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Party Delegates and Posterity

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The year 2011 in Nigeria was ushered amid fanfare of excitement occasioned by hopes and aspirations, but for the ill-timed bomb blast in some parts of the country. In other words, Nigerians will be going to the polls to elect representatives into various tiers of government. As a prelude to election proper, various political parties conduct in-house (primary) election to select candidates to field in the general elections. Party 'Delegates' as they are called, constitute the body of voters.   

  Delegates' recognizes that this is their 'kill' period. So they demand for all sort of gratification from aspirants in return for vote. This trend in some cases breed violence among supporters of various aspirants, mainly in the same party, as they try to outwit each other in the full glare of their principals. These 'rabid' supporters, mainly youths and recently women, defy all odds to be noticed, and in the process, constitute nuisances to the society, the party and the whole process, often described as a charade by the losers in most cases. In Nigeria, it is the case of winner takes all.

  In advanced democracies, though one cannot rule out the role of money, but fundamentally, issues and blueprint for development come as a first. This afford electorates the opportunity to gauge aspirants and what they propose if elected into office, and then of course, the money aspect, but usually not in exchange for votes. This is not the case in Nigeria. Ours is usually dependent on the 'spending' dexterity of aspirants regardless.

  The road to societal failure vis-à-vis flawed election begins with the activities of these 'delegates'. For example, during party primaries, an inept aspirant stashes Ghana-must-go-bags with money of various denominations and secures an intermediary between himself and 'delegates'. As a criterion, the 'intermediary' must be experienced in the act of gestures, gestures that notify susceptible delegates of 'availability' at the slight. This deal is a one-off affair; it begins and ends at the venue of the primary election.

  This, in due course, lead to what I term ADP (Advanced Disintegration Program) under such program, tangible development eludes the people and the society at large. This program is easy to implement. Most political office seekers/holders in Nigeria prefer this model, because it is cost-effective. It is usually on a yearly basis, such as: taking stock of total expenses incurred in the run of elections in the first year in office amid playing to the gallery. The second year, he identifies the various channel through which he can siphon and stash as the case maybe. The third year, he siphons and stashes without mercy, and the fourth year, he prepares for re-election. In between the second and third year, hyped projects are hurriedly commissioned amid pageantry. This is usually the life-cycle of the Advanced Disintegration Program.                

  However, there is another form of ADP (Advanced Development Plan) but it is not in high demand due to its bureaucratic nature. It sensitizes rather than dole out money to 'delegates' during primary election. It highlights blueprint for development and emphasizes translating hopes and aspirations into tangible realities through a well thought out process. But 'delegates' are not predisposed to this model.

  With such scenario, it becomes increasingly difficult for competent aspirants to secure party nomination. The 'give-me' now syndrome has eaten so deep into our senses, that obvious ineptitude of money-for-vote aspirants go sightless. And sometimes 'delegates' feign ignorance to justify actions against their conscience. This is the sad tale of the Nigerian political process because much emphasis is placed on party 'structure' during elections.

  Money-for-vote aspirants ironically dot the political landscape in this era. The ratio is 80/20%, if not higher. And more ironic is the fact that credible aspirants are increasingly under intense pressure to join the 'band-wagon', albeit systematically. This explains the 'godfather' angle in the whole process. Usually under the guise of philanthropic gestures political 'godfathers' latches on the marketability of credible aspirants to further perpetuate the Advanced Disintegration Program on the populace.

  This is a clarion call to 'delegates' that change is a function of twin emphasis: standing on the side of truth in tandem with your conscience and understanding that tangible development will continue to be a mirage if they buckle to the antics of the money-for-vote aspirants. They also need to understand that the administrative competence that these money-for-votes aspirants lack is what they try to make up for with money (our money). As we go out to cast our votes, we should have at the back of our mind that posterity lie in wait at the corner.    

  By Joshua Ocheja (