It is with very mixed feelings that one had observed the different party primaries that ended on the 7th of October this year. INEC had set the deadline hoping the political parties would showcase their idea on internal democracy by conducting free and fair primaries.
Sadly though, the candidates have emerged from the parties but not without the signature shenanigans of Nigerian politics. There was violence, there were alleged cases of imposition of candidates, there were cases of monetary inducements of delegates, there were cases of godfatherism and in some cases voting irregularities. There was also violence and worst of all, there were deaths of Nigerians before, during and after the Primaries!
The political landscape still boasts of the yesterday’s men and style of politics that do not necessarily go by the core tenets of democracy. But the people appear helpless seeing that a party primary is a party’s internal affair. As I predicted some months back, the real RAPE of Nigeria’s brand of democracy happens at the party primary levels. We all know that internal democracy is rare in this clime.
Those that are politically powerful ‘own’ the system and these powers range from political influence, financial power to the levers of violence. Nigerians have experienced this since 1999 and the just concluded primaries in 2018 did not take the road less travelled. We are on a familiar terrain. Candidates across the parties have emerged but the question is, how democratic was the processes that threw the candidates up for the 2019 elections across all parties both for the legislative and executive positions?
And so, as usual, the journey to February 2019 seems flawed from the party primaries but we all move on. The same groups of people that usurp the power of the people to set barricades are seemingly on the prowl. If there were cases of violence and deaths and chaos at the primary elections across the country, what would the general elections in February look like? Again we are having the feel already with the kind of warped rhetoric and bad blood between the candidates and their supporters. Every vibe is so familiar, not many of the candidates are addressing any issues of substance yet. We are just suffused with name calling and personality wars that at the end of the day does not give any inkling to the candidates’ understanding of issues at stake in the first place. If this is lacking, then how possible will it be for such candidates to tackle the country’s myriad of problems and remove it from the depths of the economic tunnel that has made Nigeria the poverty capital of the world?
Make no mistake about it, the development of any country is not a sole responsibility of any government at the center. As a federation, one expects that the federating units would try to develop their own states by being very creative and ingenious in creating jobs and developing and reaping from the human capital and the resources of each state seeing how endowed all states are in both human and material resources.
On the contrary however, Nigerian states behave like the biblical prodigal son. Fast to identify a wealthy father (read federal government) always ready to go to Abuja the federal capital to share the federal monthly allocations. There seems to be no readiness for states to be self-sustaining, creative or ingenious. The state governors, given the poverty of ideas over the years have contributed to the aggregate poverty of the country as they do absolutely nothing to create wealth for their ever growing population.
So we are going into a general election in less than five months, we have some candidates who have no clue what the country needs at this time. The important thing to most of the candidates seems to be the office to be occupied not the value they can bring into it for the people.
For a country with the poverty level in view, the illiteracy , the lack of serious investment in health and education, it is hard expecting a reasonable paradigm shift when the same group of politicians that have been around since 1999 keep doing some merry go round either by themselves or through proxies. Given the seeming lack of focus and a lethargic attitude to the problems on ground by the politicians in Nigeria, it is tough predicting whether a new leadership capable of steering the country out of the poverty depth at the moment and into a prosperous nation where the people can shout Uhuru. But can the peoples and at the barricades from local councils through to the presidency?
***LEAH SHARIBU AND OTHER GIRLS AND WOMEN ABDUCTEES ARE STILL BEING HELD!!!