The Nigerian political space in recent times has been doused with uncertainty and ambiguity.
As the continuous voter’s registration process gradually winds to a stop in a couple of days, the question that has been on the lips and minds of many is ‘who do we vote for?‘
Nigeria currently has sixty-eight registered political parties with many of them planning on fielding candidates for the various political positions available in the land.
In the last one year, there have been talks about youth political aspirants. This became a little bit more realistic with the president’s assent on the Not too young to run bill. What has become greatly disturbing as Nigerians prepare to head to the polls is the spate of mass defections from one political party to another?
The APC being the ruling party received a lot of defectors from the PDP after their great defeat in the 2015 general elections. Notable politicians from the PDP in their numbers with their teeming supporters defected to the APC claiming that the PDP was corrupt and did not observe the rule of law. The party was further accused of lacking internal party democracy.
The likes of Saraki, Kwakwanso, Dino Melaye, and Rotimi Amaechi made the headlines with their recent defections.
As at now, 13 senators and 37 house of Representatives members have defected from the APC to PDP. More like a dramatic move back home.
What is annoying is the ease with which they just pick up and leave. And how convenient that they are going back to the same PDP that they accused of lacking internal party democracy and respect for the rule of law. And all this during the election year.
Unfortunately, political parties in Nigeria lack solid political ideology and manifesto. The average Nigerian is also unaware of what should drive political party affiliations. There is work to be done in this regard.
Another disturbing signal is how some citizens are hailing these politicians who are defecting. Have we not learned anything at all as citizens?
The big questions therefore are, what has changed? And is this true in the interest of the citizens or in the selfish interest of power-thirsty politicians who have vowed to clinch to power by any means necessary?
The idea of ousting an underperforming leader is to seek a credible and competent replacement.
As we head to the polls in 2019, citizens must make a duty of making a comprehensive analysis and background check of the people we elect as Representatives in all tiers of government. The people must make informed decisions on who to send.
by Peggy Ovat, a volunteer with EiE Nigeria.