Something happened on January 14th 2011 at the Peoples Democratic Party’s annual convention at the Eagle square, Abuja while picking her presidential flag bearer to represent the party at the forthcoming presidential election. In contention were former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Incumbent President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and Mrs. Sarah Jibril. Not many were surprise at the emergence of GEJ as flag bearer but for his landslide victory over other contenders. It is amazing that somebody from a minority group amongst the minority group will have a landslide victory in a party that is the largest in Africa; that is the harbinger of power rotation and regional consensus.
Whether the outcome was out of the power of incumbency or not – which is another evil that should be left for another day – GEJ was declared the winner in what was themed the best PDP presidential primaries ever. We are in a nation without any political indices that favors a minority group candidature, but my question is why it’s that only the loser cry foul play when the rule of the game is foul? Atiku and his team made a fundamental error that has lead to our eventual conquest of quota system, power rotation and regional consensus as a nation. This is the beginning of the sanitization of our political mentality as concerning office seekers and ethnicity; Choices will now be based on what you can do and not on where you are from.
My main concern here is that things are changing and are changing fast, what I saw at the convention is the “death of quota system, power rotation and regional consensus”. If GEJ being from a minority group regardless of the power of incumbency would win the PDP primaries then anyone can… what I am after is the evil of having any man being judge or scrutinized for any position because of his ethnicity instead of the content of his personality, whether you are north east or south east if you are fit to occupy any position then you should be allow to, not because of turn on power rotation or shift. If anyone wants to rule, let the man come out and convince us that he is the best candidate for the post and have us elect him in.
When former VP Atiku came up to make his speech which to some of us decided his fate, the pattern of his speech betrayed a lot of delegates and that swung the vote of those undecided delegates to GEJ’s favor, that on its own is an element of personal judgment not sentiment, we had same experience in the last American presidential election when Senator John McCain of the Republican party decided to blast then Senator Obama of the Democrat party of his inexperience in a debate, it boomeranged because the electorate were expecting something on the way forward not castigations; we want to move forward. People should always be assessing based on candidate’s capabilities not sentiment, which will take us nowhere.
This is the beginning of the days when character will be the mainstay of our national conscience, it may not come over night but it has surely started, change is a process and it intensifies as the day goes by. As we all go get registered for the general elections, one thing I know is that the main players in the coming elections from the concluded primaries of the key political parties are not going to emerge because of this pathology.
Nepotism, ethnicity and others forms of marginalization are all killers of performance and efficiency, it only breeds mediocrity. Let who the cap fits wear it as we expect the best from the eventual winner(s), the key to democratic sustenance is delivering on campaign promise. They seem to be a wind of change blowing through Africa and Nigeria needs to have a more intense feel of it, Mediterranean nation of Tunisia is having a revolutionafter a frustrated man set himself on fire in protestover unemployment and corruption in his country. We may not set ourselves on fire but we need to set our hearts on fire for this nation to succeed.