Ever since the political office seekers rolled out the campaign drums, I have been in a quandary as to which line to toe in the forthcoming elections, starting this Saturday. The question on my mind is, and remains, will I (and you) be voting for candidates based on political parties or personal capabilities.
Political parties are not what history told me they used to be. In those days, parties were identified by their manifestoes. The Second Republic readily comes to mind. UPN (Unity Party of Nigeria) was known for its free education programme while NPN (National Party of Nigeria) was known all over for its promise of provision of affordable housing. These days political parties have been transformed to political platforms – just look for a party that would give you the ticket to run for whatever post you desire. This is why we have an outrageous 63 parties.
Of the infinite incidents of cross-carpeting, one readily comes to mind – Atiku Abubakar. A vice-president for eight years on the platform of PDP, he decamped to his party’s fiercest rivals to actualize his presidential ambition. He called the ruling party unprintable names and vowed never to have anything to do with them again. Fast forward four years. Atiku was back in the PDP and even posed the greatest challenge to the sitting president in the primaries. Question is: if we have no shame, don’t we have pride?
A school of thought would say that it is the party that makes the candidate. In my opinion, it is pari passu. The Executive Governor of Lagos State comes in handy. There is no gainsaying that BRF has done a marvelous job in Lagos. “Marvelous” is actually taking some credit away from the man. But have you ever assumed he did not win his party’s flag for this election. Are you sure he would have won from another platform? Are you sure?
After twelve years of misrule and inept leadership, it still amazes me that the PDP still stands a chance in this election. Aside the power of incumbency (which, for the records, has never failed in Africa) the candidate they are presenting gives the party a major boost. A major reason, I feel, they had to jettison their zoning policy. Nobody is actually saying that they are voting for PDP, but I have heard countless people say they are voting for Goodluck Jonathan.
After all said, I would suggest a balance of both party and persona. Left to me, the right man to lead this country is Professor Pat Utomi: his intellect, his charisma, his vision is not rivaled by any other candidate in this presidential poll. A special adviser at age 27, Professor Pat has come a long away and has the ability to rule this nation. In the NEDG debate, he was outstanding and the most convincing. Unfortunately, his platform is so weak that I don’t know the name. he realized this after the debate and has since stepped down. So the candidate I would be voting for is…