If the body language of President Muhammadu Buhari is anything to decipher, they won‘t be dollars to give to delegates during the All Progressives Congress presidential primary; trust us, some people are already angry the president is saying; ‘you are one big family with aggregated interests, use your strength to produce a flag bearer amongst you – a win for anyone amongst you is a win for all!
In Kaduna, a man who went to the People’s Democratic Party’s primary election, returned home with N12 million – just to elect a flagbearer for his party! Multiply 12 million naira by the number of delegates pooled from 36 states and the FCT, what you get is what one person pays to delegates to be elected a flagbearer. When he eventually wins maybe, he must recoup his investment, not from those delegates sadly, but from you and I who didn‘t see a dime from his voting buying largesse. Whatever decisions leaders take have adverse consequences on us as a people and on the polity.
Doling out money to delegates rubbish every sense in the process of electing credible leaders. It renders the exercise bland and uninspiring – and Buhari‘s decision to mitigate the pugnacious policy of money politics should be applauded – leaders must never buy their ways to power if indeed aspiration to power is for service and not any other motivated pecuniary interests.
The dollar that was used to choke life out of our naira suddenly became a handy tender for politicians as delegates were stuffed with them as they laughed to the banks after the open market sales of their votes to elect their leaders. This action alone weakens not just the naira but gives smelly legitimacy to the American dollars as the purchasing power of our delegates. The use of the dollars changed from export and import related economies to delegates to delegates buying economies. We have no dollars to support imports but we have plenty of it to buy delegates! A frightening reality that makes everything very absurd and embarrassing. Dollars for delegates to elect their leaders instead of dollars for manufacturers to import machinery and other forex related realities. Indeed we are a nation that places absurdities on a premium scale and tragically everyone seems to enjoy that because the things that negate common sense are what give us pleasures.
The APC must never dollarize their primary election to elect their flagbearer like the PDP recently did; it doesn‘t show decency but a splashing shame on our collective psyche.
According to my friend Femi Ogunshola, the delegate democracy is a fraud, a charade, it‘s only for the highest bidder and the money bag. You can be the dumbest with no requisite knowledge, credibility, acceptability but cash fitted, you will rattle those who have been around for years with loads of idea to contribute to the system.
If an Hushpuppi, the arrested money flaunting internet fraudster, an Evans, the serial kidnapper or a ritualist with huge pocket had contested the party primaries, such would have won with the level of inducement and money craving delegates with party leaders‘ inordinate desire for money, the electoral law has foisted on us
Sadly, money is the only answer to delegates responding to vote, no due diligence about aspirants, nothing bothers them about the future, the character, credibility, delivery and quality of the aspirant, that was never their business, they must harvest money as long as their today is temporarily guaranteed.
The delegates were all out to outdo one another in a bid to grab their share of aspirants’ money, jumping from one aspirant to the other with promise to vote for them on the condition that they must be settled before voting which most of them ended up not doing, the aspirant with the highest money rattled the party, he staged a surprised.
A mild drama ensued when one of the Senatorial aspirants who scored less than 8 votes and could not stomach the treachery recovered some millions from delegates. He threatened to deal with one of the state officials who collected N3.5 million to sway delegates on his side but ended up cajoling him, he delivered nothing. Most of those he gave money refused to deliver, he was deceived.
One of the Local Government Party chairmen collected close to N5 million from one of the aspirant, with a promise to donate delegates to him but failed, the aspirant has since recovered N2.1 million, two days after the primaries.
The array of aspirants that threw their hat in the ring to contest various elective posts exposed the urgent need for a thorough clinical surgery on our electoral law, there is an urgent need for a revisit.