Indee, members and party officials pose greater problems than their leaders. Quite often. The parties break into factions with different groups adopting the presidential candidates of the more viable parties. In 2019. A faction of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and that of the Allied Congress party of Nigeria (ACPN) endorsed President Buhari of the APC as their presidential candidate. With Buhari as the incumbent president. Many saw the behaviour of both the ACPN and the SDP as materialistic.
Some accused them of having been out rightly bribed or promise to be appointed into offices once the president was reappointe.
Too many political clowns in Nigeria’s elections
It would have been differently perceive if the politicians concerned had much earlier defected to the. APC instea of adopting the last minute posture of political buccaneers.
Things to ponder as we go to the polls
Four years later, the SDP led again in adopting candidates of other parties. Interestingly, any person who watched this season’s political debates and town hall meetings would have highly rated the current SDP candidate Adewole Adebayo.
Too many political clowns in Nigeria’s elections
The man spoke well wherever he went, showing clearly that he had a clear mission to take Nigeria to greater heights if elected. Using a court case on the legitimacy of the party’s constitution and leadership as an excuse, the party abandoned him. The implication of this is that there are people in certain parties such as the SDP that are mere opportunists hanging around to the last minute before moving away from all the ideals they had sold all through the electioneering campaigns. The drama this time is that while one faction of the SDP endorsed the APC candidate, Bola Tinubu, another faction refuted it and affirmed that the party had a deal with only the Labour Party.
Evidence that money is at the heart of Nigeria’s political confusion is aptly provided by the Labour Party itself. On the eve of the 2023 general elections, the Gombe State chairman of the party who serves as the coordinating chair of the party’s chairmen for the 36 states, Sani Abdulsalam issued a 12-hour ultimatum for the party to address alleged marginalization of its executives nation-wide. In short, state chairmen who should serve as owners of the party were the ones lamenting the alleged refusal of the party to release funds to them to run elections.
At what level are funds generated and where are they kept? Are there no funds generated at state level? If so, what value do the state chairmen add to the party? A second allegation credited to the coordinator that the national leadership of the party prefers Obi’s support groups to them seems to speak volumes on value addition. Could it be that the party leadership decided to discourage those who think that a political party is a platform for appropriating money?
Incidentally, many politicians have always had such a materialistic mind-set making it almost impossible for any party without money-bags to survive. In 2019, the main grouse of the members of the ACPN was that their candidate, Oby Ezekwesili who later withdrew from the race did not account for all the monies belonging to the party. But why was the party’s fund allegedly in the possession of the presidential candidate and not the treasurer?
Could it be that the candidate was the sole financier or sole marketer of the party while all the members were waiting on her for manna? Those opposed to her withdrawal explained that her interest in their party was to use it as a platform to bargain for the position of Finance Minister. What the controversies confirm is that mutual distrust and suspicion reign high in Nigeria’s small parties where personal interest is pivotal. If so, do we need such small-minded politicians?
Against this background it is easy to comprehend the adoption of candidates of major political parties by members of smaller parties. At the last count, 10 political parties were said to have endorsed the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Bola Ahmed Tinubu. The parties reportedly arrived at the resolution at a meeting held in Ikeja a few days before voting in this year’s election. Speaking on behalf of the parties concerned, Temilola Akinade, the chairperson of the National Resistance Movement, (NRM) said the parties endorsed Tinubu because they found him to be “the most competent among the contestants.”
Other persuasive attributes of the APC candidate listed by Akinade included his belief in true federalism, equity and justice as well as state police. Apart from the fact that almost all the 18 candidates preached same sermon during the campaigns, it is curious that the 10 parties that endorsed Tinubu learnt of his attributes only some 48hours before voting.
It appears that it was the same attributes that influenced 5 other parties that endorsed Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The parties are Allied Peoples Movement (APM), Action Alliance (AA), African Democratic Congress (ADC), Action Peoples party (APP) and National Rescue Movement (NRM). The parties made their decision public at the PDP presidential rally in Yola. Yusuf Dantalle, national chairman of the APM who spoke on behalf of others said they all wanted to stand behind Atiku because it was time to unite, reconcile, heal and secure Nigerians.
Dantalle also said that while the five parties would collapse their structures to work for Atiku, their members were at liberty to vote for governors and legislators of their choice. This sounded strange because Atiku and all PDP candidates ought to have the same manifesto articulated by the party. What restricted the faith of the endorsers to only the presidential candidate and not the entire party?