My Takeaways From The Various Presidential Primaries

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By Igboeli Arinze

 

By now, a number of  political parties would have concluded on who would bear their presidential flags in the forthcoming general elections come 2023. Now, while a number of these parties have succeeded in meeting INEC’s rescheduled deadline. It is obvious that except there are a few upsets, the forthcoming elections, particularly that of the presidency would be at most a two party race, not even  Peter Obi’s move into the Labour Party, will help change much. However, we are sure that Nigeria and Nigerians will experience a new high within our political process, one the country can hopefully build upon for a better polity.

The People’s Democratic Party, PDP produced an Atiku Abubakar, a Fulani from the NorthEast and one time Vice President of the Federation. A perennial presidential aspirant cum candidate since 1993, Atiku’s decision to run for President this time around portrayed him as one without principles and desperate for power. This same Atiku had in 2011 insisted on the zoning of the presidency  to the North in order to maintain the sacrosanctity of PDP’s zoning arrangement. He had even contested the primaries suffering a resounding defeat at the hands of the then incumbent, Goodluck Jonathan. Matter of fact, Atiku’s decision to quit the PDP  for the  APC was borne on the body language of Jonathan to again seek another term  in office. He however criss crossed back to the PDP, picking up the ticket but losing again to the incumbent in President Muhammadu Buhari. This time around, Atiku withstood every sensible and just clamour for the PDP to zone the presidency to the South, following the near completion of President Buhari’s eight years in office. Sadly, Atiku was to have his way beating Nyesome Wike, the present sitting Governor of Rivers State at the PDP’s convention. Atiku’s emergence was due to the lack of Southern Solidarity as SouthWest and South South delegates allegedly cast their votes for Atiku. Not even the maverick like decision of Governor Tambuwal to step down for Atiku pricked his Southern counterparts, they sold Governor Wike out and ended the hopes of the PDP producing a Southerner for President.
For Governor Wike, history will be kind to him. Wike was the brave face of the South in that convention, even though he lost due to the evil machinations of his Southern counterparts. Unlike some politicians who much preferred to chicken out of the race a few days to the primaries after grandstanding at some mausoleums, Wike, became the symbol of the South in the PDP attempting to match Atiku, man to man.
The PDP primaries witnessed a heavy dollarizarion of  the process as a majority of the party’s aspirants engaged each other in an all out scramble for the votes of their delegates, a sad reminder that our democracy is still the play thing of the rich and mighty.
The primaries of the Labour Party was to follow suit, and with the entry of the former Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi into the party, following his chickening out from the PDP’s race on the alleged story that the process had been heavily monetized. Yet in his bid to portray himself as a saint with one watch and two shoes, our Hong-Kong /China  exponent forgot how he nicked the APGA ticket in 2003, supplanting in a manner even the Medici’s would be ashamed of the would be winner of that primaries in the person of Chief Ralph Okey Nwosu, the current National Chairman of the African Democratic Congress, ADC.
Even at that, I can boldly say that Obi’s decision to quit the PDP was a political blunder, his name on the PDP ticket would have bolstered the party’s chances at the polls and would have dealt a more serious blow to the APC’s desire to retain power. Obi’s choice of the Labour Party makes him a king in a small fiefdom as elections are not won on the platforms of social media or on ethnic rabble rousing. Elections are won via party structures, which are built over the years and political climes like Nigeria, have not afforded media creations or myths like Obi the opportunity to blossom beyond their immediate spaces, the likes of Azikiwe, Awolowo, Aminu Kano and Nuhu Ribadu are classical example. Even the incumbent in Muhammadu Buhari experienced such trends until the formation of the All Progressives Congress which had a national outlook.
The biggest upset did not occur in the two political parties but in the small ones, with a Kingsley Moghalu losing to an unknown Dumebi Kachikwu. Moghalu, who had featured brilliantly in the 2019’elections was hoping to do an encore in the 2023 elections  only to lose to Kachikwu who happens to be the younger brother to Nigeria’s former Minister of State for Petroleum Ibe Kachikwu.

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