A Post Mortem of recent Party Primaries

The much anticipated political parties primaries have come and gone but certainly not the dusts raised. Generally, these primaries never met the expectations and aspirations of Nigerians and indeed, the democratic world owing to many unsavoury fallouts from the exercise. The most disturbing of these ills no doubt was the monetization of the exercise. Contrary to expectations most of the political parties sold their nomination forms at highly exorbitant costs. This worrisome development no doubt quenched the fire of enthusiasm kindled in many Nigerians especially the youth most of whom had warmed up to take advantage of the trending Not Too Young Run campaign which had received serious boost following the signing into law of that bill. To the chagrin of all All Progressive Congress, APC, which is the presidents party and which many had thought would set the pace in supporting the Not Too Young to Run agenda was the most culpable in disincentivizing youth participation in politics through prohibitive cost of its nomination forms. Other parties followed suit and at the end of it all the youths were once again denied the opportunity to seek elective positions to contribute to national growth and development.
Beyond this condemnable action, these primaries were seriously flawed and generally marred by fraud, irregularities, violence, and rigging. Apart from the national conventions of the APC and the opposition PDP almost every other primary contest from the governorship to the house of assembly were not to write home about. In some instances as in the case of Zamfra State bitter internal party squabbles and supremacy battles denied APC the opportunity to field candidates for governorship, National Assembly and House of Assembly elections. Some many other state chapters of the party and other parties are also embroiled in post primary crisis. To say the least these ugly events are do not speak good about our democracy.
Going by the many negative fallouts of parties primaries in the country many concerned citizens are concerned and indeed, worried that our democracy is not making progress. This is indeed is a frightening reality. And for every effort should be made to change this ugly trend.
We think the INEC should begin to regulate primaries beyond this present level of mere monitoring. The electoral umpire should begin to regulate the sell of nomination forms so as to stop arbitrary increases in the cost of nomination forms. If there is no such provision in the laws of INEC, we suggest the National Assembly should amend its laws so as to include a clause empowering INEC to have full regulatory powers over party nomination exercises.
Again, its high time elective positions are made less attractive because the so many problems that came with the primaries can be blamed on the lucrative nature of elective offices in the country. As long as elective offices remain attractive and lucrative, political party primaries and general elections would continue to be do or die affair. Sadly, the country and its citizens would continue to bear the brunt of this since growth and development would remain perpetually in motion without movement.
We cannot continue to make the same mistakes over and over and expect change. Truth is that the desired change wont come unless we start getting things especially our electoral processes right. And having seen how bad the last party primaries are it is our view that now is the the time embark on the process of bringing this new dawn in electoral process as well as other sectors of national life.

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