Consensus Candidate: Threat To Democracy
Political parties as voluntary organizations of free citizens in democratic state feature their candidates for positions and strive to gain the best results in elections. Political parties differ immensely in various countries, depending on political, party or electoral systems they act upon.
Those systems immensely form their attributes; however, the one attribute which characterises political parties in all democratic systems is competition or some other form of power struggle . Political party is “an assembly of individuals which form constellation of rival groups”. meaning of political parties, that parties are “groups which members mutually operate in competitive power struggle”.
Internal party democracy is a key ingredient of any democratic system of government. This is because democracy ought to begin from the parties and how they choose their candidates for the election proper. If the candidates are chosen otherwise than in line with tenets of democracy, then the political space would be tainted and no true democracy can be said to be in existence.
Consensus is an act of imposition. It is an avenue for Political godfathers and party tin gods to practically picked and chose favoured candidates and godson at will without any concern for the good and progress of the party. Such godfathers prefer their loyalists to popular candidates with no regards to members interest or choice. Hence the forget the key ingredient of internal democracy is the avoidance of imposition of candidates on the party.
Every candidate interested in an elective office should be given the opportunity to test his popularity within his party by a democratically – conducted primaries which will produce the most popular candidate for the election proper. Anything short of this is a total detour from democratic norms and principles. This practice is a threat to democracy as it does not give room for party members to have a say in the choice of candidates to stand for the main election. It sounds in breach of the fundamental rights of party members to deny them the right to elect candidate of their choice.
The series of consensus candidate in Nigeria political parties reduced the morale of members. It is a practice that is capable of shaking the belief of members in their party and in its internal mechanisms. It is a direct affront to democracy which reduces the game of polities to a process of sheer selection, godfatherism, favouritism and particularism. No doubt, this is a total threat to our fledgling democracy.
Governor Akeredolu should look critically into this matter as the number one member of APC in the state. The result of Consensus in primary might be dangerous to the bid of re-election has the members who aspired for a post might felt shortchanged during party primaries leave to other political parties. Governor Akeredolu should see to this and advice the party executives to allow Democracy to flourish in the party to prepare members for November election has the outcome of this Local government election has a great effect on the future.
The Chairman of the party APC, Ade Adetimehin should shun consensus has an option to encourage total democracy in the party. This would not only build the members interest but put the party in the right position in Ondo state. It is a simple syllogism if A then B, not -A then -B “Members then party, no members then there is no party”. Party Excos should also be remembered that the constitution speak more of members than term executives. Imposition of candidates on the party by some influential leaders has become the rule in Nigeria rather than the exception. This practice has destroyed many political parties and even their candidates whose political ambitions had been truncated undemocratically in preference for some anointed candidates.
The party needs to be very careful to not give some political self-seekers who are mere politicians of fortune reasons to cross over to another party should they fail to realize their ambition.
It is not a gain saying that Mr Governor Arakunrin Akeredolu has tried his best all areas of government in the state and federal has the case may be. Mr Governor has also done well to see that democracy must reach grassroots for development purposes. But also Gov. Akeredolu needs to know that many members wish to take over from him and looking for every means and tactics to place their manifesto on. This Local government election alone can make or mere the re-election depending on how it is well managed. Consensus candidate to fill the seat of Local council is not advisable at this wee hour in the state. Not only does this consensus practice shortchange our democracy, it threatens our national stability.
It is dangerous to national security. It is worse than insurgency. In a democracy without democracy, there will be no government to fight insecurity and insurgency because people are government and if candidates are imposed, no one will have believe in the government and they won’tbgive any possible support. There will be breakdown of law and order. Let us protect and preserve our democracy for posterity sake.
Ajayi Michael Abayomi