Progress by infiltration
The Nigerian elections are here again. It’s certainly a season of tension, uncertainty, uneasiness, and unfortunately fear.
Nigerians across the globe are arguing back and forth: Who is good, who is bad, why this, why not that, etc. Sadly, many of the stalwarts of these intellectual discussions are either in the diaspora, couldn’t make time to register to vote, or cannot afford the stress of voting.
While many more will still vote, it’s curious that many were undecided about who to vote for the Presidency, hours to the initial date of the election. The two most popular candidates did not take part in the debates; they only obliged to interviews. However, what a different level of arguments we would have had if the contest was between their Vice Presidential candidates, the running mates.
I began to take part in Nigerian elections 20 years ago! In 1999, voter registration materials never arrived at the Fajuyi Hall station of my University. In 2003, I voted. In 2007, I voted. In 2011, I could only register at a place quite a distance from my residence. Those are two strategies: no registration, and remote registration. In 2015, I did not know how to collect my Voters Card. In 2019, I have my Voters Card. But everything keeps evolving. What if the Vice President had died in that helicopter crash? Then the elections were postponed while we were asleep, hours to the election.
Not a good narrative for a country in which Tom, Dick and Harry have mobile phones, registered and linked to their bank accounts.
However, I hope that one day, we will have a situation in which we will not be troubled about the credentials, age and character of the two main contenders. I hope that one day, our problem would be that the two main contenders are so good that we won’t mind choosing either.
How do we get there?
By getting involved in the primaries!
We have to infiltrate the political parties. We have to be members. Our voices must be heard at the grassroots rather than on Facebook. We need to get involved in the parties that are established, not necessarily to contest, but particularly to select the party flagbearers.
In 2002, the contest for PDP’s presidential candidate appeared tougher than in 1998 even though the incumbent President was contesting in that primary election! That’s what we need to make of our political parties.
Do you agree?
That’s a good first step.
Will you join a political party?
Any would do!