The much talked about 2019 general elections is soon to begin. In few months from now, party primaries will commence and Nigerians will throng the polls to elect candidates of their choice to lead them. This has been the ritual every four years since the beginning of the 4th republic in 1999. We gladly look forward to going to the polls.
However, the attitude of many Nigerians suggests that the 2019 general elections will fail credibility test as it was with previous elections. This will not surprise many Analysts who followed the political trajectory in the country over the years.
There are sufficient reasons for Nigerians to express such cynicism and mistrust against the electoral process and political gladiators. The judgment of many post-election cases in our courts exposed the inadequacies of the electoral processes.
What brought about this ugly perception is the abysmal collapse of internal democracy in our Political Party system. The purity of the process of selecting candidates in party primaries has been grossly eroded due to strife, imposition of candidates, godfatherism, moneybags politics, injustice, sheer arrogance and rascality.
The irresponsible actions of politicians often undermine the credibility of the selection process. The tainted exercise produced persons who are largely incompetent, clueless and morally deficient to lead at various levels. Perhaps that explains why Nigeria economy is near comatose and devoid of infrastructural development.
As 2019 general elections draw near, Nigerians should be concerned about the purity of the selection process of party candidates. We may be condemned to endure another set of bad leaders across board if we fail to commit ourselves to ensuring credible party primaries. In Nigeria, it is easier to swallow an elephant than recall or impeach an elected official. Senator Dino Melaye is a classical example.
Political party formations are deliberately structured to be controlled by privilege few godfathers and party chieftains. They use state resources at their disposal to gain absolute control of party machineries. As mini gods, they manipulate the selection process at party primaries and imposed candidates with impudence and crass rascality.
Godfathers rubbished the essence of party primaries which ordinarily is meant to take power to nominate candidates from party leaders to the people. Nigerian brand of politics is repugnant to such objectivity and logical reasoning. Our big men must play god.
Officials and ex-officials of political parties and those in government are designated delegates in party conventions to select candidates. The result is predictable. Their stooges win and there is nothing mere mortals could do about it.
Political parties conduct primaries in full glare of media cameras to give it semblance of openness and transparency. Usually outsider to the inner workings of the political system is easily deceived. They fall prey to the abracadabra of free and fair primaries. The more you see, the less you understand.
Some Party chiefs are quick to make the loudest noise when beaten to their game. They get disenchanted and unambiguously bemoaned the absence of internal democracy in party primaries. Electorates should no longer tolerate the dubious practices which undermines genuine democratic process.
We shall seek to eliminate injustice that is embedded in party primaries. The veritable ingredient of internal democracy is equal participation of members and groups in the political system. Not a system dominated by few opportunists against democratic principles.
Nigerians have no other choice than to leave the comfort of their homes to decide the leadership of the country in the 2019 general elections. Criticizing government policies on social media may not be good enough in our contemporary times. Active involvement in the process is enabler to good governance. If we must enjoy the delicious taste of omelette, we should be ready to break eggs. Our fate lies in our hands.
Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), National Orientation Agency (NOA), Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and existing Political Parties should do more in educating the populace on the need to participate in the electoral process. Eligible voters should obtain their PVCs and register with any political parties of their choice. That is the way to engage the selection process of candidates for the 2019 general elections.
Ikese is Columnist at TheNigerian and a Political Analyst.