Every general election presents a defining moment for Nigeria’s democracy. Not only is the country’s social, economic and political stability reliant on the outcome of its electoral processes, its security, development and general wellbeing depend on the outcome of its elections.
A change of political leadership, therefore, could infuse new energy, ideas, expertise and political will to formulate and promote policies that could drive economic growth and stability, and douse ethno-religious tensions.
On the threshold of such an exercise with potentials to shape its national goals and aspirations, any country would expect major stakeholders of its democratic process to engage their energies on advancing collective interest, building mutual trust and strengthening institutions.
Or perhaps, adopt approaches that will encourage political participation and the conduct of free, fair and credible polls; envision peaceful transfer of power and chat the path to national development.
However, rather than engage in promoting ideals and principles that would advance democracy, some politicians, in their usual pursuit of personal interest, are turning the country’s political turf into an arena for the game of puissance, where might, money and gripes are deployed at the expense of wits to outsmart opponents.
How else can you describe a situation where the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, and the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, cast a cloud of indistinctness over their operations, leaving their members in fuse, just over a year to the general elections?
APC is a case in hand, perhaps, glossing over its incumbency or a sense of entitlement and rebutting any honest appraisal of its chances in the forthcoming elections, in line with the failures and achievements recorded during its administration.
Governors elected on the platform of APC believe that the party is on a downward slide and over the weekend, summoned an emergency meeting to stop the party’s downhill slide.
Tensions have been brewing in the party over its delay in fixing a date for its crucial national convention which has divided the party along the lines of pro and anti-February 25, 2022 date for the convention. With its national leader, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, swiftly voicing his intention to contest the presidential election, many aspiring candidates will cower under the might of the Jagaban and kill their own ambitions. The simmering tensions on the party will more likely explode after its national convention.
PDP, on the other hand, functions with comparative slowness, and a false hope that errors of the ruling APC could guarantee its own victory. The party has been overtly indistinct over the issue of zoning, which has been the hallmark of the party’s internal democracy.
With aspirants from all geopolitical zones warming up to hit the turf in presidential primaries, the post-primary outburst is better imagined than said. Already, the issue of its national convention presented a challenge of internal discord that is still being addressed by the party’s leadership.
Given the avoidable tensions brewing in these parties, it is now glaring that despite the hue and cry over a bad economy, insecurity, rising debt profile, poverty, unemployment and disunity in the country, the political elites fail to agree on almost everything, including the choice of candidates to hold political offices as well as policies, legal frameworks and political solutions to deploy and bring such challenges to an end.
Amidst these disagreements and shameless bickering over differences of political ideologies and principles as well as relationships that exist within them, the country can hardly produce truly democratic leadership that will guarantee its growth and development. As Nigeria approaches another defining election in just over a year, political realignments, intrigues and games of wits employed by politicians must reflect the collective interest of the nation.