The Oasis Reporters
February 1, 2018
by Deji Adesoye
The very uncertain return of the PDP in Nigeria is a false start in Ekiti state. And it is hard to say whether the incumbent governor of the state, Ayo Fayose, is aware he has begun the burial rites of the party. Adopting, or claiming to have adopted Deputy Governor Olusola Eleka as the PDP candidate is not just an assault on our tottering democracy, it is also grave-digging for the People’s Democratic Party.
The fascist mindset that equates the leader with the party and refers to the leader as the state has gripped the incumbent to the core of his being, so much so that his choice of successor is once and for all the choice of the party.
Whereas the Electoral Act is clear on how a party should nominate a candidate for any elected post: “A political party seeking to nominate candidates for elections under this Act shall hold primaries for aspirants to all elective positions”, Electoral Act 2010, 87(1).
Primaries can be direct or indirect, according to the Electoral Act, but there is nothing in the two types of primaries that look like handpicking one candidate and imposing it on other aspirants as the party’s choice. Rather, in direct primaries, political parties must ensure that all aspirants are given equal opportunity of being voted for by members of the party.
In indirect primaries, the party will hold special congresses in each of the local governments. Delegates will vote for each of the aspirants, and the one with the highest votes becomes the candidate of the party. The congress of the party is the electoral organ of the party. The business of voting at election is the job of the congress.
The PDP constitution makes no mistake about this. Chap IV, Sec 25(2), the third among the five functions of state party congress is “Elect governorship candidate of the party.”
The section has also a long list of those who make up the congress of the party among whom are three delegates per ward and members of the National assembly from the state who are members of the party.
But, “The PDP has taken a position” said Fayose. We do not know which question to ask: who are the PDP?, or who is the PDP?
Either Fayose is the congress of the party, or the party has no congress. But, he has always called himself a one-man battalion and we praised him. And if he turns out a one-man congress, who should bat an eye?
We also do not know for certain whether the choice of the deputy is just an expression of his personal preference as a politician and voter, or is the final decision of the party. In the first case, other aspirants do not need to get mad over not being endorsed by a sitting governor. They rather should go and do their own groundwork.
But the following statement is alarming: “The PDP has taken a position; I say we have taken a position and we have no apologies for that and the position is that Olusola should take over after me as the governor of Ekiti.” (See Punch, Jan. 30).
The tenor of this statement itself indicates that the speaker was conscious of the absurdity of his antics. He knew that he is using force and repressing others, and that he’s being antisocial and anti-scruples in a most reprehensible manner.
But Fayose rode in the vehicle of internal democracy to become the flag bearer of the party in 2014, but has came out of the vehicle, thrown fire on it, then jumped on the fascist horse.
In 2014, His voice was the most heard in the cry over internal democracy. He disdained the idea of a consensus candidate.
The field. The field.
A level playing ground. Is a consensus not even better than a one-man congress?
Over the years, the political virtuoso in Fayose has grown into sheer naked arrogance, and a brazen disregard for democratic norms and civil principles of party administration. Instead of uniting the interests in the party so as to secure a better future for the party and the state it governs, narcissism must make the governor divide the party, send away those who are a threat to his personal interest. He must do anything to the party to achieve his personal aim, even if those things mean apocalypse for the party, as the present case is. And it costs him nothing to dump the party when he has wrecked it.
When armed robbers seize a car after a robbery operation, the goal is to escape using the car, not with the car. They would ride it roughshod, hitting gutter and electric poles. By the time smoke starts in the bonnet, they park in the middle of the road, jump out, and get another unfortunate car.
Whereas the party is a foundation for electoral health and growth, and so occupies a key place in democratic development. The values within a political party are the values its members will exhibit in public office. The party is a like a postgraduate school of political socialization; there, someone perfects their social and political values. The kind of leaders in the party and their antics, corrupt or pious, straight or outwardly/brazenly cunning, will determine how a party member will act in public office. There is no way the processes of a political party will be defined by disregard for the rule of law and democratic tenets and the party will promote those values in the larger state. Again, the party is the smallest unit to test the progress of a country in democratic practice.
For now, the party is the only political infrastructure for electing office holders. In as much as the party is the very medium between the people and public offices, internal processes within the party are of utmost priority.
One then wonders how some people still hail Gov. Ayo Fayose, who is on the path of destroying every democratic value and ‘structure-on-paper’ of the PDP in the state. Of course, not many across the country are familiar with the outdated, anachronistically fascist methods of the governor in the state, as he has actually succeeded in distracting the Nigerian public from the radar of his excesses in the party by his daily anti-Buhari vibes.
And of a handful in the state that are conversant with the problem in the PDP, most see it as normal and the right thing. It is saddening, again, that some young people who should have better imagination and expectation about the future of governance in Nigeria endorse this malaise.
And beware when the fascist says “as God liveth’. One thing one must not fail to learn from Fayose is his privileged son-ship with God. He began as a child of Obasanjo, fell out with that one and became very dear to God. He is the Nigerian man after God’s own heart. No one else has God aside him, and his God fights all battles, including unjust wars. In fact, his God is present in all his kangaroo politics. Well it is a psychological tool. A fascist that cannot openly wield guns and axes to bully his victims to compliance must brandish God like a sword to instill fear into the victims, to dismember them and make them crumble to their feet. He will also use it to mobilize the common people who have no way of seeing, the moment the word God is mentioned and personalized. A fascist of Fayose’s type must own God. God is in his handbag. The important question: “who is fighting the cause of the common man: the man who has no regard for democratic principles?” Or what does it mean to fight for the common man: by destroying those principles upon which a sound, fair society is expected to be built? They should beware, those in the East and the West who regard Fayose as the battle cry for the masses.