you belong.

My take on this, it was clear from the on set we are heading for a disaster. The discordant voices generated by the political parties as to which of the process they would deploy for the selection of their flag bearers was rooted in selfishness and self aggrandisement.

The resolve by some of the parties to use combination of the Direct and In Direct primaries, sent a serious warning signs to those who care to ponder on what the likely out come of the process would be.

The 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Electoral Act as amended both allowed the use of Direct and In Direct primary as a process for conducting party primaries.

Paragraph 15, Part 1 of the Third Schedule of the 1999 constitution as amended and the Electoral Act 2010 as amended provides that all the political parties are required to conduct primary elections to distil and submit to INEC their party flag bearers, contesting for elections in to the offices of the President, Members of the National and State Assemblies and the Local Government Councils

In a more civilised society the options provided by the constitution and electoral act, intended to strengthen and deepen the process of democracy would have been good for the polity. But alas in our situation, it created window for un wholesome Practices by the actors.

The lacuna gave rise to what played out during the party primaries.

By law one can say without fear of contradictions that what the parties did were in line with the provisions of the constitution and electoral act.

But can we safely say, the actions of the political actors in the conduct of the exercise a reflection of the intended out come of what the crafters of the Nigerians constitution envisaged?

It is in this light, we shall examine the circus and the sham that characterised the recently concluded party primaries

The term direct and indirect primaries are not new. They have been in use all over the world as a method of narrowing the choices of the candidates to stand for general election on the platform of a political party.

An indirect primary is an election in which voters do not choose between candidates for an office, but elect people who then choose candidate at party convention. It is one of the oldest forms of elections, and is still used today.

The direct primary came about as reform aimed at deepening democracy, it empowers ordinary party members to pick candidates for office, rather than leaving that decision to party insiders.

If both were managed very well, the processes are capable of producing credible results.

What we witnessed in the past few days in some of the cases were nothing but outright mockery to democracy and democratic processes. It was a sham and a national disgrace.

The whole process was typified by Cronyism; the senate un finished leadership struggle; God fatherism; Incumbency factor; Executive influence; Party preferences; Bridge building; Money politics; Corrupt practises; Delegate manipulations and Leadership deficit.

The blind desire by the powerful to install surrogates and lackeys in order cover their thievery, filth and shoddy deals exposes the un belly of the Whole exercise. It robbed most of the states the opportunity of selecting credible candidates.

The un finished politics of leadership in the National Assembly also had significant effect on the out come of the primary election, as both parties ensured that all sitting Senators and Members do not loose their seats. The reason is to ensure they do not turn against the party in the unfinished saga over the leadership of the national assembly.

God fatherism also played a serious factor during the primaries. some top politicians are strategizing for 2023 elections, they were keen in ensuring that they install as many Governors, Senators and Members to use them as lynch pin in 2023.

The Party Executives also criminally soiled their hands by arbitrarily manipulating the delegate lists and in some cases out rightly changing delegates list or even sacking the entire state party executive and replacing them with cronies that are ready to do their biddings.

Money was also widely used to corrupt the process. Vote buying and manipulation of party electoral officials through various inducements were wide spread resulting in many states changing the dates and venue of the primaries to favour their agenda.

Delegate stealing and manipulations in some states deprived other candidates access to delegates.

The venues for primary elections were in some cases moved away from there original locations at dying minutes to government houses, there by depriving some of the contestants access to the process.

Some of the manifest undesirable out comes the process produced are; flawed leadership, since the process used in selecting the future leaders are flawed, muddled with nepotism, corruption, cronyism, the leadership that emerged through this process would be anything but good.

Most of the leaders that emerged are nothing but stooges, tailor made to serve the interest of their benefactors and to some extent also work for themselves to ensure the continuation of the vicious circle of recruitment into politics.

No meaningful things will come out of them but the under development of the Nigeria State. They would forever remain stooges and grateful to their god fathers at the expense of our collective interest.

Unemployment and youth restiveness will continue to dog and haunt the society.

Peace will continue to elude the society. In security will also continue un abated as stop gap measures will remain the tool in fighting insurgency and other ills in the society.

The society will remain polarised as result of the hate and divisiveness accentuated by the primaries.

Corruption will become more pervasive in the system as the agencies fighting corruption are going to be whittled down by the corrupt leaders that emerged.

They would frustrate the agencies because the leaders, in themselves came through flawed and corrupt process. They would in turn render the corruption agencies comatose.

Who are the losers in all these? Is it the Nigeria State or the “Good People of conscience” who could have done something to stop the sinking ship to the abyss, but decide to look the other way in order not soil their names and integrity.

If the political parties in themselves could not organise a credible primary, then they have lost the right to shout and call INEC names for giving them, what they gave to themselves.

This vicious circle will continue as long as good people refuse to join politics. Their in actions will forever allow the charlatans to govern us and run the country down.

We have one Nigeria and it is our collective responsibilities to stop and arrest the decline. We must not allow ours fears to dominate us, the notion of “sit down and look” will not take us any where but to self destruction.

This country is blessed with good people, all that is needed is the will to fight injustice.

We must not allow ourselves to be mocked in the comity of nations. Nigeria has the capacity to do better then what we are presenting as our best to the world.

My appeal is to those good people and agencies of government responsible in the conduct of our elections to strive and do the right thing.

Hope is not lost all together. We still have about five month to the general election to make amends and ensure the process works well. Anything short of that is an invitation to anarchy and the collapse of the Nigerian State.

Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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