On PDP, Automatic Tickets and Assassination of Democracy by Amatey Enome

Amatey Enome

Nineteen years on, one would expect that our democracy would have evolved, that we should have a semblance of the 12th June, 1993 or a replica of developed democracies. But alas! We are more than comfortable with the phrase, "evolving democracy". It's the same mediocre mindset that has left us as a "developing economy" forever.

Rather than improve, we are finding new ways to outdo ourselves. We have shifted from ballot snatching, electoral violence, outright rigging to our new way of life; vote buying.

The cost of running for elective office in Nigeria has escalated over the last couple of years. While the few progressives among us try to propound better ways of having an all inclusive democracy, the conservatives, who are the "powerful minority" are ensuring that it's business as usual. A case in point is the passage of the Not Too Young to Run Act which we thought was a breather and an opportunity for the vibrant youths to get involved. This was however tactically, but delibrately circumvented by a drastic increase in the price of nomination forms by political parties, thereby ousting the youths and sniffing the life out of their budding aspirations.

We can go on and on...but to the issue at hand. News going round is that the main opposition party; PDP has offered automatic tickets to her National Assembly members who intend to seek reelection. If this is true, then to my mind, it would be the beginning of the end of the party.

It would appear that the parties and particularly the PDP is taking for granted the ongoing voter and political awareness in the country. Peharps they have forgotten too soon how they were infamously voted out of office in 2015. The whole concept of Democracy is that power resides in the people. It's therfore sickening that a handful of people would sit in a room and attempt to determine the fate of an entire Federal Consistency/Senatorial District and thereby foist their interests on us all.

Today, I took a drive past the state PDP Secretariat in Calabar and there was a marmot crowd protesting this unpopular decision. I even hear a life was lost in the process (may God rest his soul). That's another life lost in a bid to protect what's left of our democracy. However, that's a tip of the backlash the PDP would have if they decide to remain resolute and fail to do the right thing. The natural consequence would be massive defections and of course, the people would vote their interests.

Agreed, by our Laws, the tenure for legislators is unlimited, but this is subject to the satisfaction of their constituents. The people must feel properly represented during the previous term to return you for another term. This decision must at all times remain unfettered. You cannot for instance force a constituency to return a Legislator who has made no meaningful contribution on the floor of the House or one who has attracted no federal projects to his constituency just because the party says so. Give us an array of options, let the aspirants test their popularity among the delegates. If they are scared of facing their party delegates, how do you expect them to compete against candidates of other political parties on the day of election?

This is a call for the PDP to allow reason to prevail. May they not lose the little goodwill they currently enjoy. May they not forget so soon what their impunity caused them three years ago. Let the power of choice be returned to the people.

Enome is a legal practitioner and writes from Calabar
Politics 3558129059000267357

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