By Obike Ukoh,
Political pundits observed that the conduct of the just concluded primaries of the various political parties [pro_ad_display_adzone id=”10″]
to pick their candidates for the February general elections leaves much to be desired.[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”10″]
They note that in some instances, some political stalwarts could not pick their parties’ tickets and decide[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”10″]
d to defect to parties.
They also observe that, in some states, party men disregarded alliances or agreements, resulting in holding parallel congresses, resulting in giving some debutantes in politics the opportunity to win.
Political analysts also note that some foundation members of some political parties even defected because they lost in the primaries, while some of them went to court to challenge the results of the primaries.
They, therefore, insist that although the primaries may have come and gone, many unresolved issues and the attitudes of some political leaders during the primaries should be examined.
Citing the case of Delta, they note that Gov. Emmanuel Uduaghan, who was an aspirant for Delta South Senatorial District on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), withdrew from the primary.
The governor, who announced his withdrawal from the senatorial race at a press conference, said he
obliged to withdraw to allow peace to reign in the state.
He said that he had decided to make the sacrifice in view of the heightened political tension in the state, observing that his withdrawal would stabilise the party.
Similarly, the two governorship aspirants in the All Progressives Congress, who contested the primaries, protested the emergence of Chief O’tega Emerhor as the party’s candidate.
One of them, Mr Fidelis Tilije, reportedly walked out of the primaries, alleging widespread irregularities.
In Bayelsa, some of the aggrieved PDP candidates shunned the reconciliatory committee set up by the party to assuage the anger of those that lost, while some defected to APC and All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
The aggrieved PDP members include a former President of Ijaw Youth Congress, Mr Jonjon Oyeinfa and a former commissioner in Bayelsa, Mr Zuwa Konugah who defected to APGA to secure the party’s ticket.
In Ogun, the PDP primary was conducted on Dec. 8, 2014, in spite of a directive from the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party to cancel all primaries.
The primary produced Mr Gboyega Isiaka as the party’s governorship candidate after defeating two other aspirants.
The other aspirants then told Isiaka to stop parading himself as the party’s flag bearer, insisting that the primary was conducted contrary to the directive of NWC of the party.
Also, some APC aggrieved members of the Ogun State House of Assembly defected to the PDP and the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
In Imo, Sen. Ifeanyi Araraume of the PDP challenged the governorship ticket for Chief Emeka Ihedioha, the Deputy Speaker of House of Representatives.
Araraume and his supporters had insisted on cancellation of the result on grounds of “obvious case of over-voting’’.
In Kaduna State, the story was different as there was no case of defection.
The three members of the House of Representatives that did not get nominations to return were Alhaji Ibrahim Bello (APC), Alhaji Shehu Usman (APC) and Mr Godfrey Gaiya (PDP).
Mr Yahaya Shamko, the APC Director of Administration in the state, said five petitions were filed.
Mr Ibrahim Manso, the state PDP State Public Relations Officer, said there was no petition, noting that the primaries were “transparent.’’
In Adamawa, although the PDP primaries had been concluded, some members of the party are questioning the legitimacy of the results.
Chief Joel Madaki and Mr Tahir Shehu, the Chairman and Secretary of PDP in the state respectively, who were suspended on the grounds of the results of the primaries, had filed two separate suits at a Yola High Court.
In Kebbi, PDP held parallel primaries, while Sen. Atiku Bagudu defected to APC to pick the party’s governorship ticket.
Also in Katsina State, Alhaji Umar Abdullahi, one of the PDP governorship aspirants in the state, defected to APGA to clinch the party’s governorship ticket.
In Lagos State, Sen. Musliu Obanikoro walked out of the voting centre when there was a controversy on difference between votes cast and registered voters
He has taken PDP to a Federal High Court in Abuja to compel the party’s leadership to respond to his petition, seeking cancellation of the primaries.
In Oyo State, a governorship aspirant, Mr Adebayo Shittu, also walked out of APC primaries, alleging irregularities.
Members of Accord Party in the state accused the leadership of the party of endorsing former Gov. Rashidi Ladoja as its sole governorship candidate.
In the PDP, former Gov. Adebayo Alao-Akala defected to Labour Party (LP) and was given the party’s governorship ticket.
Another aggrieved PDP governorship aspirant, Mr Seyi Makinde, defected to
Social Democratic Party (SDP).
Commentators have, therefore, raised concern about rampant defection of politicians in one party to others just to attain their goals.
But Mr Dele Ogunsola, a political analyst, attributed the development to the quest for internal democracy by politicians.
“The actors in the political parties in that situation demanded for internal democracy but were denied, so they decided to exercise their political right by either defecting to other parties,’’ he said.
Mr Olakunle Oluomo, a member of Ogun State House of Assembly, described defection as “exercise of democratic rights.
“If you think that the party you are in cannot serve you right, you have the right to leave that party and go to another party of your choice.’’
In his opinion, Mr Mike Okolo, a political analyst in Delta, said that unresolved cases of imposition and electoral fraud that characterised the party primaries posed danger to the nation’s democracy.
“Many of the aspirants who won their party’s tickets were not the choices of the people; the practice of imposing unpopular aspirants makes mockery of our democracy,’’ he noted.
Mrs Veronica Ugba, LP women Leader in Delta, said that the just concluded party primaries presented a pointer of what to expect in the general elections.
“We have to know that what happened during the primaries, especially in Delta, was a rehearsal of what is to come during the general elections.
Dr Lateef Adetona of Political Science, Lagos State University, nonetheless, attributed defection by politicians to lack of commitment to party philosophy.
He observed that some Nigerian politicians had yet to develop to the level of adhering strictly to the principles of their parties.
“Those who are really politicians in advanced countries will not find it easy to defect because they believe firmly in the principles of their parties,’’ Adetona stressed.
Other causes of defection of politicians to parties, notwithstanding, political analysts insist that absence of ideologically-based parties is responsible for the rampant defection.(NANFeatures)
Assessing the causes of defections after party primaries
By Obike Ukoh,