The past several days have seen political parties hold different kinds of primary elections. This season has brought with it revelations, hypocrisy, disappointments and betrayals. Nothing is more difficult to manage than success. For the two bigger parties, it is even more difficult to organise an acceptable primary election than the general election. Everyone is a winner in a primary election in our two major parties of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and All Progressives Congress, APC. Even people that scored miserable tallies that can be counted on one hand still stunt about questioning the authenticity of the final figures. It is that bad.
One thing is sure, now it is becoming a tradition for Nigerians to expect the “primary season”. For us this is commendable. This means our democracy is evolving in a positive fashion. We are more accustomed to these realities of a pending democratic cycle. It is good. But what is not good is how fast we are moving in the right direction. It appears we take three steps forward, and the next moment we take ten steps backwards. It is frustrating. It is in Nigeria you find aspirants who pay large sums of money for nomination only so that another aspirant does not make it. On the other hand, violence has reduced. Killings have reduced considerably. This is a sea change from where we are coming from.
However, it appears a lot more needs to be done. We can’t stop people from having aspirations but it is worrisome even for the media as an observer for example to have 21 governorship aspirants for the APC in Borno. Is it really for the betterment o f the state; a state that is ravaged by war? When one of them is eventually elected and is confronted by the realities of governance, the cry of insufficient funds will deafen weary ears. Same way it is in some other states like Kwara where a party already has two factions. Yet, this party wants to wrest with the ruling party in the state. The ruling party also has its internal irritation. Theirs is better. Probably a good relationship management will suffice. We are just focusing on governorship elections so far, however, it is the same issues that have arose in senatorial, representative and assembly tickets. The fight is huge.
In Imo state, while the chairman of the governorship primary committee of the APC eloped from his duty post back to Abuja and claiming his life was in harm’s way, the rest of his committee announced another person as the winner of the primary. The chairman announced another name. In Delta, renowned political economist, Pat Utomi claimed hitherto that he didn’t know the venue of his party’s primary only to emerge hours later as the winner of a faction’s direct primary. Some of these states are in dire problems within the parties that matter.
The rest of the parties except APGA in Anambra are simply in a long holiday, thus raising questions about their relevance in the scheme of things. We should not register parties for the sake of it.
The mother of all primaries will take place this weekend. That is when the presidential primary will hold. Although reverberations over these primaries will still be felt long after this week, the presidential primary offers hope that Nigeria can improve or retrogress. That’s the expectation during every election cycle. The PDP has resolved to hold its presidential primary in Port Harcourt. There was what looked like a spat over choice of venue. PDP is parading many heavy weights and qualified politicians too. We hope they get it right during the exercise; for whatever it is worth, the convention should be transparent. On the other hand, APC has elected its presidential candidate. They did so via direct primary where members across the states participated fully. So the national convention is just to affirm what members have done.
Direct primary is good. Noticeable challenges can be cleaned out as its usage rises but the last one came with some eye raisers. Some of the figures bandied about by APC party officials do not tally with reality. In Kano, the president scored 2.9 million. in Lagos it was 1.6 million, etc. These are not believable. It appears the party electoral officers just willfully allocated figures to Buhari. It is not good. That is not a road to travel. What if there were other contestants. This singular action will not allow APC learn valuable lessons from the conduct of a nationwide primary. They fixed this and that’s not the best way to learn.