Inducing party delegates: Implications for democracy

The Nigerian polity is agog as we approach the 2023 general elections. The party primaries will start soon. Inducing delegates with mouth-watering gifts is the order of the day.

Career politicians, technocrats, businessmen, retired civil servants, pastors, and people from different backgrounds are committed to resuscitating their ebbing personalities by plunging headlong into the murky waters of Nigerian politics.

This period has witnessed an obscene display of money never seen in Nigerian politics since the country embraced democracy. Stupendous display of money to horrifying levels is the new normal in Nigerian politics. It is more confounding because the country is in the throes of poverty, economic hardship, infrastructural decay, and a collapse of the educational and health sectors.

The race to occupy various political positions seems to be a clarion call for many political participators to bare their fangs, obliterate all rules of financial propriety, and indulge in inordinate disgrace of the local currency.

The two leading political parties, APC and PDP pegged the cost of their presidential nomination forms at 100 million naira and 40 million naira respectively. In the manner that politicians are buying the forms, one would think that they pick money on the roads. Nigerians are bewildered by this gaudy display of wealth.

Money is indeed a huge factor in politics, but the lack of control and regulations towards its display in Nigeria now calls for great concern.

The greatest worry is that these politicians have commenced the inducement of party delegates in different guises. Many political office aspirants have started sharing expensive cars, huge sums of money, and other items to influence party delegates.

The grave implication of this reckless practice on the polity is that party delegates can be swayed or influenced to choose the wrong candidate who has the biggest war chest. Certainly, not all political office aspirants are competent and qualified for the offices they are seeking to occupy.

At the juncture where Nigeria has found itself, it is in the interest of everyone that genuine, compassionate, and competent persons emerge as leaders. If these competent persons do not have the financial wherewithal to share among delegates, it follows that the country will inevitably find itself in the hands of incompetent opportunists who will further drag it down the tunnel.

Given the number of many aspirants for the post of president, there is a deep concern in many quarters that money will ultimately decide who will emerge as flag bearers for the two leading political parties. All the party delegates across the country have a huge role to play to save Nigeria.

This is the time for these party delegates to answer the call to deliver Nigeria from the stranglehold of political predators. Let the party delegates demonstrate a rare sense of integrity, patriotism, and uprightness by refusing to yield to any form of inducement from politicians.

While one can argue that it is difficult to turn away from money in a country like Nigeria, it is also possible not to succumb to moral blackmail. It is also possible for the delegates, those who lack the will and moral fortitude to reject inducement, to collect money but vote for a candidate they know can deliver Nigeria from poverty.

The current poverty situation in Nigeria is affecting everyone irrespective of region, ethnicity, religion, and diverse persuasions. Bearing this in mind, party delegates should, for the sake of posterity and the millions of people in the country, jettison inducement. Politicians who indulge in the despicable act of inducement understand money and other material items used for inducement are never returned.

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Therefore, if after inducing party delegates they lose, they will not have any moral or legal justification to ask for a return of material items given or a refund of various sums of money. Party delegates should stand up and be counted now.

They should be bold to save Nigeria. If there are still persons of integrity in this country, if there are those with the milk of integrity flowing in their veins, if party delegates can be found among such people, then there is no better time for them to uphold the tenets of sincerity and uprightness than now.

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